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Price Hikes, Production Delays Mark Navy Shipbuilding for Past Decade

A crane moves the lower stern into place on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va. on June 22, 2017. US Navy Photo

Navy shipbuilding has been plagued for the last decade by programs running over-budget and underperforming once completed, according to a new government report, resulting in a smaller fleet than previously planned.

Between 2007 and 2018, the Navy spent $24 billion more than the $182 billion originally planned for shipbuilding, according to the Government Accountability Office’s recently released report, Navy Shipbuilding: Past Performance Provides Valuable Lessons for Future Investments.

However, the Navy’s pace of shipbuilding during the past decade barely kept pace with the rate of decommissioning ships. The Navy’s 283-ship fleet of today is a mere two hulls more than the 281-ships the Navy had at the end of 2006, and is 50 ships shy of the 330-ship fleet the Navy in 2007 predicted would be operating today, according to the report.

“Cost growth has contributed to the erosion of the Navy’s buying power with ship costs exceeding estimates by over $11 billion during this time frame. Additionally, the Navy’s shipbuilding programs have had years of construction delays and, even when the ships eventually reached the fleet, they often fell short of quality and performance expectations,” the report states.

GAO Graphic

The report evaluated the cost and outcomes of 11 shipbuilding programs, including both variants of the the Littoral Combat Ship, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG-51), the Zumwalt-class destroyer (DDG-1000), the America-class amphibious assault ship (LHA-6), the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (LPD-17), the Virginia-class attack submarine (SSN-774), the Gerald R. Ford-class nuclear aircraft carrier (CVN-78), the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF), the Expeditionary Transfer Dock/Expeditionary Sea Base (ESD/ESB), and the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo/ ammunition ship (T-AKE).

The GAO studied the outcomes of eight first-in-class ship designs and found all were provided to the fleet behind schedule, with four of these ships arriving more than two years late. USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) was the tardiest, arriving six years behind schedule.

During the past decade, the GAO has issued 26 reports, identified shipbuilding best practices for the Navy to implement, testified before Congress on several occasions, and made 67 recommendations to help the Navy improve its shipbuilding programs. The Navy has implemented 29 of the 67 recommendations. As for the shipbuilding best practices identified by the GAO, in many cases the Navy has agreed with these GAO suggestions but has yet to implement the ideas, the report states.

GAO Graphic

The result of this failure to take actions is that eight of the ship programs studied blew through their initial budgets. CVN-78, DDG-1000, LHA-6, SSN-74, T-AKE-1, LCS-1, LCS-2, and LPD-17 were all over-budget, with three programs – the LCS-1, LCS-2, and LPD-17 – exceeding their initial budgets by 80 to 150 percent.

The GAO found the Navy’s anticipated cost-savings were often overly optimistic. Construction delays due to the Navy changing requirements caused costs to increase. The Navy practice of accepting delivery of ships with significant deficiencies also drove up costs because these ships required extensive work, and more money, before being deemed combat-ready.

In the case of the first-in-class USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), the GAO report found the Navy’s original cost and schedule estimates did not fully account for the risks associated with building a first-in-class ship using new technology, nor did the Navy account for how long new technologies would take to install. The Navy even under-calculated the amount of labor needed to build the ship, estimating fewer labor hours than required for the last two Nimitz-class carriers, the GAO states.

GAO Graphic

“The Navy took delivery of CVN-78 in May 2017, but the carrier will not be ready to deploy until 2022 as significant development, construction, and testing continues,” the GAO report states.

While cost-overruns are an expected part of building a first-in-class ship, the GAO report found follow-on ships in several classes also cost more than originally expected. In the case of Ford-class carriers, the GAO report states, “Costs for CVN-79 are likely to exceed the $11.4 billion estimate.”

A more disciplined approach to shipbuilding will help control costs in the future, the GAO report states. Suggestions include aligning achievable capabilities with available funding and allowing new technologies to mature before incorporating them into ship programs.

Despite all the recommendations, the GAO does not consider the Navy’s current shipbuilding plans to have changed much from the past.

“Though the Navy has started to make some improvements, its current approach to shipbuilding leaves it at risk of continually losing buying power and jeopardizes its ability to achieve its long-range shipbuilding goals,” the GAO report states.

  • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

    Well in San Francisco, a bike path costs 2K a linear foot so why should this be a surprise? Government managing funds is like a heroin addict managing his stash.

