The following is the text of a press release issued by Shipbuilders Council of America:
(WASHINGTON) — This week the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference convened and featured panelists and participants who discussed a wide range of issues, but the common threads were the repeated calls for the restoration by the United States of a 350-ship navy, the development of a cohesive national maritime strategy, and the importance of the Jones Act and a vibrant shipyard industrial base for both homeland and national security.
“It was very promising to hear the drumbeat by our maritime leaders for the need of a national maritime strategy, and their unwavering support for and appreciation of the importance of a 350-ship Navy,” said Matthew Paxton, President of SCA. “As representatives of the U.S. shipyard industrial base, SCA stands ready to support the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and any other government agency pursuing similar missions.”
Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen, in discussing the importance of the Jones Act and the build requirement to national security, said, “The Jones Act achieves a number of things. Most obvious, it supports the robust shipbuilding industry along with the Merchant Marine, which are integral to being able to make sure that we have active support of every branch of our armed forces. Without the Jones Act currently in place, we would also be faced with the impossible prospect of [monitoring vessels] throughout our U.S. waterways.”
Additionally, SCA co-sponsored the Congressional Breakfast during the three-day exposition, which featured Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA), Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) and saw remarks from Frank Kendall, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Touching on the Navy’s need for a 350-ship Navy, Secretary Kendall said, “It must be survivable and sustainable…we cannot lose sight of that.”
The Congressional breakfast also awarded Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) with the Robert M. Thompson Award for civilian leadership. During his acceptance remarks, the Congressman addressed the need for vessel increases for our Navy saying, “Our goal should be to begin to recognize that we’re going to have to build a 350-ship Navy.”
Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition also praised the congressional defense committees for their investment in shipbuilding and defense programs saying, “They have a tough job in terms of [defending] the defense portion of the budget with all the other demands on the nation’s budget.”
Sea Air Space, presented by Navy League, is designed to bring together the U.S. defense industrial base, private U.S. companies and administrative and military decision makers.
Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) members constitute the shipyard industrial base that builds, repairs, maintains and modernizes U.S. Navy ships and craft, U.S. Coast Guard vessels of all sizes, as well as vessels for other U.S. government agencies. In addition, SCA members build, repair and service America's fleet of commercial vessels. The Council represents 40 companies that own and operate over 82 shipyards, with facilities on all three U.S. coasts, the Great Lakes, the inland waterways system, Alaska and Hawaii. SCA also represents 87 partner members that provide goods, services and engineering to the shipyard industry. You can learn more by visiting www.shipbuilders.org.