DoD Exempts Critical Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Personnel from Hiring Freeze Following Pressure from Senators Collins and King

In a letter earlier this month, the Senators called on the Secretary of Defense to exempt critical personnel to enable shipyards to conduct critical maintenance on our Naval fleet

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King applauded the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) action today to exempt most civilian employees at public shipyards, including Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, from the recently announced federal civilian hiring freeze. While the hiring freeze was not intended to apply to military personnel or positions considered essential to meet national security responsibilities, the uncertainty caused shipyards across the country, including Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, to suspend all hiring.

Last week, Senators Collins and King, along with six other Senate colleagues, sent a letter to General James Mattis, the recently-confirmed Secretary of Defense, urging him to exclude Navy shipyard civilian employees from the federal civilian hiring freeze. The Senators wrote that the hiring freeze could have “a severe and adverse impact on the ability of the Navy and public shipyards to meet critical national security requirements.”

Following the letter, DoD announced that “positions in shipyards and depots in which positions incumbents perform direct management of inventory and direct maintenance of equipment” would be exempt from the hiring freeze.

“At a time when global threats continue to grow, our nation’s security increasingly relies on the strong presence of our Navy,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement.  “The hard-working men and women at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery perform necessary repair work on Navy submarines, ensuring that our fleet remains in top condition and ready to protect American interests across the globe.  We are pleased that Secretary Mattis has made the right call and exempted these dedicated shipyard workers from the hiring freeze, and look forward to seeing the detailed implementation guidance to ensure all critical positions are exempt.”‎