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SCA Weekly Report | March 27-31, 2023

Shipbuilders Council of America

20 F Street NW, Suite 500

Washington, DC 20001




SCA Weekly Report | March 27-31, 2023





Registration Now Open:

2023 SCA Spring Membership Meeting


May 17-18, 2023

20 F St. NW

Washington, D.C. 20001


Registration for the 2023 SCA Spring Membership meeting in Washington, D.C. is now open. The meeting will be held at the Adams and Reese offices at 20 F St. NW, Washington, D.C 20001.


For more information on the schedule and to register, CLICK HERE





This Ugly Dispute Over Amphibious Warships Didn’t Have to Happen

In an op-ed for Defense One, Heritage Senior Fellow Brent Sadler lays out the public dispute between the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps around the Navy’s decision to drop a planned purchase of a San Antonio-class amphibious warship from its 2024 budget. Read more HERE.


RELATED: Navy, Marine Corps at Odds Over Fleet Requirements


TRANSCOM’s Unreadiness

Seth Cropsey, the founder and President of Yorktown Institute and former deputy Undersecretary of the Navy, published an op-ed in Real Clear Defense calling the U.S. “a maritime power in disarray.” Cropsey cites the current sealift capacity as insufficient for a major war. Read more HERE




Armed Services Panel Advances Navy Acquisition Pick

The Navy is one step closer to having a permanent acquisition chief for the first time in years after the Senate Armed Services Committee approved President Joe Biden's pick for the job on Tuesday.


SASC advanced Nickolas Guertin to be assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition in a voice vote. In the same vote, the panel approved Ronald Keohane to be DoD's assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs. In a separate voice vote, SASC approved 27 military promotions. Both picks largely cruised through a confirmation hearing this month.


The Navy's top acquisition job has been a lingering vacancy for the Biden administration. The service is without a Senate-confirmed Navy weapons buyer more than two years into Biden’s term. A career Navy civilian, Jay Stefany, is performing the duties of the Navy acquisition chief.


Guertin, now the Pentagon’s top weapons tester, was selected for the acquisition job in September. But the White House didn't send his nomination to the Senate until November. With little time to act on his nomination before the end of session, Guertin was renominated in January. Both Guertin and Keohane must be confirmed by the full Senate, where partisan infighting has slowed confirmations. 


Navy: Puget Sound Submarine Dry Docks to Complete Seismic Repairs by July

The four dry docks that the Navy shut down in Puget Sound to shore them up against seismic threats should be available for submarine maintenance by July, Navy officials told the Senate on Tuesday.


In two separate hearings, service leaders told senators the extra work is to provide additional support to the walls of the dry docks in case of a seismic event.


he four dry docks – three at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Wash., and the delta pier at the Trident Refit Facility in Bangor, Wash., – were found to be at risk.


“We’re focused on those portions of the dock that are closest to the nuclear power plant in the submarines,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee during a morning hearing.


“That’s the most substantial work that we’re doing, essentially repairing both sides of the entire drydock.”


The work, which began last month with an $80 million task order, will wrap up for the three dry docks at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility by May, while the dry dock that services nuclear ballistic missile submarines should be finished in June or July.




Navy Sends Congress $2.5B Unfunded Priorities List

The Navy has sent Congress a $2.5 billion list of unfunded priorities, highlighting $45.3 million for development of the "Maritime Targeting Cell Afloat" as its No. 1 unmet need. The third UPL item is $186.4 million for fund the Zumwalt Enterprise Upgrade Solution (ZEUS) for DDG-1000 Class.  Two big-ticket items further down the list include $300 million for dry dock repairs and restoration and $550 million for “targeted facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization.” Last year, the Navy submitted a $4 billion UPL for FY23.


The Navy’s list does not include $1.7 billion for LPD-33 funding, which is listed as the first priority for the U.S. Marine Corps on their unfunded priorities list.


Senator Tuberville Blocks All Military Nominations Over Pentagon’s Abortion Policy

Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), has been blocking military nominations from moving forward since last month because he believes the Pentagon is improperly using funding to cover travel costs for abortions of service members.


After the Supreme Court last year overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized a constitutional right to abortion, the Pentagon said it would cover travel costs for service members seeking abortions and up to 21 days off. Currently, 184 general and flag officers, including 11 to be promoted to lieutenant general or vice admiral, are subject to Tuberville’s hold. Among them is the commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, the largest of the Navy’s forward deployed fleets, with responsibility in the Indo-Pacific region. 


While a hold doesn’t prevent a nominee from ultimately being confirmed, it delays the process significantly, because the Senate may have to go through procedural steps to cut off debate that can take several days. More often than not, Senate leaders honor a hold request because not doing so could trigger a range of parliamentary responses, such as a filibuster, that could expend significant amounts of scarce floor time.


Tuberville, a member of the Armed Services Committee, told Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a March 22 phone call that he would keep his hold on Pentagon nominees unless the defense chief rescinds or suspends “his newly implemented policy facilitating taxpayer-funded abortions for the military and their family members.”


Within the next eight months, the Pentagon is expected to send 650 military officer nominations, including 80 three-and four-star nominees. 


SECDEF Austin to House: Subs, Unmanned Systems Key to U.S. Pacific Advantage

Advanced undersea platforms and systems are “one of our clear advantages” in countering China and Russia, which is critical to deterring Chinese aggression across the Indo-Pacific, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday.


The United States is committed to keeping that lead against the pacing challenge of Beijing, Austin said. He noted the significance of the agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States [AUKUS] on the nuclear-powered but conventionally-armed submarine also including the exchange of advanced technologies.


