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SCA Weekly Report | September 23 - 27, 2019

Shipbuilders Council of America

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SCA Weekly Report | September 23 - 27, 2019




Register Now for the 2019 SCA Fall Membership Meeting


Registration for the 2019 SCA Fall Membership Meeting is still open. The meeting will take place at the Marriott City Center in Newport News, Virginia. Registration for the SCA meeting is $650 per attendee.



  • Jennifer Boykin, President, Newport News Shipbuilding
  • Mitch Waldman, Executive Vice President of Government and Customer Relations, Huntington Ingalls Industries
  • Bryan Caccavale, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing, Huntington Ingalls Industries
  • Nancy Sopko, Co-Director, Special Initiative on Offshore Wind
  • Laura Morton, Senior Director, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
  • Jim Bennett, Chief of the Office of Renewable Energy Programs, BOEM
  • RDML Tom Anderson, Commander Regional Maintenance Center, USN
  • Dr. Lawrence Totimeh, Cybersafe Program Lead, NAVSEA 05Q



  • Offshore Wind Energy Panel
  • Newport News Shipbuilding Supplier Panel


A full schedule of events can be found HERE.






Congress Advances Stopgap Spending Bill

Senators passed a continuing resolution to keep the government open through November 21st, potentially averting a government shutdown. The bill, cleared by a vote of 81-16, is expected to be signed by President Trump over the weekend. Current federal funding runs out Monday. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) warned earlier in the day Thursday, however, that bipartisan agreement on spending bills could elude lawmakers if Congress and the White House aren't able to reach an agreement on border security, including Trump's wall. Senator Shelby is meeting with President Trump on Friday to discuss the next steps in the appropriations process.

RELATED: The Hill: Congress Hunts for Off-ramp From Looming Shutdown Fight


Defense Policy Bill Negotiations Slip Into October

House and Senate lawmakers crafting the defense authorization bill (The National Defense Authorization Acct) will be unable to complete their work before Oct. 1, the beginning of fiscal year 2020, according to multiple staffers. Democrats and Republicans disagree over several provisions in their respective bills, especially measures that prohibit funding President Trump’s southern border wall with Pentagon money. Lawmakers are also at odds over provisions that would block funding to deploy a low-yield, submarine-based nuclear warhead and to restrict Trump's authority to wage war on Iran. Meanwhile, House Democrats are expected to begin impeachment proceedings against the president, which is likely to exacerbate an already hyperpartisan atmosphere on Capitol Hill.

RELATED: The Hill: Impeachment Threatens Derailment of Congressional Agenda


Senate Appropriations Advances DHS Spending Bill

On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced their mark of the fiscal 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations bill. The bill passed by a vote of 17-14, largely along party lines, where Democrats voted against the bill because it contains $5 billion for the border wall. The appropriations bill would provide $11.6 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard, $294 million above the FY19 enacted amount. An SCA Summary of the bill can be read HERE. The Committee Report is available HERE and the bill text HERE




Navy Outlines Plans for Updated Force Structure Assessment

According to a Sept. 6 memo signed by CNO Adm. Gilday and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, the Navy and Marine Corps will complete an interim Force Structure Assessment (FSA) that keeps to a traditional current-capabilities look at what the Navy needs. This interim FSA will be supplemented by a first-of-its-kind Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment that will be released by the end of the calendar year. The planned FSA would examine how many of today’s ships – today’s hull designs, with current or near-term capabilities – the Navy needs to meet operational requirements around the world. However, questions have been swirling for the last year or so about what unmanned surface vessels – into which the Navy is planning to invest significantly in the coming years – will mean for the future force size and composure, as well as what the Marines’ desire to leverage alternate platforms to get more people and gear afloat might mean. This integrated naval force analysis will be the first to “assess an optimal force mix that includes Large Unmanned Surface Vessels, Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vessels, and Expeditionary Advance Bases,” the memo adds. Read more HERE




Navy to Appoint Cyber Chief Following a Blistering Audit

The Navy is hiring a new cyber chief in an attempt to better shield its military secrets from Chinese hackers and other nation-state thieves who have aggressively targeted naval operations in recent years, according to Navy officials. The new position is part of a broader effort to improve cybersecurity in the Navy and among its private-sector industry partners, coming after a scathing internal audit earlier this year found that repeated compromises of national-security secrets threatened the U.S.’s standing as the world’s top military power. Officials plan to announce Thursday that they will appoint Aaron Weis as the Navy’s new chief information officer. Mr. Weis, now a senior adviser for the Pentagon’s chief information officer, will lead efforts to safeguard the Navy and Marine Corps’ secrets by pushing changes on a number of fronts. These include what officials called cultural changes to improve basic cybersecurity practices, accountability across the Navy for data security and improving security practices among smaller defense contractors that conduct sensitive work but are frequently targeted by China and other countries, like North Korea, Iran and Russia, officials said. China remains the primary concern, however, officials said.





