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Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress

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Order Code RL32418 Navy Attack Submarine Force-Level Goal and Procurement Rate: Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress Updated June 11, 2007April 8, 2008 Ronald O’Rourke Specialist in National DefenseNaval Affairs Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division Navy Attack Submarine Force-Level Goal and Procurement Rate: Background and Issues for Congress Summary Of the 281 ships in the Navy at the end of FY2006, 55 were nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs). The Navy wants to maintain in coming years a fleet of 313 ships, including 48 SSNs. The Navy is currently procuring Virginia (SSN-774) class SSNs. The first was procured in FY1998, a total of nine have been procured through FY2007, and the first two had entered service as of the end of FY2006. The FY2008-FY2013 Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP) proposes procuring one Virginia-class boat per year through FY2011, and then two boats per year starting in FY2012. The Navy’s proposed FY2008 budget requests $2,571.3 million in the Navy’s shipbuilding budget (the Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy, or SCN, appropriation account) for the Virginia-class program. This total includes $1,796.2 million to complete the procurement funding for the Virginia-class boat that the Navy is requesting to procure in FY2008, which would be the tenth ship in the program. The total estimated procurement cost of this ship is $2,653.7 million, and the ship has received a total of $857.5 million in prior-year funding. The $2,571.3 million being requested for the program for FY2008 also includes, among other things, $702.7 million in advance procurement funding for Virginia-class boats to be procured in future years. The Navy’s 30-year SSN procurement plan, if implemented, would not be sufficient to maintain a force of 48 SSNs consistently over the long run. The Navy projects that the SSN force under this plan would fall below 48 boats during the 14year period 2020-2033, reaching a minimum of 40 boats in 2028-2029. In addition, for the first time in about 50 years, there is currently no new submarine being designed, which has led to a decline in work for submarine designers and engineers. Issues for Congress include the following: Is 48 the correct number of SSNs to meet future needs? Should the start of two-per-year Virginia-class procurement be accelerated from FY2012 to an earlier year, so as to come closer to maintaining a force of 48 SSNs in the 2020s-2030s, and if so, how might that be done financially? How should the submarine design and engineering base be maintained in coming years? There are several potential options for mitigating the projected SSN shortfall, including, among other things, compressing SSN construction times, extending SSN service lives, lengthening SSN deployments, and procuring SSNs that are in addition to those the Navy plans to procure. Congress has several options for procuring additional SSNs in the near term, and for providing additional work to the submarine design and engineering base. This report will be Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress Summary The Navy’s proposed FY2009 budget requests $2,107.0 million to complete the procurement funding for an 11th Virginia (SSN-774) class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN). This boat has already received $756.0 million in prior-year advance procurement funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2009 budget also requests $719.8 million in advance procurement funding for Virginia-class boats to be procured in future fiscal years, and $596.8 million in additional procurement funding for economic order quantity (EOQ) purchases of key components for eight Virginiaclass submarines (the 11th boat and seven others) that are to be procured under a multiyear procurement (MYP) arrangement during the five-year period FY2009FY2013. As part of its action on the Navy’s FY2008 shipbuilding budget, Congress added $588 million in advance procurement funding for an additional Virginia class submarine to be procured in a year prior to FY2012. The Navy, as part of its proposed FY2009 budget, included this additional submarine in its shipbuilding plan and scheduled it to be fully funded in FY2011. One issue for Congress for FY2009 is whether to accelerate the full funding of the newly added submarine from FY2011 to FY2010 or FY2009, so as to facilitate a follow-on option of funding an additional one or two Virginia-class submarines in FY2010 and/or FY2011. Supporters of this option could argue that it would mitigate a projected seven-boat shortfall in SSNs. Opponents could argue that it would place added pressure on the Navy’s FY2009 budget and/or its FY2010 budget, making it more difficult for the Navy to fund other priorities in those years. This report will be updated as events warrant. Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Submarines in the U.S. Navy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Types of Submarines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Roles and Missions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Attack Submarine Force-Level Goal Levels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Attack Submarine Force Levels . . . . .. . . . 3 Force-Level Goal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Historical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Historical Force Levels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 As of End of FY2006 . