KITTERY, Maine — President Donald Trump's national security adviser Robert C. O'Brien paid visits to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Bath Iron Works (BIW) on Wednesday.
O'Brien started his day Wednesday morning at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which repairs and overhauls nuclear-powered attack submarines in Kittery, Maine. Afterward, he traveled to Bath to tour the General Dynamic subsidiary, BIW, that builds guided-missile destroyers.
O'Brien received briefings from the leadership of both shipyards, toured ships and submarines that were being built and modernized, and met the shipyards' workers.
"BIW appreciates the opportunity to show Amb. O’Brien our shipyard and the high caliber of work being done by BIW shipbuilders," BIW spokesperson David Hench said. "During his visit, the shipyard’s senior leadership discussed BIW’s commitment to increase production to two ships per year and described the aggressive hiring and training of new employees who are critical to the success of that plan."
"This yard — through the ships it has built and maintained —from the 19th century ships of the line, to the first submarine produced in a Navy yard, to the revolutionary USS Albacore —has contributed to our maritime strength that has promoted peace and protected our nation," O'Brien said in his prepared remarks.
O'Brien highlighted the importance of both the Navy’s public shipyards and industry’s private shipyards in building and maintaining the fleet that he says the U.S. needs in an era of great power competition.
O'Brien then told the audience at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard that the U.S. Navy plans to put hypersonic missiles on all Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.
“The Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike program will provide hypersonic missile capability to hold targets at risk from longer ranges,” O’Brien said during his speech at the shipyard. “This capability will be deployed first on our newer Virginia-class submarines and the Zumwalt-class destroyers. Eventually, all three flights of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers will field this capability.”
Trump has touted these missiles at rallies when talking about his accomplishments on military spending.
During his visits on Wednesday, O'Brien emphasized the importance of expanding the Navy, something Trump has pledged to do in his reelection campaign.
"As the President has made clear, we are driving toward a 355 ship Navy," O'Brien said. The fleet currently has 296 ships, and there are plans to expand it to more than 500 by 2045.
O'Brien also recognized Maine and N.H. senators during his speech, including Sen. Susan Collins, who he praised for working “tirelessly to protect and support these shipyards, whether it be fighting sequestration or securing millions in appropriations dollars for military construction for Portsmouth.”
"We are a maritime nation. Thus, the future of our freedom and the world’s freedom depends on lethal, ready, and present naval forces," O'Brien concluded.