The legislation, which is expected to be signed into law this afternoon, 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 Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus includes funding for which she strongly advocated to construct two DDG-51 destroyers. The omnibus passed the House and the Senate. President Biden is scheduled to sign the legislation into law this afternoon.
The legislation 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 required the ship, but budgetary constraints forced the service to prioritize other programs in its formal budget request.
This additional funding reverses 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 unwise and signaled weakness to Russia as well as China at a dangerous moment in history,” 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. The Commanding General of U.S. European Command has called DDGs the ‘workhorses of deterrence,’ and adding the Flight III’s capability to the fleet is now all the more important given Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” Senator Collins continued. “As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I championed this funding 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.
Last year, Senator Collins 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 2021, 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 2021, she urged Secretary Austin as well as Secretary Harker and Admiral Gilday to reverse the proposal to cut a Navy destroyer.