|00:00:01||TO EXPRESS MY PLEASURE IN THE FACT THAT THE CONTINUING RESOLUTION THAT PASSED WILL NOW BE GOING TO THE HOUSE, HAD WITHIN IT A PROVISION TO ALLOW THE NAVY TO AWARD THE LITERAL COMBAT SHIP BID COMPETITION TO TWO OF THE BIDDERS.|
|00:00:24||IT TOOK A BIT OF A MODIFICATION OF THE PROCEDURE TO ALLOW THEM TO DO THAT.|
|00:00:29||IT'S REALLY A PRODUCT OF GOOD NEWS.|
|00:00:33||AT ONE POINT IN THE LATE 1990'S, I CHAIRED THE SEAPOWER SUBCOMMITTEE OF ARMED SERVICES.|
|00:00:39||I'VE BEEN A MEMBER OF IT.|
|00:00:41||I'VE SEEN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE LITERAL COMBAT SHIP CONCEPT.|
|00:00:49||ADMIRAL VERN CLARK DETERMINED IT WAS THE FUTURE OF THE TPHAEFPLT THESE SHIPS -- OF THE NAVY.|
|00:00:54||THESE SHIPS, WE EXPECT TO HAVE 55 OF THEM IN THE FLEET.|
|00:00:57||THEY WILL BE MANNED BY ONLY 40 SAILORS.|
|00:01:00||THEY WILL BE HIGH SPEED, ABLE TO TRAVEL IN SHALLOW WATERS, BE EFFECTIVE FOR PIRATES, EFFECTIVE FOR MINE SWEEPING AND OTHER THINGS OF THAT NATURE.|
|00:01:12||THE HOUSE PUT THIS LANGUAGE IN.|
|00:01:13||WE HAD A HEARING IN THE COMMITTEE JUST A FEW DAYS AGO.|
|00:01:20||ADMIRAL RUFFHEAD AND NAVY OFFICIALS, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AND REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE C.|
|00:01:29||R.S., THE C.|
|00:01:31||B.O., THOSE A, B, C AGENCIES THAT EVALUATE THESE KIND OF PROPOSALS, AND IT MOVED FORWARD.|
|00:01:38||I THANK SENATOR LEVIN FOR HIS LEADERSHIP IN IT.|
|00:01:41||I THANK SENATOR INOUYE AND COCHRAN ON OUR SIDE AND THE HOUSE LEADERS WHO ALSO SAW FIT TO SUPPORT THE NAVY'S IDEA.|
|00:01:53||IT WASN'T A PLAN I SUGGESTED, BUT IT WAS ONE I BELIEVE IS GOOD.|
|00:01:58||AND THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THIS WAS ENABLED BY THE FACT THAT AS A SURPRISE, THE BIDS ON THE SHIPS WERE VERY MUCH BELOW WHAT WAS ANTICIPATED.|
|00:02:17||THE LEGISLATION REQUIRED THAT THE BIDS COME IN UNDER $480 MILLION PER SHIP, AND IT LOOKS LIKE THESE BIDS WERE GOING TO BE AT $450 MILLION.|
|00:02:30||BY HAVING BOTH SHIPYARDS GO FORWARD, THE NAVY GETS A FIXED PRICE TODAY.|
|00:02:36||IN OTHER WORDS, IF ALUMINUM GOES UP OR ELECTRICITY GOES UP, THE SHIPYARDS ARE GOING TO EAT THIS.|
|00:02:41||SO WE'LL BRING ON BOTH SHIPS AT THE SAME TIME.|
|00:02:44||NOT ONLY THAT, BUT WE WOULD GET 20 SHIPS TOTAL IN THIS FIRST TRANCHE OF SHIPS, RATHER THAN 19.|
|00:02:55||IN ADDITION TO THAT, THE NAVY SCORES THAT IT WOULD HAVE HAVE SAVED $1 BILLION, AND THAT $1 BILLION THEY HOPE TO APPLY TO OTHER SHIPS THAT THE NAVY NEEDS IN THEIR 313-SHIP NAVY OF THE FUTURE.|
|00:03:13||ASHTON CARTER, THE D.|
|00:03:17||O.D.'S ACQUISITION EXECUTIVE SAID THE NAVY'S RECENT DECISION TO BUY BOTH CLASSES OF THE LITERAL SHIP DUE TO LOWER THAN EXPECTED BID PRICES IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT GOOD COMPETITION CAN DO.|
|00:03:28||IT WAS A COMPETITIVE BID.|
|00:03:31||I THINK THE NAVY MAY HAVE MADE A MISTAKE IN NOT ALLOWING MORE BENEFIT TO THE BIDDERS BASED ON HOW VALUABLE A SHIP WAS, THE TOTAL VALUE.|
