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Wittman, Kiggans, Scott, McClellan Urge DOD to Ensure Funding For Hampton Roads Shipbuilding Ecosystem

WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was joined by Virginia delegation members Reps. Jen Kiggans (VA-02), Bobby Scott (VA-03), and Jennifer McClellan (VA-04) in urging Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to ensure aircraft carrier procurement funding remains on track. 

“Stable and predictable shipbuilding timelines help to maintain a healthy industrial base ecosystem while providing economic benefits for thousands of Virginians in the greater Hampton Roads region,” said Congressman Wittman. “Any delays in funding for the next Ford­­-class carrier would be extremely disruptive to our Navy’s ability to project power and provide for our national security.”

The Virginia delegation members also touted the more than $5 billion in cost savings and stability that multi-ship buys would generate for the Navy and the shipbuilding industrial base.

“At a time when our nation is facing threats from multiple fronts, it is critical to prioritize our shipbuilding schedule,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “Our aircraft carriers are the best in the world and the cornerstone of our ability to project power around the globe. Additionally, the shipbuilding industry provides stable, good paying jobs for Hampton Roads and is a major contributor to our local economy and an economic driver for our Commonwealth. I’m proud to join my colleagues to urge Secretary Austin to keep our shipbuilding plan on schedule. Any delay would directly impact our national security and that is unacceptable.”

“Consistent Navy procurement schedules for shipbuilding are critical to ensuring that Hampton Roads’ shipbuilders and our industrial base as a whole are supported,” said Congressman Scott. “Uncertainty in the production line leads to uncertainty in our national security capabilities, and I remain committed to ensuring reliable funding for the Ford-class and our nation’s entire shipbuilding program.”

“Now more than ever, we must do everything to ensure a consistent shipbuilding schedule,” said Congresswoman McClellan. “Hampton Roads plays a vital role in supporting the U.S. Navy and America’s national security priorities. I am glad to join my colleagues to urge the Defense Department to ensure the timely procurement of aircraft carriers and other military assets.”

To read the full letter to Secretary Austin, click here or scroll below.


The Honorable Lloyd Austin
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Austin: 

As you continue preparation of the fiscal year 2025 Budget Request for the Department of Defense, we are writing to express our support for the procurement of Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers on steady and predictable construction intervals. 

The President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2024 forecasts two years of advance procurement (AP) for CVN 82, the fifth ship in the Ford-class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in fiscal years 2026 and 2027 with incremental funding beginning in fiscal year 2028. This procurement timeline for CVN 82 is consistent with the Navy’s most recent 30-year shipbuilding plan, which acknowledges the importance of stable, executable acquisition profiles to the development and retention of highly-skilled workforces and investment in world-class manufacturing and shipbuilding facilities. 

It is disheartening, therefore, to see recent reports suggesting that the Department may be considering delays to CVN 82 in the fiscal year 2025 budget request – something that would be extremely disruptive to the shipbuilding industrial base and detrimental to national security. 

In accordance with Section 132 of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (P.L. 117-263), the Secretary of the Navy recently submitted a report to the congressional defense committees highlighting the overwhelming benefits of a Ford-class acquisition strategy that leverages the block buy purchase of CVN 82 and CVN 83 with sufficient advance procurement funding on consistent and predictable 4-year construction intervals. Similar to previous multi-ship procurement strategies that have proven successful across numerous shipbuilding programs (to include CVN 80 and CVN 81), it is estimated that a block buy procurement of CVN 82 and CVN 83 in FY28 would save the nation more than $5 billion and inject much needed stability into an otherwise fragile shipbuilding industry. 

As recent events have shown, our nation’s aircraft carrier fleet remains in constant demand, with more than 1/3 (4 of 11) of the nation’s aircraft carriers recently deployed worldwide to protect vital national interests. Foundational to this deterrent presence is our nation’s aircraft carrier industrial base, which has been dramatically reduced to approximately 2,000 across the country. These remaining suppliers – many of which support both submarines and aircraft carriers as part of the nation’s nuclear industrial base – rely on the Navy’s commitment to steady, executable procurement timelines to avoid the “boom and bust” acquisition profiles and breaks in production lines referenced in the 2024 shipbuilding plan. 

As such, we urge the Department to remain on course with the procurement of CVN 82 in 2028 and strongly encourage consideration of the optimum acquisition strategy for Ford-class aircraft carriers delineated in the Navy’s report to the defense committees earlier this year.