Bipartisan measure seeks $25 billion boost for shipyards supporting Navy fleet

Written by Nick Blenkey
AOWFA bill introduced in Senate

Image: Architect of the Capitol

With infrastructure spending on the agenda in Washington, D.C., a bipartisan group of legislators has introduced a measure aiming to provide $25 billion to make investments needed to optimize, improve, and rebuild shipyard facilities, electrical infrastructure, environmental systems, and the equipment of public and private U.S. shipyards that support the U.S. Navy fleet.

The Supplying Help to Infrastructure in Ports, Yards, and America’s Repair Docks (SHIPYARD) Act of 2021 act would designate $21 billion for the Navy’s four public shipyards in Virginia, Maine, Hawaii, and Washington, $2 billion for major Navy private new construction shipyards, and $2 billion for Navy private repair shipyards.

It has been introduced by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Angus King (I-Maine), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), along with Representatives Rob Wittman (R-Va.), and Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.).

According to Senator Wicker’s office, the legislation would help to address a backlog of modernization, maintenance, and expansion projects the U.S. Navy has identified at public shipyards and provide the Navy flexibility to support capital improvement projects and other investments at yards that are critical to maintaining and growing the fleet.

Projects identified by the Secretary of the Navy would include improvements to shipyard infrastructure, construction of new dry docks, and other items to enable these shipyards to keep pace with Navy needs for decades to come.

Among other provisions, the legislation would:

  • Fully fund the Navy’s $21 billion Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) at the nation’s four public shipyards in Portsmouth, Va., Kittery, Maine, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Bremerton, Wa.
  • Invest $2 billion in commercial repair shipyards, subcontractors and suppliers that maintain the U.S. Navy fleet, allowing the Secretary of the Navy to fund key upgrades and infrastructure modernization projects to address current and future maintenance needs.
  • Invest $2 billion in commercial new construction shipyards, subcontractors and suppliers that build the U.S. Navy fleet, allowing the Secretary of the Navy to fund key upgrades and infrastructure modernization projects to meet current and future Navy capability and capacity needs.
  • Provide all funds via the Defense Production Act, removing typical fiscal year constraints on appropriations and increasing flexibility to enable the Secretary of the Navy to accelerate contract awards.

Download a white paper on the legislation.

Download the full legislative text.

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