    • Fred Gould

      I have seen similar gold plating and excessive costs in private industry.

      • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

        Private industry can do what they please. It is their money or their customers. SF is not a private entity…

        • Fred Gould

          Problem is we have the same bean counters in private industry and government. The are taught that any MBA can run any business.

          • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

            or lawyer. I remember when the Boeing CEO was an engineer. Now, all the CEO’s I know of in the big, old, Fortune 500 are lawyers.

            Only lawyers, and bankers and politicians, think you can create wealth by moving money from one spot to another.

          • Fred Gould

            and that is the problem. Ignoring nuclear engineers, one power company went cheap on a nuclear plant outage. The result is a decommissioned plant, decades early with the rate payers covering all the costs.

          • jetcal1

            Where’s the problem? They got their bonuses.

          • Sir Bateman

            A friend/client of mine worked for McDonnell Douglas and later Boeing for a number of years, according him, and a good friend of his that worked for GM, that what ruined their respective industries was MBAs.

          • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

            Yes, nothing like a college degree in business to ruin a business. Like college professors have a clue about business.

    • Centaurus

      Hey, I know a number of Heroin addicts that manage their stash far better than the Gubbamens.
      Perhaps the Navy should employ more smackheads as accountants. At least they can’t steal any ships for junk. Unless the ship were a Junk, ha ha ha !

      • Rocco

        Stupid comment!!

        • Centaurus

          Your sense of humor has shrunken as like your testicles.
          Take a vacation old phart

        • Centaurus

          No, you are STOOPIDDD !!!

        • Centaurus

          You are the King of Stoopid-troll (skull and crossbones to you)

  • Lazarus

    The LCS data is badly skewed by the facts that (a) the first two ships were built with RDT&E $$$ as opposed to regular procurement funds, (2) the LCS program was effectively paused for 18 months (from 2009-2011,) and its original LCS 3 and 4 were cancelled, and that LCS was a developmental program that today has six different variants (the first four are each a discrete unit different from others.) The GAO assessment of LCS lacks key facts and fails to adequately assess both the strengths and weaknesses of the LCS program. GAO, fail!

    • DaSaint

      Duane, the GAO does a pretty good job of being fair, and they understand the history of the program. While you’re correct that the first 2 were funded through the R&D budget (FY2005 and FY2006), that fact is irrelevant. It’s the proposed costs that were exceeded significantly, doesn’t matter where it came from. This GAO report doesn’t address ‘strengths and weaknesses’ of any of the ship classes, it addresses shipbuilding costs and delivery schedules.

      • Curtis Conway

        Did you read Laz there trying to justify the cost by placing it in another budget. How is it a present day officer can place himself on Report, and not get it?

      • Lazarus

        They do not and cherry picked the results. LCS 1 and 2 were built with RDT&E $$$ and were very different than traditional “first in the class” ships.

    • NavySubNuke

      Congress, at the Navy’s request, actually cancelled “LCSs 3 through 6; funded the procurement one additional LCS in FY2008 (which the Navy now calls LCS-5); significantly reduced the Navy’s FY2008 funding request for the LCS program; amended the LCS sea frame unit procurement cost cap to $460 million per ship for LCSs procured in FY2008 and subsequent years”
      This was done because of the Navy’s realization of how much each LCS actually cost. Previously in “FY2006 [congress] established a unit procurement cost limit on the fifth and
      sixth LCS sea frames of $220 million per ship, plus adjustments for inflation and
      other factors”
      But go ahead and blame GAO for PEO(LCS) delivering a ship that for bare construction costs more than twice what it is supposed to and, when you take into account modifications and mission modules, costs over 4 times what it was supposed to.
      Or are you going to lie again and try to claim that the $220M cost was never serious?

      • Retired

        thanks Admiral Dueenee aka Lazarus.

      • Lazarus

        I stand on the facts I have presented and the articles I have written.

        • NavySubNuke

          The issue isn’t the facts you have presented — it is the lies you have stated as if they are facts such as your claim that the $220M was never a serious estimate and only the CNO ever said it.

  • PolicyWonk

    Out of all the wretched mistakes listed above, the USN’s “littoral combat ship” program garnered the dubious distinction of winning the title of being “the program that broke naval acquisition”. Apparently, the LCS program set the acquisition bar as low as it can possible get (implying the other ships/programs on the list might eventually deliver something useful), for which the USN rewarded PEO LCS with a brand-spankin’ new title (PEO USC: double-whoopie-ding-ding!!!), which is akin to throwing rose petals on a steaming mountain of what makes the grass grow green, apparently in hopes that’ll fix the problem.

