Maine delegation upset about reported FY-22 destroyer cut

By Aidan Quigley / May 20, 2021 at 12:02 PM

Maine lawmakers are upset that the Biden administration is expected to only request one DDG-51 destroyer in its fiscal year 2022 budget.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the Biden administration's FY-22 budget will procure eight ships, including one destroyer. The Navy bought two DDG-51 class destroyers in FY-21 and had been expected to procure two in FY-22.

Maine Sens. Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I) and Reps. Jared Golden (D) and Chellie Pingree (D) wrote a letter to Biden Tuesday expressing concerns that cutting the destroyer would harm the industrial base and send the wrong message to China.

"Simply put, the United States is not keeping pace with China on shipbuilding, and an abrupt and shortsighted proposal to reduce planned large surface combatant procurement would hinder our Navy's ability to compete for years," the letter states.

Maine's Bath Iron Works, along with Huntington Ingalls Industries, build the DDG-51 class destroyers.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also expressed concerns about the reported ship procurement amount in a statement to Inside Defense.

"Reports that the Biden administration plans to fund only eight ships in the fiscal year 2022 budget request in a year when 10 ships are scheduled to be decommissioned should be of great concern to anyone who is interested in our nation's security," Wicker said. "America's Navy should be growing, not shrinking, if we are to keep pace with China and meet our national goal of a 355-plus ship fleet."