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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

CVN-78, CVN-79, and CVN-80 are the first three ships in the Navy’s new Gerald R. Ford (CVN- 78) class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs).

CVN-78 was procured in FY2008 and is being funded with congressionally authorized four-year incremental funding in FY2008-FY2011. The Navy’s proposed FY2012 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $11,531.0 million (i.e., about $11.5 billion) in then-year dollars. The Navy’s proposed FY2011 budget requested $1,731.3 million in procurement funding as the final increment to complete this estimated procurement cost.

CVN-79 is scheduled for procurement in FY2013, and has received advance procurement funding since FY2007. The Navy’s proposed FY2012 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $10,253.0 million (i.e., about $10.3 billion) in then-year dollars and requests $554.8 million in advance procurement funding for the ship.

CVN-80 is scheduled for procurement in FY2018, with advance procurement funding scheduled to begin in FY2014. The Navy’s proposed FY2012 budget estimates the ship’s procurement cost at $13,494.9 million (i.e., about $13.5 billion) in then-year dollars.

Oversight issues for Congress for the CVN-78 program include the potential for cost growth and technical and design issues that were raised in a December 2010 report from the Department of Defense (DOD) Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E).



Date of Report: June 23, 2011
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: RS20643
Price: $29.95

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Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues


Amy F. Woolf
Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy

Prompt global strike (PGS) would allow the United States to strike targets anywhere on earth with conventional weapons in as little as an hour. This capability may bolster U.S. efforts to deter and defeat adversaries by allowing the United States to attack high-value targets or “fleeting targets” at the start of or during a conflict. Congress has generally supported the PGS mission, but it has restricted funding and suggested some changes in funding for specific programs.

Many analysts believe that the United States should use long-range ballistic missiles armed with conventional warheads for the PGS mission. These weapons would not substitute for nuclear weapons in the U.S. war plan but would, instead, provide a “niche” capability, with a small number of weapons directed against select, critical targets, which might expand the range of U.S. conventional options. Some analysts, however, have raised concerns about the possibility that U.S. adversaries might misinterpret the launch of a missile with conventional warheads and conclude that the missiles carry nuclear weapons. DOD is considering a number of systems that might provide the United States with long-range strike capabilities.

The Air Force and Navy have both considered deploying conventional warheads on their longrange ballistic missiles. The Navy sought to deploy conventional warheads on a small number of Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles. In FY2008, Congress rejected the requested funding for this program. The Air Force and DARPA are developing a hypersonic glide delivery vehicle that could deploy on a modified Peacekeeper land-based ballistic missile—a system known as the Conventional Strike Missile (CSM). In FY2008, Congress created a single, combined fund for the conventional prompt global strike (CPGS) mission. This fund is supporting research and development into the Air Force CSM and two possible hypersonic glide vehicles. The Obama Administration has requested $239.9 million for the CPGS program in FY2011.

Congress may consider a number of issues when it reviews the budget requests for CPGS weapons. It may question DOD’s rationale for the mission, reviewing whether the United States might face circumstances in conflicts where it would have to attack targets promptly at the start of or during a conflict, and when it could not rely on forward-based land or naval forces. It might also review whether this capability would reduce U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons or whether, as some critics have asserted, it might upset stability and possibly increase the risk of a nuclear response to a U.S. attack. This risk derives, in part, from the possibility that nations detecting the launch of a U.S. PGS weapon would not be able to determine whether the weapon carried a nuclear or conventional warhead. Congress has raised concerns about this possibility in the past.

Although the Air Force Conventional Strike Missile is the main contender for the CPGS mission, the Air Force may not be able to deploy this system until later in this decade, as the hypersonic glide vehicle has not yet had a successful test flight. Hence, Congress may review other weapons options for the PGS mission. These include not only ballistic missiles and boost-glide systems, but also bombers, cruise missiles, and possibly scramjets or other advanced technologies.

Finally, Congress is likely to question how the New START Treaty, signed by the United States and Russia in April 2010, would affect U.S. plans for the CPGS mission. Warheads deployed on boost-glide systems would not be affected by the treaty because these are new types of strategic offensive arms. But those deployed in existing types of reentry vehicles on existing types of ballistic missiles, like the Navy’s CTM program, would count against the treaty limits.



Date of Report: June 21, 2011
Number of Pages: 42
Order Number: R41464
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Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The Navy’s ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) form one leg of the U.S. strategic nuclear deterrent force, or “triad,” which also includes land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and land-based long-range bombers. The Navy currently operates 14 Ohio (SSBN-726) class SSBNs, also known as Trident SSBNs, the first of which is projected to reach the end of its service life in 2027.

The Navy is conducting development and design work on a planned class of 12 next-generation ballistic missile submarines, or SSBN(X)s, which the service wants to procure as replacements for the 14 Ohio-class boats. The SSBN(X) program is also known as the Ohio replacement program (ORP). The Navy’s proposed FY2012 budget requests $1,067 million in research and development funding for the program. Navy plans call for procuring the first SSBN(X) in FY2019, with advance procurement funding for the boat beginning in FY2015.

The Navy estimates the average procurement cost of boats 2 through 12 in the program at $5.6 billion each in FY2010 dollars, and is now working to reduce that figure to a target of $4.9 billion each in FY2010 dollars. Even with this cost-reduction effort, some observers are concerned that procuring 12 SSBN(X)s during the 15-year period FY2019-FY2033, as called for in Navy plans, could lead to reductions in procurement rates for other types of Navy ships during those years.

