News Item

US shipyards unhappy with defense budget: Cynthia Brown, president of the lobbying group American Shipbuilding Association, has spoken out against the Bush Administration's 2006 defense budget proposal. The budget calls for fewer new ships, which Brown says will make it impossible for US yards to do significant long-term planning, or sign meaningful contracts with suppliers. Her group plans to fight to have ships added to the budget, or at least speed up some building schedules. But Admiral Vern Clark, the chief of naval operations, told reporters Monday that he believes the Navy's old goal to have 375 ships can be cut back 325, and could possibly drop to as low as 260. The Navy's six civilian shipyards are owned by two companies, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics. While NG Newport News shipyard employees may feel budget cuts, GD shipyards may not notice right away. See "Shipbuilders criticize budget proposal," Dale Eisman, The Virginian-Pilot, 2/09/05.

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