Offshore Wind Developers Building Northeast Supply Chain

Offshore wind energy developers are moving to set up their first U.S. manufacturing and support bases, sensing momentum in the market with New York and New Jersey seeking a combined 12 gigawatts of new energy by 2030. A daylong conference at the State University of New York Maritime College on Thursday brought together wind companies, state officials and the maritime industry to talk about the industry’s coming workforce needs and potential for job growth.




The Long Gray Line – Turbo Activation 2019

gCaptain – Salvatore R. Mercogliano, Ph.D. – 23 September 2019

On Monday, September 16, 2019, the United States Transportation Command ordered the no-notice activation of 28 out of the 61 ships held in the reserve sealift fleet. This exercise aimed to determine the material readiness of the fleet and whether the commercial merchant marine – the operating companies assigned to manage the vessels and the maritime unions – could provide sufficient crews to deploy the vessels. The exercise occurred at the end of the fiscal year, but amid rising tensions with Iran, causing some to speculate on the true purpose of the drill. Not since 2003, when a total of 40 ships from MARAD’s Ready Reserve Force, 8 Fast Sealift Ships (FSS), and 10 Large Medium Speed Roll-on/Roll-off ships (LMSRs) were deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom, has the surge sealift fleet (all painted in gray) been tested to this level.


Effects of the Jones Act

Hawaii Reporter/Honolulu Civil Beat/West Hawaii Today – Tom Yamachika – 23 September 2019

Here in Hawaii, we are intensely dependent on goods that come into the State from faraway places, whether it be the U.S. mainland, Asia, or anywhere else in the world. Part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, more commonly known as the “Jones Act,” affects us greatly because it prohibits any ship from carrying passengers or cargo between two U.S. ports unless the ship is American built, owned, crewed, and flagged. A recent working paper released by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, or UHERO, collects and reports hard data on the effects of the Jones Act.


Importing LNG, despite US surplus

AJOT – Peter Buxbaum – 23 September 2019

During the winter of 2018, the LNG tanker Gaselys, laden with liquefied natural gas from overseas, was spotted in Boston harbor. The French energy company Engie bought the gas to meet demand during freezing weather in the northeast United States. The cargo being carried in the tanker came from a storage tank in the United Kingdom and contained a mix of gas that originated in Algeria, Trinidad and Tobago, and Qatar. The fact that the US is now a major natural gas producer, raises the question: Why can’t New England buy domestic gas? It’s because LNG can’t be shipped to New England from export terminals on the Gulf of Mexico thanks to the Jones Act.




Metal Shark, Sea Machines Launch New Autonomous Vessel

Louisiana shipbuilder Metal Shark and Sea Machines, a Boston-based developer of autonomous marine technology, have introduced a new 29′ autonomous vessel. The vessel is being offered through Metal Shark’s “Sharktech” autonomous division. The new Sharktech 29 Defiant welded aluminum monohull pilothouse vessel features OEM-integrated Sea Machines technology offering a full range of advanced capabilities including active control and collision avoidance. The system allows for either traditionally manned, reduced-crew or unmanned autonomous operations to deliver “human-in-the-loop” navigation capabilities during both line-of-sight and over-the-horizon operations. Sea Machines and Metal Shark recently began demonstrations using the new platform, and units are now available for acquisition by government and commercial operators under Metal Shark’s stock boat program.


World’s First LNG-Powered ‘Megaship’ Launched in China

The world’s first ultra-large containership to be powered by liquefied natural gas was launched in China this week. The vessel is the first of nine French-flagged LNG-powered containerships with 23,000 teu capacity for French shipping giant CMA CGM. 


Port of Virginia Moves Forward with Harbor Deepening

The board of the Port of Virginia has approved a contract worth $78 million for Weeks Marine to start a long-anticipated harbor deepening project for the channel to Hampton Roads, Virginia. The first phase includes dredging out a portion of Thimble Shoal Channel to a depth of 56 feet from the current 50 feet. The new target depths for the Inner Harbor and Thimble Shoal Channel are deeper than the navigation channels at any other port on the Eastern seaboard. Dredging work will start as early as January, according to the port. The bidding process for other components of the deepening project is currently ongoing.



If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Paula Zorensky on the SCA staff.