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February 4, 2003

Budget boost for Navy shipbuilding
The Pentagon has released details of the Fiscal year 2004 Department of Defense Budget. The budget requests $379.9 billion in discretionary budget authority -- $15.3 billion above FY 2003. The FY 2004 DoD budget is described as "the first to reflect fully the Bush Administration's new defense strategy, which calls for a focus on the capabilities needed to counter 21st century threats such as terrorism - rather than on specific regional dangers or requirements.

CVN-21 The budget includes . $1.5 billion for the planned 2007 aircraft carrier, which has been upgraded to the CVN-21 design -- whose innovations include an enhanced flight deck, a new nuclear power plant, allowance for future technologies, and reduced manning. Some of these capabilities previously were not going into a new carrier until 2011. "This is an example that fulfills President Bush's goal of skipping a generation of systems or technologies," says the DoD

New ship classes/technologies $1.2 billion is budgeted to continue development of technologies to be applied to the whole family of 21st century surface combatants including DDX destroyer, littoral combat ship, and the CG(X) cruiser.

Shipbuilding: $12.2 billion for procurement of seven ships - up sharply from $9.5 billion and five ships in FY 2003.

In a Pentagon briefing, DoD Comptroller Dov Zakheim said shipbuilding is a "good news" story for the department. In fiscal 2004, DoD has programmed seven ships. Through fiscal 2009, the department plans on at least seven ships a year. In fiscal 2008 and 2009, the numbers jump to nine and 14. That is when a new class, the littoral combat ship, is scheduled to enter service.

The department will retire older Spruance-class destroyers early. The Navy expects to have superior, efficient ships to replace these older, more expensive craft.

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