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Littoral Combat Ship and Frigate: Congress Faced with Critical Acquisition Decisions

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Technical Report

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U.S. Government Accountability Office Washington United States

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The Navy envisioned a revolutionary approach for the LCS program dual ship designs with interchangeable mission packages intended to provide mission flexibility at a lower cost. This approach has fallen short, with significant cost increases and reduced expectations about mission flexibility and performance. The Navy has changed acquisition approaches several times. The latest change involves minor upgrades to an LCS designreferred to now as a frigate. Yet, questions persist about both the LCS and the frigate. GAO has reported on the acquisition struggles facing LCS and now the frigate, particularly in GAO-13-530 and GAO-16-356. This statement discusses 1 the evolution of the LCS acquisition strategy and business case 2 key risks in the Navys plans for the frigate based on the LCS program and 3 remaining oversight opportunities for the LCS and small surface combatant programs. This statement is largely based on GAOs prior reports and larger work on shipbuilding and acquisition best practices. It incorporates limited updated audit work where appropriate. What GAO Recommends GAO is not making any new recommendations in this statement but has made numerous recommendations to the Department of Defense DOD in the past on LCS and frigate acquisition, including strengthening the programs business case before proceeding with acquisition decisions. While DOD has, at times, agreed with GAOs recommendations, it has taken limited action to implement them.

Subject Categories:

  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Marine Engineering
  • Administration and Management

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