    W/r/t the USS Ford, whether the ship is ready in 2022 (which seems optimistic), they’re going to first have to figure out how to fix EMALs and AAG, without ripping the entire ship apart, providing she can be fixed without doing so. And until those two most serious problems (among many others), are ironed out, the ship cannot be certified battle ready.

    But how the USN could calculate (for example) the USS Ford (first in class) would be cheaper to build than the original Nimitz is stunning, especially given the number of high-risk technologies she was to be designed and built with. Why no one called that out as a potential problem implies that naval acquisition is in vastly more serious trouble than I thought (and I thought it was SERIOUS).

    Sadly, given the above, it seems the USN has lost the competence to manage its own acquisitions.

    • DaSaint

      It was naïve to think that a new class of CVN with a raft of new technologies, was to be cheaper than the previous class. That was a load of BS from both Newport News bought hook, line and sinker by the USN AND Congress! Evidently it takes THREE to tango!

      Interesting that both EPF and ESD came in UNDER budget. Someone should give out a prize for that in this environment! What it shows me, however, is that commercial yards can build on time and on or under budget if the requirements are set and not revised every month! Of course, I acknowledge that both the EPF and ESD are to ostensibly commercial standards.

      • Centaurus

        Like Trump said to the sailor next to him on the USS Ford, ” I don’t want Digital, I want analog catapults”. But Trump can’t use any words more complex than ‘great’ or ‘really’.

        • vetww2

          More made up nonsense. Try sticking to facts or please be quiet or begone.

          • Centaurus

            Who TF are you ? The Sys Ad?
            Get a life while you still can.

          • Secundius

            Actually Donald Trump DID say that, when an Female African-American Petty Officer tried to explain to HIM on how the EMAL works. Soon after that came his remark about Loving Steam, and that nothing produces steam better than “Clean Burning Coal”…

    • Curtis Conway

      “The LCS data is badly skewed” because they did not follow the acquistition plan . . . to down select.

      • PolicyWonk

        No one can argue that the USN failed to down-select, which did drive up the costs.

        But it would’ve been a hard choice regardless, given both classes failed to meet the large majority (all?) of their stated (functional) design goals, and neither is designed to fight. But comparing the horrible sea-frames: the Freedom class are the less reliable/more complex of the two, featuring a more traditional design built with a steel hull; or the Independence class – a more innovative design, more (incrementally) reliable, but built entirely out of aluminum.

        Which would you have opted for given these two awful choices?

        Its akin (to use an unpleasant metaphor) to being told you had to eat a doo-doo sandwich, but you got your choice of white or wheat bread.

        • Curtis Conway

          The planing hull is inappropriate for Blue Water operations. The propulsion system is inappropriate for Arctic use. The tonage is another reason not to go into Blue Water, particularly Arctic waters potentially full of ice. The combat system may be capable, but not significant enough until expanded to something similar to the Saudi model. Then the ASuW NSM weapon will make it a platform that simply must be dealt with, which will ensure the platform a swift death in combat. Other than being shiny and new, smelling like fresh paint, I cannot think of a single positive reason to like the platform, particularly an aluminum one. I am a (CG-26/CG-47) COMBAT SAILOR (SW), not one of these johnny come latelys. I have personally participated in burning up over 200+ Standard Missiles in proving systems that WILL KILL THE ENEMY. You can blow smoke at me all you want to, but that does not make it so.

          • PolicyWonk

            Fully agree. The addition of the NSM will only elevate both classes of LCS to the level of a target that cannot be ignored. If hit, the flawed design/construction will likely transform either class of LCS into artificial reefs, unless the targeted ship is blessed with a tremendous amount of good fortune.

            I have issued a few sarcastic comments in the past, where I’ve depicted both LCS classes as being unworthy of targeting (and therefore much safer from submarine or missile attack), because combat officers are typically trained to prioritize targets, and not waste weapons on ships (etc.) that can’t hurt you when there are bigger fish to fry. This dubious “advantage” will vanish once NSM launchers are welded to the decks, whether they’re carrying war shots or not.

            I recall the denizens of the PEO LCS, declaring the design goal for LCS was to ensure that if hit in battle: the crew would have time to abandon before being taken down with the ship. How comforting. For the life of me, I cannot fathom how those people can live with themselves.

