May 7, 2008
Austal USA gains key security clearance
Austal USA has been awarded a facility clearance (FCL) by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The clearance allows Austal USA to serve as a prime contractor for future classified U.S. Government shipbuilding projects.
Austal USA is currently participating in the U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ship program by teaming with prime contractor General Dynamics.
Austal USA is now bidding as prime contractor for the U.S. Army and Navy's upcoming Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) program.
The clearance was awarded after Austal USA entered into a Special Security Agreement (SSA) with the U.S. Government following a process spanning more than three years, in which the company had to satisfy strict criteria surrounding foreign ownership, control or influence.
As part of the process, an Austal USA Board--a subsidiary Board of Austal Limited--was established to allow the shipyard greater independence from its publicly owned Australian parent company.
Among those appointed to the subsidiary Board were high ranking ex U.S. Defense personnel, including Rear Admiral James Hinkle, who had previously directed congressional liaison for the Navy.
Austal USA Chief Executive Officer Bob Browning commented:
"This achievement recognizes Austal's commitment to becoming a respected defense contractor in the USA. We are honoured to have this responsibility, which allows us to move forward with future defense shipbuilding opportunities."
An integral part of the SSA process was the formation of the Austal USA Government Security Committee (GSC), comprising Austal USA company officers and appointed outside Directors. The GSC meets regularly to oversee the company's compliance with the U.S. Government Security and Export regulations.