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . 3 Force Level As of End Of FY2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Virginia (SSN-774) Class Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Joint Production Arrangement .4 Past and Planned Procurement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Procurement Through FY2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Boats in Service . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 4 Changes in Planned Procurement Rates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Multiyear Procurement . . . . . .4 Multiyear Procurement (MYP) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Planned Procurement Rates . .4 Joint Production Arrangement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Cost-Reduction GoalEffort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Funding Requirements for Accelerated Production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Submarine Construction Industrial Base . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Design and Engineering Portion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Projected SSN Shortfall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Navy Study On Options For Mitigating Projected. 9 Size and Timing of Shortfall . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Alternative Funding Approaches for Additional SSNs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Procuring SSNs Without Advance Procurement Funding . . . . . . . . . . 14 Procuring SSNs With Single-Year Full Funding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Procuring SSNs in a 2-1-2 Pattern .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Navy Study On Options For Mitigating Projected Shortfall . . . . . . . . 10 Funding Additional SSNs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Issues for Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Alternative Funding Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 48-Boat Attack Submarine Force-Level Goal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Accelerated Virginia-Class Procurement13 Procuring SSNs in a 2-1-2 Pattern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Navy View . . . .. 15 Issues for Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Alternative View . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . 15 Accelerating Procurement of Second FY2011 Boat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1615 Maintaining the Design and Engineering Base . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Potential Options for Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Options for Procuring Additional SSNs in FY2008-FY2011 . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Procuring One Additional Boat . . . .. . . 16 48-Boat Attack Submarine Force-Level Goal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Procuring Two Additional Boats18 Potential Options for Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Procuring Three Additional Boats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Procuring Four Additional Boats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Options for Submarine Design and Engineering Base . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Legislative Activity for FY2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 FY2008 Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 1585/S. 1547) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Senate . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . 18 Legislative Activity for FY2009 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2320 Appendix A. Past SSN Force-Level Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2721 Appendix B. Views Regarding 48-Boat SSN Force-Level Goal . . . . . . . . . . . . 3024 Navy View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3024 Alternative View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3125 List of Tables Table 1. Past and Planned Virginia-Class Procurement, FY1998-FY2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Table 2. Planned Virginia-Class Procurement in Various FYDPs . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Table 3. Funding for Accelerated Virginia-Class Procurement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Table 4. 5 Table 3. SSN Force Level, 2008-2037 (Navy Projection) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Table 5. Some Potential Profiles for Procuring Two Additional Boats . . . . . . . . 18 Table 6. Some Potential Profiles for Procuring Three Additional Boats . . . . . . 19 Navy Attack Submarine Force-Level Goal and Procurement Rate: Background and Issues for Congress Introduction Of the 281 ships in the Navy at the end of FY2006, 55 were nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs). The Navy wants to maintain in coming years a fleet of 313 ships, including 48 SSNs.1 The Navy is currently procuring Virginia (SSN-774) class SSNs. The first was procured in FY1998, a total of nine have been procured through FY2007, and the first two had entered service as of the end of FY2006. The FY2008-FY2013 Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP) proposes procuring one Virginia-class boat per year through FY2011, and then two boats per year starting in FY2012. The Navy’s proposed FY2008 budget requests $2,571.3 million in the Navy’s shipbuilding budget (the Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy, or SCN, appropriation account) for the Virginia-class program. This total includes $1,796.2 million to complete the