Potential oversight issues for Congress for the SSBN(X) program include the following: 

  • the plan to design the SSBN(X) with 16 SLBM tubes rather than 20; 
  • the plan to procure 12 SSBN(X)s rather than 13 or 14; 
  • the likelihood that the Navy will be able to reduce the average procurement cost of boats 2-12 in the program to the target figure of $4.9 billion each in FY2010 dollars; 
  • the accuracy of the Navy’s estimate of the procurement cost of each SSBN(X); 
  • the prospective affordability of the SSBN(X) program and its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs; 
  • where in the budget to fund the program’s detailed design/nonrecurring engineering (DD/NRE costs); and 
  • the question of which shipyard or shipyards will build SSBN(X)s. 
Options for reducing the cost of the SSBN(X) program or its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs (other than the Navy’s current cost-reduction effort) include procuring fewer than 12 SSBN(X)s; reducing the number of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to be carried by each SSBN(X) from 16 to a lower number, such as 12; stretching out the schedule for procuring SSBN(X)s and making greater use of split funding (i.e., two-year incremental funding) in procuring them; and funding the procurement of SSBN(X)s in a part of the Department of Defense (DOD) budget that is outside the Navy’s budget.

This report focuses on the SSBN(X) as a Navy shipbuilding program. CRS Report RL33640, U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues, by Amy F. Woolf, discusses the SSBN(X) as an element of future U.S. strategic nuclear forces in the context of strategic nuclear arms control agreements.



Date of Report: June 23, 2011
Number of Pages: 46
Order Number: R41129
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community, and Recidivism


Nathan James
Analyst in Crime Policy

The prison population in the United States has been growing steadily for more than 30 years. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that since 2000 an average of 680,000 inmates have been released from state and federal prisons and almost 5 million ex-offenders are under some form of community-based supervision. Offender reentry can include all the activities and programming conducted to prepare ex-convicts to return safely to the community and to live as law-abiding citizens. Some ex-offenders, however, eventually end up back in prison. The most recent nationallevel recidivism study is 10 years old; this study showed that two-thirds of ex-offenders released in 1994 came back into contact with the criminal justice system within three years of their release. Compared with the average American, ex-offenders are less educated, less likely to be gainfully employed, and more likely to have a history of mental illness or substance abuse—all of which have been shown to be incarceration risk factors.

Three phases are associated with offender reentry programs: programs that take place during incarceration, which aim to prepare offenders for their eventual release; programs that take place during offenders’ release period, which seek to connect ex-offenders with the various services they may require; and long-term programs that take place as ex-offenders permanently reintegrate into their communities, which attempt to provide offenders with support and supervision. There is a wide array of offender reentry program designs, and these programs can differ significantly in range, scope, and methodology. Researchers in the offender reentry field have suggested that the best programs begin during incarceration and extend throughout the release and reintegration process. Despite the relative lack of research in the field of offender reentry, an emerging “what works” literature suggests that programs focusing on work training and placement, drug and mental health treatment, and housing assistance have proven to be effective.

The federal government’s involvement in offender reentry programs typically occurs through grant funding, which is available through a wide array of federal programs at the Departments of Justice, Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services. However, only a handful of grant programs in the federal government are designed explicitly for offender reentry purposes.

The Second Chance Act (P.L. 110-199) was enacted on April 9, 2008. The act expanded the existing offender reentry grant program at the Department of Justice and created a wide array of targeted grant-funded pilot programs. Potential issues facing Congress regarding incarceration and offender reentry include the adequacy of the federal government’s existing grant programs, the lack of current national-level statistics on recidivism, whether other outcome measures should be considered, whether more funding should be allocated toward program evaluations, and whether enough coordination is taking place among the various federal agencies that manage programs used to fund offender reentry.


Date of Report: June 1, 2011
Number of Pages: 39
Order Number: RL34287
Price: $29.95

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Navy LPD-17 Amphibious Ship Procurement: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

The Navy’s proposed FY2012 budget requests funding for the procurement of an 11th San Antonio (LPD-17) class amphibious ship. The Navy intends this ship to be the final ship in the class. The ship has received $184.0 million in prior-year advance procurement (AP) funding, and the Navy’s proposed FY2012 budget requests the remaining $1,847.4 million needed to complete the ship’s estimated procurement cost of $2,031.4 million.

The Navy plans to begin procuring a new class of amphibious ship called the LSD(X) in FY2017. Some observers have suggested using the LPD-17 design as the basis for the LSD(X). Navy officials do not stress this option and instead appear more interested in developing an all-new design for the LSD(X). If a decision were made to use the LPD-17 design as the basis for the LSD(X), then procuring a 12
th LPD-17 in FY2014 or FY2015 would help keep the LPD-17 production line open until the procurement of the first LSD(X) in FY2017, which in turn might help reduce LSD(X) production costs.

Issues for Congress include whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s proposed funding request for the 11
th LPD-17, whether to encourage or direct the Navy to use the LPD-17 design as the basis for the design of the LSD(X), and—particularly if the LPD-17 design is used as the basis for the LSD(X)—whether to fund the procurement of a 12th LPD-17 in FY2014 or FY2015.


Date of Report: June 6, 2011
Number of Pages: 59
Order Number: RL34476
Price: $29.95

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