Key lawmakers flex new positions to bolster shipbuilding industry

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This article published by Defense News provides a comprehensive look at the capacity of our country’s shipyards including HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division. Lawmakers are arguing that a predictable demand signal gives shipyards the long-term certainty they need to hire and retain workers while ensuring supply chain stability at lower costs.

“Strong American shipyards are indispensable to U.S. military might,” Wicker told Defense News in a statement. “Congress must invest in workforce development, yard capabilities and advanced equipment to build a formidable fleet capable of deterring China and projecting global power.”

“We need to provide our industrial base with the stability they need to invest and retain a skilled workforce,” Rogers, the new House Armed Services chairman, told Defense News in a statement. “Tools like block buys and multiyear procurement will help provide the predictability necessary to boost our industrial base.”

A portion of the article is below, or visit Defense News to read the full article.

Key lawmakers flex new positions to bolster shipbuilding industry

By Bryant Harris

The 800-acre yard employs more than 11,000 workers and provides most of the Navy’s surface combatants. The staffers had come to see some of those programs, like the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock.

It was part of a Gulf Coast tour of sorts.

A staff delegation also visited the smaller Bollinger Shipyards business in Pascagoula, where the company will construct the Coast Guard’s next polar security cutter.

Later that same week, the chairman of the House Readiness Subcommittee, Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., traveled to see the Panama City, Florida, yard where Eastern Shipbuilding is constructing the Coast Guard’s next offshore patrol cutter. Though Eastern Shipbuilding is not in Waltz’s district, he met with the yard’s president before filming an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity and then flying back to Washington.

Another group of House staffers traveled to Mobile, Alabama, that week to call on Austal USA’s yard, which is preparing to construct modules for the Virginia- and Columbia-class submarines.

The flurry of trips shows Capitol Hill’s intensified attention to shipbuilding, with several lawmakers from the Gulf Coast and other shipbuilding states assuming key leadership positions on congressional defense committees. They have made clear they want to maximize ship production and repair lines, and some have proposed spending billions of dollars to upgrade shipyard infrastructure. They also want to expand the workforce and continue to approve multiyear, multi-ship procurement contracts.

And they’re now in position to help make that happen.

Those lawmakers include Waltz, as well as Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, who became the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee in January, and Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, who assumed leadership of the House Armed Services Committee after Republicans won control of the lower chamber last year.

You can read the full article at Defense News.


Danny Hernandez

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