            From your comment regarding “the aluminum one”, I gather you consider the Independence class the lousier of the two. FWIW, I struggle to decide on which variant I despise the most, because it depends on so many factors.

            I confess, the USS Freedom suffering a mid-Pacific propulsion system failure during her ill-fated voyage to Singapore, leaving her adrift for hours, really worried me. If that occurred during typhoon season in the Pacific, or the North Atlantic, the likely consequences would have been disastrous.

            Consider this: from a practical perspective, if you reduce the Freedoms and Independences to merely being ocean-going ships lacking any military obligation whatsoever, both have earned notorious reputations for the unreliability of their propulsion plants. A ship, in its most basic form, is simply required to (reliably) propel itself from one destination to another – and one might’ve assumed that problem had been solved many decades ago.

            Enter (both classes of) LCS: you considered the consequences of which might be better if they have to fight, and imply you favor the Freedom class. I favor the Independence (only slightly, holding my nose), because its more reliable, and I’d prefer to simply have a better chance of making port safely.

            cheers.

          • Secundius

            As I recall, Freedom’s engine problems were to her’s Long-Range Cruising “Diesels” and not the Gas Turbines. Freedom was able to Return to Port on her Gas Turbines…

          • PolicyWonk

            Thank you, that could be the case. I don’t recall offhand, and haven’t yet revisited the report. That was just one of many severe problems from that voyage, and subsequent ships in class supposedly had a number of the problems discovered addressed (one would hope).

            I recall the prose being unusually/breathtakingly harsh, declaring the Freedom so bad she would only be used for training/testing purposes, or otherwise relegated for use as a punishment ship (!!!).

          • Secundius

            Freedom did make Three Drug Bust while on her Test Cruises back in 2010…

          • Curtis Conway

            The LCS would make great Training Ships for 2nd Fleet, and they can do missions in the 4th Flt AOR.

          • Secundius

            One problem! The 2004 Defense Appropriations Bill that funded the Flight “0’s” LCS’s were by “Supermajority Votes” (i.e. 290 vote or greater). Actually 313 Fore and 122 against. Veto proof by the President. It would take an act of Congress (US Hse.of Rep) to override a Supermajority Vote with another Supermajority Vote. Only problem being a Republican House divided. Considering that the current Republican controlled US.Hse.of Rep. can barely muster enough votes for a “Simple Majority” Vote (i.e. 218 votes). It’s never going to happen…

          • Curtis Conway

            If we took all the monies used for the development and construction of LCS, and had pumped that into the REQUIRED Aegis FFG, how far down the road would we be today? A truncated BL-9/10 FFG(X) even with the abreviated SPY-6 is going to be something to behold.

          • Curtis Conway

            Took her awhile too.

          • Secundius

            I don’t recall ANY US Naval Vessel making a Low-Power Gas Turbine Cruise before…

          • Curtis Conway

            PMS400 is dead and NO ONE took their place. In the case of LCS manufacturing the industry is taking tax dollars and giving us unsurvivable junk.

          • PolicyWonk

            Well… It still exists. – the form of which it has taken over the years is increasingly dubious, to be generous.

          • jetcal1

            Unsurvivable?
            This is great sea duty! Blue/Gold crews, no PMS, all dirty work done by contractors, high fuel consumption with no range.
            Deployment will be spent 70-80% pierside.
            (If you’re gonna’ get sunk, pierside ain’t a bad place to do it.)
            60 month rotation and figure 36 of it with the boat, and out of that only about 12 months actually underway out of the full 60?

          • Rocco

            Who has it better???

          • jetcal1

            LCS.

          • Rocco

            Negative I was taking about the Crew!!!

          • jetcal1

            I was joshing Mr.Conway on how LCS sea duty is a great deal for the crew. If your SSC is ticking away, why not do it at home or pierside?

          • Curtis Conway

            I’ve been thinking about your comment for some time.

            Sailors join to serve their country in the Naval Service. That means getting underway for us Salty Dogs. When you get underway you want to be on a platform that has COMBAT POWER so at least you have a shot at survival. Not all hits are ASCMs, or a thermonuclear blast. How many ships have hit mines, including small combatants? A particular frigate, cruiser, amphibious assault ship come to mind. If there is not watertight integrity & compartmentalization, then you are just fish food.