procurement funding for the Virginia-class boat that the Navy is requesting to procure in FY2008, which would be the tenth ship in the program. The total estimated procurement cost of this ship is $2,653.7 million, and the ship has received a total of $857.5 million in prior-year funding. The $2,571.3 million being requested for the program for FY2008 also includes, among other things, $702.7 million in advance procurement funding for Virginia-class boats to be procured in future years. The Navy’s 30-year SSN procurement plan, if implemented, would not be sufficient to maintain a force of 48 SSNs consistently over the long run. The Navy projects that the SSN force under this plan would fall below 48 boats during the 14year period 2020-2033, reaching a minimum of 40 boats in 2028-2029. In addition, for the first time in about 50 years, there is currently no new submarine being designed, which has led to a decline in work for submarine designers and engineers. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the administration’s plans for the future size of the SSN force, for procuring Virginiaclass submarines, and for maintaining the submarine design and engineering base. 1 For additional discussion, see CRS Report RL32665, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. CRS-2 Congress’s decisions on these issues could significantly affect future Navy 2009-2038 (Navy Projection) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Navy Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress Introduction The Navy’s proposed FY2009 budget requests $2,107.0 million to complete the funding for an 11th Virginia (SSN-774) class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN). This boat has already received $756.0 million in prior-year advance procurement funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2009 budget also requests $719.8 million in advance procurement funding for Virginia-class boats to be procured in future fiscal years, and $596.8 million in additional procurement funding for economic order quantity (EOQ) purchases of key components for eight Virginia-class submarines (the 11th boat and seven others) that are to be procured under a multiyear procurement (MYP) arrangement during the five-year period FY2009-FY2013. As part of its action on the Navy’s FY2008 shipbuilding budget, Congress added $588 million in advance procurement funding for an additional Virginia class submarine to be procured in a year prior to FY2012. The Navy, as part of its proposed FY2009 budget, included this additional submarine in its shipbuilding plan and scheduled it to be fully funded in FY2011. One issue for Congress for FY2009 is whether to accelerate the full funding of the newly added submarine from FY2011 to FY2010 or FY2009, so as to facilitate a follow-on option of funding an additional one or two Virginia-class submarines in FY2010 and/or FY2011. Congress’s decisions on these issues could affect future Navy capabilities, Navy funding requirements, and the submarine industrial base. Background Submarines in the U.S. Navy Types of Submarines. Submarines are one of four principal categories of combat ships that traditionally have helped define the size and structure of the U.S. Navy. The other three are aircraft carriers, surface combatants (e.g., cruisers, destroyers, frigates, and Littoral Combat Ships), and amphibious ships.2 (The Navy also includes mine warfare ships and a variety of auxiliary and support ships.) Submarines can be powered by either nuclear reactors or non-nuclear power sources such as diesel engines or fuel cells. All U.S. Navy submarines are nuclearpowered.3 A submarine’s use of nuclear or non-nuclear power as its energy source is is not an indication of whether it is armed with nuclear weapons. A nuclear-powered — a nuclear-powered CRS-2 submarine can lack nuclear weapons, and a non-nuclear-powered submarine can be armed with nuclear weapons. Roles and Missions. U.S. Navy submarines fall into three types — nuclearpowered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines (SSGNs), and nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs).41 SSBNs. The SSBNs’ basic mission is to remain hidden at sea with their nuclear-armed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and thereby deter a strategic nuclear attack on the United States. Although this mission is often associated with the Cold War-era nuclear competition between the United States and 2 The Navy also includes mine warfare ships and a variety of auxiliary and support ships. 3 Until recently, an exception for the U.S. Navy was the non-combat auxiliary submarine Dolphin (AGSS-555), a small submarine that the Navy used for research and development work. As a non-combat research asset, the Dolphin was not included in counts of the total number of submarines (or battle force ships of all kinds) in the Navy. The Dolphin was decommissioned on January 15, 2007. Until the 1950s, the U.S. Navy included many non-nuclear-powered combat submarines. Following the advent of nuclear power in the mid-1950s, construction of new non-nuclearpowered combat submarines ended and the total number of non-nuclear-powered combat submarines in Navy service began to decline. The Navy’s last in-service non-nuclearpowered combat submarine was retired in 1990. Most military submarines around the world are non-nuclear-powered. Five countries — the United States, the United Kingdom (UK), France, Russia, and China — operate nuclearpowered submarines. The United States and the UK operate all-nuclear submarine fleets, while the other three countries operate both nuclear- and non-nuclear-powered submarines. 