MAY 31, 2012 — Austal has brought representatives of over 50 suppliers from 25 states to Washington, D.C., to build support for the future of the U.S. Navy's LCS program. The representatives of the Independence-variant LCS industrial base gathered on May 16 and 17 for a conference and congressional outreach.
Austal USA's President and Chief Operating Officer, Joe Rella, was joined by Rear Admiral James A. Murdoch, Program Executive Officer, Littoral Combat Ships, and Congressman Jo Bonner (R-AL) in welcoming the attendees and briefing them on the U.S. Navy's plans for the LCS program, its acquisition plan and providing an overview on program challenges.
In comments to the suppliers who were invited, Mr. Rella stated "Besides the needs expressed by the Navy for the LCS Program to continue to deliver ships in support of their vital multi-mission capabilities, we need to ensure that Representatives from around the country realize that folks are employed beyond the borders of the shipbuilder's home state. Thousands of people are employed directly as first tier suppliers in over 25 states and when considering second tier suppliers the reach extends to the entire nation."
On the second day of the event, Austal arranged for the suppliers to visit Capitol Hill for meetings with Members of Congress, key staffers, and defense legislative assistants in each of the suppliers' districts. The objective of these meetings was to make congress aware of the importance of the LCS to national security and help them to understand the economic impact the program brings to each supplier's district and state, specifically the State of Alabama, and the City of Mobile.
Austal USA's Vice President of Sales, Marketing and External Affairs, Craig Hooper, said, "we are grateful that our suppliers took a day and helped reach over 100 members of Congress, explaining the importance of the LCS Program to national security as well as economic contributions of the industrial base as a whole."