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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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070418frontmarinevisit.jpg

ON BOARD-The Honorable Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the United States Navy, and his wife, Polly Spencer, donned hard hats on Thursday, June 28 to tour the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard. Photo above shows them aboard LCS 13 (USS Wichita), during the tour. He is on the far right, and Mrs. Spencer, in the white shirt, is standing next to him. She has been chosen to be sponsor of LCS 27, the future USS Nantucket, which is also being built at the Marinette shipyard. The Wichita was lunched and christened in Marinette in September of 2016 and is afloat on the Menominee River undergoing finishing touches before being turned over to the Navy.

Navy Secretary Spencer Visits Marinette Marine

Issue Date: July 5, 2018

Secretary of the Navy, The Honorable Richard V. Spencer, visited the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard, the home of Freedom-Variant Littoral Combat Ship production on Thursday, June 28. The Lockheed Martin-led Team Freedom has delivered five ships to the U.S. Navy to date, with two more scheduled for delivery this year. This was Spencer's first visit to the Marinette shipyard. Spencer was sworn in as the 76th secretary of the Navy on Aug. 3 of 2017.

 "It is truly great to see what is being produced up here with the American worker," Secretary Spencer said during a shipyard tour. "We're producing a ship that based on price is exceptional. We're also going to increase the capabilities of these ships and they're going to be an integral part of the small surface combatants."

Spencer was impressed by the facilities at the shipyard and pleased with the dedicated and capable workforce. Of the LCS program in general, Spencer declared, "This country should be really proud, of both the producers and the product"The balance between the product, price and performance is incredible!" He thanked all the workers for their efforts to build an excellent product for America. "Thank you for getting behind national defense and supporting it," he told them.

Spencer visited to view the modernized production line and tour LCS 13, the future USS WICHITA. The Wichita was launched and christened in September of 2016. With him for the tour was his wife, Polly Spencer, sponsor for LCS 27, the future USS Nantucket, which is to be built at Marinette Marine. Marinette Marine was awarded the construction contract for this ship on Oct. 6, 2017.

LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused- platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation, designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The vessels can be constructed in components, and are outfitted with reconfigurable payloads called "mission modules," which can be changed out quickly, depending on the assignment and the need.

The LCS class consists of two variants - the Freedom variant , with odd numbered hulls, and the Independence variant, with even numbered hulls, are designed and built by two industry teams.

Contract for USS Freedom (LCS1), was awarded in 2008 and she was commissioned in 2013. The Freedom variant is a steel monohull design. The Freedom team is led by Lockheed Martin and the vessels are constructed at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard in Marinette.

The Independence variant is an aluminum trimaran design originally built by an industry team led by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works for LCS 2 and LCS 4. Currently, Independence variant LCS (LCS 6 and subsequent even-numbered hulls) are constructed by Austal USA in the company's Mobile, Alabama, shipyard. Spencer said cost and performance of the two variants of the LCS are very similar."

Asked about the future of the LCS program, Spencer said the LCS design "is a great platform that we're going to add to and build on."Asked how many LCS will be built, and when contracts will be awarded, Spencer said the needs of the Navy and the overall health of the nation's industrial base need to be balanced. He said it is important to keep the excellent workforce at both Marinette and Mobile busy, without layoffs, to prevent having skilled and experienced workers move somewhere else.

Asked about possible impact of the recently imposed tariffs, Spencer replied, "We'll have many conversations when it comes to tariffs."

He said Marinette Marine is a contender for the new Frigate, the vessel he apparently was referring to when he said they will expand and improve the LCS platform, and the contract is to be awarded by 2020. "This shipyard has two entries," he said.

Over the past 10 years, the Freedom-variant industry team invested more than $120 million to modernize the Marinette shipyard, hire more than 1,000 people and trained a new workforce. This private investment optimized the shipyard for serial production at a rate of two Littoral Combat Ships per year.

Recently there have been plans to construct only two LCS each year, one of each variant,until construction of the Frigate can get underway.

Late last year Marinette Marine asked Marinette County to help finance some improvements at the shipyard, including purchase of equipment that would enable them to eliminate the sideways launch into the Menominee River that is required by current facilities.

Earlier this year County Board failed to approve a $50 million low interest loan that had been proposed for Marinette Marine. At the meeting on Tuesday, June 26, County Board Chair Mark Anderson suggested, as the subject of a future meeting, that they should still try to do something tangible to show support for the firm, which is the county's largest employer. Arguments in favor of the loan had included contentions that a show of firm community support would give them a better chance of winning the Frigate contract when it is awarded in 2020. The shipbuilder awarded that contract is likely to be building the vessels over the next 15 to 20 years. In February, the firm was awarded the contract to design the Navy's new guided-missile frigate, FFG(X).

The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team is comprised of shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states. Spokesmen for the team say the LCS is the Navy's most affordable surface combatant shipbuilding program.

Spencer brings a somewhat unique combination of military and business experience to his position. A Connecticut native, Spencer graduated from Rollins College in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Upon graduation he joined the United States Marine Corps and served as an H-46 pilot until 1981 before departing active duty to enter the private finance sector.

He then worked on Wall Street for 16 years with responsibilities centered on investment banking services and a particular focus on strategic advisory services and capital market underwriting.  After three years as president of Crossroads Investment Management LLC, a leading venture capital and private equity fund-of-funds investment firm, Spencer joined Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE-ICE), the leading electronic commodity futures exchange, as chief financial officer. From 2007 to 2017 he was the managing director of Fall Creek Management, LLC. During that time he also served on the board of directors of several other firms.

His charitable activities include board service on the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, The Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, Teton County Search & Rescue Foundation, Veterans Campaign/Center for Second Service, and Honoring Our Vets. He also served on the Defense Business Board and the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel.


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