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House votes to pass Courtney-backed provisions in 2022 Defense Authorization Bill

Submitted by Patrick Cassidy

WASHINGTON, DC (Sept. 24, 2021) – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 4350) in the House of Representatives. The House-passed NDAA supports servicemembers and their families, would protect and strengthen America’s global alliances, and includes historic support for shipbuilding and submarine construction and procurement—the most since the 1980’s. The bill received bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, and was passed today by a vote of 316-113. 

“At a time when America’s national security priorities continue to shift towards the maritime domain—a necessity underscored just recently by the historic new AUKUS alliance—our 2022 NDAA is exactly what’s needed to ensure we’re prepared to overcome tomorrow’s challenges,” said Rep. Courtney“The decisions made in this bill are not random – it is the result of months of focused and bipartisan review of the budget and the needs of our nation. One of the most urgent needs facing Congress and the administration is the expansion of our Navy fleet to meet the looming challenges around the world. Shipbuilding is a long game that requires a stable and clear outlook – and this bill provides a strong starting point for fleet size deliberations moving forward.”

It’s no wonder then that this bill focuses so much on boosting our naval and maritime fleets and, in particular, our submarine capabilities,” Courtney added. “Building on a budget request that represented the largest combined investment in submarine procumbent and development in recent history, the NDAA goes even further by taking the initial and needed steps needed to expand submarine production. The expansion of the shipyard, the new submarines being built by our skilled workers, the increase in work up and down our eastern Connecticut supply chain—the NDAA is the foundation of that activity and will help keep it going strong.

“We’ve got more work ahead until our 2022 NDAA becomes final, and as Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee I’ll continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle—and on both sides of the Capitol building—to send it to President Biden’s desk.”

Earlier this month, the House Armed Services Committee voted 57-2 to authorize the 2022 NDAA for final consideration. Click here to read more. 

Eastern Connecticut Priorities included in the 2022 NDAA

Submarines and Undersea Capabilities  The House-passed NDAA provides a total of $13.4 billion for submarine procurement, repair, research & development priorities including: 

  • Virginia-class Submarine – supports the sustained two-per-year build rate of new Virginia-class submarines in 2022 and beyond, continuing the Block V multi-year contract and reflecting Courtney’s bipartisan work to preserve the two a year build rate. The bill also authorizes $567 million to allow the Navy to support shipyard facility and industrial base improvements to enable future increases in Virginia class submarine production from two to three by 2025, a long-time priority of Chairman Courtney’s. 
  • Columbia-class Submarine – fully supports the second year of funding for the first Columbia class submarine and supports advanced procurement to support the second, in line with the contract announced in June 2020. The bill includes a Courtney-authored provision providing $200 million to continue efforts to improve the nationwide submarine supplier base.  Also included in the bill is a provision Courtney authored to expand the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund (NSBDF) to extend continuing production authority to additional components of the new submarine, increasing production efficiency and reducing costs. Recent data from the Navy shows through the use of this authority has saved $1.4 billion in the Columbia program to the tune of over $100 million per boat.  
  • Research and Development of Future Submarine Capabilities– the bill includes $949 million in research and development of future submarine capabilities, including a $150 million increase for developing capabilities for the next block of submarines, and about $30 million to develop the SSN(X), the planned future follow-on to the Virginia-class. These efforts are vital to sustaining the health of the design and engineering workforce at Electric Boat.   
  • USS Hartford repair availability – the bill fully authorizes the budget request of $710 million to support the remainder of the maintenance availability for the USS Hartford in 2022. In June, the Navy awarded the “smart start” contract to Groton’s Electric Boat (EB) for initial maintenance work on the boat, one of the largest submarine maintenance availabilities ever executed by the yard. Click here to learn more. 

The bill also includes other Courtney-led provisions to augment undersea priorities such as: 

  • Academic Partnerships for Undersea Research – The bill authorizes $25 million to support partnerships with academic institutions conducting research on undersea capabilities, such as the National Institute for Undersea Vehicle Technology, a collaborative program between the University of Connecticut and the University of Rhode Island.   
  • Submarine Workforce Development – Authorizes $20 million to support training programs to help support expansion of the skilled submarine workforce as the industrial base ramps up construction of new submarines. Courtney has strongly supported workforce development efforts in the region to support hiring at Electric Boat and the supply chain through programs like the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline. 
  • Remote Acoustic Sensors – The bill included a Courtney-authored provision to allocate $20 million towards supporting operational testing of unmanned remote acoustic sensor systems, which will help the Navy evaluate existing off-the-shelf platforms like those developed by Groton’s ThayerMahan. 

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