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Courtney Hails Detailed Design Contract For Columbia-Class

September 22, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) ranking member of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, hailed the award of the detailed design contract for the Columbia-class program to General Dynamics Electric Boat.

“The award of the detail design contact to Electric Boat kicks off the next critical phase of the Columbia class program,” said Courtney. “A lot of hard work has already gone into planning and developing this top national security priority, but that was really preparation for the work yet to occur under this new contract. Every day, countless individuals - from the shipyard to suppliers to workforce development experts – are working to ensure that our region is ready to meet the multi-generational challenge of designing and building this new submarine. This milestone today is a testament to their work, but a reminder that we still have a lot to do as Congress and the Navy look to grow our undersea fleet.  This work is fueling economic growth and hiring across the region, and today’s contract keeps that momentum going. I will continue to do all I can to advocate for the funding, authorities and support needed to get this job done.

“I am particularly pleased that the National Sea Based Deterrence Fund, which became operational this year, is providing a pathway for financing this program affordable and efficiently. When the fund was first established with broad bipartisan support in 2015, it demonstrated a commitment by Congress to ensuring that our nation can meet the multi-generational responsibility of replacing our strategic submarines without squeezing out other shipbuilding priorities. Since then, we have added the tools and authorities necessary to continue to bring down the costs of the program and ensure that the Columbia can be built and delivered on a tight timeline – which Navy officials are now incorporating directly into their planning for Columbia and efforts to grow the undersea fleet.”

The $5.1 billion Integrated Product & Process Development (IPPD) contract awarded today will guide the detailed design of the Columbia class submarine, as well as planning and preparation for construction of the first submarine in the class, the USS COLUMBIA (SSBN 826). The contract is structured to achieve 83 percent design completion at construction start in 2021.

As the Ranking Member on the Seapower Subcommittee, Courtney has championed the Columbia class:

  • In January, the Columbia program achieved “milestone B” designation which established an official program with updated cost targets. Around the same time, the first funding was allocated into the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund (NSBDF), which Courtney authored and has championed. Funding from the NSBDF will be used to support the detailed design contract awarded today.
  • The 2018 budget released in May included $100 million to support advanced construction and continuous production work on Columbia, supported by the authorities Courtney has added to the NSBDF. Navy officials testified to Courtney that they intend to use the NSBDF authorities to reduce the cost of the program.
  • In June, Courtney authored a provision in the House-passed 2018 defense authorization act that further expands the NSBDF authorities to ensure “continuous production” of key components beyond the missile compartment, adding more tools the Navy can use to bring down costs and aid construction efficiency of the new submarine.

Courtney has served as ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over Navy shipbuilding programs including the Columbia-class, since 2015.