I want to express our sincere appreciation for your investment in the Shipbuilding Supplier Industrial Base through ASSA. 2021 has been another challenging year, still adopting to the new normal of virtual meetings. While the meetings we have held have been very productive, especially with the Secretary of the Navy, our hope is this will change in 2022. Our advocacy for Buy American for US Government shipbuilding programs has never had greater traction. Right now, we are staying focused on providing information to key Senators asking for their support of the House version of the NDAA. In fact, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced an amendment with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to enhance Buy American requirements, invest in American manufacturing and strengthen the U.S. supply chain. The Senate is expected to take up floor consideration of the FY 22 NDAA in the coming weeks. Click here for the full story. To close out 2021, we have secured a face-to-face meeting in DC with Rear Admiral Sara “Clutch” Joyner, Navy Chief of Legislative Affairs, on Tuesday, December 7th from 1-3pm EST. Look for another meeting notice for all the details. During the December meeting, we will present the full 2021 annual report and the proposed 2022 program of work. Some of the highlights from 2021 include:
In January, held the board of directors meeting to develop the 2021 program of work and set priorities in response to President Biden’s Executive Order 14005 “Ensuring the Future is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers.” This E.O. enforces existing Buy American laws, limits waivers, and proposes increasing the percentage of US content as well as domestic price preference; and, President Biden’s E. O. 1417, “America’s Supply Chains.” This requires each Department to implement more resilient supply chains, facilitate greater domestic production, and build and sustain the American workforce needed to support these goals;
In February and March, developed and distributed issues white paper to members of ASSA and members of Congress and key contacts in the Navy: Preserving and Sustaining the Domestic Shipbuilding Base to advocate for the industry;
In March, held a successful “virtual” DC Fly-in meeting for ASSA members to meet with 12 members of Congress and their staff to present the case the that Buy American requirements do not apply to specific HM&E components procured by the shipyards; and without specific policies and laws that support and sustain a robust domestic manufacturing base for shipbuilding components, the intended effects of the E. O.’s to support the production and sustainment of the ships the Navy needs cannot be met;
During the Fly-in, ASSA presented the 2021 Honorable Thad Cochran Leadership Award to The Honorable Donald Norcross (NJ-01) for his dedication and commitment to a robust American shipbuilding supplier industrial base through the Norcross amendment to increase the percentage of US content for MDAP’s;
Continued ASSA’s Buy American advocacy throughout the year to ensure that 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier suppliers are protected, including advocacy for the last remaining anchor chain company in the US to change language to protect this US manufacturer;
In May, held a virtual membership meeting with Ms. Bilyana Anderson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Ships), Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, (RD&A) for members to discuss with her the Navy’s implementation plan in response to President Biden’s Buy American Executive Orders.
In July, held membership meeting with Andrew Jaffke, procurement manager for the DDG 51 Class program office. He is responsible for engineering services for the ACAT IC DDG 51 Class shipbuilding program, leading the planning, direction and execution of DDG 51 Class Follow Yard Services. This meeting was in response to Admiral Anderson’s request for industry input for his 90-day assessment.
In August , attended the Sea-Air-Space Expo and held a face-to-face meeting with the new Buy America Director, Ms. Celeste Drake, with 30 members of ASSA in attendance, sponsored by General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems. During the meeting, ASSA presented industry challenges and offered policy recommendations:
Expand BA requirements to apply directly to shipbuilding designers and components to sustain the supply chain and workforce;
Strengthen statutory requirements that sustainment costs must be realistically assessed early in the acquisition cycle; and,
Require assessment of direct impact of component selection on the domestic supplier base.
In August, also participated in FAR Hearings and provided testimony regarding the proposed rule to amend the FAR to implement an EO addressing domestic preference in government procurement; and, submitted comments through the Federal Register on the position of the industry.
In September, held a joint membership meeting with the Marine Machinery Association in Wisconsin and toured Fairbanks Morse Defense with Admiral Anderson as the keynote speaker;
In October, held a membership meeting with the Secretary of the Navy, The Honorable Carlos Del Toro, to discuss the Navy’s plan for strengthening the U. S. Defense Maritime Industrial Base;
During the October meeting, also provided members with the opportunity to meet with Ron O’Rourke, Specialist in Naval Affairs, Congressional Research Services and Dr. Eric Labs, Senior Analyst, Naval Forces & Weapons, Congressional Budget Office to gain intel to build a case for support for the industry and to forecast future trends affecting the industry.
During the October meeting, the Board presented the Founder’s Award to John West of Fox Valley Metal-Tech as a founding member of ASSA and for his contributions to our industry;
In November, through the pro bono legal counsel of attorney Raymond J. Sherbill, attorney for Thrustmaster of Texas, submitted comments on behalf of ASSA in response to the FAR case.
In October and November, conducted meetings with members of the Senate to gain support of the House version of the NDAA.
These efforts could not be possible without your support. Thank you for your active membership in ASSA. We look forward to another productive year in 2022.
Tish Haas Williams
American Shipbuilding Suppliers Association