|00:03:43||BUT THEY MADE IT A RIGOROUS COMPETITION AND APPARENTLY GOT VERY GOOD BIDS.|
|00:03:53||THE AVERAGE BIDS WERE, AS I SAID, THE AVERAGE -- CHIEF OF TPHAEFL OPERATIONS, ADMIRAL GARY RUFFHEAD TESTIFIED BEFORE THE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE.|
|00:04:07||HE SAID I THINK THE TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF SHIPS GIVE US A CERTAIN A.|
|00:04:13||FLEXIBILITY, VERSATILITY THAT ONE WOULD NOT.|
|00:04:16||AS I TALKED EARLIER ABOUT THIS ABILITY TO MIX THE CAPABILITIES OF A FORCE THAT WE PUT IN THERE.|
|00:04:22||I THINK THIS MAY HAVE BEEN WHEN I ASKED HIM A QUESTION ABOUT IT AT THAT SAME HEARING, HE SAID, I BELIEVE THAT THE DESIGNS OF THE SHIPS AND THE FLEXIBILITY OF THE SHIPS AND ALSO THE COST OF THESE SHIPS OPEN UP THE POTENTIAL OF FOREIGN MILITARY SALES THAT WOULD NOT OTHERWISE BE THERE.|
|00:04:38||IN OTHER WORDS, NOT ONLY COULD WE CREATE JOBS, PERHAPS 3,000 TO 4,000 JOBS IMMEDIATELY, BUT MANY OF OUR ALLIES, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT, MIGHT WANT TO BUY THESE SHIPS FOR THEIR FLEETS, AND WE WOULD HAVE THE ABILITY TO EXPORT THESE PRODUCTS ABROAD.|
|00:04:58||SO, MADAM PRESIDENT, I WILL JUST SAY HAVING BEEN INVOLVED IN SEEING THE VISION, ADMIRAL -- THE NAVY OVER A DECADE-PLUS, TO SEE THAT FINALLY COME TO FRUITION IS GOOD.|
|00:05:14||ONE NAVY OFFICIAL WAS QUOTED IN ONE OF THE MAJOR PUBLICATIONS AS SAYING THE NATURE OF THESE COMPETITIONS ARE SUCH THAT THERE WILL BE 100% CHANCE OF A PROTEST, WHICHEVER ONE WON THE BID BECAUSE -- ONE REASON BECAUSE THE BID WAS SO CLOSE.|
|00:05:33||SO WE'LL AVOID A PROTEST, BE ABLE TO MOVE FORWARD, GET THE SHIPS FASTER, LOCK IN THE LOWEST POSSIBLE COST, CLEARLY LOWER THAN WHAT WOULD BE OTHERWISE, AND MAYBE EVEN ABLE TO SAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BUILD AN EVEN LARGER SHIP WITH IT.|
|00:05:49||SO, I THANK THE COLLEAGUES WHO HAVE WORKED ON IT.|
|00:05:52||I BELIEVE IT WILL BE A GOOD THING.|
|00:05:55||ONE OF THE SHIPS WILL BE BUILT IN MY HOMETOWN OF MOBILE, ALABAMA, AND I KNOW HOW EXCITED THE WORKERS AT THE SHIPYARDS WILL BE TO HEAR THAT THEY WILL HAVE JOBS IN THE FUTURE PRODUCING ONE OF THE FINEST, MOST MODERN WARSHIPS IN THE HISTORY OF THE NAVY.|
|00:06:15||I THANK THE CHAIR AND YIELD THE FLOOR.|
|00:06:18||MR. CARDIN: MADAM PRESIDENT?|
|00:06:19||THE PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM MARYLAND.|
|00:06:21||MR. CARDIN: THANK YOU, MADAM PRESIDENT.|
|00:06:22||WE ARE NOW ONLY HOURS|
Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I wish to take a brief moment to express my pleasure in the fact that the continuing resolution that passed and will now be going to the House had within it a provision to allow the Navy to award the littoral combat ship competition to two of the bidders. It took a bit of a modification of the procedure to allow them to do that. It is a product of good news.
