Video Recap: In Committee, Pingree Urges Navy Leaders to Support On-Time Completion of PNSY Modernization Projects
Washington, May 13, 2021
In a House Appropriations Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today questioned Naval leaders on the timely completion of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s (PNSY) Dry Dock Extension Project. Pingree represents Maine’s 1st Congressional District, including Kittery, home of the shipyard.
The Navy’s 2018 Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP) calls for an investment of $21 billion over 20 years to optimize and modernize the nation’s four public shipyards. A major component of the SIOP is the improvement and upgrade of the dry docks at the four public shipyards, a $4.5 billion investment. Modernization of PNSY’s Dry Dock 1 would increase capacity and modify it for VIRGINIA class submarines.
“There’s been a lack of priority in this area—and adequate funding—and it’s important that modernization continues…the Yard itself does incredible work with the resources that are available to them, but we could do so much more with upgraded facilities,” said Pingree. “The Multi-Mission Dry Dock Modernization project will allow for simultaneous docking and overhauls of VIRGINIA class submarines and eliminate the need and expense to float submarines to get them in the dock.”
Pingree continued: “Can you speak to what the consequences would be if there is a failure to continue funding this project on time, both in terms of the backlog in availabilities across the public shipyards as well as the operational needs of the fleet to have the boats on deployment rather than sitting idle and dockside?”
Vice Admiral Ricky Williamson, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics, testified that the modernization of the four public shipyards are a top priority for naval preparedness and mission readiness. Vice Admiral Williamson said that the 107-year-old dry docks must be quickly modernized, and that the Navy has already spent funds from previous appropriations bills on the new design of Kittery’s dry dock.
Video of Pingree’s questions and answers from Naval leaders are available for download here.
In March, Pingree joined a letter with other lawmakers who represent public shipyards, requesting that the Biden Administration support consistent funding for the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP) while simultaneously working alongside the local shipyard workforces to determine the best path towards modernization.
“I was fortunate enough to pay a visit [to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard] with the rest of our delegation from Maine…it was just phenomenally impressive to see the work that was going on down there,” Pingree finished.