WATCH: Courtney questions Navy officials about use of private shipyards in submarine repair projects
In a Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the state of Navy readiness, Courtney questioned a top Navy leader about the submarine maintenance shortfalls occurring in the public shipyards. Courtney highlighted the need for a "one shipyard" approach that applies public and private shipyard capacity to fulfilling submarine repair projects.
Watch above, or read an unofficial transcript below.
So -- just want to go back to a question Mr. Hartzler raised about the public and private shipyards. Again, when Admiral Moran was here, again, he was clear that, yes there's been backups caused by, you know, the inconsistent funding that congress has, unfortunately, produced over the last few years.
But, that there's also been other sort of problems in the shipyards in terms of getting the work done. Partly because the -- the deployments have worsened the condition of ships and subs that are coming for -- for repairs but, clearly, I mean with even with, you know, healthy funding, there's still going to be a backlog at the public yards I mean it's just -- you know that's -- it is what it is.
And I guess the question is -- is are you -- are you looking at, again, using private yards as an option to sort of, again, get this backlog addressed?
Yes sir. Since 2012 (inaudible) six submarine availabilities have been put in the private yards; I think three or four at Electric Boat and a couple at HII. We are now -- currently the USS Columbus is out for bid for this year. And there are two more that will come over in the '18 budget, that we've now examining as we explore '18, that would now once again help the workload.
Because the Naval shipyard workload; number one is SSBNs, getting those refueled in back out is a national priority. Number two is aircraft carriers, so the SSNs end up being the ones who been behind since we've had 53 month overhaul on the Connecticut, 48 months on another SSN that was too long in there.
So we are -- and we will examine the future. But right now, like I said, there's one Columbus in this year and at least two more the next budget. And it'll make a total of nine since 2012, potentially, we've been outside. Because we need to get the boats done and we recognize the quality of work at HI (ph) and Electric Boat as well.
And again, I think that will be a good bridge in terms of, you know, the other challenge Navy has; which is force structure assessment. Which again, I think smoothing out the -- the workforce will get us in a better position to take on that added work.
So, with that Mr. Chairman, I yield back.