NORFOLK, Va. — It's a good time to be in the ship repair business.
In two consecutive budget cycles, Congress has approved full-year defense appropriations.
The Virginia Ship Repair Association is now the largest it's ever been.
Today, it has 293 member companies and 43,000 employees, that contribute more than $6 billion to the state's economy.
The group's president, at their annual meeting, urged the companies to just keep doing what they're doing.
"Each and every one of you in the audience is a national security asset, " said Bill Crow. "Because, in some way, shape, form or fashion, you all are helping to keep our Navy maintained, modernized, repaired and ready to go to sea, so we can put those sailors and those war groups on the best possible ships the can be."
This year's National Defense Authorization Act includes $11 billion for Navy ship repairs.