Senate Committee nips and tucks Navy shipbuilding request
The Senate Armed Services Committee has completed its markup of the National Defense Authorization Bill for FY 2009.
Under the leadership of the Chairman Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Ranking Member Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), the Subcommittee on Seapower focused on on force protection for Marine Corps ground forces and on execution of the shipbuilding budget.
The subcommittee was concerned with the amount of funding in the budget request devoted to shipbuilding, and says it took steps to protect the capability of the Navy to provide necessary global presence into the future.
The subcommittee has funded the seven ships in the Administration's budget request and has included the following funding and legislative provisions:
Attack submarine advance procurement--Adds $79 million to support Navy's acceleration of SSN-774 procurement to two boats per year in FY 11.
Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)-- Reduces by $123 million the FY2009 budget request to reflect resources derived from canceled contracts in ship prices. This leaves enough money in Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy to fund the two ships in the Navy's budget request.
LPD-17--Adds $170 million for LPD-17 advance procurement, which is combined with other funds for a total of $323 million in advance procurement. Full funding for this ship (at a cost of $1.7 billion) was number one on the Marine Corps Commandant's Unfunded Priorities List and number two on the CNO's list.
Prepositioning ship program--Reduces by $170 million the Navy's maritime prepositioning force-future (MPF(F)) ship (called an MPF(F) LHA(R)). The ships in the production line ahead of this ship are both over cost and behind schedule.
SSBN(X)--Adds $15 million to accelerate studies on the next generation strategic missile submarine.
New cruiser R&D-- Reduces by $120.8 million the Navy's program to develop a new air and missile defense cruiser called (CG)X, effectively capping CG(X) R&D at FY2008 levels. The Navy has deferred making a decision on the requirements for this ship at least until sometime in FY2009, and cannot spend the extra R&D money they budgeted for FY2009 usefully.
Ship Maintenance and Materiel Condition--Requests a comprehensive report on fleet materiel condition in response to failures of two major surface combatants to pass inspection and be deemed fit for service.