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SCA Weekly Report | October 26 - 30, 2020

Shipbuilders Council of America

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SCA Weekly Report | October 26 - 30, 2020





Proposed EDA transfer: SOC-R to Hungary


The Navy is proposing the transfer of one Special Operations Craft – Riverine (SOC-R) to Hungary under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. Please reach out to Lee Ann Carpenter by November 4, 2020 with any comments or questions about the EDA transfer.


Lee Ann Carpenter

Bureau of Industry & Security

US Department of Commerce






Pelosi Signals COVID Deal Possible Before January

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she’s still hoping to clinch a massive coronavirus relief deal with the White House before the end of the year. Democrats have been unsuccessfully pushing a trillion-dollar-plus stimulus package for months. And while Pelosi has insisted she is getting closer to a deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, some of her own lawmakers are skeptical that President Donald Trump or the current GOP-controlled Senate would agree to a giant stimulus package in the wake of potentially big Election Day losses.


But others have argued that Republicans might be more eager for a deal in the lame duck session if they’re losing the White House and possibly their Senate majority come January. Some Democrats have privately said in that case it would make more sense to wait until the new year, when Republicans have less negotiating power. Trump signaled his desire to sign a stimulus deal in the lame duck during a podcast interview that aired Thursday.




SECNAV Braithwaite Calls for Light Carrier, ‘Joint Strike Frigate’; Sounds Alarm Over Chinese Naval Expansion

Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite made a full-throated call for U.S. naval expansion, citing the growing Chinese Navy as the prime driver of the need for a larger fleet. He said that while the U.S. was fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, Beijing was focused on quietly building its influence with an emphasis on naval forces.


“We then got caught in a war in the Middle East and that took our attention. We took our eyes off the ball, especially in the Navy,” Braithwaite said, speaking at an event at the U.S. Navy Memorial SITREP speaker series.


He offered some additional details on the Pentagon’s Battle Force 2045 plan for the Navy’s future fleet beyond what Defense Secretary Mark Esper sketched out earlier this month. The plan, still on hold by the Office of Management and Budget, calls for a fleet of 500 ships that will include building up to 70 to 80 nuclear attack submarines and anywhere from eight to 11 aircraft carriers.


Braithwaite said that the Navy was set to build additional Constellation-class guided-missile frigates (FFG-62) beyond the 20 the service is slated to purchase.


“We’re looking to build 60 to 70 small surface combatants,” he said. “These are highly capable, sophisticated weapons platforms, projecting sea power around the globe.”


The last fleet plan in 2016 called for a force of about 50 small surface combatants. Braithwaite also suggested the Navy could use the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter model to export the frigate design abroad. Additionally, he suggested creating up to six light aircraft carriers that could be used as a platform for unmanned aircraft.


RELATED: Navy Boss Talks ‘Joint Strike Frigate’ Concept After Calls to Build Four Frigates a Year


Navy Issues Revisions to Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) Deployment Scheme

The Navy fleets signed out a revision to the Optimized Fleet Response Plan Instruction, the first such update since OFRP was introduced in 2014. U.S. Fleet Forces Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Europe released a 12-star-signed revision to the plan on Oct. 20, which incorporates lessons learned from the past six years and stems from a pair of Navy and Pentagon reviews of OFRP conducted earlier this year.


The update “emphasizes Fleet-wide readiness output over single unit or group operational availability and cycle length,” according to Fleet Forces Command spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Rob Myers, calling that “a specific lesson learned from 2020 OFRP assessments.”


“The product of OFRP is units ready for employment, on time and to standard. OFRP values aggregated output efficiency and effectiveness, over individual unit or group,” he continued, saying the update emphasizes that OFRP – a notional 36-month readiness-generation plan that outlines maintenance, training, deployment and sustainment operations – is not a firm schedule but rather a construct for force generation that integrates several other processes across the Navy.


Pentagon Transfers $2.6B Shipbuilding Funds for Columbia-Class Subs

Ahead of an anticipated contract modification for the first Columbia-class submarine, the Pentagon comptroller last week approved $2.6 billion in fiscal year 2021 shipbuilding dollars to be moved to the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund. Defense Department officials this past year sought and received a waiver from lawmakers to award the FY-21 funding despite the federal government remaining under a continuing resolution. The reprogramming action does not change the purpose of the funds, but is a necessary step under federal law for the Pentagon to complete prior to awarding the contract modification to Electric Boat.




Offshore Wind Advocates Confident BOEM will Move Projects Forward

On Thursday during an online offshore wind webinar, advocates for developing a U.S. offshore wind industry said they believe an impending environmental impact statement from BOEM will allow Vineyard Wind and 14 other proposed Atlantic projects to move forward. That “certainty and predictability” that more offshore turbines will be built will bring a surge of existing and newbuild U.S. flag vessels into the offshore wind market, said Aaron Smith, CEO and president of the Offshore Marine Service Association.


Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina Sign Offshore Wind Pact

The governors of Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia have announced a bipartisan plan to cooperate on offshore wind power projects off the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. In particular, their new "SMART-POWER" plan will create a leadership team from all three states that will work to expedite the development of regional offshore wind resources. Together, the three states have already committed to purchasing power from wind generation totaling about seven gigawatts - roughly the output of two nuclear power plants when running at full capacity. They foresee large-scale potential for further development, as the Department of Energy predicts that the offshore wind market on the Atlantic coast will see about $57 billion in investment over the course of the next 10 years.





Preparations Underway to Begin Cutting and Lifting Golden Ray Wreck

The heavy-lift vessel VB10,000 arrived at the Golden Ray wreck site as planned on October 27, 2020. The vessel is now preparing for the next phase of the clearance of the capsized ro-ro vessel in St. Simmons Bay, Georgia. The cutting and lifting operation, which is subject to weather, wind, and sea conditions, could get underway as early as next week. The first cut on the Golden Ray will be on the bow section of the vessel. During this phase of the operation, the VB10, 000 will be used to cut the wreck into eight sections, which will be lifted onto barges and dry docks for removal to designated recycling locations.


Switching Poles, USCG's Heavy Icebreaker Heads North for the Winter

In a departure from her standard operating pattern, the U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker Polar Star will spend the winter in the Arctic this year. The vessel is typically used for the McMurdo Station resupply mission to Antarctica each southern summer, then returns to shipyard at her home port of Seattle, Washington for repairs. However, this year’s maritime resupply at McMurdo Station was cancelled due to COVID safety precautions, the service said, and a limited resupply will be conducted via aircraft - leaving Polar Star available to travel north instead.


More Cruises Postponed as Industry Awaits CDC Announcement

While hope has been slowly rising that the cruise industry might be nearing its resumption of service, additional cruises are being canceled as global authorities continue to fear that cruise ships might contribute to the feared winter resurgence of the coronavirus. While many of the largest cruise lines have remained silent about their plans awaiting a further announcement from the CDC, some brands have already quietly extended their pause. Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages, which is yet to make its first commercial voyage, sent out alerts to travel agents delaying its target date to resume cruises until January 2021.



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