PASCAGOULA — The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved full funding for production of the U.S. Coast Guard’s eighth National Security Cutter (NSC-8) at the Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) yesterday provided the update following the award of a $76.5-million long-lead materials contract for Ingalls to prepare for production of NSC-8. The Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved its version of the FY2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that includes $638 million to fully fund NSC-8.
“Mississippi shipbuilders have excelled at producing National Security Cutters for the Coast Guard, and the long-lead materials contract will keep that process going while saving taxpayers millions of dollars,” Cochran said. “At the same time, the Senate has taken action to ensure that the Coast Guard has funding to complete construction of another cutter in Mississippi.”
Cochran, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee and worked with subcommittee leaders in drafting the FY2015 bill, voted in favor of the measure by proxy.
Cochran’s support for the FY2015 funding follows his successful work last year to secure $77.0 million for NSC-8 long-lead time materials. That funding, represented in yesterday’s contract award to Ingalls, was sought by the Coast Guard but not requested in the President Obama’s FY2014 budget request. Cochran’s advocacy for the funding can be credited with its inclusion in the FY2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which became law in January 2014.
The NSC is a 418-foot frigate that is replacing the Coast Guard’s fleet of aging ships. The three NSCs currently in service are ensuring that the Coast Guard meets its expanding maritime safety and security demands.
The FY2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill is now ready for consideration by the Senate. Also of interest to the Magnolia State, the bill includes $1.3 million for the Coast Guard to continue testing and evaluation of the Mississippi-built Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle.