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March 4, 2010

Submarine suppliers hit The Hill

More than 200 submarine suppliers from across the U.S. gathered today on Capitol Hill to stress the critical role that the submarine industrial base plays in national defense and the economy.

During the 19th annual Submarine Industrial Base Council's Supplier Days conference, suppliers thanked Congress for its previous support, and encouraged it to support the president's requested funding for the Virginia-class submarine program, including construction of two submarines, and initial design work for the Ohio Replacement program.

"Submarines are a vital part of America's national defense," said Jim Jelinek, co-chairman of the council. "The more than 4,000 companies from 50 states represented by the Submarine Industrial Base Council are proud of their contribution to national security. With the help of Congress, we can continue to provide the Navy with the world's best nuclear-powered submarines that can ensure continued undersea dominance and our nation's security."

The event kicked off March 3 with briefings by Navy officials on the status of the submarine programs.

Today's congressional activities began with a large gathering between suppliers and over a dozen members of Congress. After that, suppliers spoke about the importance of a strong industrial base in individual meetings on Capitol Hill.

The council also presented Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., with the Submarine Industrial Base Advocate Award, the first such award in the council's history. "Sen. Dodd has long recognized the importance of our submarines and the associated industrial base and we wanted to make sure he understood the positive impact he has had on our suppliers and the submarine force," said Mr. Jelinek.

Members of Congress also voiced their support for the Council's work.

"The reason that the United States has the best submarines in the world is that we have the strongest industrial base in the world standing behind them," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. "The Submarine Industrial Base Council's supplier days are a key opportunity for those of us in Congress to learn how we can better support the workers who build American submarines, and I look forward to doing my part again this year."

"Our submarine fleet is second to none," said Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash. "They fulfill the key leg of our strategic nuclear deterrent, keep our oceans open and safe, and are feared by our enemies. The construction of one of these subs, a multibillion dollar asset which is more complex than the Apollo rocket, requires the substantial knowledge and skill that only a solid, experienced industrial base can provide. In this regard I applaud the work of the SIBC, the entire submarine industrial base, and the workers who devote their efforts so that our submarine force remains the dominant undersea force for years to come."

"I am grateful for the work of the Submarine Industrial Base," said Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss. "I look forward to working with the delegations from Connecticut and Virginia along with all of my colleagues, to ensure these vital platforms are delivered in quantities sufficient to meet our nation's Navy's needs."

"As Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, I understand the many roles our submarine force plays in support of our national security, especially in maintaining our nuclear deterrence," said Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I. "The high quality and dedication of our submarine industrial base ensures that we can continue to entrust these most important responsibilities to the sailors that make up our 'silent service.' I am proud to be able to represent and support an area that houses this critical work."

"In its nearly two decades, the Submarine Industrial Base Council has proven to be one of the strongest, most organized advocates for the submarine fleet and its suppliers," said Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn. "The Virginia-class program is a versatile weapons system developed by the innovation and ingenuity of thousands of suppliers across the country, whose goals are to keep our nation safe and to keep our economy moving. This is an important year as the industry prepares to ramp up to building two Virginia-class submarines per year and continues development of the replacement SSBN, and it is critical that Congress continues to hear from the members of the SIBC about the nation-wide impact of these programs."


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