4 In the designations SSBN, SSGN, and SSN, SS stands for submarine, N stands for nuclearpowered, B stands for ballistic missile, and G stands for guided missile (such as a cruise missile). CRS-3 the Soviet Union, it has continued, with some modifications, in the post-Cold War era.52 As of the end of FY2006FY2007, the Navy included 14 Ohio (SSBN-726) class SSBNs, which are commonly called Trident submarines because they carry Trident SLBMs. Each Trident SSBN can carry 24 Trident SLBMs. SSGNs. The Navy’s four SSGNs, which are a new addition to the fleet,6 are former are former Trident SSBNs that are beinghave been converted (i.e., modified) to carry Tomahawk cruise cruise missiles and special operations forces (SOF) rather than SLBMs. A total of four SSGNs are planned; the first was completed in January 2006, and the fourth is scheduled to be completed by September 2007. Upon reentering service as SSGNs, the ships are scheduled to remain in operation for about 20 years.7 Although the Although the SSGNs differ somewhat from SSNs in terms of mission orientation (with the SSGNs being strongly oriented toward Tomahawk strikes and SOF support, while the SSNs are more general-purpose in orientation), SSGNs can perform other submarine missions and are sometimes included in counts of the projected total number of Navy attack submarines.3 SSNs. The SSNs — the focus of this report — are general-purpose submarines that perform a variety of peacetime and wartime missions, including the following: ! ! ! ! ! ! covert intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), much of it done for national-level (as opposed to purely Navy) purposes; covert insertion and recovery of SOF (on a smaller scale than possible with the SSGNs); covert strikes against land targets with the Tomahawk cruise missiles (again on a smaller scale than possible with the SSGNs); covert offensive and defensive mine warfare; anti-submarine warfare (ASW); and 5 For a discussion of U.S. strategic nuclear weapons policy and force structure, see CRS Report RL31623, U.S. Nuclear Weapons: Changes in Policy and Force Structure, by Amy F. Woolf. 6 The Navy in the late 1950s and early 1960s built and operated two non-nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines (or SSGs — the Grayback [SSG-574] and the Growler [SSG-577]) and one nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine (the Halibut [SSGN-587]). The submarines could each carry two Regulus II strategic nuclear cruise missiles. In the mid1960s, following the deployment of the Navy’s initial SSBNs, the Regulus cruise missile was removed from service and the Grayback, Growler, and Halibut were converted into attack and auxiliary transport submarines. 7 Each SSGN as converted will retain its 24 large (7-foot-diameter, 44-foot-long) SLBM launch tubes. In one possible configuration, 22 of these tubes would be used to carry a total of 154 Tomahawks (7 Tomahawks per tube) while the remaining two would be used as lockout chambers for an embarked force of 66 SOF personnel. In the future, the 24 tubes could be used to carry large numbers of other payloads, such as unmanned vehicles. The SSGNs as converted will also retain their four original 21-inch-diameter torpedo tubes and their internal torpedo magazines. In discussing the SSGNs, Navy officials often express a desire to take maximum advantage of the very large payload volume on each SSGN by developing new unmanned vehicles or other advanced payloads. For more on the Navy’s SSGN conversion program, see CRS Report RS21007, Navy Trident Submarine Conversion (SSGN) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. CRS-4 ! anti-surface ship warfare. anti-surface ship warfare. 1 In the designations SSBN, SSGN, and SSN, SS stands for submarine, N stands for nuclearpowered, B stands for ballistic missile, and G stands for guided missile (such as a cruise missile). 2 Although this mission is often associated with the Cold War-era nuclear competition between the United States and the Soviet Union, it has continued, with some modifications, in the post-Cold War era. For a discussion of U.S. strategic nuclear weapons policy and force structure, see CRS Report RL31623, U.S. Nuclear Weapons: Changes in Policy and Force Structure, by Amy F. Woolf. 3 For more on the Navy’s SSGN conversion program, see CRS Report RS21007, Navy Trident Submarine Conversion (SSGN) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. CRS-3 During the Cold War, ASW against the Soviet submarine force was the primary stated mission of U.S. SSNs, although covert ISR and covert SOF insertion/recovery operations were reportedly important on a day-to-day basis as well.84 In the post-Cold War era, although maintaining a capability for conducting anti-submarine warfare against the Russian submarine force War era, although anti-submarine warfare remains a mission, the SSN force now focuseshas focused more on performing missions oriented toward countries other than Russia and toward nonstate entities such as terrorist organizations performing the other missions noted on the list above. Attack Submarine Force Levels Force-Level Goal . In February 2006, the Navy proposed to maintainachieving and maintaining in coming years a fleet with a total of 313 of 313 ships, including 48 SSNs. Under this plan, SSNs would account for about 15% of the fleet (and 4 SSGNs). For a review of SSN force level goals since the Reagan Administration, see Appendix A. Attack Submarine Force Levels Historical. During the first half of the Cold War, the total number of attack submarines (both nuclear- and non-nuclear-powered) accounted for an increasing percentage of the total size of the Navy, increasing from roughly 10% of total battle force ships in the early 1950s to about 17% by the late 1970s. Since that time, attack submarines have accounted for roughly 17% to 22% of total battle force ships. At the end of FY2006, they accounted for about 20% (55 ships of 281). see Appendix A. Historical Force Levels. The SSN force included more than 90 boats during most of the 1980s, peaked at 98 boats at the end of FY1987, and then began to decline. The force included 85 to 88 boats during the early 1990s, 79 boats at the end of FY1996, 65 boats at the end of FY1998, 57 boats at the end of FY1999, and 56 boats at the end of FY2000. It has since numbered 53 to 56 boats. As of End of FY2006. The 55 SSNs in service at the end of FY2006 included the following: ! ! ! 