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Document: CRS Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program Report

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The following is from the Oct. 22, 2013 report, Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress from the Congressional Research Service.

The Navy’s proposed FY2014 budget requests $1,083.7 million for continued research and development work on the Ohio replacement program (ORP), a program to design and build a new class of 12 ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 Ohio- class SSBNs. The Ohio replacement program is also known as the SSBN(X) program. On September 18, 2013, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations, testified that the Ohio replacement program “is the top priority program for the Navy.”

Under the Navy’s FY2012 budget, the first Ohio replacement boat was scheduled to be procured in FY2019, and Ohio replacement boats were to enter service on a schedule that would maintain the Navy’s SSBN force at 12 boats. The Navy’s FY2013 budget deferred the procurement of the first Ohio replacement boat by two years, to FY2021. The Navy’s proposed FY2014 budget maintains FY2021 as the procurement date for the lead boat. As a result of the deferment of the procurement of the lead boat from FY2019 to FY2021, the Navy’s SSBN force will drop to 11 or 10 boats for the period FY2029-FY2041. The Navy says the decline to 11 or 10 boats during this period will be acceptable in terms of meeting strategic nuclear deterrent mission requirements because none of the 11 or 10 boats during that period will be encumbered by lengthy maintenance actions.