House panel seeking biannual briefings on Navy shipyard infrastructure plan

By Justin Katz / July 2, 2020 at 11:05 AM

The House Armed Services Committee yesterday advanced legislation to require the Navy to brief lawmakers regularly on the status of its 20-year plan to overhaul the four public shipyards.

The language was included in the panel's fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill which was voted 56-0 out of committee late last night.

Lawmakers would direct the Navy secretary to brief them every six months for the next five years about the progress of the 20-year, $21 billion dollar effort, dubbed the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan.

The briefing would include a master plan for infrastructure development and military construction, a planning and design update for various projects and performance metrics.

The legislation also authorizes a dedicated funding line for the project. The service in previous years has spread out the funding for SIOP in both military construction and operations and maintenance accounts making it unclear how much funding the service was requesting overall.

Navy acquisition chief Hondo Geurts said last year during a hearing with the House panel the disaggregated requests also resulted in the shipyards competing against each other for funding.

In that same hearing, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) questioned Geurts and then-head of Naval Sea Systems Command, Vice Adm. Thomas Moore, if the service was underfunding its plan.

Moore disputed that characterization, saying the program will receive a "substantial uptick" in fiscal years 2022 and 2023.