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PHOTOS/VIDEO: Kaine, Australian Ambassador, & Navy Under Secretary Visit Hampton Roads to Discuss AUKUS Agreement



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in Hampton Roads, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Chair of the Senate Armed Services (SASC) Subcommittee on Seapower, along with Australian Ambassador to the United States and former Prime Minister of Australia Dr. Kevin Rudd and U.S. Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven, discussed the importance of the Australia-U.K.-U.S. (AUKUS) agreement, in which Australia will purchase at least three and up to five Virginia-class submarines. Because a significant portion of Virginia-class submarines are built in Hampton Roads, this agreement creates opportunity for further job creation and economic growth in Hampton Roads. Kaine, Rudd, and Raven toured Norfolk Naval Shipyard and saw the USS John Warner (SSN-785), a Virginia-class submarine that’s currently in dry dock. They also visited Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division, where they were joined by Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin.

“I’m so proud that Virginia has played a leading role in building Virginia-class submarines. The hard work of our shipbuilders strengthens our national security and boosts our economy. The AUKUS agreement will help further Virginia’s critical shipbuilding leadership, strengthen our alliances, and bolster security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” said Senator Kaine. “I’m grateful to Ambassador Rudd and Under Secretary of the Navy Raven for coming to see Virginia’s work on these submarines and reaffirming the importance of the AUKUS partnership.”

“It was great to join Senator Kaine to see firsthand how the world’s most complex ships are designed, built and maintained. The expertise of the United States Navy and American shipbuilders will be invaluable to Australia as we develop our own sovereign submarine industrial base, while boosting the resilience of our allied submarine supply chain and furthering security objectives for all three AUKUS partners,” said Ambassador Rudd.

“It is an immense privilege to be a part of the Department of the Navy, because our Navy does big things. These big things are not something we accomplish alone.  It takes the outstanding partners like Australia, the United Kingdom, our industrial partners and our nearly one million incredibly talented Sailors, Marines, and civilians,” said Under Secretary of the Navy Raven.

Kaine has been a leader in helping ensure the AUKUS agreement is implemented effectively. Yesterday, he secured provisions to implement and strengthen AUKUS in the State Department authorization bill that was voted out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also filed two amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to deepen the AUKUS agreement. The full Senate is likely to vote on the NDAA next week.

Kaine has long advocated for shipbuilding in the Commonwealth. Last month, Kaine helped write and pass the NDAA out of SASC, which includes vital steps—including further investing in shipbuilding, improving acquisition processes, expanding defense industrial base capacity, and supporting workforce development initiatives—to ensure that the United States is able to fulfill the AUKUS agreement and our other shipbuilding needs.