Press Releases

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Scott Peters (CA-50) and Jen Kiggans (R-VA-02) introduced the Smart Ship Repair Act (SSRA) of 2024, a follow-up to Rep. Peters’ SSRA of 2023, which became law last year. The SSRA of 2024 would require the Navy to change its current practice of soliciting ship repair contracts on a coast-wide basis from availabilities longer than ten months to only those that are projected to last more than 18 months. Under current policy, ships homeported in San Diego that need more than ten months to complete their maintenance cycle could be moved to other facilities along the West Coast if those companies provide a more competitive bid to the Navy. This challenges how the San Diego ship repair cluster can recruit and maintain its workforce and invest in its facilities, while also forcing sailors to possibly spend their time ashore away from their families after executing a long deployment at sea.


“San Diego is home to a vibrant ship repair industry that employs over 4,000 workers and supports the Navy’s force posture in the Asia-Pacific,” said Rep. Peters. “This bill will help protect those jobs and support a high quality of life for sailors and their families while also ensuring the Navy can meet its ship repair needs as it prepares for the threats of the future.”


“Since 2014, the Navy’s fleet based in Hampton Roads has decreased from 48 to 28 vessels, resulting in a 30% cut to our Virginia-based ship repair workforce,” said Rep. Kiggans. “One of the best ways we can support our Navy and maintain the strength of our ship repair industry is to ensure our ships are repaired within their homeports. I am proud to join Congressman Peters in introducing the Smart Ship Repair Act of 2024 so we can provide a better quality of life for our servicemembers and preserve the health of our defense industrial base.”


The SSRA of 2024’s limitation on coast-wide repair solicitation only for maintenance periods longer than 18 months will stabilize the workforce and investment challenges currently confronting San Diego’s ship repair cluster, reduce the likelihood of separation for sailors and their families stationed in San Diego, and maintain flexibility for the Navy to utilize market competition to repair its fleet. This bill would also add transparency to the Navy’s ship repair solicitation process by requiring the service to report to Congress on how it estimates costs associated with ship repair.


"The Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association appreciates legislative efforts to extend the threshold for coast-wide bids to 18 months,” said  Gordon Rutherford, President of the Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association. “This will keep more ship repair work in Navy homeports, specifically San Diego in our case.  We also applaud this action as a way to reduce the stress and burden on Sailors and their families when their ship undergoes extended maintenance."


"Austal USA appreciates Congressman Peters continued efforts to support and bring stability to the ship repair industry in San Diego," said Larry Ryder, Vice President of Business Development & External Affairs at Austal USA. "The Smart Ship Repair Act of 2024 will help San Diego continue to provide world class ship repair services to the U.S. Navy and support jobs in San Diego."


“NASSCO commends Rep. Peters for introducing this bill which will ensure our sailors and their families remain in their home port during important maintenance and repair availabilities,” said Dave Carver, President of General Dynamics NASSCO. “The coastwide extension will not only reduce the costs associated with moving vessels out of their home port, but sends a positive message to shipyards who continually invest in their facilities.”


“BAE Systems appreciates Congressman Peters’ and Congresswoman Kiggans’ leadership on the conduct of U.S Navy ship maintenance,” said Paul Smith, Vice President and General Manager of BAE Systems Ship Repair. “Overall, the Navy’s private sector surface ship maintenance workload is reduced with fewer ships in the fleet. The Smart Ship Repair Act of 2024 will help enhance predictability and stability for repair work that is 18 months or less, a vitally important aspect that allows sailors to remain close to home during that time and preserves shipyard worker jobs in those ports.”


Full text of the legislation can be found here.