As the top Republican on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins believes the Naval fleet should be larger to counter global threats
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the Ranking Member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, met with Bath Iron Works (BIW) President Chuck Krugh today to discuss the fiscal year 2024 appropriations process as well as the latest developments at the shipyard.
“As the fiscal year 2024 appropriations season gets underway, I am continuing to strongly advocate for the resources that the highly skilled employees at Bath Iron Works need to build the world’s highest quality ships and increase the size of our Naval fleet,” said Senator Collins. “Completing Bath-built destroyers on time is not only key for future growth at the yard, but it is critical to our national security as well. In 2025, China is expected to have 400 warships compared to only 286 warships in the U.S. Navy. Chuck and the workforce at BIW are focused on getting ships delivered as quickly as possible, and I appreciated the update Chuck provided me today on his comprehensive strategy to get back on schedule. We also discussed ways we can work together to support the shipyard’s hardworking employees and boost recruitment and retention efforts. This includes expanding job training programs and undertaking quality of life enhancements, such as making transportation improvements, offering child care, and increasing the supply of affordable housing. BIW will remain one of my highest priorities as the appropriations process moves forward.”
“We appreciate the opportunity to update Senator Collins on the important work we are doing building ships for the U.S. Navy and to discuss future opportunities, including addressing the needs of our workforce, such as training, housing, transportation and child care,” said BIW President Chuck Krugh. “We want our workers to be secure knowing they have a long and vital career at Bath Iron Works building the ships that defend our country. We thank Senator Collins for her dedicated support for our shipyard and our shipbuilders.”
Mr. Krugh was appointed the President of BIW in May 2022. A U.S. Army veteran, he served in a variety of aerospace manufacturing roles before joining General Dynamics in 2011.
Senator Collins has consistently pushed for the construction of destroyers, the workhorses of the fleet, by restoring funding for a DDG-51 that was cut from the Navy’s budget in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Defense Appropriations bill and adding $2.19 billion to the FY 2023 defense appropriations bill for the construction of an additional, third DDG-51.
The Pentagon’s annual assessment of China’s military power reports that the Chinese Navy is now the largest in the world with about 340 ships, and China is expected to have a 400-ship fleet in 2025. Today, the United States Navy has 296 battle force ships, a fleet that many military experts consider to be too small given global threats.