U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Leads Wisconsin Congressional Delegation and Michigan Colleagues in Bipartisan Call for Increased Support for Wisconsin’s LCS Shipyard and Workforce

Bipartisan letter to Navy Secretary raises concerns with the FY18/19 LCS acquisition strategy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is leading the Wisconsin Congressional delegation, along with Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and Congressman Jack Bergman (R-MI), in sending a bipartisan letter to Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer raising concerns with the Navy’s acquisition strategy for the procurement of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) in Fiscal Years (FY) 2018 and 2019.

The letter reads, “Accordingly, we are concerned that the FY18/19 LCS acquisition strategy unduly disadvantages the Freedom-variant industry team and will result in irreversible harm to the shipyard and supply chain workforces, in turn reducing competition in the next generation Frigate program. Based on lowest-price rather than best-value, the acquisition strategy fails to take into account differences between the variants regarding capabilities, service-life and total lifecycle cost, among other aspects. The acquisition strategy also fails to appropriately factor in the results of the Navy’s decision to award two Independence-variant ships in both FY15 and FY17—namely the production advantages—and therefore price advantage—accrued by that shipyard.”

In its current form, the FY18/19 LCS acquisition strategy will have negative impacts for the Great Lakes shipbuilding industrial base, the Navy and our allies. If the Navy’s acquisition strategy fails to follow a value-based and equitable approach, one quarter of the Marinette shipyard workforce could be eliminated.

To avoid unfairly advantaging one LCS shipyard and to provide better value to the Navy, Senator Baldwin and her Congressional colleagues are requesting that the Navy alter its acquisition strategy to more substantially consider the unique capabilities, cost structures and workforces of each shipyard.

The letter continues, “As Navy leaders have consistently stated, the skill and resourcefulness needed to build our country’s warships is not created overnight. We agree. It takes years of human and capital investment to build a stable and efficient shipbuilding industrial base, and once those employees—highly skilled senior tradesmen and apprentices alike—are gone, many are gone for good. This is especially true in the Great Lakes region, where the Marinette shipyard is the last of its kind. Furthermore, such an irreversible loss of talent would directly undermine the joint work of the Navy, President Trump, and Congress to build a 355-ship fleet and to support U.S. manufacturing and the defense industrial base.”

Senator Baldwin is a champion of the LCS program, which employs thousands of Wisconsinites and helps meet our national security needs. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she has helped secure billions of dollars in funding for the LCS program, which supports approximately 2,200 jobs at the Marinette Marine shipyard and 6,000 jobs across the nearly 100 Wisconsin companies that supply parts for the LCS.

The full letter is available here.