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Navy Plans to Build Fewer Ships

The U.S. Navy has officially decided to reduce its growth plan from 313 major warships to 306, according to a planning document obtained by Defense News.

Though the reduction is said to be based on strategy, shrinking budgets are also a major factor in the Navy’s plans.

From a Danger Room article about the cuts:

Any way you cut it, there’s not a lot of extra cash padding the Pentagon’s wallet.

Ships ain’t cheap. A single aircraft carrier can cost $12 billion— and the Navy intends to keep 11 of them. Destroyers, the workhorses of the fleet, range in price from $2 billion to $4 billion. The Navy projects keeping more than 80 of them in service. Even the Littoral Combat Ship, the much-maligned “inexpensive” near-shore fighter, sets back taxpayers around $600 million each for more than 50 copies.

To build all these ships at a pace of between seven and a dozen per year, the Navy gets only $15 billion or so annually from Congress. With unpredictable labor and materials costs, ship prices can rise unexpectedly. The Congressional Budget Office predicted the Navy’s shipbuilding plan would end up costing 19 percent more than the Pentagon’s own rosy estimates.

Read more at Danger Room.

By: Andre Francisco
Online Producer, POGO

andre francisco Andre Francisco is the Online Producer for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: National Security

Related Content: Budget, Defense, Littoral Combat Ship, Wasteful Defense Spending

Authors: Andre Francisco

Submitted by Dfens at: February 7, 2013
We once had a 600 ship Navy and spent less on it than we do now on a Navy that will quickly go to 260 ships even as they plan for 306. As for these ships today being so damn lethal, if you really expect anyone to believe that a single 57mm gun is more lethal than a broad side from 9 16" guns then your last job must have been selling ice to Eskimos. They are not more survivable either. The Mighty Mo' could take a direct hit from an Exocet missile with little more than cosmetic damage. An LCS can't take a full belt of .50 cal rounds from a deck mounted M2 machine gun and stay afloat. For 300 or more years the US Navy was capable of designing their own ships. Ever since contractors lobbied to take that job over, the number, quality, and quantity of ships has declined. I don't care if we have a Navy of 10 ships, clearly not a single one of those 10 should be designed by these thieving, irresponsible, traitorous defense contractors. None of them! They have more than proven themselves to be worse than useless at this task. I think we can all agree on that point. Personally I don't see why POGO does not pick up on this issue. While it might be possible to say a contractor in some cases cost 3 or 4 times more than a government employee in certain instances, this is a case where clearly having government employees do the job provides at least an order (if not 2 or 3) of magnitude better job performance than the defense contractors have. I'm not saying let's do some new, risky thing. I'm just saying, what we did worked, what we are doing isn't working, let's go back to what we did.
Submitted by Chris at: February 6, 2013
their so much Wast in the Department of Defense. the money can be found.I can't see the Congress doing that.
Submitted by S.G. at: February 6, 2013
defens quoth: "is real state-of-the-art. [Never claimed that] The article goes on to quote a sailor who says, "we still have electronic gear in here that uses vacuum tubes." [Never ignored that some ships are old--and ill maintained.] And while NG has plenty of lobbyists looking to ratchet up the Navy budget, they, like you (coincidence?) [If u think my views sound like a NG shill, you may want to "sober up," eh?], I fully agree with you there is tremendous waste in the USN budget, especially shipbuilding. The LCS is a major failure and aquisition scandal. The admirals, SESs and other careerists, with their congressional henchwomen and henchmen, should be penalized for unparalleled negligence in these botched new systems. If the Navy was not so wasteful, at current levels, or current levels minus 15 percent cut, there would be more than enuf money to properly maintain ships and update some rather than build de novo. But we sure as heck do not need 600. 300 with adequate maintenance and some financial and acquisition common sense and responsible oversight (yes, I know that is unlikely from Congress or OSD or the WH) would be quite enough. Again, they are several times more lethal than prior ships in each category.
Submitted by Dfens at: February 6, 2013
"[T]he crew of the frigate USS Elrod struggles constantly with breakdowns, old equipment and the limitations of a ship deliberately left out of combat relevance in the 21st century. Plus sailors' accommodations are cramped. Their clothes come back damp and wrinkled from the central laundry. Sometimes they shower without hot water for weeks. The frigates, in short, are the self-described "Ghetto Navy," the part of the surface force that makes the rest of the surface force -- which has had its own maintenance, training and readiness problems -- look good. -- DoD Buzz Yeah, our Navy is real state-of-the-art. The article goes on to quote a sailor who says, "we still have electronic gear in here that uses vacuum tubes." And while NG has plenty of lobbyists looking to ratchet up the Navy budget, they, like you (coincidence?), are quite happy with the status quo, and are making huge profits from the smallest, least prepared, oldest Navy ever to be bought with such a huge investment of taxpayer money.
Submitted by Smart Guy at: February 5, 2013
Defens: you are "dating" yoself by wanton yearning for twice the number of ships the Powers That Be want to fund now. Please understand that today's ships, with the advanced weapons most have, are several times more lethal than their predecessors. We don't need 600 ships, and certainly cannot afford them. And many of the ships we have today are hardly "rust buckets." You sound like a NG lobbyist, rather than a purported midlevel defense worker. Take a load off, eh?
Submitted by Dfens at: February 5, 2013
$600 million is what they hope the LCS will eventually cost. As it is right now, they cost $1.8 billion each. That's several hundred million more than an Iowa Class Battleship cost in today's dollars. Even their goal of keeping 306 Navy ships operating is better than what they can currently do. To date they can hardly keep 280 rust buckets floating. Yet back when the Navy designed their own ships, they were 600 ships strong, and the Mighty Mo' carried the flag around the world. Fire the contractors! Let the Navy go back to designing their own ships. Those blood suckers have gotten rich enough off corporate welfare. Time for them to contribute or die.

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