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Courtney Statement on Release of Navy’s Submarine Unified Build Strategy

March 28, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2), Ranking Member of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, released this statement following the Navy’s announcement of its Submarine Unified Build Strategy, or SUBS:

“The plan released today leverages the deep talent and unmatched skills of the hard-working shipbuilders at Electric Boat, and their partners in Newport News, Virginia. The replacement of our sea-based strategic deterrent is a pressing and multigenerational commitment to our nation’s defense. With the talent of our industrial base, we have risen to this challenge in the past, and by applying the same successful approach of the team delivering the Virginia class submarines today, I am confident that we will do so again.

“As the Navy indicates in their announcement, tackling the Ohio Replacement will require close coordination between Congress, the Navy, and industry. I look forward to continuing to build on the bipartisan work we have done on the seapower subcommittee to ensure that the Navy has the resources, support and authorities it needs to replace our aging fleet of strategic deterrence submarines in a responsible and cost-effective way, while ensuring that we are building a diverse fleet for the future.

“I am particularly pleased that the plan also reflects the increasingly urgent testimony that I have heard from our senior Navy leaders about the pressing need to also sustain the two-a-year build rate for new attack submarines. Over the last two months, experts and major combatant commanders have made it clear that our current fleet is strained beyond its ability to meet the demand for undersea capabilities – and that we need to do all we can to mitigate the looming shortfall in the decade ahead.

“For Connecticut, today’s announcement underscores the positive outlook for growth not just at the Groton shipyard, but across the region and state. With Electric Boat now firmly at the lead of this top national priority in addition to the work already being done on our Virginia-class submarines, our region can continue to have confidence in the growing impact that this work is having on Groton and the hundreds of suppliers who work every day to support our submarine program.”

The SUBS plan announced today outlines the Navy’s optimal plan for concurrent construction of the Ohio Replacement and the Virginia Class submarine. Among other things, the plan assigns General Dynamics Electric Boat as prime contractor for the OR program, with Huntington Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) acting as a major supplier to the program.

Further, as briefed to Congressman Courtney, the plan also reflects the Navy’s intention to sustain the two a year build rate for the Virginia class submarine through at least 2023. This echoes the testimony Congressman Courtney heard from Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley about adding a second attack submarine to the Navy’s shipbuilding plan in 2021. [link to testimony roll up]

Congressman Courtney discussed the positive outlook for Electric Boat in a January op-ed. Last week, he highlighted new data from the Connecticut Department of Labor demonstrating the impact of Electric Boat’s growth on the region’s economic recovery.