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Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

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Congressional rept.

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In February 2008, as part of its proposed FY2009 budget, the Navy submitted to Congress the FY2009 version of its annual 30-year shipbuilding plan. The 30-year plan is intended to support the Navys goal of achieving and maintaining a 313-ship fleet. The Navy first presented the 313-ship plan to Congress in February 2006. Although the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan, if implemented, would generally be adequate to achieve and maintain a fleet of about 313 ships, it does not include enough ships to fully support certain elements of the 313-ship fleet consistently over the long run -- shortfalls would occur in areas such as amphibious lift capability and the number of attack submarines. The FY2009 30-year plan, moreover, includes new assumptions about extended service lives for amphibious ships and for cruisers and destroyers. If these longer service lives are not achieved, it could increase the shortfall in amphibious lift capability and create a shortfall in the number of cruisers and destroyers. The Navy this year has increased its estimate of the average annual cost to fund the 30-year plan by about 40 in real inflation-adjusted terms. This 40 figure excludes the cost of 12 replacement ballistic missile submarines SSBNs that are shown in the plan. If the cost of these 12 ships is included in the calculation, the increase in estimated cost becomes roughly 49 to 57. The Navys new estimated cost for implementing the 30-year plan is similar to estimates issued over the last two years by the Congressional Budget Office CBO. Concerns about the Navys prospective ability to afford the 30-year shipbuilding plan, combined with year-to-year changes in Navy shipbuilding plans and significant cost growth and other problems in building certain new Navy ships, have led to strong concerns among some Members about the status of Navy shipbuilding and the potential future size and capabilities of the fleet.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Marine Engineering
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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