50 The decline in the number of SSNs since the late-1980s has roughly paralleled the decline in the total size of the Navy over the same time period. Force Level As of End Of FY2007. The 53 SSNs in service at the end of FY2007 included the following: ! ! ! 47 Los Angeles (SSN-688) class boats; 3 Seawolf (SSN-21) class boats; and 23 Virginia (SSN-774) class boatboats. Los Angeles (SSN-688) Class SSNs. A total of 62 Los Angeles-class submarines, commonly called 688s, were procured between FY1970 and FY1990 and entered service between 1976 and 1996. They are equipped with four 21-inch diameter torpedo tubes and can carry a total of 26 torpedoes or Tomahawk cruise missiles in their torpedo tubes and internal magazines. The final 31 boats in the class (SSN-719 and higher) are equipped with an additional 12 vertical launch system (VLS) tubes in their bows for carrying and launching another 12 Tomahawk cruise 8 For an account of certain U.S. submarine surveillance and intelligence-collection operations during the Cold War, see Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew with Annette Lawrence Drew, Blind Man’s Bluff (New York: Public Affairs, 1998). CRS-5 missiles. The final 23 boats in the class (SSN-751 and higher) incorporate further improvements and are referred to as Improved Los Angeles class boats or 688Is. As of the end of FY2006, 12FY2007, 15 of the 62 boats in the class had been retired. Seawolf (SSN-21) Class SSNs. The Seawolf class was originally intended to include about 30 boats, but Seawolf-class procurement was stopped after three boats as a result of the end of the Cold War and associated changes in military requirements. The three Seawolf-class submarines are the Seawolf (SSN-21), the Connecticut (SSN-22), and the Jimmy Carter (SSN-23). SSN-21 and SSN-22 were procured in FY1989 and FY1991 and entered service in 1997 and 1998, respectively. SSN-23 4 For an account of certain U.S. submarine surveillance and intelligence-collection operations during the Cold War, see Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew with Annette Lawrence Drew, Blind Man’s Bluff (New York: Public Affairs, 1998). CRS-4 SSN-23, which was built to a lengthened configuration compared to the other two ships in the class, was originally procured in FY1992. Its procurement was suspended in 1992 and then reinstated in FY1996. It was commissioned into service on February 19, 2005. entered service in 2005. Seawolf-class submarines are larger than Los Angeles-class boats or previous U.S. Navy SSNs,9 and.5 They are equipped with eight 30-inch-diameter torpedo tubes and can can carry a total of 50 torpedoes or cruise missiles. Virginia (SSN-774) Class Program General. The Virginia-class attack submarine was designed to be less expensive and better optimized for post-Cold War submarine missions than the Seawolf-class design. The Virginia-class design is slightly larger than the Los Angeles-class design,106 but incorporates newer technologies. Virginia-class boats currently cost about $2.7 billion each to procure. Joint Production Arrangement. Virginia-class boats are built jointly by General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division (GD/EB) of Groton, CT, and Quonset Point, RI, and Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding (NGNN) of Newport News, VA.11 Under the arrangement, GD/EB builds certain parts of each boat, NGNN builds certain other parts of each boat, and the yards take turns building the reactor compartments and performing final assembly of the boats. GD/EB is building the reactor compartments and performing final assembly on boats 1, 3, and so on, while NGNN is doing so on boats 2, 4, and so on. The arrangement results in a roughly 50-50 division of Virginia-class profits between the two yards and preserves both yards’ ability to build submarine reactor compartments (a key capability for a submarine-construction yard) and perform submarine final-assembly work. The joint production arrangement is a departure from past U.S. submarine construction practices, under which complete submarines were built in individual yards. The joint production arrangement is the product of a debate over the Virginia98 billion each to procure. The three Virginia-class boats in service as of the end of FY2007 entered service on October 23, 2004, September 9, 2006, and May 5, 2007. Past and Planned Procurement. As shown in Table 1, 10 Virginia-class boats have been procured through FY2008, and 8 more are planned for procurement during the period FY2009-FY2013. Table 1. Past and Planned Virginia-Class Procurement FY98 1 FY06 1 FY99 1 FY07 1 FY00 0 FY08 1 FY01 1 FY09 1 FY02 1 FY10 1 FY03 1 FY11 2 FY04 1 FY12 2 FY05 1 FY13 2 Source: FY2009 Navy budget submission. Changes in Planned Procurement Rates. When Virginia-class