21st Century Warship
With Nunn-McCurdy breaches in the past,
Zumwalt destroyer’s arrival is on the horizon
By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Special Correspondent
Then-Undersecretary of Defense
for Acquisition John J. Young Jr.
announced in a January 2009 memo
that the per-ship cost had reached
nearly $6 billion, 81 percent over
the original estimate. Four months
later, then-Defense Secretary Robert
M. Gates announced that the DDG
1000 program would be truncated
to just three ships.
After much wrangling and speculation, Sean J. Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy, Research, Development and Acquisition, announced in July that the service and
builder General Dynamics Bath Iron
In February 2008, the Navy awarded a $1.4 billion
contract to Bath Iron Works for construction of the
lead ship, Zumwalt.
Now that all three ships are under contact, the program is zeroing in on making sure they are delivered
on time and on budget.
Zumwalt is 60 percent complete as of Oct. 21, and
the Navy scheduled a keel-laying for the ship at Bath
Iron Works’ facilities in Maine on Nov. 17, according a
Naval Sea Systems Command statement provided to
Seapower by spokesman Chris Johnson. If all goes well,
that ship will deliver in fiscal 2014 and achieve initial
operational capability in fiscal 2016.
The second ship, Michael Monsoor, is about 34 percent complete. The Navy expects to take delivery of
Monsoor and the unnamed DDG 1002 in fiscal 2016
and 2018, respectively.
“The DDG 1000 program has completed several significant milestones over the past year,” NAVSEA stated. “It continues to meet its cost, schedule and performance goals established by the Nunn-McCurdy
The Navy has ordered three DDG 1000-class ships from General
Dynamics Bath Iron Works.
; The lead ship, Zumwalt, is 60 percent complete, is expected to
be delivered in fiscal 2014 and achieve initial operational capability in fiscal 2016.
; The second ship, Michael Monsoor, is about 34 percent complete and is to be delivered in fiscal 2016.
; The unnamed third ship, DDG 1002, is expected to be delivered in fiscal 2018.
The DDG 1000 Zumwalt destroyer program has traveled a long, hard road in the 15 or so years ince it was conceived, first as SC 21, then as
DD 21, then as DD(X) and finally under its current
designation. And while the sleek, stealthy ship thus far
has manifested itself to the public only in the form of
artist’s illustrations and scale models, the first ship is
just a couple of years away from delivery — although
much work remains to be done.
The program has had a troubled history. Because of
the technological challenge of building the ships, the
program experienced dramatically rising costs, which
resulted in the planned procurement dwindling from
32 ships, to 24, to seven and finally down to three vessels when it was restructured three years ago after a
breach of Nunn-McCurdy cost thresholds.
The Nunn-McCurdy Amendment requires Congress
be notified if programs experience cost growth of more
than 15 percent and calls for the termination of programs whose total cost grows by more than 25 percent
over the original estimate. However, the secretary of
defense can, among other things, certify that the program is essential to national security and that the management structure is adequate to control costs.