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As many of you know, I have been developing a proposal to address this
issue that has developed in part, from discussions with other members of this
panel. I hope to be in a position to introduce this legislation—ideally, as as
bipartisan effort-after the break. In my opinion, reauthorization and
modification of the current Maritime Security program is only one step in a
series of required changes.
At the end of the day, we will need to develop a program that is affordable
and one that this Administration can get behind and support. As I said last
week, we intend to continue these hearings into the fall—at which time we
will get the views and the requirements of the ultimate users
TRANSCOM. If we cannot design a program that meets and satisfies a
discernable military requirement, we will not be get the support of the
Before I recognize the distinguished ranking member of this panel, I
want to ask unanimous consent that a letter dated July 19,2002 from Andy
Abbott, representing the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron
Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers be entered into the record.
Mr. Abbot was invited to testify before the panel today but was scheduled to
be out of town. Without objection, so ordered.
At this time, I recognize the Honorable Tom Allen from Maine for
any statement he might wish to make.
I thank the Chairman for scheduling this next installment in our series of hearings on reauthorization of the Maritime Security Program.
When I talk to people back in Maine about what we do in Congress, this is the kind of event they think we do all the time: a substantive, thorough airing of an issue, with views from all sides. It is good to have this opportunity to dig into this issue, and hear from the wide variety of entities with interests in the Maritime Security Program.
I especially thank the Chairman for setting up this hearing on shipbuilding issues early in the series. Like the Chairman, I have one of the “big six” shipyards in
my district. The shipbuilders have an interesting proposal for the re-authorization, and I look forward hearing the testimony of San Diego's own Mr. Voortman, as well as our other witnesses.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Panel, for this
opportunity in my capacity as Chairman of the American Shipbuilding
Association (ASA) to present our industry's recommendation to
strengthen America's national security, our merchant marine, and the
ASA represents the six largest shipbuilders in the United States.
We build large oceangoing commercial ships, as well as all of the capital
ships for the U.S. Navy. ASA also represents 22 major companies
engaged in the manufacture of ship systems and components.
Unfortunately, as you heard last week, the United States is at
serious risk of not having a merchant marine engaged in international
commerce in the future. Our merchant marine, and the maritime
industry in the United States is dying. This death is analogous to a
patient afflicted with cancer where each segment of the industry grows
weaker over time, until gradually, we are no more. It is past the time for
all segments of the maritime industry to come together to rebuild our
merchant marine and the industry that supports our merchant marine.