Susan Collins, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that the annual Defense Appropriations Bill includes funding to construct two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the type of warship built at Bath Iron Works.

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 Defense Department’s budget request, for Arleigh Burke construction, according to a statement from Collins’ office: “The Navy identified the restoration of the Arleigh Burke 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.”

The additional funding would reverse the Biden administration’s proposal to cut the construction of a destroyer, which Collins’ office states would “break the Navy’s current multiyear contract” and was a move Maine’s congressional delegation fought against.

Only two shipyards build Arleigh Burke-class destroyers: Bath Iron Works and Mississippi-based Ingalls shipbuilding.

The National Defense Authorization Act — or NDAA — is an annual piece of legislation that directs how federal funds should be used by the Defense Department. It authorizes a certain amount of funding for military hardware, including ships for the Navy, but doesn’t determine what companies should get those contracts.

The House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act includes funding for three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the main type of ship BIW builds for the Navy, to be constructed in fiscal year 2022, which runs from Oct. 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2022.

This year’s bill also includes $120 million for Arleigh Burke advanced procurement, which was not included in the department’s budget request.

the House and Senate will come together to hash out the differences between their two versions of the defense bill before the final version is brought to the president later this year.

“The administration’s proposal to reduce defense funding in real terms and eliminate the procurement of a DDG-51 (Arleigh Burke) was not only unwise, but dangerous, particularly given China’s military buildup and aggressive actions in the Pacific,” Collins said in the statement. “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,” Collins said. “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, according to Collins’ office. Today, the United States Navy has 294 battle force ships.


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