            We are not supposed to break the faith with our sailors on a fundamental level. Building something like the LCS breaks the faith with our sailors on a fundamental level. It is neither survivable (watertight integrity/compartmentalization), or capable (self-defense weapons only). When the NSM goes on board it will make the LCS a more dangerous target so its threat assessment will go up, meaning it MUST BE dealt with.

            US Navy vessels DO NOT get to pick their missions. If you are the only asset available, and the task is high enough priority . . . guess who gets sent? The LCS carries the title of Surface Combatant. They will certainly get the nod, so these vessels cannot go to highly contested areas when adversaries have significant capable force present.

            The LCS has not demonstrated reliable capability to date. Reliability is demonstrated over a ‘period of time’ (hopefully multiple deployments), NOT one exercise. The LCS-2 Class has shown more promise than the LCS-1 in this respect, and it is made of the wrong material for a surface combatant (aluminum). Propulsion on surface combatants must have redundancy, and these capabilities exercised on a regular basis. For a US Surface Combatant, that capability must be able to function in any location, like an ICE INFESTED ESTUARY . . . or Arctic waters. The LCS has not demonstrated this, with the exception of the USS Little Rock (LCS 9) who managed to escape the St. Lawrence Seaway behind a Canadian Icebreaker. Does not inspire confidence for an Arctic employment, and our next surface combatant simply must be Arctic capable (no hull-mounted sonar), and hopefully has an ice-hardened hull and bow.

            All these EXPERTS that keep talking about how great SPEED is, obviously have never heard about DOPPLER, and how targeting radars and weapons work. The faster you go, the easier it is to see you, and target you. So . . . you can tell all those experts to ‘take a long walk off a short pier in shark infested waters’, for they are ‘On a River in Egypt’. They just want to get you killed. All of these above items the Navy knew, and yet still persist with this program. I am more than disappointed in my Navy.

          • jetcal1

            Sir,
            I agree with you 100%. (Hence the pierside sinking quip.)
            The LCS is a dog’s breakfast at best and more likely an incomprehensible scandal in the making if any actual hostilities commence.
            I apologize if you did not find my sarcastic attempt at cynical humor funny.

          • Curtis Conway

            It’s all good. I just have a hard time with humor w/r/t our service personnel who place everything on the line, and sometimes must give their ALL. To me it is never a matter for humor.

          • vetww2

            HALLELUJAH!

          • vetww2

            Curtis it is called SWIPE (Shipyard Welfare Incentive Program, Expensive).

      • Jffourquet

        It was not naive to promice a new class of carriers at a lower cost, it was a deliberate lie to start another program that is too big to fail.

        • Curtis Conway

          They are going to get built. It’s just a matter of time.

    • old guy

      Please read my comment to Conway, above and give me your take on the events.

  • Duane

    This GAO report isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. These guys are clueless idjits and should be fired immediately for gross incompetence.

    GAO characterizes the financial performance of the entire 34 ship LCS program using the costs of only the first developmental ship of each variant, completely ignoring the massive savings achieved in the next 32 ships. All first ships of any radically new ship type are always far more expensive than subsequent full production units. Everybody but GAO knows that. Ditto for any transformational new anything … ships, aircraft, weapons, etc.

    Also, the Navy did not “predict” or plan a fleet of 330 ships by 2017, though that was a hope. Hope is not plan. The Navy cannot control what Congress funds, and Congress never funded anywhere near a 330 ship fleet by 2017.

    This is nothing but ignorant blame shifting by a Congress that never intended to fund 50 more ships by 2017. Congress hasn’t even managed to enter a new fiscal year with an approved DOD appropriations bill in over a decade. That in turn not only hurts defense preparedness, a longstanding issue, but it also adds cost to everything our military services do.

    It is shameful that our incompetent Congress prefers to play politics over doing its actual job.

    • Marauder 2048

      A report on shipbuilding that doesn’t mention material or labor costs is practically useless.

    • WhiskyTangoFoxtrot

      Of course admiral Gollum, you are the only expert. Obviously, everyone else in the entire world is an idiot. Thank G o d you are here to save us.

  • Curtis Conway

    The LCS will be an albatross around the US Navy’s neck in every way that counts (combat worthiness/effectiveness, two separate logistical support requirements for unique platform parts, same argument for training) as long as they are in the inventory, with no relief in sight. If by some magic they were perfectly functional tomorrow, they simply do not have enough combat power to be effective in enough places to merit its place in the fleet. Even after upgrade (if they are upgraded) many of these problems will persist, and the US Navy Regulation Survivability equation will never change on these platforms.

