February 8, 2007
$3.5 billion increase in Navy shipbuilding budget
The Administration's FY08 budget, requests $12.5 billion for new naval ships. This is a $3.5 billion increase over the FY07 appropriations of $9.0 billion for new ship procuremen.
"It is very positive that the budget for shipbuilding at long last proposes an increase. This is an encouraging step from last year's level, but it does not meet the increased funding level Navy leadership stated was needed in accordance with the 30-year shipbuilding plan," said Cynthia Brown, President of the American Shipbuilding Association (ASA).
The Navy's 30-year shipbuilding plan called for a FY08 new ship procurement budget of $14.1 billion to begin the long process of rebuilding the fleet to 313 ships--the minimum force required to defend the Nation and project power around the globe, according to Navy leaders.
In 2001, the Fleet numbered 341 ships compared with a 90-year historic low of just 276 ships today.
The shrinkage of the U.S. Navy is a result of persistently low procurement budgets. Since 2001, the budget for the Department of Defense has increased 68%, excluding war supplementals, while the Navy shipbuilding budget has experienced only a 17% increase. In 1988, the Nation invested $27 billion in today's dollars to build a Navy. While the FY08 increase is significant, shipbuilding budgets will have to be increased much more if the United States is to continue as the leading sea power.
WHAT'S IN THE BUDGET REQUEST?
The FY 2008 Navy shipbuilding budget request seeks funding for construction of the lead next generation of aircraft carrier, the Ford Class or CVN-21,ship, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), in both FY 2008 and FY 2009 and advance procurement funding for CVN-79 in both years.
The FY 2008 budget provides the second increment of funding required to complete the two FY 2007 lead ships in the DDG 1000 program, formerly the DD(X) program.
Meantime, though there's currently a hold on construction of one Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the Navy budgeted for three more LCSs in FY 2008. Procurement of two mission module packages is also planned in FY 2008.
The budget provides for procurement of one Auxiliary Cargo and Ammunition Ship (T-AKE) in the National Defense Sealift Fund (NDSF). This will be the eleventh ship of the class dedicated to the Combat Logistics Force.
The NDSF budget also continues funding for the development of future sea basing ships. The Maritime Prepositioning Force (Future) (MPF(F)) squadron of ships, leverages current designs and production lines where possible, such as T-AKE variant ships, modified Large, Medium Speed Roll-On/Roll-Off (LMSR) ships and LHA(R) ships. MPF(F) new construction commences in FY 2009 and includes one T-AKE variant and one Mobile Landing Platform (MLP). MPF(F) ships will be interoperable with current and planned Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) craft and Joint High Speed Vessels (intratheater connectors). The LCAC modernization program continues with a service life extension for five craft in FY 2008. The budget request also includes RDT&E,N funding in FY 2008 for transformational Sea Base to Shore, intratheater, and intertheater connectors to support Seabasing.
The budget also provides advance procurement funds in FY 2008 for the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Refueling Complex Overhaul which will commence in FY 2010.
Submarine Programs: Construction of the Virginia class continues to be performed under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding Company.
FY 2008 funds the fifth of five Virginia class submarines under a multiyear procurement contract awarded in January 2004. A follow-on multi-year procurement will be pursued to continue construction of the class beginning in FY 2009. The proposed contract would increase the Virginia class build rate to two submarines per year beginning in FY 2012.
The joint Navy and DARPA "Tango Bravo" initiative to investigate and remove technical barriers to future submarine design continues in the FY 2008 budget.