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(Washington, D.C.) – At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) raised concerns about the lack of federal investment in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard with leading Armed Forces and Defense Department officials.  The Navy has stated that the backlog of facility improvements at the Shipyard is $513 million, but a November report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found it could be even higher.

“Military construction investments are the method by which we take care of the programs and personnel we have,” Shaheen said.  “Support for these critical investments is a readiness issue.  They are a national security issue.  They are a budget issue.  I know the Navy and executive branch appreciate these facts, I only ask that they find ways to support the shipyard’s continued health so that it may contribute to the U.S. military’s mission most effectively.” 

While Shaheen welcomed the Navy’s recent announcement of its plans to invest $100 million in the shipyard, she has pointed out that no military construction funds have been allocated to the shipyard by the executive branch in the last five years.  As a result, the shipyard has had to rely on congressionally directed spending, which Congress has recently imposed a moratorium on.  At a past Armed Services hearing with Navy officials and in a letter to the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Shaheen has sought answers from the Navy and the Obama administration on how they intend to provide funding for these much-needed shipyard investments through other means.