Steel Caucus, joined by other members of Congress, has sent a bipartisan
letter to President Trump requesting full support for the use of
American-made steel in any expansion of national naval shipbuilding.
U.S. Rep. Pete
Visclosky, D-1st, serves as co-chair of the Steel Caucus.
Excerpts from the
“(We write to you
in support of the American naval shipbuilding industry, a strong component
of our domestic manufacturing sector that depends on access to large
quantities of the highest quality American-made steel. . . .
carriers and other naval ships produced by our domestic shipbuilding
industry are a vital element of our national defense. As threats to American
interests continue to proliferate around the world, our nation increasingly
relies on the inherent flexibility and capabilities of the United States
Navy and its carrier strike groups comprised of an aircraft carrier,
cruisers, destroyers, and submarines. That is why the Caucus strongly
supports proposals to increase our fleet size.
production of one aircraft carrier every five years injects more than $3
billion into our nation’s economy and directly supports thousands of
high-skilled jobs in 43 states and more than 300 congressional districts.
Moreover, American steel producers provide $265 million worth of steel for
the building of a single carrier. By reducing the time between carrier
starts from five years to less than four years, the Navy could much more
easily procure two carriers at a time, using a multi-ship purchase approach
thereby improving construction efficiencies and enabling economic ordering
of equipment and materials for each ship, including the domestic steel used
in armor plating and shipboard equipment.
Virginia-Class Submarine (VCS) and DDG-51 destroyer programs currently
benefit from multi-year procurement contracts allowing the Navy to buy two
ships per year. These programs have seen substantial savings as a result of
serial production and the inclusion of funding for economic order quantity
purchases. Increasing procurement rates to three per year would again reduce
their unit cost, and deliver those ships to the fleet more quickly. A
heightened pace of procurement for these successful ship classes is
absolutely essential to increasing the fleet’s size, capability, and
lethality. . . .
“There is no doubt
that as a nation we face difficult choices in order to strengthen the
economic health of the defense industrial base. As a Caucus, we are united
in the belief that a healthy domestic steel industry and a strong domestic
steel workforce are vital to our nation’s naval shipbuilding industry, our
national security, and our economic well-being.”