Report to Congress on John Lewis Class Oiler Program

August 9, 2023 10:05 AM

The following is the Aug. 7, 2023 Congressional Research Service report, Navy John Lewis (TAO-205) Class Oiler Shipbuilding Program: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report

The Navy procured its first John Lewis (TAO-205) class oiler in FY2016, and a total of nine have been procured through FY2023. The first six were procured under a block buy contract authorized by Section 127 of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (S. 1356/P.L. 114-92 of November 25, 2015). TAO-205s are being built by General Dynamics/National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD/NASSCO) of San Diego, CA. The first ship in the class was delivered to the Navy on July 26, 2022.

Current Navy plans call for procuring a total of 20 TAO-205s. The Navy’s proposed FY2024 budget requests $815.4 million for the procurement of the 10th TAO-205 class ship, and an additional $122.9 million in cost-to-complete procurement funding to cover cost growth on TAO-205s procured in prior years.

Section 128 of the FY2023 NDAA (H.R. 7776/P.L. 117-263 of December 23, 2022) provides authority for the Navy during FY2023 and FY2024 to use multiyear contracting to procure not more than eight TAO-205s. Using multiyear contracting in the form of a multiyear procurement (MYP) contract would require additional approval in a DOD appropriations act. Using multiyear contracting in the form of a block buy contract would not require additional approval in a DOD appropriations act—the authorization provided by Section 128 of the FY2023 NDAA would be sufficient for using a block buy contract.

Issues for Congress include the following:

  • cost growth and schedule delays in the TAO-205 program;
  • whether to procure in FY2024 one TAO-205 class ship (as requested), no TAO-205 class ship, or two TAO-205 class ships;
  • whether to procure TAO-205s in FY2024 and subsequent years under MYP or block buy contract;
  • the total number of TAO-205s the Navy will require in coming years to support its operations, particularly in light of the Navy’s new Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) operating concept;
  • issues regarding the TAO-205 program discussed in a June 2022 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report assessing major DOD acquisition programs; and
  • whether to encourage or direct the Navy to build TAO-205s with more ship self-defense equipment than currently planned by the Navy.

Download the document here.

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