Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans. The yard historically built amphibious ships for the U.S. Navy. Owners are now exploring using the yard for manufacturing oil and gas infrastructure. Google Photo
Avondale Shipyards, in continuous operation since 1938, is best known in recent years for constructing Navy amphibious ships, including the Whidbey Island (LSD-41) class and the San Antonio (LPD-17) class. The yard was one of three spun off by Northrop Grumman to form Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) in 2011. The company announced it would close the yard in 2013 at the completion of the last LPD scheduled there. At its height the yard employed 6,000; currently there are about 2,200 workers.In December, however, CEO Mike Petters announced HII was exploring use of the yard for the construction of oil and liquified natural gas (LNG) infrastructure around the Gulf Coast.
USNI News spoke with Christopher D. Kastner, HII’s corporate vice president and general manager–corporate development, about the future of the yard, its workforce, and what it means for the U.S. Navy.
Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy (ASN) (Research, Development & Acquisition (RDA), is currently leading U.S. Navy and Marine Corps acquisition programs through the most fiscally austere Department of Defense budget in recent memory.
He’s helmed RDA since 2008 and overseen some of the navy’s more complicated shipbuilding programs. Those include the San Antonio class (LPD-17), the block purchase of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the Gerald R. Ford class next-generation carrier (CVN-78), among others.
Proceedings, January 2013
A close observer of defense-spending trends takes a look at dollars and sense and the looming budget challenges in the Pentagon.
Defense-budget headlines of late have concentrated on sequestration, as hand-wringing increased about the so-called fiscal cliff. Most coverage has focused on defense officials predicting dire consequences for the Department of Defense (DOD), or industry officials warning of job losses and collapse of certain technology sectors and associated businesses. The U.S. Naval Institute recently hosted Defense Forum Washington with a program titled “The Fiscal Cliff: What Does This Mean for Defense and National Security?” The conference focused on sequestration and its impacts. Speakers and panelists offered different perspectives on impact, ranging from disaster to a mere “pothole,” and on occurrence from irresponsible to a fait accompli that should happen to provoke fundamental changes in DOD.
Sequestration has lately been hotly debated and often derided. Many probably have heard the term, aware it involves budget reductions, and possibly many know it could come to pass on Jan. 2, 2013. These potential spending reductions and simultaneous expiration of tax cuts have been collectively dubbed the “fiscal cliff,” receiving increased, post-election media attention as the President and lame-duck Congress negotiate a potential deal to change or avert both. But what does sequestration mean, and in context of the Department of Defense (DOD), what is its impact?
Sequestration could still be avoided (the President alluded to this in the Oct. 22 final campaign debate). Likewise, another outcome could be modification of the amount of budget reduction and/or the mechanisms by which it is conducted. However, worst-case sequestration under current provisions, coupled with previous budget reductions under the Budget Control Act (BCA) and compounded by other long-standing trends in defense spending, will be extraordinarily disruptive and damaging to the long-term defense program. Any change to sequestration requires passage of new legislation and presidential signature before Jan. 2, 2013 which very well may not happen. Therefore, assuming sequestration does trigger as planned in both timing and manner, let’s consider implementation impact on DOD.