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March 30, 2007

Kagen, Stupak Press Navy On Littoral Combat Ship

(WASHINGTON, DC) Congressmen Steve Kagen and Bart Stupak (D-MI) pressed Navy officials late Thursday to resolve any issues concerning the ongoing construction of the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) at Marinette Marine. Kagen and Stupak met with Navy officials during a closed door hearing of the House Armed Services Committee late Thursday afternoon.

“Navy officials recognize the excellent craftsmanship being performed by the skilled employees at Marinette Marine,” Kagen said. “Workers at Marinette Marine have never been the problem. It was the Navy that changed the ship’s design, well after the contract was signed and well after work had begun. The Navy admits that it mismanaged this project and they should be the ones to fix it – not Marinette Marine.”

“The Littoral Combat Ship is important to our national security,” Stupak said. “Congressman Kagen and I met with Members of the House Armed Services Committee and the Navy to express the importance of putting the project back on track and resuming work as quickly as possible.”

The contract for the initial series of Littoral Combat Ships is split between two contractors: Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. The Navy has ordered two ships from each contractor. Marinette Marine is currently finishing construction of the initial Lockheed Martin ship, the LCS Freedom. Last month, the Navy issued a stop order for the Lockheed Martin ship being constructed by Bollinger Shipyard in Louisiana.

Kagen and Stupak said it was clear during the Armed Services Committee meeting that any cost overruns on the LCS project are not the fault of shipbuilders at Marinette Marine.

“When we pressed them, the Navy representatives made it clear yesterday that any problems with this project are not related to the skilled workers at Marinette Marine,” Stupak said.

“Marinette Marine does great work and has the experience the Navy needs,” Kagen elaborated.  “Marinette Marine should not be penalized for any errors made by the Navy or even by Lockheed Martin.”

Last month, the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Sea Power held an oversight hearing on the LCS program.  Lockheed Martin, Marinette Marine, and officials from the Navy all testified.  The LCS program was also discussed today during a full House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Navy’s budget request.

Curtis Ellis
202 225-5665 (office)


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