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Secretary of the Navy advocates for future of Marinette shipyard

Navy requesting 52 new ships as soon as possible
Posted at 10:49 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 23:49:26-04

MARINETTE, WI -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus is in Marinette Monday, advocating for the future of our nation's fleet of littoral combat ships. 

The Navy is calling for 52 new ships to be added to the fleet as quickly as possible. And Secretary Mabus says it can't happen without Wisconsin.
 
The next ship to come from the production line at Fincantieri Marinette Marine will be better than the last.
 
"They can get in closer," says Mabus. "They can operate with carrier strike groups." 
 
It's a reality for the Navy as technology advances, and sailors' skills improve.
 
"We're finding new ways of using this ship almost every day," adds Mabus.
 
According to Mabus, it's all happening while the cost of building these ships is going down. With these realities, Mabus is hoping to keep this shipyard thriving.
 
"There are 2,000 direct jobs here, in Marinette," says Mabus, referring to the jobs that the shipyard supports, "[and] there are 9,000 indirect jobs in this region." 
 
Spokespeople say 13 ships are currently being built in Marinette, with three currently on the water. Another 13 are being built in Alabama.
 
But Mabus says reaching the Navy's assessed need of 308 ships in the fleet by 2021 will take serious work.
 
"What it shows is it takes a long time to build ships," says Mabus. "It takes a long time to turn a fleet around in terms of size." 
 
The future of this nation's Naval fleet depends on a few key issues that Mabus says will fall in the hands of the next president, along with future administrations.
 
"The next administration-whoever comes in-is going to have to make a decision as to build schedules," says Mabus, "as to how many, as to what type." 
 
Mabus adds, when it comes ensuring the safety and security of the US on the global stage through growing the Navy's LCS fleet, quantity has a quality of its own.