The USS Milwaukee, the U.S. Navy's fifth littoral combat ship, was built at Marinette Marine and launched into the Menominee River, Dec. 18, 2013. (WLUK)
GREEN BAY - The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee is looking at major defense spending contracts this week.Lawmakers from Wisconsin say they're fighting for funding at Marinette Marine.Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin says Marinette Marine not only builds Littoral Combat Ships for the Navy, it builds up the local economy.
"It supplies good paying, family supporting jobs," Baldwin told FOX 11's Kelly Schlicht over the phone Monday.Marinette Marine currently employs roughly 2,000 people. It added 200 jobs in March to help build two LCS ships.Earlier this month, the House Armed Services Committee secured funding for the completion of one ship, and additional cash to start another. The legislation is part of the larger National Defense Authorization Act.Baldwin says funding both ships is crucial."That's what has to happen to avoid significant disruptions in the workforce," Baldwin said.Chuck Goddard, president of Marinette Marine, is in Washington, D.C. this week. FOX 11 reached out to him but did not receive a response.FOX 11 contacted subcontractor Lockheed Martin. It released the same statement from when the House committee voted two weeks ago, saying: "We are confident in our team's progress on the program, and won't speculate on pending legislation as these mark-ups are part of a multi-step process."The Department of Defense has had its reservations about the LCS not being as versatile or technologically advanced as other ships. Baldwin says the ships are agile enough to take on future threats to national security.President Barack Obama's latest budget proposal calls for 32 new ships, instead of the 52 the Navy wanted.The process of funding defense contracts may not be wrapped up until August.
WLUK FOX 11 is your source for Balanced News and Severe Weather Coverage for Appleton, Shawano, Sturgeon Bay, Kewaunee, Two Rivers, New London, Bonduel, Pulaski, Suamico, Menasha, Neenah, Shiocton, Ashwaubenon, Algoma, Mishicot and Wrightstown.