procurement began in the 1990s, DOD originally projected that the procurement rate would increase to two boats per year in FY2002. (The originally envisaged procurement profile for the Virginia-class program for the years FY1998-FY2002 was 1-0-1-0-2.) In subsequent budgets, the date for starting two-per-year procurement was progressively pushed back. Table 2 shows planned Virginia-class procurement in FYDPs submitted since the mid-1990s. Multiyear Procurement (MYP). The Virginia-class boats planned for procurement in FY2009-FY2013 are being procured under a multiyear procurement (MYP) arrangement requested by the Navy and approved by Congress in FY2008. The five Virginia-class boats procured in FY2004-FY2008 were also procured under a multiyear procurement (MYP) arrangement. The four boats procured in FY19985 Los Angeles-class boats have a beam (i.e., diameter) of 33 feet and a submerged displacement of about 7,150 tons. Seawolf-class boats have a beam of 40 feet. SSN-21 and SSN-22 have a submerged displacement of about 9,150 tons. SSN-23 was built to a modified configuration. It is 100 feet longer than SSN-21 and SSN-22 and has a submerged displacement of 12,158 tons. 10 11 Virginia-class boats have a beam of 34 feet and a submerged displacement of 7,800 tons. GD/EB and NGNN are the only two shipyards in the country capable of building nuclearpowered ships. GD/EB builds submarines only, while NGNN also builds nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and is capable of building other types of surface ships. CRS-6 class acquisition strategy within Congress, and between Congress and DOD, that occurred in 1995-1997 (i.e., during the markup of the FY1996-FY1998 defense budgets). The goal of the arrangement is to keep both GD/EB and NGNN involved in building nuclear-powered submarines, and thereby maintain two U.S. shipyards capable of building nuclear-powered submarines, while minimizing the cost penalties of using two yards rather than one to build a submarine design that is being procured at a low annual rate. Procurement Through FY2006. As shown in Table 1, nine Virginia-class boats have been procured through FY2007. Table 1. Virginia-Class Procurement, FY1998-FY2007 FY98 FY99 FY00 FY01 FY02 FY03 FY04 FY05 FY06 FY07 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Boats in Service. The first two Virginia-class boats entered service on October 23, 2004 and September 9, 2006. Multiyear Procurement. The five Virginia-class boats being procured in FY2004-FY2008 are being procured under a multiyear procurement (MYP) arrangement.12 The Navy estimates that this MYP arrangement will reduce the total cost of the five boats by a total of about $400 million, or an average of $80 million per boat.13 The Navy plans to request congressional approval for a new MYP arrangement to cover the seven Virginia-class boats planned for procurement in FY2009-FY2013. Planned Procurement Rates. When Virginia-class procurement began in the 1990s, DOD originally projected that the procurement rate would increase to two boats per year in FY2002. (The originally envisaged procurement profile for the 12 As part of its proposed FY2004 budget submitted to Congress in February 2003, the Navy requested multiyear procurement authority (MYP) to procure a total of seven Virginia-class boats during the five-year period FY2004-FY2008 (i.e., one boat per year for FY2004-FY2006, then two boats per year for FY2007-FY2008). Congress, as part of its action on the FY2004 defense budget, granted authority in appropriation bill language for a five-boat MYP during this period (i.e., one boat per year for FY2004-FY2008). Specifically, Section 8008 of the conference report (H.Rept. 108-283 of September 24, 2003) on the FY2004 defense appropriations act (H.R. 2568/P.L. 108-87 of September 30, 2003) approved the five-boat MYP arrangement for FY2004-FY2009, “Provided, That the Secretary of the Navy may not enter into a multiyear contract for the procurement of more than one Virginia Class submarine per year.” Accompanying report language stated that “The Navy’s request to procure more than one submarine in fiscal year 2007 and 2008 is denied....” The Navy and other observers interpreted Section 8008 and the accompanying report language as strongly cautioning the Navy against including funding in future budgets to support the procurement of a second boat in either FY2007 or FY2008. 13 The Navy estimated that a seven-boat MYP arrangement would have reduced the cost of the seven boats in question by an average of about $115 million per boat. CRS-7 Virginia-class program for the years FY1998-FY2002 was 1-0-1-0-2.) In subsequent budgets, the date for starting two-per-year procurement was progressively pushed back, and it is now FY2012. Table 2 shows planned Virginia-class procurement in FYDPs submitted since the mid-1990s. Table 2. Planned Virginia-Class Procurement in Various FYDPs FYDP (date submitted) FY95-99 (2/94) FY96-01 (2/95) FY97-01 (3/96) FY98-03 (2/97) FY99-03 (2/98) FY00-05 (2/99) FY01-05 (2/00) FY2002 (6/01)b FY03-07 (2/02) FY04-09 (2/03) FY05-09 (2/04) FY06-11 (2/05) FY07-11 (2/06) FY08-13 (2/07) 9 8 1 1 1 1 9 9 0 0 1a 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1a 1 1 1 1 0 2 0 3 0 4 0 5 0 6 0 7 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 0 8 0 9 1 0 1 1 1 2 1 3 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 Source: Prepared by CRS using Navy data. a. Included at Congressional direction, but not funded in the plan. b. Submission for FY2002 budget only; no FYDP for FY2002-FY2007 submitted. Cost-Reduction Goal. The Navy says that its plan to increase