The House Armed Services Committee voted this week to include funding for shipyard improvements and a third DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023, a move Rep. Jared Golden said will benefit both Maine shipbuilders and American Naval power.

“It’s important, I think, to be trying to hit a two- to three-ship pace for the next several years,” said Golden, whose $37 billion amendment to the annual defense bill included funds for the third ship, which would be built at Bath Iron Works or Mississippi-based Huntington Ingalls Industries, the two shipbuilders who build Arleigh Burkes. “These destroyers are key to our Navy’s strength and power.”

Bath Iron Works has been building DDG-51s since 1987, but international tension, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, has heightened the Navy’s need for the new Flight-III versions of the ships, which are equipped with new radar, anti-air and ballistic missile defense capabilities, Golden said. He cited the DDG-51’s role in maintaining an American presence in the Taiwan Strait, a contested strip of water that separates China and Taiwan.

“If (China) were able to close that straight to maritime travel, that would set a bad precedent everywhere in the world,” Golden said. “It’s just really critically important that there there’s a US Navy presence out there that’s viable and able to maintain freedom of navigation.”

The House Armed Services Committee approved Golden’s $37 billion amendment on Wednesday afternoon before voting 57-1 in favor of the bill during Thursday’s early hours. While greater than President Joe Biden’s requested $772.5 billion budget, the House Committee’s proposal is less expensive than the $817 billion the Senate Armed Services Committee approved earlier this week.

The House will vote on the bill later this year.


Like the Senate bill, the House version would authorize a multi-year contract for up to 15 DDG-51s over the next 5 years, Golden said. This will provide stability to Bath Iron Works, which can compete to build the ships.

The bill includes $250 million for shipyard upgrades, at least some of which would go to the Bath shipyard, according to Golden. It offers $1 billion in aid to the Ukrainian military.

It also authorizes a 4.6% pay raise for service members, as well as $800 million in inflation-related bonuses.

“Because I’ve served myself and understand what that means, I put a lot of money into bonuses for service members who are in that mid- to lower-level pay scale,” said Golden, who lobbied for the bonuses. “They’re probably really feeling the pinch of inflation. The pay isn’t nearly what it should be.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.