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SCA Weekly Report | May 18 - 22, 2020

Shipbuilders Council of America

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Washington, DC 20001



SCA Weekly Report | May 18 - 22, 2020





SCA 2020 Virtual General Membership Meeting

Registration Now Open


The 2020 SCA Virtual General Membership Meeting will be held online on June 17-18, 2020. The meeting will feature speakers from the Department of Defense, Coast Guard, Military Sealift Command, Maritime Administration and other government officials. This meeting is free for SCA members to attend. We hope you will be able to join us on the 17th and 18th.


Invited Speakers:

  • ASN James Guerts
  • Bilyana Anderson, DASN RDA
  • Bill Bray, DASN RDT&E
  • Commandant Schultz, USCG
  • Dr. Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy
  • RADM Anderson
  • RADM Schofield, USCG
  • RADM Ver Hage
  • MARAD Administrator Buzby
  • Senator Dan Sullivan
  • House Minority Whip Steve Scalise


Click here to register



National Maritime Day


Today, May 22, 2020 is National Maritime Day. In recognition of National maritime Day, please see the articles below from President Trump and Congressman John Rutherford on the importance of the domestic maritime indsutry.



Additionally, Nahigian Strategies prepared a National Maritime Day social media strategy for SCA members to use. The document with social media resources can be accessed HERE.



OSHA Susan Harwood Training Grants Funding Opportunity


OSHA has announced the availability of $11.5 million in Susan Harwood Training Grants. Applications must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov by July 20, 2020. Details on the grants and how to apply are available at Grants.gov.


The funds are available for nonprofit organizations, including community and faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, Indian tribes, and colleges and universities. The Harwood Training Grant program supports in-person, hands-on training for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness, and fatality rates; and vulnerable workers, who are underserved, have limited English proficiency, or are temporary workers. The grants will fund training and education to help workers and employers identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards, including the coronavirus, through the following funding opportunities categories:


  • Targeted Topic Training grants support educational programs that address identifying and preventing workplace hazards. These grants require applicants to conduct training on OSHA-designated workplace safety and health hazards;


  • Training and Educational Materials Development grants support the development of quality classroom-ready training and educational materials that focus on identifying and preventing workplace hazards; and


  • Capacity Building grants support organizations in developing new capacity for conducting workplace safety and health training programs and must provide training and education based on identified needs of a specific audience or a set of related topics.


For more information, see the OSHA news release and the Susan Harwood Training Grants webpage.




Senate Confirms Navy Secretary Nominee, VCNO Nominee

On Thursday, the Senate voted to confirm Kenneth Braithwaite to be the Secretary of the Navy by unanimous consent. 

Braithwaite appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month for his nomination hearing, where he suggested the Navy could use Large Unmanned Surface Vessels for ballistic missile defense missions and committed to building a 355-ship Navy. President Trump announced his decision to nominate Braithwaite, a retired rear admiral, as the Navy's top civilian in November. Read more HERE.


The Senate also confirmed Vice Adm. William Lescher to be the next vice chief of naval operations. Lescher, now deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources, will receive his fourth star and succeed Adm. Robert Burke, who's been tapped as commander of naval forces in Europe and Africa.


Senate Appropriations Chairman Meets with President Trump to Discuss Fiscal 2021 Appropriations  

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday to discuss the fiscal 2021 spending process. The overall limit for non-defense spending for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1 is $634.5 billion. If Senate appropriators want to provide more money for veterans health within the caps, it would come at the expense of other domestic programs.


Shelby’s meeting comes as the upper chamber looks to mark up a dozen spending bills next month, with the appropriations process somewhat stymied by the pandemic. Senate GOP appropriators met privately earlier this month to discuss subcommittee allocations and a markup schedule for the weeks and months ahead.


Progressive Dems Urge Defense Spending Cut

Nearly 30 progressive House Democrats have sent a letter to the House Armed Services Committee seeking a cut in defense spending in favor of devoting more elsewhere to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The lead authors of the letter are Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).


It's unclear if the progressive group could muster enough votes to derail a final fiscal year 2020 defense authorization bill, especially if, like last year, not a single Republican backs the bill. But HASC Minority Leader Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) has said he is optimistic that the House will finds its way toward a bipartisan bill. HASC Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Thornberry have also released a joint statement pledging a bill will pass this year.




CNO, Commandant: Naval Forces Can Meet Today’s Obligations, But 2021 Readiness At Risk With Pandemic

Naval operations are proceeding unimpeded by the COVID-19 pandemic, top leaders say, but there could be readiness challenges next year if the virus continues to affect the output at maintenance depots and at the suppliers who make spare parts.


Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said this week that current operational plans were written by the joint force 18 months ago “uninformed by COVID math” and that the Navy would find a way to meet its obligations. In fact, he said, the service has about 15 percent more underway assets today than its normal operating pattern in recent years, with more than 100 ships and submarines at sea today – including seven aircraft carriers and two amphibious ready groups (ARGs).


