Ambassador Robert O’Brien, assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, visited Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard Monday to tour the facility, speak with shipbuilders and receive briefings from shipyard leadership.

O’Brien’s trip is part of a concerted effort to underscore the importance of the industry’s private shipyards in building and maintaining the fleet that America needs in an era of great power competition.

O’Brien spoke with Fincantieri management about the Littoral Combat Ship and Constellation-class Frigate programs and the shipyard’s efforts to expand in order to accommodate the Frigate platform. Fincantieri’s production is essential to meeting the 355-ship Navy goal.

“It is more important than ever that American shipyard capabilities be maintained and expanded,” O’Brien said in a statement announcing his visit. “We are a maritime nation, and the future of our freedom and the world’s freedom depends on lethal, ready, and present naval forces.”

This marks the fourth visit to Marinette by the Trump Administration in the previous 12 months. President Trump and Vice President Pence both visited the shipyard, toured the facilities and met with the workforce.

“Fincantieri appreciates the opportunity to show Ambassador O’Brien our shipyard and the high caliber of work being done by the hard-working men and women of Wisconsin,” said Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard president Richard Hunt. “We believe in the work we do here. We believe our work keeps our Navy strong and our country safe.”

The Navy awarded a $795-million contract to Fincantieri to begin building the Constellation-class frigates in April, the first new major shipbuilding program the Navy started in more than a decade.

FFG 62 will bring with it the evolution of the Navy’s Small Surface Combatant with increased lethality, survivability, and improved capability to support the National Defense Strategy across the full range of military operations.