Virginia-class procurement to two per year starting in FY2012 is contingent on being able to reduce the procurement cost of Virginia-class submarines to $2.0 billion each in constant FY2005 dollars, compared to a current cost of about $2.4 billion each in constant FY2005 dollars. The Navy has established cost-reduction targets for several of its shipbuilding programs, but the Virginia-class program is apparently the only program that must meet its cost reduction target as an internal Navy condition for retaining all ships of that type in the Navy’s shipbuilding program. The Navy calculates that the target cost of $2.0 billion in constant FY2005 dollars translates into about $2.6 billion for a boat procured in FY2012, and about $2.7 billion for a boat procured in FY2013. The Navy says that, in constant FY2005 dollars, about $200 million of the $400 million in 6 Virginia-class boats have a beam of 34 feet and a submerged displacement of 7,800 tons. CRS-5 FY2002 were procured under a somewhat similar arrangement called a block buy. The boat procured in FY2003 fell between the FY1998-FY2002 block buy and the FY2004-FY2008 MYP. Table 2. Planned Virginia-Class Procurement in Various FYDPs FYDP (date submitted) FY95-99 (2/94) FY96-01 (2/95) FY97-01 (3/96) FY98-03 (2/97) FY99-03 (2/98) FY00-05 (2/99) FY01-05 (2/00) FY2002 (6/01)b FY03-07 (2/02) FY04-09 (2/03) FY05-09 (2/04) FY06-11 (2/05) FY07-11 (2/06) FY08-13 (2/07) FY09-13 (2/08) 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1a 1 1a 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 Source: Prepared by CRS using Navy data. a. Included at Congressional direction, but not funded in the plan. b. Submission for FY2002 budget only; no FYDP for FY2002-FY2007 submitted. Joint Production Arrangement. Virginia-class boats are built jointly by General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division (GD/EB) of Groton, CT, and Quonset Point, RI, and the Newport News, VA, shipyard that forms part of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB).7 Under the arrangement, GD/EB builds certain parts of each boat, Newport News builds certain other parts of each boat, and the yards take turns building the reactor compartments and performing final assembly of the boats. GD/EB is building the reactor compartments and performing final assembly on boats 1, 3, and so on, while Newport News is doing so on boats 2, 4, and so on. The arrangement results in a roughly 50-50 division of Virginia-class profits between the two yards and preserves both yards’ ability to build submarine reactor compartments (a key capability for a submarine-construction yard) and perform submarine final-assembly work. The joint production arrangement is a departure from past U.S. submarine construction practices, under which complete submarines were built in individual yards. The joint production arrangement is the product of a debate over the Virginia- 7 GD/EB and the Newport News shipyard are the only two shipyards in the country capable of building nuclear-powered ships. GD/EB builds submarines only, while the Newport News shipyard also builds nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and is capable of building other types of surface ships. CRS-6 class acquisition strategy within Congress, and between Congress and DOD, that occurred in 1995-1997 (i.e., during the markup of the FY1996-FY1998 defense budgets). The goal of the arrangement is to keep both GD/EB and Newport News involved in building nuclear-powered submarines, and thereby maintain two U.S. shipyards capable of building nuclear-powered submarines, while minimizing the cost penalties of using two yards rather than one to build a submarine design that is being procured at a low annual rate. Cost-Reduction Effort. The Navy is working to reduce the cost of Virginiaclass submarines so that two boats can be procured in FY2012 for combined cost of $4.0 billion in FY2005 dollars — a goal referred to as “2 for 4 in 12.” Achieving this goal involves removing about $400 million (in FY2005 dollars) from the cost of each submarine. The Navy calculates that the unit target cost of $2.0 billion in FY2005 dollars for each submarine translates into about $2.6 billion for a boat procured in FY2012, and about $2.7 billion for a boat procured in FY2013. The Navy says that, in constant FY2005 dollars, about $200 million of the $400 million in the sought-after cost reductions would be accomplished simply through the improved economies of scale (e.g., better spreading of shipyard fixed costs and improved learning rates) of producing two submarines per year rather than one per year. The remaining $200 million in sought-after cost reductions, the Navy says, is to be accomplished through changes in the ship’s design (which will contribute roughly $100 million toward the cost-reduction goal) and changes in the shipyard production process (which will contribute the remaining $100 million or so toward the goal). CRS-8 The design changes, the Navy says, are scheduled to be ready for boats procured in FY2012. Consequently, the Navy says, the $2.0 billion target cost cannot be fully achieved before FY2012 Some of the design changes will be introduced to Virginia-class boats procured prior to FY2012, but the Navy says the full set of design changes will not be ready for implementation until the FY2012 procurement. Changes in the shipyard production process are aimed in large part at reducing the total shipyard construction time of a Virginia-class submarine from 72 months to 60 months. (If the ship spends less total time in the shipyard being built, its construction cost will incorporate a