Even as Canberra is upgrading its Adelaide shipyard to maintain and build nuclear-powered submarines, it has also invested $3 billion in the American industrial base, Austin said.


Several times during the hearing on the administration’s $842 billion request for Fiscal Year 2024, members wanted more information on unmanned system, especially undersea technology.


In the immediate future, “you’re going to see a shift to robotics in a big way, Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. The use of low and slow commercial aerial drones in Ukraine demonstrated unmanned system’s versatility in combat. He expects the United States and China to aggressively explore their use in maritime warfare.


Milley estimated that one-third of the Navy could be unmanned in the not-distant future.


MARAD Administrator “Not at All Confident” Ready Reserve Fleet Could Be Crewed in A Crisis

The head of the Maritime Administration “was not at all confident” that all the ships in the Ready Reserve Fleet could be crewed if called to duty in a crisis.


The United States was already short 1,8000 credentialed mariners for its vessels before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, retired Rear Adm. Ann Phillips said Tuesday in a joint hearing of the House Armed Services readiness and seapower and projection forces subcommittees.


She pointed to the addition of five more vessels transferred from Military Sealift Command to MARAD control and retirements of an aging workforce as likely pushing the gap for merchant mariners even higher.


While the House Armed Services Committee last year approved a grant program for MARAD to expand its Centers of Excellence program to attract and retrain mariners, there were no funds set aside to pay for it. Phillips said programs like that are essential for the future, and MARAD is working closely with community colleges, union schools and others to demonstrate to young people there are careers open to them.


“We have to have ships for them to sail on,” she said.


The nation is “a generation late” in modernizing its roll-on, roll-off ships critical to military sealift, Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, head of Transportation command, said. She and others noted the ships’ average age is 44, and 17 of them are over 50.




U.S. Energy Officials Release Strategy to Boost Offshore Wind

The U.S. Energy Department said Wednesday it has a new strategy to meet the goal of vastly expanding offshore wind energy to address climate change. The Biden administration wants to build 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 — enough to power more than 10 million homes. The turbines would be anchored to the seafloor. It wants to deploy another 15 gigawatts of floating wind turbines by 2035, enough to power 5 million homes. The first commercial scale offshore wind project in the United States is currently under construction off the coast of Massachusetts.


With its Offshore Wind Energy Strategy, DOE lays out a plan for supporting offshore wind development to meet the 2030 targets. It was released during an offshore wind energy conference in Baltimore held by the Business Network for Offshore Wind. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm promised in a statement that offshore wind “will create tens of thousands of good-paying, union jobs and revitalize coastal communities.”


The administration is attempting to lower the cost of fixed offshore wind by 30%, down to $51 per megawatt hour by 2030 and support a domestic supply chain for the industry. It also wants to establish the United States as a leader in floating offshore wind and lower its cost by nearly 70% to $45 per megawatt hour by 2035. Another goal is to figure out how to bring large amounts of wind energy onto the U.S. power grid, and advance technologies that use offshore wind to produce hydrogen and clean fuels. Among other uses those can be used to make power even when the wind is not blowing, making an intermittent clean source into one that is closer to 24/7.




Ingalls Shipbuilding Will Hold Job Fair This Weekend

New positions are opening up at Ingalls Shipbuilding. The company set a goal of hiring more than 2,000 workers last year. Right now, the main focus is not on the numbers.


“We’re meeting our numbers and expectations weekly, which is a great goal and accomplishment for HR and Talent Acquisition especially,” said Kelsey Polovich. “But our real focus isn’t on the numbers themselves but making sure that we are recruiting and retaining and developing the workforce we currently have as well as the new ones we are trying to attract.”


Polovich is the project manager for Talent Acquisition at Ingalls. She said job fairs can connect the company to future shipbuilders with little experience who are looking to learn a new craft. “We’re all passionate about what we do so we give the Talent Acquisition department any chance to meet in front of people where they’re ready to recruit, talk, and help any way they can and this just gives us the opportunity for that,” Polovich said.


The job fair will take place on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. at Ingalls Maritime Training Academy just outside the shipyard.


Bill Proposes Limits on China and its Influence on Ocean Shipping

Following up on a promise to address certain shortcomings in the 2022 Ocean Shipping Reform Act and to increase the scrutiny of Chinese influence over the shipping industry, U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson and John Garamendi both of California introduced the Ocean Shipping Reform Implementation Act. Calling their proposed legislation “Ocean Shipping Reform 2.0,” the sponsors said it would further protect American agriculture and exports by clarifying the role of the Federal Maritime Commission while also focusing on China and the role of shipping exchanges. This bill is in addition to a proposal introduced last week to revoke the anti-trust exemptions for ocean carriers.


“Last June, Congress passed our landmark reform to the nation’s ocean shipping laws for the first time in nearly a quarter century to protect American businesses and consumers from price gouging by foreign-flagged ocean liners,” said Garamendi.


New York City Building Hybrid-Electric Public Ferry

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Trust for Governors Island have announced the city’s first public hybrid-electric ferry to operate in New York Harbor. The vessel is designed to transition between battery-only power and battery-assisted hybrid propulsion with diesel backup, reducing CO2 emissions by 600 tons annually. Planned rapid charging stations will enable full battery-only propulsion and near-zero emissions operations in the future.


The state-of-the-art ferry is designed by Elliott Bay Design Group and will be built at Conrad Shipyard’s facility in Morgan City, Louisiana. The new ferry is scheduled to begin transporting passengers to Governors Island summer 2024, replacing the diesel-powered Lt. Samuel S. Coursen, which has been in service since 1956.




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