Golden Secures Amendment for New Multiyear Contract for DDG-51 Destroyers Built at Bath Iron Works
WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) today secured an amendment to the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that authorizes the Navy to enter into a multiyear contract to build up to 15 DDG-51 destroyers beginning in FY2023. The provision is a significant win for shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works (BIW), one of two shipyards that builds the destroyers, as BIW currently has no contracted work for its over 6,800 person workforce beyond the current contract, which ends next year.
Golden introduced his amendment at the NDAA markup for the House Armed Forces Seapower Subcommittee. The subcommittee, on which Golden serves as vice-chair, passed the congressman’s amendment unanimously. The bill also authorizes two DDG-51s in FY 2022, a priority Golden and his Maine delegation colleagues have pushed for months.
“This Multiyear Procurement contract will deliver DDG-51 Flight III ships to the Navy over the next five years, ensuring that we have the large surface combatant fleet that we need to remain competitive in the short term,” said Golden. “And this multiyear contract will act as a bridge to the DDG-X that the Navy will need in the long term, by providing the stability and predictability needed to maintain the shipbuilding workforce. The preservation of this workforce is a matter of national security, and we just can’t afford to lose these skilled shipbuilders.”
A new multiyear procurement would help provide the long-term stability necessary to maintain and train BIW’s large workforce at a critical time for the shipyard. It takes 5-7 years to train a shipbuilder, and much of the shipbuilding workforce will reach retirement age in the next several years. The predictability afforded by a multiyear contract ensures that the nation will have a new generation of proficient, experienced shipbuilders for the coming years, which will be particularly important for BIW as the Navy seeks to develop a new class of destroyer over the next several years.
“A multi-year contract for DDG-51 Flight III destroyers that allows us to continue building our shipbuilding momentum and growing our workforce is critical to enabling BIW and our industry partners to support a smooth transition to the DDG(X) large surface combatant. We appreciate the strong support from Congressman Golden to secure this important amendment, and we remain grateful for the continued support from our entire Congressional delegation.” - Dirk Lesko, President, Bath Iron Works
"The multi-year procurement is paramount to the future of the shipyard and industrial base, focusing on workforce stability, in which LS6 has collaborated with BIW by supporting investments in recruiting, training, and efficiencies. We are committed to this effort to prepare the next generation of shipbuilders and protecting job security for thousands of our members for years to come." - Chris Wiers, President, IAM Local S6
“I strongly urge [members of Congress’ to vote “yes” on a vitally important amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY22 introduced by Congressman Jared Golden (D-ME) to authorize a new multi-year procurement (MYP) contract for Flight III DDG-51 destroyers. A new MYP contract for DDG-51 destroyers is essential to protect our nation’s military advantage at sea, bolster our domestic industrial base, and maintain the high-quality jobs and peerless skill level of the U.S. defense shipbuilding workforce.” - Robert Martinez Jr., International President, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Golden’s amendment grants the Secretary of the Navy the authority to enter into one or more multiyear contracts for the procurement of up to 15 Arleigh Burke class Flight III DDG-51 destroyers. Navy leadership has already indicated their desire to enter into a new multiyear contract for the DDG-51 and consistently cite the ships as versatile, dependable, and an indispensable part of the nation’s fleet.
“I want to thank Congressman Golden, the Vice Chair of our Subcommittee, for his diligent and proactive work on the Seapower mark that passed today. Since the moment the budget was submitted, Congressman Golden has worked closely with me to restore the second DDG-51 destroyer that was left out. He made the convincing case that authorizing this boat was the right call for our security and the industrial base. One of the best ways to build the larger fleet is to enact smart policies that support long-term and stable production of platforms like the DDG-51, and Congressman Golden’s amendment today to authorize a new five year multi-year for up to fifteen new destroyers is the exact right way to get this done. He worked hard to earn the bipartisan support this proposal received today, and I look forward to continuing to work with him as we move the NDAA through the legislative process.” - Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman, House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee
Earlier this year, the Biden Administration proposed cutting DDG-51 shipbuilding in their presidential budget request, a move that would have put the Navy in a breach of its contract with BIW. Golden has led efforts in the House to push back against the cut and worked with the Maine delegation to successfully reinstate the ship into the House appropriations bills and the NDAA. If signed into law, the congressman’s amendment would mark a stunning turnaround in the outlook for the DDG-51 after the administration proposed cutting a ship from the program earlier this year and a confirmation of the long-term utility and value of the destroyers.
In last year’s NDAA, Golden worked to secure a provision to encourage a new multiyear contract for the DDG-51 with a report to Congress on the impacts of a new deal.
In addition to today’s amendment, Golden’s actions this year on behalf of shipbuilding at Bath Iron Works and American national security include:
- Golden joined Senator Angus King to host Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks at BIW to introduce her to the workforce at BIW and underscore the critical work the shipyard contributes to the national defense.
- Golden confronted Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the need for additional DDG-51s expressed by his own combatant commanders and pressed the secretary for specifics on his earlier statements that the DDG-51 cut in FY2022 would be added in FY2023.
- Questioning acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday, Golden prosecuted a detailed case against the reduction in DDG-51 shipbuilding.Golden pointed to the long-term impact on the Navy’s strategic capabilities, as well as the ability of the defense industrial base to meet shipbuilding needs in the future.
- In a separate hearing, Golden pressed Navy brass on how their own branch’s assessments of the DDG-51’s importance to the capabilities of the fleet squared with the decision to reduce the number of the ships, pointing in particular to the DDG-51’s SPY-6 radar capability. He also focused on the wild inconsistency of the signals coming from the Navy on future shipbuilding and highlighted the impact that uncertainty would have on shipyards and the shipbuilding workforce.
- Golden and Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01) brought the Chairman of House Armed Forces Seapower Subcommittee Joe Courtney to Bath Iron Works to highlight the significance of the DDG-51 to the Navy’s mission, as well as the ships importance to shipbuilding industrial base.
- Immediately upon hearing reports that a reduction in DDG-51 production would be included in the president’s budget request, Golden and the members of the Maine delegation sent a letter to President Biden urging the commander in chief to reverse the reduction.
- Golden and the members of the Maine delegation expressed their opposition to the reduction in DDG-51 production and committed to fighting the change immediately upon release of the president’s budget request.
- Golden, the Maine delegation, and the Mississippi delegation wrote the Secretary of Defense in March to lay out the importance of the DDG-51 and large surface combatants to the Navy’s strategic goals.