Senate defense spending bill has local carrier, sub programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAVY) — The defense spending bill passed Tuesday by the Senate includes funding for ongoing and future shipbuilding and maintenance programs in Hampton Roads.

The annual National Defense Authorization Act is the $600 billion spending plan for America’s military for the fiscal year beginning October 1.

Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) says the Senate version provides for key local programs involving carriers and submarines.

“This year, everyone’s gotten the message that the national defense requires that we have 11 carriers, and so the budget for the carrier program is a strong one.”

The Senate bill funds local carrier projects including the refueling and overhauls of the USS George Washington and the USS John C. Stennis, construction of the USS Gerald R. Ford and the USS John F. Kennedy, and plans for construction of the new USS Enterprise.

Kaine says the bill also provides for current and potential future submarine programs.

“The Virginia class submarine program, which is built at the shipyard, is in a strong position in this year’s NDAA, which is good news for the nation’s defense, and good news for Hampton Roads and the spectacular shipyard workers who build these subs.”

Kaine says when the current Ohio Class sub program gets replaced, Hampton Roads will have more shipbuilding opportunities. The new class will likely be built here based on the Virginia Class subs.

The Senate passed the measure 85-13. It would keep all current bases intact for the new fiscal year, and rejects any proposals for realignment or closures.

The legislation now goes to a House-Senate conference committee to reconcile both versions, and then onto President Obama. The president has threatened to veto it because it mandates that Guantanamo prison remain open. Obama has vowed to close the detention center before leaving office.

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