    • Kypros

      Yeah, we are now a decade after LCS 1 was commissioned and they are still not fully operational, fully armed or fully equipped. The reasons for that are many and varied – but it is what it is.I’m just hoping that when we get to 15 years after the first one was commissioned, the Navy and taxpayer get some value from them. SOME value.

      • Michael Hoskins, Privileged

        Coast Guard could use a few cutters. If they are willing to take them.

        • Kypros

          The Coast Guard has ZERO interest in acquiring them.

          • Michael Hoskins, Privileged

            Smart.

      • Curtis Conway

        PolicyWonk’s whole point is even when they are ‘fully capable’ they will ‘still’ not be par for the course. They will be a liability in every scenerio save the most benign. As for the US Coast Guard, they have already conducted a cost analysis of using LCS in any form, and it is too expensive for their O&M budget.

        • Kypros

          Agreed. They will never be what they should have been. I just want to see them go from no value to some value. I’d doubt they’ll be around beyond another decade or so. Once they are actually used, I don’t think they’ll be very durable. Let’s hope the Navy picks the right FFG, since they will be the small combatant work horse of the future.

          • Curtis Conway

            Amen and AMEN! If they select an LCS version we will know the mindset of those in power are corrupt, for the LCS is still not . . . SURVIVABLE.

          • AmPatriotSmith

            The Navy created too many prototypes; and as this article mentions, the technologies are not matured.

          • Secundius

            Really? The Mk.8 Exploder, which plagued the US Navy in WWII used Technology acquired from Imperial Germany Navy of WWI. Which was NEVER meant to be used on a Torpedo. 1923 Test consisted to Two Torpedo Launches, First “Failed” to Explode and Second “Didn’t”. That was the “Whole” duration of testing, “TWO” Firings. Then the Exploder went into mass production. Virtually Every Weapon used in WWII went from Drawing Board to Production to the Fight in less than 9-months…

    • PolicyWonk

      You point w/r/t the logistical problems maintaining the LCS fleet(s) is spot-on. Two entirely different sets of parts, training facilities, etc.

      Regardless of whatever upgrades may be in the offing: none of those upgrades will be able to fix the commercial grade sea-frames, short of ripping the ships apart and rebuilding them. As former CNO Greenert declared in his interview on Breaking Defense, both classes of LCS were “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat”. This is why they lack the room for growth to add weapons or protections of significance, and therefore simply aren’t worth upgrading.

      As I concluded a while ago: the USN failed to buy assets; instead, it acquired LIABILITIES.

      • Curtis Conway

        AMEN on the liabilities, and doubled down on it to boot! Worse case scenerio . . . and they ARE STILL DOUBLING DOWN ON IT (more LCS instead of FFG(X))!!!

        • PolicyWonk

          I know, and it makes me angry, too. But this time, the HoR’s imposed LCS purchases on the USN, that they didn’t even want (let alone, irresponsibly blowing another $2B to purchase more useless liabilities)! This is part of the reason why I’m a proponent of replacing the entire DoD acquisition system, in favor of one based on the British model: it removes congressional interference for everything except the budget, and even that is limited – and they are reduced to a simple yes or no vote.

          But lets not forget, the PEO LCS was merely renamed (via the magic of marketing), to PEO USC, probably in hopes it would erase the memory of the LCS from the naval lexicon. When a program stinks so much, and is such a failure that they feel they have to change the designation of the PEO – you know they understood the depth of the screw-up.

          That said, by giving what was PEO LCS more responsibility, including all SSC’s and smaller (i.e. FFG(X) included), they effectively promoted the incompetents that created “the program that broke naval acquisition”. Given the above, do YOU see reason for optimism?

          I certainly don’t think so: my expectations are now set so low an ant wouldn’t have to lift its legs to step over them.

          • Curtis Conway

            If the same Minds are in the Mess, then I bow to your interpretation. PMS400 is no more, and therefore we have no reliable source of resolution, only continue to move through the quagmire that is the present system that cares not of US Navy Regulations written in blood, and whose wisdom was developed over time. That is why I have focused upon congressional management like that kept the cruisers from being retired. Anyone who would sign onto removing the most capable combatant in the fleet (double-enders no less), in numbers at this particular point in time, just as HVPs are about to make their debut, should have their integrity questioned. The continued LCS buy by congress was a huge disappointment, and even though the FORD requires more work, MYP of additional platforms is absolutely necessary for a reasonable cost of future platforms in that class, even as the problems are ironed out, and they will be ironed out . . . eventually.

