doubled since the program’s inception, are stable — for now.
The Navy has spent $12 billion
on LCS to date, with plans to spend
another $28 billion through 2034 to
buy a total of 52 of the ships. By
2028, LCS will make up one-third
of the surface combatant fleet.
“But major challenges abound
that threaten whether this program
will indeed be able to deliver intended combat capability,” McCain
warned, adding that the Navy
needs an “honest, objective look”
at the program’s requirements,
capabilities and its acquisition
Meanwhile, the Senate panel
agreed to the Navy’s request to raise
the statutory cost cap on the CVN
78, the first of the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers, from $10.5 billion to $12.8 billion. But in its report
on the bill, the committee criticized
the White House and Congress for
ignoring lessons learned “repeatedly
and painfully” on previous shipbuilding programs that resulted in
delays and cost hikes.
In particular, the panel took issue
with labor, material and design cost
hikes from the shipyard, as well as
increases to the costs of government-furnished equipment.
To keep costs down on the CVN
79, the panel demanded quarterly
reports on that carrier’s costs and
required the Navy to freeze payment of fees to the contractor,
Huntington Ingalls Industries’
Newport News Shipbuilding, if
that ship exceeds its cost cap.
“These challenges must be overcome and contained in the first
ship, not allowed to continue with
subsequent ship builds,” McCain
wrote in his addendum to the committee report.
But he raised concerns that the
Navy is rushing to get the CVN 79
under contract by fall, before the
costs of the first ship have been stabilized and its design and requirements have been completed.
“Regarding morale, it is dismal. The civilians that work for me
are tired of being perceived as the GSA [General Services
Administration] guy in the hot tub, or the IRS employees lavishly spending money. … The public at large seems to think that
we deserve this ... nothing could be farther from the truth.”
Manager of C- 5 maintenance operations at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
On the 11 days of unpaid leave more than 650,000 Defense Department employees
will be forced to take by the end of the fiscal year as a result of sequestration.
Washington Post, July 9
“I face a pincer movement. I have on my far left a group of
people that just don’t believe that we ought to have a strong
defense. ... On my far right, I see people that if you cut $19
billion, they’re not happy because you didn’t cut $20 billion.”
U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va.
Chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee
On the pressure from both ends of the political spectrum in Congress to cut defense
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, July 4
Doing so, McCain warned, would
increase the likelihood of extensive
change orders on the fixed-price
contract, exposing the program to
an “unreasonable risk of excessive
cost growth and schedule slips.”
Across the Capitol, the House
Armed Services Committee showed
similar reluctance on the carrier,
ultimately authorizing the higher
cost cap requested by the Navy but
warning that continued growth in
the ship’s price tag is unsustainable
and could squeeze out funds for
other ship programs, including the
expensive replacement for the
Ohio-class ballistic-missile subma-
rine now in development.
The Navy has said the increase in
the cost cap on the first ship is needed to continue the program, but has
assured Congress that subsequent
Ford-class carriers will not encounter
problems of the same magnitude.
During a May 8 hearing before
McCain’s subcommittee, Sean J.
Stackley, the Navy’s top acquisition
official, called the cost growth on
the CVN 78 unacceptable. But he
said the Navy is “rewriting the
build plan” for the next carrier and
taking other steps to reduce costs.
Hagel: Dire Consequences
From Sequestration in ’ 14
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has
warned lawmakers that continued
budget caps — which would amount
to a $52 billion cut to the Defense
Department’s request for the next fiscal year — will mean deep cuts to
investment accounts, layoffs in the
civilian workforce and further
spending reductions in military
training and facilities maintenance.
In a July 10 letter to the leaders of
the Senate Armed Services Committee, Hagel outlined some of the
consequences if Congress and the
White House are unable to compromise on a more amenable deficit-reduction plan.
The memo did not spell out specific cuts, but hints at some of the