Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus is back in the state, and he's looking into research by a Mississippi university that might make the Navy more efficient.

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Sec. of Navy Brings Good News to Mississippi

By Daniel Cherry | Published 05 Oct 2011 07:36pm | comments
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announces the U.S.S. Jackson

The Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus is making stops in Mississippi this week. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how the former Mississippi governor is coming home with good news and seeking fresh ideas for the Navy.

This morning Navy Secretary, Ray Mabus, will visit Mississippi State University. MSU is a leader in biofuel research that could eventually help the Navy. Mabus says the Navy is currently too reliant on fossil fuels that come from volatile areas, subject to causing spikes in prices.

"Every time the price of oil goes up $1 per barrel it costs us $31 million in fuel costs. So I announced five goals for the Navy, the broadest of which is that by no later than 2020, at least half of all energy the Navy uses, both afloat and on shore, will come from non-fossil fuel sources."

Yesterday Secretary Mabus visited the capitol city where he announced the Navy will add a new ship named the U.S.S. Jackson to its fleet. It's versatile and designed to conduct operations immediately off enemy shores. Mabus says the Navy will continue to add ships to its fleet, but he understands defense spending cuts could be around the corner.

"Defense has to do its part. We're going to try to make sure that we keep the capabilities that we need as a nation to do the missions that they want the Navy and the Marine Corps to do."

Cutting the defense budget is a pressing issue in Washington. And that's a major concern for U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson who also attended yesterday's ship naming ceremony.

"I don't think the Defense Department's budget is sacred, but I also think that to have an active military requires investment. So I would hope at the end of the day, the majority of the DOD funds will be intact."

Defense spending to fund Mississippi shipbuilding looks safe at least for now. The Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula expects an uptick in employment through at least 2016.

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Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announces the U.S.S. Jackson


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