            If the FORD program resolutions are to stretch too long (five years+), then the LHA-6 Lightning Carrier concept should come forth for 50% of the Large Deck Amphibious Aviation platforms, which are virtual Light Carriers, or as Duane likes to point out, Medium Carriers because they are over 30,000 tons. Additional amphibious lift is available on other platforms, LX(R) could still be reviewed, and we have the mobile bases to draw upon.

            In the event the Lightning Carriers are made, then a new aviation platform should come to reality. That platform would be an E-2D capability, or as close as we can devise, on a V/STOVL platform which would function from any US Navy & Allied flight deck able to handle the weight, including the Icebreaker. We simply must get someone up top who can think out of this flawed box they have created, and perpetrated upon us all, and the country.

            PolicyWonk, I am wondering if you are a man who has taken the Oath?

          • old guy

            I would like to add more about the rigged selection of LCS. At the time t5hat the RFP went out, a team of retired ship design professionals offerred NAVSEA their sevices as a “Tiger team” for the possible rewrite and/or selection group. This was to be either paid or pro bono, at SEA00’s discretion.
            The group included the designers and P.M.s of FFG-7, SES, LCAC, PHM, DDG51, TACS, LPD-17 and the Austal boats.
            TURNED DOWN FLAT. Reason-out of date and touch. Ah, politics and ego.
            At least we got to kill DD1000 (Old Flopover) with only the 3 keels anready laid to be built, instead of the13 planned.

          • Curtis Conway

            Rings just a hair bitter . . . BUT OH . . . So True! The Ivy League Academic Elite . . . THEY KNOW, and YOU DON’T!!! Now where are we?

          • PolicyWonk

            Let me guess: without a littoral combat platform?

            ;-P

          • Curtis Conway

            Found this for Duane in the FY 2019 NDAA language so far.
            H.Rept. 115-676 also states:
            SPY–6 inherent capabilities
            The committee is aware that next generation AN/SPY–6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radars will soon be entering the fleet. As the SPY–6 family of radars begin to deploy and better protect our service members and allies, the committee is also aware that capabilities beyond those designed for nominal radar operations may exist. To provide the committee a better understanding of the full range of capabilities resident in SPY–6(V) radar modular assembly (RMA) based radars, the committee directs the Secretary of the Navy to provide a briefing to the House Armed Services Committee on a plan that will exploit the inherent capabilities of SPY–6(V) within 90 days from the enactment of this Act. (Page 19)

          • PolicyWonk

            My position has been that the funding granted for the “street fighter” concept (that somehow became LCS) was usurped by what was called the PEO LCS (now USC) who had their own ideas w/r/t what should be done with the money. Upset that they lost of OHP’s, they tried tuning what was supposed to be a littoral combat platform into a “franken-ship” that is too big for the littorals, too small for blue water, appallingly complex, and horrifyingly expensive. The design/engineering problems with these monstrously expensive LCS classes are myriad.

            We had a bunch of people running the PEO that created what the USN itself calls “the program that broke naval acquisition”, and they have since received putrid grades from OMB, the USN’s old IG, and DOT&E. The unanimous grade of every auditing agency that has reviewed the program and ships created is a FAIL.

            As Curtis noted in the past, NECC wasn’t even consulted for the requirements phase, and these are the littoral combat specialists.

            The excuse “out of date/out of touch” gets used all the time to dismiss those with experience, yet there are so many appallingly expensive mistakes (many of them pretty obvious) that IMO the whole LCS PEO should’ve been drummed out of the service after being demoted. LCS cannot be fixed: when the very foundation of the ship doesn’t even conform to naval construction standards for survivability, then arming a commercial grade ship with weapons simply endangers the lives of those assigned to man them. The bottom line is that PEO LCS deliberately lied to the HoR’s and US taxpayers when they justified the high cost by claiming the ships were being modified on the slipways to meet the USN’s Level-1 standard.

            Months later, Defense Industry Daily published an article saying PEO LCS had admitted that no version of LCS past, present, or future would ever meet the Level 1 standard.

