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Chairman Courtney Joins Navy Leadership in Philadelphia for Historic Foundry Pour of First Propulsor Mold for Columbia-Class Submarine Program

September 10, 2020
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, recently visited the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Naval Surface Warfare Center in Philadelphia, PA, to witness the foundry pour of the propulsor mold for the first-ever Columbia-class submarine. As Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, Courtney has worked for years to support the creation of the next-generation Columbia-class program—from securing the initial $8 million in 2008 to support its first design and concept studies, to passage of the House’s 2021 Defense Authorization bill that includes strong support for the program.

“To join U.S. Navy leadership and watch as 2,500 pounds of molten alloy was poured to create the first propulsor mold for the Columbia program was a powerful reminder of just how far we’ve come since 2008, and of the exciting new opportunities ahead,” said Chairman Courtney. “I’ve worked hard to make this program a reality since my first days in Congress, and on a bipartisan basis to provide new contracting tools to ensure its success. The Columbia program will help ensure our Navy remains unrivaled at sea for generations to come, and it means decades worth of work, and high-skill, high-pay jobs up and down eastern Connecticut’s manufacturing supply chain. I’m proud of our bipartisan work on the Seapower Subcommittee to help bring the Columbia-class program to fruition, and grateful to the Naval Surface Warfare Center for hosting us to witness this milestone.”


Courtney was joined on his August 26th visit to the NAVSEA foundry by Assistant Secretary of the Navy James F. Geurts, Admiral James Caldwell (Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program), Vice Admiral Bill Galinis (Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command), Rear Admiral Bill Houston (Director, Undersea Warfare), and Rear Admiral Scott Pappano (PEO, CLB). Courtney was also joined by Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01), Ranking Member of the Seapower Subcommittee, and by Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01). Together, the group received a tour of the foundry’s various activities supporting the national security priorities of the U.S. Navy, culminating in the pouring of 2,500 lbs. of molten alloy for the first-ever propeller mold for a Columbia-class submarine.

For full resolution pictures, please contact Rep. Courtney’s office.


On June 22nd, Rep. Courtney helped announce the Navy’s contract award to construct the first two Columbia-class submarines in history to General Dynamics Electric Boat (EB) in Groton. Courtney stated that the award meant “’Game on’ for this exciting and transformational project that will shape our region’s economy for the next two decades.” Click here to read more.


NAVSEA Philadelphia’s pouring of the first-ever Columbia-class propeller mold is an important milestone in this generational opportunity for eastern Connecticut’s manufacturing sector. Later this year, construction on the first two Columbia-class submarines is expected to begin at EB’s new South Yard Assembly Building in Groton.


Background on Chairman Courtney’s Support for the Columbia-Class Submarine Program:


In 2008, Courtney helped secure $8 million to initiate the first design and concept studies for a new sea-based strategic deterrent submarine. At the time, and for the first time in 50 years, Electric Boat was not actively designing a new submarine, raising concerns about the future viability of the design workforce and the viability of a new sea-based deterrence submarine. 


Courtney championed the creation of the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund (NSBDF) in 2015 to finance the construction of the Columbia-class by providing the Department of Defense flexibility and authority to allocate funds from across the budget into this account to elevate the importance of the Columbia program as critical to our national security. The FY16 NDAA provided additional authorities within the NSBDF including incremental funding, advanced procurement, Economic Order Quantity (EOQ), and clarified that reprogramming authority provided in the creation of the fund in the year previous extended to the entire Department of Defense, not just the Navy.


In 2014, Courtney worked with the EWIB and EB to secure funding for the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline, a program that identifies underemployed adults, veterans, and tech savvy students to contribute to the submarine industry. By working in concert with local high schools, community colleges, trade schools, and American Job Centers, the manufacturing Pipeline Initiative has placed 1,350 people in jobs, with over 1,100 of them supporting submarine construction since its inception.