San Diego Business Journal

Budget Woes Could Sink Nassco Deal for New Navy Ship

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lack of a federal budget threatens a U.S. Navy shipbuilding project at General Dynamics Nassco in Barrio Logan, the Navy’s top admiral recently told a congressional committee.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert testified that federal budget woes would force the Navy to remove the Nassco ship, called an afloat forward staging base, from its 2014 shipbuilding plan.

Other suppliers could be affected too. Greenert said a Virginia class submarine and a littoral combat ship may also be removed from the 2014 shipbuilding plans.

The federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

The situation would happen under a pair of circumstances:

• If Congress does not pass a budget for fiscal 2014 and decides to keep the government running under a stopgap measure called a continuing resolution.

• And if Congress does nothing about sequestration. The word refers to a program of across-the-board cuts in the federal budget. Sequestration would reduce the Navy budget by 14 percent, Greenert said.

The admiral made his remarks before the House Armed Services Committee on Sept. 18.

Nassco plans to build the afloat forward staging base in its yard near Barrio Logan. The ship would be another copy of its 784-foot-long mobile landing platform, with variations. Nassco delivered the first mobile landing platform, the USNS Montford Point, in May.

“Like everyone else that provides products and/or services to the country, we are very concerned with the government’s ability to establish a firm and stable budget,” said a Nassco spokeswoman.

Budget woes would affect San Diego business in other ways.

Greenert said the Navy would have to cut 34 of 55 ship maintenance periods planned for fiscal 2014. That would affect the private shipyards on San Diego Bay that maintain and upgrade Navy ships.

— Brad Graves