DD(X) Losing Congress

Lawmakers’ Support for DDG 1000 Program Ebbs

DDG 1000 USS Zumwalt

Construction contracts have been given for the two lead Zumwalt-class ships, but the program is in serious trouble.

155mm AGS firing LRLAP

Advanced Gun System (AGS) firing Long-Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP)

The Navy has advertised the first two ships as costing $3.3 billion each to build, although subsequent hulls will be cheaper. Labs now thinks $5 billion is more likely, with higher figures possible.

The Navy is asking for money to buy the third DDG 1000 in the 2009 budget, but support for the seven-ship DDG 1000 program already is waning. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the powerful House Appropriations defense subcommittee, announced Feb. 27 he is considering delaying the destroyer in order to buy other ships, including an LPD 17-class amphibious ship and two more T-AKE ammunition ships.

In Navy posture hearings over the past few weeks, the possibility of delaying or canceling the DDG 1000 program has been routinely discussed. No lawmaker has stood to support the program on its merits – only for the shipbuilding work it represents.

LPD 21 USS New York Under Construction

LPD 21 USS New York Under Construction in 2006.

A big part of the problem is that the Nave seems to want to live in imaginary land when talking budgets.

Lawmakers have seen so many big differences between the Navy’s funding requests and its actual outlays that many of them no longer take the Navy’s numbers seriously.

Some members are placing more stock on the cost estimates provided by CBO than by the Navy, O’Rourke said, and he referenced a comment March 14 by Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., who called the Navy’s estimates for its shipbuilding plan “pure fantasy.”

In February, the Navy revised its annual shipbuilding budget requirements from $14.4 billion to $23 billion per year over 30 years. That means they had previously undershot by about 60%.

Last year’s plan showed the Navy buying 60 ships from 2009 to 2013 at a cost of $75 billion. Now the plan is to buy 47 ships for nearly the same amount, $74 billion.

And has anyone seen any evidence anywhere that today’s projections are really any more realistic than yesterday’s?

Comments

  1. I’m afraid I have to agree with congress on this one. I wouldn’t buy ay cost estimates from the military period (not just the Navy)! Any cost overruns by the Contractor/s should be born solely by them, and not the taxpayers. A couple of good budgetary @$$ whippings and I’ll be the rest of the lowball can artists would get their bidding acts together right,, quick, and in a hurry!

  2. Pay us more to screw you, and guess what you get? Of course, they could always outsource shipbuilding like they have airplane building or ammunition manufacturing. After all, what could possibly go wrong with that idea? I like this story where China is now supplying ammo to both sides in Afghanistan:

    Since 2006, when the insurgency in Afghanistan sharply intensified, the Afghan government has been dependent on American logistics and military support in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. But to arm the Afghan forces that it hopes will lead this fight, the American military has relied since early last year on a fledgling company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur. With the award last January of a federal contract worth as much as nearly $300 million, the company, AEY Inc., which operates out of an unmarked office in Miami Beach, became the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan’s army and police forces. Since then, the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed. In purchasing munitions, the contractor has also worked with middlemen and a shell company on a federal list of entities suspected of illegal arms trafficking. Moreover, tens of millions of the rifle and machine-gun cartridges were manufactured in China, making their procurement a possible violation of American law. The company’s president, Efraim E. Diveroli, was also secretly recorded in a conversation that suggested corruption in his company’s purchase of more than 100 million aging rounds in Albania, according to audio files of the conversation.NY Times

  3. Funny you should mention that………….when I was there (The Stan), one of the many services the police training and mentoring program I was security for did; was to provide rifles, pistols, shotguns, beltfeds (RPDs & PKMs), and RPGs to the Afghan National Police (ANP). The pistols were new S & W MPs, the shotguns I saw were new Mossberg pump guns, but the real issue was the rifles and machineguns. Some were new Hungarian AMD 65s, but most were beat to crap AKs that the US had paid some arms dealer for. The RPDs and PKMs were in very poor condition too. When I say very poor condition, I mean so poor they were unserviceable or unsafe to use. We shipped many of them back to the US (at additional expense) to some company down south for refurbishment, then they were shipped back, to The Stan, for us to distribute to the ANP. Not very cost effective you’re thinking? You’re right, it wasn’t.

  4. It sounds like everyone was making money. I don’t see a problem. In the article I cited, the ammo was supposed to be coming from Hungary and it only might be illegal for it to be coming from communist red China. It makes me wonder why people aren’t more patriotic… Bah ha ha ha, good one, eh?