The legislation, which was signed into law this afternoon, would also support PNSY apprenticeship programs
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus includes $475 million to support the Dry Dock #1 modernization project at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) in Kittery. This funding includes $250 million for military construction for the dry dock requested in the Navy’s budget request, as well as an additional $225 million in funding for the dry dock that was identified as the Navy’s top military construction unfunded priority. Senator Collins also secured language to support PNSY’s successful apprenticeship program. The omnibus passed the House and the Senate, and President Biden signed it into law this afternoon.
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. Failure to modernize the dry dock will result in 20 deferred submarine maintenance availabilities through 2040, which would risk Navy submarines’ ability to perform their missions world-wide. Senator Collins championed this funding throughout the Appropriations process and pressed Navy Vice Admiral Ricky Williamson and the Chief of Naval Operations on the necessity of completing this project on time to avoid delays of required maintenance. Senator Collins joined the Navy Secretary for a groundbreaking ceremony for the project in September 2021.
“The significant investments this legislation makes in our public shipyards, particularly Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, are essential to maintaining our Navy fleet and enhancing our national security. I have long advocated for the Navy to address the modernization needs at PNSY, and this legislation will help build on funding I have previously secured for critical upgrades,” said Senator Collins. “Additionally, I am pleased that the bill includes language I championed to support the Navy’s apprenticeship program. PNSY has trained hundreds of hardworking and skilled shipbuilders through this program, which has helped it remain the gold standard among the nation’s public shipyards.”
With Senator Collins’ support, an additional $195 million above what was requested in the Navy’s budget request is provided for maintaining and modernizing facilities across the Navy, as well as an additional $200 million specifically for projects at the Navy’s four public shipyards identified in the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP). The SIOP is the Navy’s 20-year investment plan for infrastructure investments needed to modernize the nation’s public shipyards, and PNSY is the leading SIOP shipyard.
In addition to public shipyard infrastructure investments, Senator Collins secured report language that directs the Navy to induct a class of no fewer than 100 apprentices at each of the Navy’s four public shipyards. Senator Collins pushes for this provision annually.