Golden Wins Armed Services Committee Approval for Maine Shipbuilder, Nat’l Defense Priorities
WASHINGTON — The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) approved its annual defense authorization bill early this morning, including a number of provisions secured by Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) to protect Maine’s shipbuilders at Bath Iron Works (BIW) and the future shipbuilding workforce, bolster national defense, and support American servicemembers.
Critically, the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by HASC includes a Golden measure that would authorize the Navy to begin a new multi-year procurement contract for up to 15 DDG-51 destroyers — the ships built at BIW— and to build three DDG-51 ships in 2022.
“With the future of shipbuilding in Maine on the line this year, we’ve worked hard to ensure that this bill protects jobs at BIW and ensures the nation has the shipbuilding workforce it can count on to address our future national security challenges,” said Congressman Golden. “The defense funding bill the committee passed today would deliver on those priorities, while making the necessary investments to protect Americans at home and abroad, and provide our servicemembers with the tools they need to do their jobs.”
Golden’s multi-year procurement provision would help provide the long-term stability necessary to maintain and train the large workforce at BIW, which currently has no contracted work after next year and could face steep layoffs without consistent contracts. The predictability afforded by a multiyear contract for DDG-51 destroyers ensures that the nation will have a new generation of proficient, experienced shipbuilders, which will be particularly important for BIW as the Navy seeks to develop a new class of destroyer over the next several years.
Golden also helped secure provisions in the bill that would authorize the construction of three DDG-51 destroyers next year. The provisions would be a significant reversal of fortunes for Maine shipbuilders and the country’s national security after the Biden Administration proposed just one of the ships be built. Golden and his colleagues in the Maine delegation led the effort to restore authorization for a second ship, and Golden cosponsored an amendment earlier this week to raise the level of spending authorized in the bill and add a third ship. Find a timeline of Golden’s work on the issue here.
The Congressman worked to include a number of other Maine priorities in this year’s House NDAA, including:
- Authorization for critical tests on the energy plant for the DDG(X) destroyer program. The DDG(X) is expected to succeed the DDG-51 later this decade and the tests should result in schedule and budget savings for the program;
- Creation of a pilot program to use mass timber - including cross-laminated timber - products in military construction;
- Prohibition of retirement of the KC-135, the principal aircraft of the Maine National
- Funding to support defense industrial skills and technology training at the Roux Institute;
- Authorization for advanced research at the University of Maine, such as advanced manufacturing, polar research, and thermoplastics for military vehicles; and
- A study to learn from the transitions of previous classes of new ships, such as the Zumwalt, and apply those lessons to the future transition from the DDG-51 to the DDG(X).