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    Sunday, July 21, 2024

    House approves 2023 defense spending bill, more historic funding for submarine construction

    Washington ― The House of Representatives voted 350-80 Thursday to approve the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate will now consider.

    U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, who voted with the majority, said the spending bill authorizes new forms of support for American service members and their families, as well as continued funding for a historic amount of shipbuilding, submarine procurement and research efforts.

    It also authorizes the design and construction of up to 10 ships for the National Defense Reserve Fleet and includes a Courtney-authored amendment to strengthen the AUKUS defense alliance among Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    “The final 2023 NDAA also puts a strong emphasis on building out our long-term naval and shipbuilding efforts, which comes at a particularly exciting time for eastern Connecticut,” Courtney, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, said in a news release. “I’ve worked in bipartisan fashion for years to increase submarine production in our region, and to build up the skilled workforce needed to produce it, (which) have culminated in a massive expansion of the Groton shipyard and the local manufacturing supply chain that supports it. With all that already in place, and with the strong shipbuilding demand signals coming from our own Navy and through new partnerships like AUKUS, the 2023 NDAA makes sure we’ll keep the momentum going strong …"

    According to Courtney’s office, the eastern Connecticut priorities in the bill include $14.7 billion for submarine procurement, repair and research and development, including:

    • $6.5 billion to support the sustained two-per-year build rate of new Virginia-class submarines, with $4.5 billion for two submarines in 2023 and $2 billion in advance procurement to support future construction in 2024 and 2025.
    • $3.1 billion in support of the second year of funding for the first Columbia-class submarine and $2.8 billion in advanced procurement to support the second.
    • $750 million for submarine industrial base investments, $541 million for submarine supplier development, shipyard infrastructure, strategic outsourcing and technology opportunities, as well as $227 million to support workforce development initiatives.
    • More than $1.3 billion in research and development of future submarine capabilities, including a $188.9 million increase for developing capabilities for the next block of submarines, and about $144 million to develop the planned follow-up to the Virginia class.
    • $20 million to support partnerships with academic institutions conducting research on undersea capabilities, such as the National Institute for Undersea Vehicle Technology, a collaborative program between the University of Connecticut and the University of Rhode Island.
    • $50 million for the Department of Defense supplemental impact aid program, which provides support to local school districts with high proportions of military children, including Groton public schools.
    • $15.5 million for a military construction project at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton to relocate the existing underwater electromagnetic measurement system.
    • $8 million to continue development and procurement of advanced technologies and critical materials required for a variety of Department of Defense systems.

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