Shaheen Receives Assurance of Plans for Dry Dock at PNSY

December 04, 2019

**Following a report from the Government Accountability Office on the need for improvements at our nation’s shipyards, Shaheen also spoke of the need to expand the industrial supply base that builds new vessels and provides replacement parts**

CJS at SASC hearing

Shaheen questions senior defense officials on the U.S. Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan during today’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Watch the Clip of Senator Shaheen’s Questioning Here. 

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) questioned senior defense officials in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on maintaining and optimizing the nation’s ship and submarine fleet. Shaheen asked U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Thomas Moore if the Multi-Mission Dry Dock project at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY), is still on track to be submitted in the Trump administration’s FY21 budget request. Vice Admiral Moore confirmed that it was, stating that the project is a “key component of our overall strategy.” 

During the hearing and following a report from the Government Accountability Office on the need for improvements at our nation’s shipyards, including PNSY, Shaheen spoke of the need to expand the industrial supply base that builds new vessels and provides replacement parts, noting that during the Cold War, the U.S. submarine fleet “…had over 17,000 suppliers, now we have about 3,500 active suppliers.” Shaheen questioned senior defense officials on the U.S. Navy’s status on implementing its Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan, which is vital to rebuild and maintain critical shipyard infrastructure where the nation’s submarines and aircraft carriers are constructed and repaired. 

Shaheen also referenced her recent visit to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to celebrate the groundbreaking for a Paint, Blast and Rubber Facility and Defense Logistics Agency warehouse, which are a part of the optimization plan, noting that the projects “are critical pieces if we are going to continue making the Shipyard more efficient”. The Paint, Blast and Rubber facility had been previously threatened by President Trump’s emergency declaration, which has diverted funds set aside by Congress for U.S. troops and military projects to fund a border wall on the southern border. 

In concluding her questioning, Shaheen thanked Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition James Geurts for attending the USS Thresher Memorial Dedication Ceremony in September, which honored the 129 men of the Thresher who lost their lives when the submarine tragically sank 56 years ago, saying, “to finally get that memorial meant so much to the families and to be able to recognize the SUBSAFE program that grew out of that tragedy and the difference that that’s made in keeping our sailors safe is really important. Thank you very much.” 

Senator Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has fought tirelessly to secure funding for the Shipyard. She was also instrumental in defending Shipyard construction projects against the President’s threats to divert potential Shipyard funding towards the border wall. Since the President first announced his emergency declaration and projects at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard were initially listed as potential targets to lose funding, including the Paint, Blast and Rubber facility, Senator Shaheen has successfully defended the funding secured by Congress.