National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, better known as NASSCO, is the last major shipbuilder on the West Coast. In addition to building auxiliary vessels for the Navy and expeditionary warfare vessels to support the Marine Corps, it also constructs oceangoing commercial vessels for protected domestic routes and performs repairs on ships. NASSCO, a unit of General Dynamics, needs to maintain a diverse business base because commercial and military demand both are subject to boom-and-bust cycles. While its San Diego shipyard is thriving at the moment, keeping the last full-service shipyard west of the Mississippi viable would be greatly aided by timely construction of new sealift vessels for the Navy. The current fleet has grown decrepit with age, and NASSCO needs to continuously develop new opportunities as existing programs are completed. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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