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Senators to Mattis: Block buy best way to add two new carriers

DECEMBER 19, 2017 — U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., were last week joined by 15 Senators in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis expressing their support for the Pentagon's pursuit of a block buy for two Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carriers in FY2019.

"It is the official policy of the United States government – and in the interest of our national security – to meet the Navy's requirement for 355 ships," Senator Wicker said. "That requirement includes having a total of 12 aircraft carriers, which are the centerpieces of American power on the seas. Attaining this goal is going to require better procurement strategies and use of taxpayer dollars. Secretary Mattis has my full support to move forward with a block buy for the next two Ford-class carriers."

In addition to Wicker and Kaine, the letter was signed by Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Luther Strange, R-Ala., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Mark Warner, D-Va.

SCA SUPPORT

The Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) issued the following statement in support of the senators' proposal.

"The Shipbuilders Council of America strongly supports the use of alternative acquisition funding strategies like block buy contracting, which in conjunction with increased stable and predictable funding, provides stability and enhances cost reduction across shipbuilding programs. Alternative funding strategies create a demand signal for the industry by allowing shipyards and the associated supplier base to invest in their workforces and facilities. Additionally, these funding mechanisms can reduce the total construction cost of ships by leveraging 'hot' production lines while also streamlining the acquisition process. The continued use of block buy contracting and other alternative funding strategies will signal to the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry that Congress and the Navy are committed to building a 355-ship fleet and our industry is ready to deliver accordingly."

Read the senators' letter HERE

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