Dry Dock 1 at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard is flooded during the undocking of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705). (Photo by: Petty Officer 3rd Class Dustan Longhini)

WASHINGTON — A senior US senator is urging the administration to redirect funding from the recently passed national security supplemental towards building submarine component repair facilities in Ohio, according to a letter obtained by Breaking Defense.

The May 30 letter, written by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and addressed to President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, specifically calls on the administration to take up a proposal by the Bartlett Maritime Corporation.

“Through an investment in a Phase I contract, the Bartlett Maritime proposal clears an immediately actionable path for near-term successes in reducing the submarine maintenance backlog through provisions of specialized training and facilities,” according to the letter.

“Bartlett’s proposal, endorsed by local labor, also builds on the company’s rotational workforce contract of providing skilled union laborers in support of Navy projects. Combined, these two prongs of the Bartlett proposal advance your determination to, as you say, ‘fully harness the Midwest’s industrial might and renowned workers on behalf of American sea power,’” the letter continues.

A spokesperson for the Navy secretary did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.

The company, Bartlett Maritime, is spearheaded by Ed Bartlett, an engineer and former enlisted sailor, who has spent the past several years arguing the solution to the Navy’s well-documented submarine maintenance backlog problem is to build a new public shipyard. His past proposals have focused on repair facilities being constructed in the Lordstown and Lorain areas of Ohio, both of which are close to Lake Erie. An updated proposal published in August 2023 indicated a new public shipyard could be constructed in Charleston, SC.

Breaking Defense previously reported in May 2022 that Bartlett’s proposal, backed by several notable retired Navy admirals, had been met with varying levels of skepticism on Capitol Hill, where even lawmakers known for being hawkish on American seapower had profound concerns about the state of the Navy’s current public shipyards. Brown, and other lawmakers that have voiced support for Bartlett’s proposals, have often been from the Ohio delegation. A Navy spokesperson at the time told Breaking Defense the service rejected Bartlett’s initial proposal and that a revised proposal did not fully correct its initial concerns.

RELATED: Is a new Navy shipyard realistic, or just a ‘tall order?’

But parochialism aside, Bartlett’s efforts have gained forward momentum since then. In the intervening years, the Navy has significantly ramped up its own efforts to grow the submarine industrial base’s workforce through cash infusions to major vendors as well as outreach efforts through a relatively new partnership with a non-profit called BlueForge Alliance.

BlueForge in March awarded Bartlett Maritime a $3 million contract to “begin providing a rotational workforce of skilled laborers in support of Navy shipbuilding and repair projects.”

“The rotational shipyard workforce concept is the first part of Bartlett Maritime’s comprehensive proposal to add capacity and capability to America’s submarine industrial base. BMC has also proposed to construct and operate component repair facilities in northeast Ohio with an option to build a new public naval shipyard in Charleston, S.C,” Bartlett’s company said in a statement at the time.

Separately, in April, the company signed an agreement with the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers that allows Bartlett to recruit and train IBB members to “work in naval shipbuilding as part of rotational teams to be trained by Bartlett Maritime under a contract with [Naval Sea Systems Command] and deployed to naval shipyards nationwide.” That agreement had the blessing of Del Toro, who sent a senior advisor to attend the ceremony.