A pair of lawmakers from important Navy-heavy districts on Wednesday enlisted help from the head of Indo-Pacific command to slow shrinkage of the U.S. attack-submarine fleet, and prevent the early retirement of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) aircraft carrier.

In a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, Reps. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.) pressed Adm. Phil Davidson about their respective concerns over submarine and carrier retirements. Courtney’s district includes the General Dynamics [GD]Electric Boat’s submarine-building shipyard in Groton, Conn.; Wittman’s Virginia district includes Newport News, Va., which is down the road from the Nimitz-class Truman’s home port of Norfolk, Va.

Courtney fretted over the Pentagon’s plan to replace aging Los Angeles attack subs with Virginia-class boats, repeating his concerns that “our attack fleet size right now is 51 and with the retirements of the Los Angeles class, it will be 42 by 2026.”

Prompted by Courtney, Davidson said that when it comes to attack submarines, the U.S. has an advantage in the Indo-Pacific region over “all our adversaries. It’s a critical advantage that we need to extend [but] the capacity limitations as we go down over the course of the next several years is indeed a threat to the day-to-day operations.”

Asked more directly by Wittman if there are enough attack submarines in the Indo-Pacific, Davidon replied, “no.”

The Navy in its 2020 budget request proposed buying three Virginia-class attack submarines for $10 billion. The Navy believes its Virginia-class contractors, GD and Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] Newport News Shipbuilding, will be able to build three boats a year in 2023 and 2024, compared with two boats a year now.

Wittman, meanwhile, wanted Davidson on the record about potentially losing the Truman, which the Navy proposed retiring in its 2020 budget request. James Geurts, the Navy acquisition chief, told lawmakers last week that the Navy decided to retire the Truman to defray the cost of simultaneously procuring two more Ford-class carriers.

Newport News Shipbuilding in January got a $15 billion contract for the future USS Enterprise and an so-far unnamed successor ship: the third and fourth Ford-class ships.

Retiring Truman “actually takes us down to nine aircraft carriers … between now and 2027,” Wittman said to Davidson. “In your best professional military judgment, would you say that reducing the number of carriers … leaves you with an acceptable level of risk?

“As I constantly revisit our campaign planning and our presence needs, I really don’t see the requirement [for aircraft carriers] going down,” Davidson said.