At one point in the late nineties, I chaired the Seapower Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee. I have been a member of it. I have seen the development of the littoral combat ship concept. ADM Vern Clark determined it was the future of the Navy. We expect to have 55 of them in the fleet. They would be manned by only 40 sailors. They would be high speed, able to travel in shallow waters, and be effective for pirates or be effective for mine sweeping and other activities of that nature.
The House put in this language. We had a hearing in the committee a few days ago with Admiral Roughead and Navy officials, Secretary of the Navy Mabus, and representatives from the CRS, GAO and CBO--those ABC agencies that evaluate these kinds of proposals--and it has moved forward.
I thank Senator Levin for his leadership. I thank Senator Inouye and Senator Cochran on our side and the House leaders also who saw fit to support the Navy's idea. It is not a plan I suggested, but it is one I believe is good.
The good news is this was enabled by the fact that as a surprise, the bids on the ships were very much below what was anticipated. The legislation required that the bids come in under $480 million per ship, and it looks as if these bids are going to be at $450 million. By having both shipyards go forward, the Navy gets a fixed price today. In other words, if aluminum goes up or electricity goes up, the shipyards are going to eat it. We will bring on both ships at the same time.
Not only that, but we would get 20 ships total in this first tranche of ships rather than 19. In addition to that, the Navy scores that it will save $1 billion, and that $1 billion they hope to apply to other ships the Navy needs in their 313-ship Navy of the future.
Ashton Carter, the DOD's acquisition executive, said: The U.S. Navy's recent decision to buy both classes of Littoral Combat Ship due to lower than expected bid prices is an example of what good competition can do.
It was a competitive bid. I think the Navy may have made a mistake in not allowing more benefit to the bidders based on how valuable the ship was, the total value, but they made it a rigorous cost competition and apparently got very good bids. The average bids were, as I said, $450 million.
The Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Gary Roughead, on December 14--a few days ago--testified before the Armed Services Committee. He said: I think the two different types [of ships] give us a certain amount of flexibility, versatility that one would not, and as I talked earlier about this ability to mix the capabilities of a force that we put in there.
This may have been when I asked a question about it at that same hearing. He said: I ..... believe that the designs of the ships and the flexibility of the ships ..... and also the cost of these ships open up potential of foreign military sales that would otherwise not be there.
In other words, not only could we create jobs, perhaps 3,000 to 4,000 jobs immediately, but many of our allies, with the approval of the Defense Department, might want to buy these ships for their fleets, and we would have the ability to export these products abroad.
Having been involved in seeing the vision of the Navy over a decade plus and to see that finally come to fruition is good. One Navy official was quoted in one of the major publications as saying the nature of these competitions is such there be a 100-percent chance of a protest, whichever one won the bid, and one reason is because the bid was so close. We will avoid a protest and will be able to move forward, get the ships faster, lock in the lowest possible cost, clearly lower than what would be otherwise, and maybe even be able to save enough money to build an even larger ship with it.
I thank my colleagues who worked on this issue. I believe it will be a good thing. One of the ships will be built in my hometown of Mobile, AL. I know how excited the workers at the shipyards will be to hear they will have jobs in the future producing one of the finest, most modern warships in the history of the Navy.
I yield the floor.