size of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability
of the Navy’s shipbuilding plans have been matters of concern for the
congressional defense committees for the past several years.
In February 2006, the Navy presented to Congress a goal of achieving and
maintaining a fleet of 313 ships, consisting of certain types and
quantities of ships. On March 28, 2012, the Department of Defense (DOD)
submitted to Congress an FY2013 30-year (FY2013-FY2042) shipbuilding plan
that includes a revised goal for a fleet of about 310-316 ships. The Navy is
conducting a force structure assessment, to be completed later this year,
that could lead to a refinement of this 310-316-ship plan.
The Navy’s proposed FY2013 budget requests funding for the procurement of 10
new battle force ships (i.e., ships that count against the 310-316 ship
goal). The 10 ships include one Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) class aircraft
carrier; two Virginia-class attack submarines, two DDG-51 class Aegis
destroyers, four Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), and one Joint High Speed Vessel
(JHSV). These ships are all funded through the Shipbuilding and
Conversion, Navy (SCN) account.
The FY2013-FY2017 five-year shipbuilding plan contains a total of 41 ships—14
ships, or about 25%, less than the 55 ships in the FY2012 five-year
(FY2012-FY2016) shipbuilding plan, and 16 ships less, or about 28%, less
than the 57 ships that were planned for FY2013-FY2017 under the FY2012
budget. Of the 16 ships no longer planned for FY2013-FY2017, nine were
eliminated from the Navy’s shipbuilding plan and seven were deferred to
years beyond FY2017. The nine ships that were eliminated were eight Joint
High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) and one TAGOS ocean surveillance ship. The
seven ships deferred beyond FY2017 were one Virginia-class attack submarine,
two LCSs, one LSD(X) amphibious ship, and three TAO(X) oilers. The Navy’s proposed
FY2013 budget also proposes the early retirement of seven Aegis cruisers and
the placement into Reduced Operating Status (ROS) of two LSD-type
The Navy’s FY2013 30-year (FY2013-FY2042) shipbuilding plan, which was
submitted to Congress on March 28, 2012 (more than a month after the
submission of the FY2013 budget on February 13, 2012), does not include
enough ships to fully support all elements of the Navy’s 310-316 ship goal
over the long run. The Navy projects that the fleet would remain below 310 ships
during the entire 30-year period, and experience shortfalls in
cruisers-destroyers, attack submarines, and amphibious ships. The
projected cruiser-destroyer and attack submarine shortfalls are smaller
than they were projected to be under the FY2012 30-year (FY2012- FY2041)
shipbuilding plan, due in part to a reduction in the cruiser-destroyer force-level
goal and the insertion of additional destroyers and attack submarines into
the FY2013 30-year plan.
CBO is currently preparing its estimate of the cost of the FY2013 30-year
shipbuilding plan. In its June 2011 report on the cost of the FY2012 30-year
plan, CBO estimated that the plan would cost an average of $18.0 billion
per year in constant FY2011 dollars to implement, or about 16% more than
the Navy estimated. CBO’s estimate was about 7% higher than the Navy’s estimate
for the first 10 years of the plan, about 10% higher than the Navy’s
estimate for the second 10 years of the plan, and about 31% higher than
the Navy’s estimate for the final 10 years of the plan.
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