Poliquin, Pingree Secure Amendment in Defense Bill to Ensure BIW Remains On Track to Build Two DDG-51 Ships, After a Provision Had Threated to Derail Them
WASHINGTON — Congressman Bruce Poliquin (ME-02) and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01) have successfully secured an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to ensure that Bath Iron Works (BIW) can remain in contract negotiations and on track to construct a second Fiscal Year 2016 DDG-51 destroyer and a Fiscal Year 2017 DDG-51 destroyer, after a provision had been added in committee that threatened this important shipyard workload.
The Poliquin Amendment ensures that an additional DDG-51 destroyer that was authorized in the previous FY16 NDAA stays on track for construction at BIW. The amendment blocks a provision that would have established new requirements for the already-authorized ships, which could have obstructed or at least delayed the potential contracts.
“Bath Iron Works, employing thousands of hardworking Mainers, plays an essential role in ensuring our Nation’s defense and strength,” said Congressman Poliquin. “It is critical we support these shipbuilders, who provide for our safety at home and abroad. America’s might around the world depends on these Maine workers at BIW, and I am proud to make sure they can continue their mission.”
“Congress shouldn’t be inserting itself into complex contract negotiations like this, especially once they’re underway—doing so unnecessarily threatens the job security of hundreds of hard-working Mainers at Bath Iron Works,” said Congresswoman Pingree. "I’m proud to support this amendment to block these retroactive changes and protect the flow of work at BIW, whose level of shipbuilding is an incredible asset to our national security and our state’s economy.”
In the FY16 NDAA, three DDG-51 ships were authorized. One of those FY16 ships is already under contract to BIW, while the additional FY16 ship due BIW remains in contract negotiations with the Navy. The FY17 NDAA authorized two DDG-51 ships—one of which is in contract negotiations with the Navy. However, a provision was added to the House FY18 NDAA that would have retroactively imposed new statutory requirements—including a new radar system (AMDR)—on ships authorized and appropriated in prior fiscal years.
This provision would have interjected Congress into sensitive, ongoing shipbuilding contract negotiations. Historically, Congress has sought to avoid affecting ongoing contract negotiations. This provision would have established a troublesome precedent for future acquisition programs and contract negotiations.
The Poliquin Amendment excludes the authorized FY16 DDG-51 ships from provisions that would have imposed retroactive requirements and would make it clear that Congress intends that the Navy should bear the contractual burden for the majority of risk on FY17 DDG-51 ship construction slated to incorporate the major AMDR change.