Home Navy shipbuilding budget Biden ‘Industrial Base’ Order Big News for Eastern Connecticut’s Growing Economy

Biden ‘Industrial Base’ Order Big News for Eastern Connecticut’s Growing Economy


US Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Joshua Karsten

The Virginia-class submarine USS Minnesota (SSN 783) travels up the Thames towards Naval Submarine Base New London at Groton. ,

Just days before Christmas, on December 21, President Joe Biden released a presidential ruling with little fanfare under the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA) which, despite its muted announcement, has an important and direct connection to the State of Connecticut. This was an extraordinary action by President Biden, and it is the latest in a series of events that will resonate in our region’s growing economy for years to come.

US Representative Joe Courtney

In a memorandum to the Secretary of Defense, Biden noted that “ensuring a robust, resilient and competitive national defense industrial base that has the capacity, capability and manpower to respond to the submarine combat mission Virginia-class submarine is essential to our national security. To accomplish this mission, the president invoked the DPA authorities to expand domestic production capacity for ‘large-scale manufacturing, expansion of the shipbuilding industrial base for resilience and robustness, and pipelines of maritime workforce training ”.

The Defense Production Act of 1950 is a Korean War era law that allows the government to stimulate and accelerate the production of critical materials and technologies. It’s the same law that Presidents Trump and Biden used to boost the production of COVID-related ventilators and PPE during the pandemic. With the Virginia-class program general contractor, Electric Boat, headquartered in Groton, CT and Quonset Point, RI, this historic action by President Biden goes hand in hand with the economy and workforce of our region.

As chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Marine and Projection Forces subcommittee, which has overseen the explosive growth of the Virginia-class program over the past decade, I strongly support the decision of the president because it is based on both strategic national defense considerations and basic industrial demand.

Indeed, just days after Christmas, the president enacted the National Defense Authorization Act 2022 (NDAA). This bill contained provisions drafted by my subcommittee that are completely aligned with President DPA’s order on “industrial basis”. Specifically, the new NDAA 2022 added funding for the construction of new facilities for the production of submarines, as well as a boost for workforce training and chain development. supply. All of these provisions were “pluses” to the Navy’s initial budget request last February, based on our own analysis of the capacity of stressed shipyards.

The most important question contained in the DPA, I believe, is its conclusion that the Virginia program “is essential to our national security.” This finding is a clear signal to Congress and to the country as a whole that there is a bipartisan consensus to strengthen our submarine deterrence capacity to counter aggressive and coercive actions in the maritime domain. More precisely, the behavior of the Chinese and Russian navies which was massively repudiated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the first in the South China Sea and the second in the Black Sea.

In either case, despite the scathing rejection by the International Court of the two countries’ intrusion into protected waters, there is no indication that anarchy has abated. China’s encroachment into the territorial waters of the Philippines and Vietnam continues, as does the illegal construction of islands and the militarization of man-made land masses that the court condemned. In the Black Sea and the North Atlantic, Russian claims to control of the sea and the seizure of Ukrainian warships constitute a flagrant violation of the rule of international law.

For the US Navy, what is of particular concern in this new tension is the development of sophisticated missile technology by both countries which increases the vulnerability of our surface fleet which has worked in conjunction with allies such as Japan, India and Australia to reaffirm the post. -Principle of the Second World War of the freedom of navigation visibly and peacefully. Joint maritime patrols in international Indo-Pacific and Black Sea waters are a reaffirmation of principles which, since the end of this catastrophic war, have succeeded in reducing the risk of conflict while enhancing trade and prosperity. .

To counter persistent threats to the rule of law, the Biden administration diplomatically reconnected throughout 2021 with US allies in both regions, and reassessed the highest use and best spending. limited defense. The DPA released on December 21 is a logical extension of this process. Given the new challenge posed by missile technology to our surface fleet, increasing production from the Virginia-class program makes perfect sense since these submarines are not threatened by the most sophisticated airborne missiles – and Chinese and Russian navies know this.

The announcement last September of the new AUKUS security alliance between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom – the centerpiece of which is the sharing of nuclear propulsion technology for a new class of Australian submarines – is another example of a common policy of deterrence that utilizes the unique skills and experience of engineers and shipyard workers in southern New England. On the floor of the House, during the debate on NDAA 2022, I specifically cited the AUKUS agreement and the new requirements that it could add to our underwater industrial base to justify the increase in the capacity of the yards naval. This measure passed by a vote of 363-70, and this vote, along with President Biden’s DPA order, sounds the approval of the work the women and men of the Groton shipyard and engineering offices do every day. day.

Presently, today, there are approximately 18,000 shipbuilders and engineers employed in eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island in support of submarine construction contracts for our U.S. Navy – c This is even before the Columbia class is fully launched, and before the new opportunities of UKUS have fully emerged. Based on the important decisions taken last December, this work and our growing workforce will continue for years to come.

U.S. Representative Joe Courtney represents Connecticut’s Second Congressional District.

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