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  • Writer's pictureASSA Staff

ASSA Meets with Made In America Director in the OMB

ASSA members share industry challenges and policy recommendations

During the Sea-Air-Space Expo in Maryland at the Gaylord Center, members of the American Shipbuilding Suppliers Association (ASSA) met with the newly appointed Made in America Director in the Office of Management and Budget, Celeste Drake. During the meeting, ASSA Chairman Chris Cikanovich and Chris Bolt of General Atomics Electromagnetics System presented challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

During the meeting Ms. Drake announced that a virtual public meeting will be held on Thursday, August 26th from 9am to 3pm EST regarding the Proposed FAR Rule on Amendments to the Buy American Act Requirement. ASSA members will be in attendance to provide views on the proposed FAR rule, which implements Executive Order 14005.

Registration is limited to the first 3,000. To register, click here. < Interested parties should also submit comments to be considered in the formulation of a final rule on or before September 28, 2021 to the Regulatory Secretariat Division at one of the addresses found by clicking here < . ASSA will also coordinate a response from our members to present on behalf of the Association.

“This was a very informative meeting for our members,” said Cikanovich. “As an industry, we stand ready to be a resource to Ms. Drake to further the Buy American vision of the President.”

During the meeting, one of the discussion points Ms. Drake made was that the Made In America Office will be responsible for centralizing the waiver process to make it consistent with the law and to look at developing data driven policy that may lead to laws that need to be changed to support the Buy America vision. “ASSA is completely in favor of this process to ensure that every US taxpayer dollar that could be spent in the US should be.” said Cikanovich. During the meeting, ASSA members brought out several points for consideration, in addition to the power point presentation (attached):

* Buy America is more than just components, it is also about design;

* In lieu of changing statutes, provide language in contracts that no foreign nationals are allowed for government specified services;

* We must define what is critical since for some what is critical may not be so to others;

* We should demand that all equipment in US vessels must be made in the US, unless not available; and, if not available what can be done to manufacture it in the US;

* We should expand the list of components;

* The government should quantify and include life-cycle costs up front as part of the acquisition process;

* The US should provide incentives to build what is needed and to become certified—the certification process can take a billion dollars literally and small companies cannot enter these markets because it is so expensive to get certified;

* Ship building is different than other manufacturers and the Buy American rules do not apply to shipbuilding suppliers;

* If Congress continues to leave shipbuilding up to the free market, shipbuilding suppliers will simply go out of business;

* Shipyards have agreements with Foreign shipyards, suppliers and design agents, and it is difficult to compete with their incentives and wage rates;

* We do not advocate for repealing the Jones Act, even though it does not support shipbuilding suppliers;

* We must streamline the qualification process because it can take three years to get qualified and by that time, the foreign competition has already stepped in;

* The Buy American act gets overridden by different procurement agreements;

* We need to define reciprocal agreements and there needs to be a study looking at the impact of reciprocal agreements and building long range plans.

In short, ASSA presented three policy – legislative recommendations for consideration: 1. Expand Buy America requirements to apply directly to shipbuilding designers and components to sustain the supply chain and workforce;

2. Strengthen statutory requirements that sustainment costs must be realistically assessed early in the acquisition cycle; and,

3. Require assessment of direct impact of component selection on the domestic supplier base. ASSA believes the Biden Administration’s focus on Buy American policies is encouraging. The industry needs the support of the Administration and Congress to promote specific policies and laws that will ensure the shipbuilding supplier base and its skilled workforce can deliver and sustain the larger fleet the Navy needs in a manner that provides a highly-skilled workforce, transparency and security of the supply chain.

ASSA is a member-driven, National association, representing the American Shipbuilding Supplier Base to the US Congress, the Navy, the Coast Guard and shipbuilders. Our mission: to advocate for the American Shipbuilding Supplier Base to ensure its long-term stability for supporting our national maritime industry.

For more information, contact:

Tish Haas Williams

American Shipbuilding Suppliers Association ASSA Office: 300 New Jersey Avenue, NW – Suite 900, Washington, DC 20001

Direct line: 228-216-9048 /

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