Report to Congress on John Lewis Oiler Program

April 11, 2024 5:56 PM

The following is the March 26, 2024 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 10 have been procured through FY2024. 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 TAO-205 was delivered to the Navy on July 26, 2022, and the second was delivered on July 11, 2023.

Current Navy plans call for procuring a total of 20 TAO-205s. The Navy’s FY2025 budget submission programs the procurement of the next two TAO-205s (which would be the 11th and 12th ships in the class) for FY2026, and does not request any funding for FY2025 for the procurement of additional TAO-205s. The Navy’s proposed FY2025 budget does request $227.2 million in cost-to-complete funding to cover cost growth on TAO-205s procured in prior fiscal 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 FY2025 no TAO-205 class ship (as programmed in the Navy’s FY2025 budget submission), one 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;
  • issues regarding the TAO-205 program discussed in a June 2023 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report and a January 2024 Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) report; 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.

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.
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