NORFOLK, Va. — There will be a new role for a familiar face in Hampton Roads.
BAE Systems, Incorporated announced this week that former U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria has been appointed to its Board of Directors.
Luria brings much experience to the post, having served as Vice Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, and as a Navy surface warfare officer for 20 years.
Luria said for the welfare of the nation's defense industrial base, it is more important than ever that Congress passes timely, dependable defense appropriations.
A May 2022 Government Accountability Office report found a $1.7 billion backlog of deferred maintenance on the Navy's surface ships, jobs which by and large performed at private ship repair yards.
Private shipyards have been challenged over the past decade with sequestration, government shutdowns, continuing resolutions, and now, the threat of default by the Treasury Department, perhaps as soon as June 1.
In an interview with 13News Now, Luria said reliable funding from Congress is critical to private shipyard operations.
"They have to be able to plan and essentially say, 'This is the workforce we need in order to get the work done.' But if you don't know when it's coming, and essentially if funding is going to come on time for that, it's very challenging," she said.
In a news release from the company, BAE's board chairman praised Luria, saying, "We are fortunate to have her leadership to help position our company for the future."