(WASHINGTON) – The Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), representing the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry, applauded Congress this week for advancing the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023 and addressing the shipyard industry and industrial base’s capacity to build and repair the next generation of naval vessels outlined in the legislation.
“SCA applauds the passage of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which represents a critical investment into our national defense and domestic security. The $4.7 billion increase authorized in the Navy’s shipbuilding account, as well as provisions that support our U.S. Coast Guard and fund opportunities for the expansion of the U.S. shipyard industrial base and workforce development, demonstrates that Congress recognizes the industry’s capacity and readiness to support the Navy fleet,” said Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America. “SCA commends the leadership from both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees for their understanding of the critical shipyard industrial base and our ability and capacity to meet this increased demand signal from Congress.”
While the FY23 NDAA is a positive step toward national defense assets, the shipyard industry has been challenged by volatile fleet mix numbers and projected ship repair workloads for the Navy.
Paxton addressed the importance of clear and consistent demand signals from national defense agencies as well as the industry’s ability to meet the provisions in the FY23 NDAA and beyond, stating, “The shipyard industrial base has made and will continue to make considerable investments in its workforce to hire and train the next generation of skilled craftsmen and women. In addition, the private shipyard industry has made substantial investments in new capital infrastructure, including dry docks, to meet the demands of the Navy’s new construction and ship repair plans.
“The single most critical factor in the capacity of the shipbuilding and repair industrial base today is people. The most effective mechanism to ensure that the industrial base is stable and resilient is through a consistent demand signal and a recognition that the cost of doing business has changed.
“The U.S. new construction and repair shipyards that provide 650,000 American jobs with direct economic impact in every congressional district in the nation will meet a demand signal that is clear, consistent and predictable. Shipyards are not incentivized today to invest in facilities in an unpredictable environment with routine shifts in fleet size and mix. Moreover, once these skilled people are lost as production lines are stopped and started, it is more and more difficult to replace them.
“The private shipyard industry and the associated critical supply chain remain committed partners in building, maintaining and modernizing the most capable and advanced Navy for the nation and our dedicated servicemen and women.”
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 more than 100 partner members that provide goods and services to the shipyard industry. Learn more by visiting www.shipbuildersusa.org.
– Shipbuilders Council of America