May 17, 2024

Manchin Questions U.S. Secretary Of The Navy On West Virginia’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory, Secures His Commitment To Visit

Charleston, WV – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), questioned U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro on the importance of supporting and expanding West Virginia’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL). Senator Manchin also secured Secretary Del Toro’s commitment to visit the site.

“You oversee one of the most unique national security assets in our country. It’s called the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory, or ABL, and it’s in what we call Rocket City in West Virginia. It’s our only government-owned, contractor-operated munitions facility. That means this infrastructure is owned by taxpayers,” Senator Manchin said in part. “ABL builds components for more than 17 types of munitions used by every branch of our military and a variety of our allies and partners, including Ukraine.”

“However, ABL gets overlooked because they don’t do the final assembly for these weapons. We have the property to do it, but instead we ship every single component out to a privately-owned facility – they can’t do what we’re doing. We’re sending them components but they’re not doing an adequate job,” Senator Manchin continued. “ABL covers more than 1,500 acres with more space available for expansion, so I can’t figure out why the Department of the Navy is spending more taxpayer money to prop up an underperforming private company instead of investing in the asset you already have. So, I’m asking you publicly if you’ll come tour ABL and I’ll accompany you.”

Additional witnesses at the hearing included Admiral Lisa Franchetti, Chief of Naval Operations, and General Eric Smith, USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps.

A video of Senator Manchin’s questioning can be found here.