Editorial: Region’s House delegation right to join forces for carrier construction


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Photo caption: USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) deploying from Naval Station Norfolk (Billy Schuerman/The Virginian-Pilot).

The following editorial, written by the Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press Editorial Board, published in those newspapers on February 12, 2024.

Editorial: Region’s House delegation right to join forces for carrier construction

(February 12, 2024 by Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press Editorial Board)

A delay of the Navy’s plans to build new aircraft carriers would cause serious problems for the shipbuilding industry in Hampton Roads. It would harm companies that supply critical parts, while likely raising the cost of the new ships by billions of dollars. Compounding the problems, a postponement would impair the Navy’s ability to protect the nation’s interests around the world at an increasingly volatile time.

Hampton Roads’ delegation to the U.S. House is right to lobby the Pentagon to keep construction of the Navy’s Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carriers on schedule. This is no time to let our guard down.

Republicans Rob Wittman and Jen Kiggans and Democrats Bobby Scott and Jennifer McClellan last year sent a joint letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pointing out how disruptive, costly and even dangerous it would be to delay the funding and building of planned Ford-class carriers. Their action came after reports suggested that the Defense Department might be considering delaying the timeline of the CVN 82, the fifth in the class, in its budget request for the next fiscal year.

Plans have been in place for two years of advance procurement for CVN 82 in the 2026 and 2027 fiscal years, a strategy used to pay for materials, parts and components with long lead times before the carrier is actually acquired in 2028. Now there has been talk about the procurement being delayed by the Pentagon until 2029 or 2030.

The representatives also pointed out the estimated $5 billion that the Navy could save through a “block buy” — ordering two ships this year and providing adequate advance funding. The idea is that CVN 83 would be completed four years after CVN 82.

That’s the approach favored by Newport News Shipbuilding, the only American company that designs, builds and refuels nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. It is the largest industrial employer in Virginia.

The arguments in favor of moving ahead with the carriers and for the multi-ship deal are strong.

Click here to read the full editorial from the Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press.


Danny Hernandez

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