May 20, 2005

House, Senate differ on DD(X)

Legislators in both Houses are having differences over how to deal with the hugely expensive DD(X) destroyer program.

The House Armed Services Committee has now marked up its version of the FY2006 defense authorization bill.

The HASC has trimmed $1 billion from the DD(X) program, put a $1.7 billion a copy ceiling on the cost of each destroyer, directed the Secretary of Defense to start developing a new, more affordable, surface combatant, and has authorized $2.5 billion more than the budget request for two more DDG-51 destroyers.

This is all part of what Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), the committee chairman, says is the beginning of "a longer term effort to fundamentally challenge how the Department of Defense conducts major weapons acquisition."

In contrast, the Senate Armed Services Committee version of things, authorizes the four ships in the Bush Administration budget request, but adds $336.7 million to the Navy shipbuilding pot to accelerate the CVN-78 aircraft carrier, the LHA(R) amphibious ship, and the second DD(X) destroyer of the class.

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