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Reps. Courtney, Boyle, Welcome Additional NSMV Construction Following Congressional Authorization

January 22, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Joe Courtney (CT-02) and Brendan Boyle (PA-02) welcomed the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) decision to utilize Congressionally authorized funding to construct two additional National Security Multi-Mission Vessels (NSMV). The construction of new NSMV ships is supported by funding specifically authorized by Congress, and will support Chairman Courtney and Rep. Boyle’s longstanding bipartisan goal to support domestic shipbuilding and to recapitalize America’s domestic sealift and maritime response capabilities, providing more resources to the pipeline needed to train mariners to crew commercial and government-owned sealift ships during crises. The new NSMV will replace aging training vessels in Maine, Texas, New York, and Massachusetts.

“The Seapower Subcommittee learned back in 2016 that if we didn’t replace the aging training ships assigned to the State Maritime Academies across the country, it wouldn’t be long until we were facing a dangerous shortage of the qualified mariners we’ll need in decades ahead,” said Rep. Courtney. “We’ve been taking steps forward each year since then to fully recapitalize America’s aging maritime training fleet—working across the aisle not only to authorize new support, but also battling back against proposed cuts as was the case for FY2020. That steady, bipartisan work to continue supporting this critical program is what results in great news like today. The innovative approach to this program that we authorized in the Seapower Subcommittee, and is being used in this program today, may pave the way for faster and more cost-effective shipbuilding in other programs, as well. Congressman Boyle and I have worked hard in Committee and across the aisle to move this support forward year after year, and it’s good to see MARAD put it to use with the construction of two additional NSMV.”

“The contract for these additional NMSV'S to be built right here in a Philadelphia shipyard will result in even more jobs for the regional Delaware Valley economy than was originally anticipated when the first contract was awarded back in April 2020”, said Congressman Boyle. “I applaud the U.S. Department of Transportation for green lighting this project here in our city, and for allowing our skilled Philadelphia workforce to make such a substantive contribution to our national security."

Rep. Courtney has worked for years to respond to increasingly urgent testimony from leaders at the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) about the shortage of officers needed to support domestic sealift capabilities. In 2016, Courtney worked to provide the first ever authorization for MARAD to start work on the new National Security Multi-Mission Vessel ships, which would serve as a purpose-built training platform to replace the state maritime academies aging fleet. This new program will utilize a new construction manager concept instead of a traditional acquisition executive office. This concept is designed to provide speed-to-delivery and lower cost and will hopefully be a model for future sealift efforts. 

Most recently, in his first year as Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee in the 116th Congress, Courtney worked to include several investments for America’s domestic sealift and maritime response capabilities in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These included his provision to reject the Trump Administration’s proposal to cut funding for the NSMV program by 30%.