Navy Plan Calls for More Sub Funding

May 13, 2013 4:50 AM - Updated: May 12, 2013 10:04 PM
Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee (SSBN-734). US Navy Photo
Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee (SSBN-734). US Navy Photo

The Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan warns Congress unless the Pentagon can find more money to complete the Navy’s planned 12 new Ohio-class Replacement ballistic missile submarines the service will be unable to meet its future obligations.

The report — issued to Congress May 10 — concludes the service would be “dramatically changed,” if the service is unable to sustain the $19.2 billion-a-year shipbuilding budget from the construction of the almost $6 billion per boat Ohio replacement program. The Navy is currently attempting to drop the cost of the boats to $4.9 billion.

The planned class of 12 ships plans to begin construction in 2021 and will continue until 2035. The construction of the boomers coincides with the retirement of legacy ships from the 1980s.

“The confluence of these events prevents the Navy from being able to shift resources within the shipbuilding account to accommodate the cost of the Ohio Replacement,” read the report.

The shipbuilding plan echoes a recent push from Navy leaders to have the new boomers be placed in a special National Capital Ships Account to fund the boomers outside of the Navy’s shipbuilding budget.

Otherwise, “we will not be able to hit the numbers” to build other ships,” said Sean Stackley during a May 8 Senate Armed Services Committee Seapower Subcommittee.

That number now stands at a battle force of 306 ships, revealed by the Navy last year.

The force will place an emphasis on large surface combatants capable of ballistic missile defense and smaller surface combatants like the Littoral Combat Ship.

At least on member of Congress is upset with the shipbuilding plan.

“At current funding levels, it remains an exercise in wishful thinking,” said Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower subcommittee in a May, 10 statement provided to USNI News.

“The funding shortfalls in the shipbuilding account will leave the Fleet with capability gaps in key areas over the coming years. This document continues the woefully inadequate resourcing of our fleet that has already led the Navy’s size to fall to near-historic lows. If the decade ahead is one that will be dominated by seapower, this isn’t the plan to get there.”

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Follow @samlagrone

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox