The Congressional 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 letter:
“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. . . .
“Aircraft 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.
“Currently, the 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.
“Both the 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.”