According to the Sun Herald over the next few years Mississippi's shipbuilding industry should see its share of the defense spending bill passed by federal lawmakers lastThursday.
About $2.6b of the $447.6b defense appropriations bill approved
by Congress this week is earmarked for construction of two naval destroyers; Ingalls Shipyard will build one and parts of the other. A total of $10.6 billion of defense funding will go toward shipbuilding in fiscal 2007.
After negotiators reached a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the bill earlier this week, it was passed by the House Tuesday 394-22, and then approved by the Senate on Friday by a vote of 100-0.
Northrop Grumman, the largest manufacturing employer in Mississippi and Louisiana, has teamed with Bath Iron Works in Maine in designing and building the destroyers. Preliminary construction of a keel - a large structure that facilitates building of the ship itself - should begin at Ingalls in 2008, Cullin said.
He also mentioned a new reward and incentive program to attract new workers and retain current employees.