Senator Collins Secures Funding for Additional DDG-51 in Defense Appropriations Bill

The bill restores funding for a destroyer that the administration had proposed cutting

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the draft fiscal year (FY) 2022 Defense Appropriations Bill includes funding for which she strongly advocated to construct two DDG-51 destroyers. 

 

The legislation, which still must be voted on by the full Senate and House, provides $3.68 billion, $1.66 billion above what was sought in the Department’s budget request, for DDG-51 construction.  The Navy identified the restoration of the DDG-51 cut from the budget as its number one unfunded priority, indicating the Navy still believes it requires the ship, but budgetary constraints forced the service to prioritize other programs in its formal budget request. 

 

This additional funding would reverse the administration’s flawed proposal to cut the construction of a destroyer from the FY 2022 budget and break the Navy’s current multiyear contract.  Moreover, the bill includes $120 million for DDG-51 advanced procurement, which was not included the in the Department’s budget request. 

 

“The administration's proposal to reduce defense funding in real terms and eliminate the procurement of a DDG-51 was not only unwise, but dangerous, particularly given China’s military buildup and aggressive actions in the Pacific,” said Senator Collins.  “In addition, cutting the construction of a destroyer could have created an imminent workload cliff for Bath Iron Works, which could have led to a loss of jobs and a setback in productivity gains.

 

“This funding I championed for two DDG-51 destroyers will help keep our nation safe.  DDGs are the workhorse of the Navy, and the Flight IIIs will be the most capable ships in the world,” Senator Collins continued.  “As the appropriations process moves forward, I will continue to prioritize our nation’s shipbuilding programs and support BIW workers.”

 

The Office of Naval Intelligence estimated that the Chinese Navy had about 360 ships in 2020, and China is expected to have a 400-ship fleet in 2025.  Today, the United States Navy has 294 battle force ships.

 

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This year, Senator Collins has hosted Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, Former-Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday in Maine so that they could see firsthand the important work being done at Bath Iron Works.

 

As a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins has strongly pushed back against the Administration’s proposal to cut funding for destroyers.  Following reports that fiscal year 2022 budget request would propose procuring only one DDG-51, the Maine Delegation wrote to President Biden to emphasize their opposition to this plan.  After the release of President Biden’s budget request, the Maine Delegation released a statement underscoring their commitment to increasing procurement for DDG-51s.  In March, Senator Collins co-led a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks urging them to support a robust shipbuilding budget.

 

In separate hearings in June, she urged Secretary Austin as well as Secretary Harker and Admiral Gilday to reverse the proposal to cut a Navy destroyer.   

 

Earlier this year, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, secured funding for the construction of an additional destroyer in the House Defense Appropriations bill.

 

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