            Experience comes with age – you’re not experienced unless you’ve been around, and cannot be taught from a book or a school. New ideas and ways of accomplishing the job must always be seriously considered for obvious reasons: but when you construct what was supposed to be a littoral combat platform (in the case of LCS, built to commercial standards) and ignore all the hard-won lessons of littoral combat, all bets are off.

            LCS PEO gambled $36B+ at the racetrack: and LOST. For this they should all be punished. These people are guilty of criminal stupidity, blatant dishonesty, and dereliction of duty.

            JMHO.

      • Ed L

        All the more reasons for the existing LCS be separate. The independence class to the Caribbean and centam waters and the freedom class to the PG and Asian waters

        • tpharwell

          All the more reason to stop building them. But what does reason have to do with the matter ?

      • Lazarus

        LCS has 180 tons of weight for helo fuel and additional weapons.

  • Michael Hoskins, Privileged

    I spent 40 years in construction. Well over half that with major GSA, DOD and state owners.
    Those that met both budget and schedule requirements were 1) Too short fused for owner interference. Once the ‘go’ trigger was pulled, we were to far gone for “I wanna add”. 2) Had a strong owner executive who said “we are finished designing”. These guys are incredibly rare, especially in Federal Service.

    With multi year projects little but the basic hull form remains static.

    The T-xxx ships did well because there isn’t a lot of whiz-bang in the working class vessels.

    Senior decision makers are seduced by the argument that we can add this improvement for little cost, while rarely seeing the unintended consequences of the change.

    Design freeze discipline is hard.

    • Curtis Conway

      Lack of Leadership & Configuration Control.

      • Michael Hoskins, Privileged

        Yep.

  • Secundius

    Metal Shark Boats Company of Jeaneretta, LA. acquired Horizon Shipyards of Bayou La Batre, AL. yesterday 11 June 2018…

  • Jffourquet

    These failures and massive cost overruns are the results of poor management and leadership in the US Navy. Flag and general officers have no respect for tax payers and refuse to change how they do business. The navy was warned about the risk and affect on cost for these programs, but failed to take corrective action. The culture of business as usual has to change before it renders all branches of service I’ll equipped and unable to perform their war time missions. If the navy does not change it will get smaller and more of its ship will be designed (if not build) by foreign ship builders.

  • Sir Bateman

    Am I reading the graphs right in that even the Virginia class SSNs have been beset by major cost overruns and schedule slippages? If so, I was under the impression that the Virginia class was held up as a model program vis-a-vis cost, performance, ability to keep to production schedule.

    • If you go way back to the start of the program, Virginia was pitched as a cheap alternative to Seawolf. Virginia then went through a massive cost increase during the design stage as it was reimagined as a first rate warship that was in many ways superior to Seawolf. Since the the design was finalized and the first boat commissioned though, costs have been well managed.

      • Sir Bateman

        Thanks for the response. Given the escalation in price of the Virginia class would it have been wiser to continue with Seawolf class construction in lieu of switching to the Virginias?

        • Tough to say. Switching to Virginia was mostly a failure in its original purpose of providing a cheaper submarine and it contributed to the looming submarine shortfall. However, Seawolf was optimized for a blue water ASW mission that basically disappeared with the collapse of the USSR and Virginia is better suited to the current strategic situation.

          In all, I’m inclined to say Virginia was a good idea, but ending Seawolf production before Virginia was ready was a horrible one. If we had kept the line hot instead, the submarine fleet would be in a healthier state today and the price of the first few Virginia’s might have been lower as well.

        • Rocco

          Another McNamara & Oboma desision!!

  • AmPatriotSmith

    Well, the Navy apparently is too anxious to put unproven new technologies on ships and I see that is what is causing the cost overruns, not to mention getting enough experienced maintenance workers to maintain them

    • AmPatriotSmith

      Also, I might add, the Chinese maybe looking at our new technologies and improving upon them. It’s as if this country doesn’t have enough problems.

  • vetww2

    When you are in a collusive, non competitive industry, you don’t need to worry about buy-ins, lo balling and competition. If you have the means. check the scrub RADM Mangenero, (SEA001 AT THE TIME), made of Ingalls and EB changes. Others in NAVSEA, including me, helped in the technical evaluations. The result was a refund of over 2 billion dollars to the Navy. Unfortunately, the Adm, who was slated to become SEA00 was retired, as a result. The good side was that he became CEO of General Atomics at 3X the salary.
    I’m afraid that the lenghy, self serving, often boring narratives posted by some here tend to short significant commentary. Some of the editors seem to relish it.