Click HERE to watch Sen. Collins’ Q&A with Admiral Gilday.
Washington, D.C.—At a Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, U.S. Senator Susan Collins spoke with Admiral Michael Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, about Dry Dock #1 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) in Kittery. The project was included in the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program, underscoring its vital importance to national security.
Last year, with Senator Collins’ support, Congress authorized the multi-mission extension project for Dry Dock #1 and provided the first $160 million of needed incremental funding. Currently, Dry Dock #1 can only accommodate Los Angeles-class submarines, which means it will be rendered obsolete when LA-class submarines are removed from service in the 2030s. The Navy’s budget request for fiscal year 2022 includes $250 million to continue funding of the project. However, in order to complete the project on-time, the Navy recently requested an additional $225 million to account for unexpected cost increases. Without this funding, required maintenance on Navy submarines could be delayed.
“[The Navy’s budget] includes $250 million for the second increment of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s multi-mission dry dock #1 project, and that is really important as well,” said Senator Collins. “Could you explain to the Committee what will happen if we do not provide that funding in terms of the ability to return submarines and sailors to the fleet?”
“It is my judgment that if we don't fund that…project in ‘22 adequately, [we] will put at risk the ability to do our first availabilities on Virginia-class submarines beginning in FY ’26,” Admiral Gilday responded. “The project up there in Kittery… is absolutely critical for us to have that East Coast capability. We're simply not going to have it [without this project]. We don't have dry docks large enough to put those ships, to put those hulls in to do the maintenance…on them that's required.”
At a Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee hearing earlier this month, Senator Collins questioned U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Ricky Williamson about infrastructure investments at PNSY, including Dry Dock #1.