Citing recent increased presence and operations with allies and partners in the South China Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Barents Sea, Gilday said, “we want to basically show that COVID is not going to affect us in terms of being able to pivot where we need to be, when we need to be there.”


Still, “we are both looking into ‘21 and ‘22 in terms of force generation, and so all the things that have to be in place with respect to manning, training and equipping the fleet to meet the secretary of defense’s requirements out though ‘21 and into ’22. We’re beginning to look at that based on what we’ve experienced so far with COVID impacts with the industrial base, and to begin to make some projections – as well as pulling on some levers, including things like overtime at shipyards, including bringing back some reservists into the shipyards, in order to make sure we are at close to full capacity,” he said while on the phone with a small group of reporters this morning.


Gilday said the shipyards saw productivity drop to about 70 percent during March and April because many of the workers there are older and more vulnerable to the COVID-19 disease. The Navy and its industry partners were “conservative” in taking measures to protect workers’ health, he said, but now workforce attendance is coming back up as yards implement measures to distance workers, disinfect spaces and otherwise prevent the spread of the disease.


Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts told USNI News this week that “the challenge we’re going to have in this situation is just the impact will kind of depend on the severity, the length and the severity, and how it hits a little bit geographically.”


Geurts added that the team at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) “has done a really good job protecting the near-term availabilities” and that, as the workforce comes back up to full capacity, “now what we’re really looking at is prioritizing work downstream, understanding where we may have some flexibility, and then working closely with the fleet to align that.” Read more HERE.


Navy Planning LDUUV Industry Days June 16, 17  

The Navy is planning virtual industry days June 16 and 17 to brief companies about the service's future development and procurement plans for the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle. The event will include briefs on "the Navy's family of UUVs; the LDUUV program vision and objectives; the program schedule; the contracting, competition, and business strategy; the engineering / technical requirements and objectives; the Unmanned Maritime Autonomy Architecture, the Payload Handling System, the Modified Dry Deck Shelter and the Common Control System," according to a May 21 Navy notice. The service also plans to distribute a draft solicitation to approved contractors and request feedback during the industry day, the notice said.





Callan’s New Powerful Jones Act Dredge Gets to Work

Callan Marine’s new Jones Act cutterhead suction dredge, the CSD General Macarthur, and its accompanying Idler Barge, recently entered service. The dredge represents a new generation for the technology and provides increased comforts for the crew. The new dredge immediately went into service after the U.S. Coast Guard completed its Certificate of Inspection (COI) and the American Bureau of Shipping classified the new ship. Departing Belle Chase, Louisiana, the dredge started work on Callan Marine’s Texas projects and later it will be transiting to Corpus Christi for Phase II of the deepening and widening project.  




More Offshore Wind Crewboats Being Built

Work is underway on the next support vessels for the U.S. offshore wind energy industry, even as federal regulatory review — and now the global economic upheaval of coronavirus – clouds the prospect of building ambitious power projects. The 804-megawatt Vineyard Wind project in southern New England waters, leading the pack of more than a dozen proposed wind energy arrays off the East Coast, remains stalled as the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management reassesses the cumulative environmental impacts. The agency’s final impact statement is scheduled for December 2020. In the meantime, Atlantic Wind Transfers LLC, the first U.S. provider of offshore services to a wind farm, is pushing forward with its builders at Blount Boats.




OPINION: Nuclear-Armed Submarines and U.S. Defense Strategy: The Future of the Maritime Deterrent  

The U.S. national security establishment is in complete and enduring agreement about the imperative of maintaining the SSBN/SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) system. Both the Obama administration’s (2010) and the Trump administration’s (2018) nuclear posture reviews used virtually the same language to describe the benefits of retaining SSBNs as part of the nuclear deterrent: survivability, no near-term or medium-term threats, and the ability to upload warheads as a hedge against potential threats or failures affecting the other two legs of the U.S. nuclear triad. Read more HERE


FMC to Investigate Impact of Canadian Ballast Water Regulations on U.S. Lake Carriers

The Federal Maritime Commission has voted unanimously to accept a petition filed by the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) that alleges that ballast water regulations proposed by the Government of Canada will discriminate against U.S.-flag vessel operators. In accepting the LCA petition, says the FMC, it voted to initiate an investigation of the specific allegations set forth in their petition, to gather information and to solicit public comments. The Commission has long been concerned about the proposed Canadian ballast water regulations and the effect it will have on the U.S. flag Laker fleet. These concerns have been expressed to Transport Canada in meetings and phone conferences for several years.


Navy Hospital Ship Leaves L.A.

Earlier this week, Foss Maritime assisted the Military Sealift Command Hospital Ship, USNS Mercy, as it departed the Port of Los Angeles for her home port of San Diego. The Naval hospital ship arrived at the Port of Los Angeles seven weeks ago on March 27 to serve as a referral hospital for non-coronavirus patients, and to offer relief to overburdened hospitals and ERs. Having bolstered the areas preparedness, the ship now returns to San Diego. 



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