Defense bill helps shipyards

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, announced last week that the full committee advanced the fiscal year 2020 defense funding bill.

The bill supports funding for three DDG-51 ships, and a $390 million increase in advanced procurement for “long lead time material for FY21 DDG 51 Flight III ships.” The bill supports an increase of $130 million for shipyard infrastructure investments, which Bath Iron Works would draw on to make improvements to its digital design and shipbuilding technology.

The bill also supports Department of Defense research efforts, some of which are at the University of Maine; a naval apprenticeship program at public shipyards; and a Procurement Technical Assistance Program, which helps Maine small businesses win hundreds of millions in dollars in contract awards annually.

The legislation heads next to the Senate floor for consideration.

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