This morning, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the top Republican on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, met at the Pentagon with the Navy's top official for shipbuilding, Sean Stackley, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, to discuss the impact of deep budget cuts slated to go into effect in March on the Navy's fleet. The two discussed the importance of avoiding "sequestration" and a year-long Continuing Resolution, and reaffirmed their commitment to the DDG-51 and DDG-1000 programs at Bath Iron Works and the repairs of the submarine fleet at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
On March 1st, nearly $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts are scheduled to go into effect - cuts that could have a devastating impact on our national security and cause the loss of an estimated one million jobs. Failure to avert such an outcome could have severe ramifications for our nation's shipbuilding industrial base, including Bath Iron Works, the nation's premier shipbuilder and employer of more than 5,000 Mainers.
"Secretary Stackley and I discussed the damage that will inflicted to the shipbuilding budget in the event of sequestration or the failure to enact a full-year Department of Defense funding bill. I will continue to work to avoid sequestration, and I expressed my support for the FY13 Department of Defense funding bill that was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee last year," Senator Collins said. "I intend to raise the concerns about the consequences of the sequester with Under Secretary of Defense Ash Carter when he testifies before the full Appropriations Committee tomorrow."
Both Senator Collins and Secretary Stackley share a common commitment to maintaining a robust naval presence to protect U.S. economic and security interests abroad and to ensure a strong industrial base here at home.