Cochran Announces $95 Million Coast Guard Shipbuilding Contract for Work in Mississippi
Impounded Since Last Year, National Security Cutter Funding Released as Rebuilding of U.S. Security Assets Increases

From:  News Release  3/30/18   GCN

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $95 million contract for long-lead-time material for the U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC) 10, funding appropriated by Congress last year but impounded by bureaucrats.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contract award to Huntington Ingalls for long lead time materials procurement for NSC 10 comes less than a week after Congress provided significant FY2018 funding to sustain the acquisition schedule for a new NSC fleet. This included funding for the construction of NSC 10 and long-lead-time materials and construction for NSC 11.

“National Security Cutters excel at protecting our homeland because they have proven to be the most effective and advanced security ships in the Coast Guard fleet. I am pleased these funds will finally be put to work to increase the cutter fleet,” Cochran said. “I am certain our Mississippi shipbuilders will continue to do excellent work on NSCs 10 and 11.”

The NSC 10 contract was issued as the General Accountability Office (GAO) conducts an investigation sought by Cochran into whether DHS was delaying contracting actions and ignoring clear congressional directives. In a December 2017 letter, Cochran asked the GAO to determine whether withholding the FY2017 funding violated the Budget and Impoundment Control Act and whether there could be wasteful cost escalations associated with the impoundment of NSC 10 long-lead-time material funding.

“As you know, the Budget and Impoundment Control Act operates on the premise that when the Congress appropriates money to the Executive Branch, the President is required to obligate funds. It is my understanding that DHS has completed nearly every step required prior to obligation, but is delaying actual obligation and is in conflict with the law,” Cochran wrote to Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States.
Cochran’s letter helped focus attention on delays and DHS began taking steps to award the NSC 10 contract for long-lead-time material.

With the signing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 last week, Congress provided $1.24 billion for the National Security Cutter (NSC) Program, $1.19 billion above the budget request, to maintain the NSC procurement program. Funding to construct NSC 10 and the procurement of long-lead-time materials and construction of NSC 11 will be awarded in future contracting actions totaling $1.2 billion. Cochran was instrumental in securing the funding.

Additionally, Congress appropriated $26 million, $25 million above the budget request, to accelerate the acquisition program to replace legacy Inland River and Construction Tenders which were commissioned between 1944 and 1990 and have an average age of 52-years-old.

In addition to Coast Guard funding, the bill provided the Department of Defense $23.8 billion for Navy shipbuilding programs, $3.4 billion above the budget request. In total, the law funds the construction of 14 new ships: one aircraft carrier, two Virginia class submarines, two DDG-51 destroyers, three Littoral Combat Ships, one LXR amphibious warship, one Expeditionary Fast Transport ship, one Expeditionary Sea Base, one TAO fleet oiler, one Towing, Salvage and Rescue ship (ATS), and one T-AGS oceanographic survey ship.

The agreement also fully funds advance procurement activities for Ohio class and Virginia class submarines. Other critical shipbuilding investments include an additional $225 million for the expansion of the submarine industrial base and $150 million to accelerate procurement of a Heavy Polar Icebreaker.

Cochran, who also chairs the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, retires from the U.S. Senate effective April 1, 2018.