The legislation provides funding for three destroyers, one more than was proposed by the Biden Administration
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus includes funding for which she strongly advocated to construct three DDG-51 destroyers. The omnibus passed the Senate yesterday by a vote of 68-29. The House is expected to pass it today before it heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
The legislation provides an additional $2.190 billion above what was sought in the Navy’s budget for the construction of a third DDG-51. This additional destroyer is on top of the two requested by the administration. Moreover, the bill includes an additional $77 million for DDG-51 advanced procurement as well as $380 million for shipyard infrastructure improvements that will be available for BIW.
“This funding I championed for three DDG-51 destroyers will help keep our nation safe. The Commanding General of U.S. European Command has called DDGs the ‘workhorses of deterrence.’ The escalating aggression by Russia in Europe and China in the Pacific underscores the need to focus on our shipbuilding program,” Senator Collins continued. “Increasing the size of our Navy fleet prioritizes our national security and supports the hardworking men and women at BIW who construct the world’s most capable and technologically advanced ships.”
The Pentagon’s annual assessment of China’s military power reported that the Chinese Navy is the largest in the world with about 340 ships, and China is expected to have a 400-ship fleet in 2025. Today, the United States Navy has 293 battle force ships.
As a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins has strongly pushed back against administration proposals to cut funding for destroyers. In March, Senator Collins successfully restored funding to reverse the administration’s flawed proposal to cut the construction of a destroyer from the Fiscal Year 2022 budget and break the Navy’s multiyear contract. In April of this year and May of last year, Senator Collins toured Bath Iron Works with Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday. She also hosted Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Former-Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker in Maine last year so that they could see firsthand the important work being done at the shipyard.
Congress recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes an amendment Senator Collins authored requiring the Department of Defense to provide a detailed explanation in future budget requests in which the Pentagon proposes breaking a multiyear procurement contract. This provision will help further protect BIW from the Administration’s attempts to reduce the construction of destroyers.