Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins questioned top Navy officials during a Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Fiscal Year 2016 funding request for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The panel included the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Chief Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert, and U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General Joseph Dunford, Jr.
“I look forward to working with members of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to maintain the longstanding commitment to the Navy and our shipbuilding industry in Maine,” said Senator Collins. “The dedicated men and women of Bath Iron Works deliver the highest quality ships for our nation’s sailors making them an invaluable asset to the Navy.”
Senator Collins asked the panel about the importance of destroyers to the Navy’s fleet and also highlighted her intent to work with members of the subcommittee on fulfilling the terms of a 2002 agreement that required Bath Iron Works to be awarded an additional DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer should a LPD-28 be awarded.
In addition, Secretary Mabus noted the importance of the DDG-51 multiyear procurement stating that multiyear projects among the most effective in keeping costs low and the industrial base stable, a method that is endangered with sequester cuts. The budget includes funding to build two ships per year through Fiscal Year 2020.
In his testimony, Admiral Greenert discussed the impressive capabilities of the DDG-1000, referencing the ship as a “quantum leap.” Admiral Greenert noted the smaller, more nimble crew size, as well as stealth, and improved radar to increase cruise missile defense capabilities.
Last week, Senator Collins met with Secretary Ray Mabus and discussed issues of importance to both the Navy and the State of Maine including the vital contributions of Bath Iron Works to the fleet, and construction projects to improve the mission performed at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.