Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has commissioned a new officer in charge of construction at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to oversee large contracts, improve drydock complexes and replace aging equipment.
Capt. Frank Carroll was commissioned for the position in the Kittery, Maine, shipyard last week, the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command said on Tuesday.
The Navy's public shipyards were designed and built in the 19th and 20th centuries for sail and conventionally-powered ships.
Carroll's pick is part of the Navy's Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program that seeks to modernize its four public shipyards for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines, the branch said.
"It is not just a lot of concrete and a hole in the water," Carroll said in a press release. "What we are doing is in direct support of near-peer conflicts with China and the Russians. What we do today will have profound impacts on that outcome. Our nation needs us to win here so we can be ready."
Establishing the officer in charge of construction position is intended to provide better coordination and on-site construction oversight, as well as command-level accountability for resident engineering services.
Rear Adm. Lore Aguayo said in a statement a milestone for the program was the award of the P-381 project that will construct a multi-mission drydock at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
The $1.7 billion effort will span seven years and will allow the Navy to better modernize, maintain and repair submarines, he said.
In January, the Navy released a 10-year plan to compete with Russian and Chinese naval operations.
Senators from states with shipyards have also introduced legislation last month to invest $25 billion in public and private shipyards that build and maintain the U.S. Navy fleet.