Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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In February 2006, the Navy proposed a future ship force structure of 313 ships, including, among other things, 14 ballistic missile submarines SSBNs, 11 and eventually 12 aircraft carriers, 48 attack submarines SSNs, 88 cruisers and destroyers, 55 Littoral Combat Ships LCSs, 31 amphibious ships, and a Maritime Prepositioning Force Future, or MPFF, squadron with 12 new-construction amphibious and sealift-type ships. In February 2007, the Navy submitted a 6-year FY2008-FY2013 shipbuilding plan and a 30-year FY2008-FY2037 shipbuilding plan. The final report on the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review supported a fleet of more than 281 ships, including 11 carriers, but did not explicitly endorse a 313-ship fleet including the numbers that the Navy has outlined for other types of ships. Regarding the 313-ship proposal, some observers have questioned the Navys planned figures for amphibious ships and SSNs, and have suggested that a fleet with 33 amphibious ships and more than 48 SSNs would be more appropriate. The Navys 30-year shipbuilding plan does not include enough ships to fully support all elements of the 313-ship fleet consistently over the long run. Deficiencies in the 30-year shipbuilding plan relative to the 313-ship fleet include 1 amphibious ship, 4 cruise missile submarines SSGNs, 8 SSNs, and about 10 cruisers and destroyers. The Navy says that for its shipbuilding plans to be affordable and executable, the Navy needs to be funded at a certain overall level, control certain nonshipbuilding expenditures, and build ships within estimated costs. With regard to the last of these items, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that shipbuilding costs will be about 34 higher than the Navy estimates. If the Navy cannot meet its goals regarding its overall level funding, non-shipbuilding expenditures, and shipbuilding costs, the Navys shipbuilding plans may become difficult or impossible to execute, particularly after FY2011.
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