smaller amount of shipyard fixed overhead costs.) The principal change involved in reducing shipyard construction time to 60 months involves increasing the size of the modules that form each submarine, so that each submarine can be built out of a smaller number of modules. The Navy says that the goal of reducing shipyard construction time to 60 months is a medium-risk goal, meaning that the Navy believes that there is a moderate (as opposed to low or high) risk that the goal will not be achieved. Because the full set of design changes and the reduction in construction time to 60 months will not be achieved until FY2012, the Navy says that the $2.0 billion goal cannot be fully met for boats procured prior to FY2012, even if those boats are procured at a rate of two per year. The Navy says that if improved economies of scale and changes in the ship’s design and in the shipyard production process are not sufficient to achieve the $2.0billion0- CRS-7 billion target, the Navy may consider reducing the capabilities of the Virginia class in certain areas until the target is achieved.148 The Navy’s goal to reduce the cost of each Virginia-class boat to $2.0 billion in constant FY2005 dollars as a condition for increasing the procurement rate to two boats per year in FY2012 is a goal that the Navy has set for itself. While Congress may take this goal into account, it need not control congressional action. Congress may decide to fund the procurement of two boats per year in FY2012 or some other year even if the goal is not met. Funding Requirements for Accelerated Production. Some observers have proposed accelerating the start of two-per-year Virginia-class production to a year earlier than FY2012, so as to mitigate a projected future shortfall in SSNs that is discussed in the next section. Table 3 shows the additional funding that the Navy says would be needed in FY2008-FY2011 to accelerate the start of two-per-year Virginia-class procurement to FY2010, which is one option for procuring additional submarines prior to FY2012. As shown in the table, the Navy estimates that this particular option would require adding $400 million in additional funding in FY2008, and a total of $5.1 billion in additional funding through FY2011. 14 For more on the Navy’s plan for reducing the procurement cost of the Virginia-class design, see Statement of Ms. Allison Stiller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Ship Programs) and RDML {Rear Admiral] William Hilarides, Program Executive Officer for Submarines, Before the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee [hearing on] Force Structure Requirements and Alternative Funding Strategies for the United States Submarine Fleet, March 8, 2007, and William Hilarides, “2 For 4 in 2012, The Virginia-Class Road Ahead,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, June 2006: 68-69. CRS-9 Table 3. Funding for Accelerated Virginia-Class Procurement (procurement funding in billions of then-year dollars, rounded to nearest tenth) FY08 FY09 FY10 FY11 FY08FY11 total FY2007-FY2011 FYDP 1 1 1 1 4 Ship quantity 2.5 3.4 3.7 3.7 13.3 Program funding Acceleration of two-per year procurement to FY2009 1 1 2 2 6 Ship quantity 2.9 4.2 5.9 5.4 18.4 Program funding Additional funding for acceleration relative to FY2009-FY2011 FYDP 0.4 0.8 2.2 1.7 5.1 Source: U.S. Navy, Report to Congress on Accelerating Virginia-Class Submarine Construction, February 2007. Submarine Construction Industrial Base General. In addition to GD/EB and NGNN, the submarine construction industrial base includes scores of supplier firms, as well as laboratories and research facilities, in numerous states. About 80% of the total procured material from supplier firms (measured in dollars rather than pieces, parts, or purchase orders) comes from single or sole source suppliers. Observers in recent years have expressed concern for the continued survival of many of these firms. For nuclear-propulsion component suppliers, an additional source of stabilizing work is the Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier construction program.15 In terms of work provided to these firms, a carrier nuclear propulsion plant is roughly equivalent to five submarine propulsion plants. Design and Engineering Portion. The part of the submarine industrial base that some observers are currently most concerned about is the design and engineering portion, much of which is resident at GD/EB and NGNN. (A small portion is resident at a some of the component makers.) With Virginia-class design work now winding down and no other submarine-design projects underway, the submarine design and engineering base is facing the near-term prospect, for the first time in about 50 years, of having no major submarine-design project on which to is a goal that the Navy has set for itself. While Congress may take this goal into account, it need not control congressional action. In December 2007, it was reported that the Navy believed it had reduced the estimated cost of each boat planned for procurement in FY2012 to within $40 million of the $2.0 billion goal.9 In March 2008, it was reported that the Navy believed it had reduced the estimated cost of each FY2012 boat to within $30 million of goal.10 The cost-reducing design changes are to be implemented in part through an effort known as the Technology Insertion Program (TIP). In March 2008, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that: a recent cost analysis indicated that the Navy may have difficulty achieving its [Virginia-class] cost target. The Technology Insertion Program was delayed to reduce cost and schedule risk, and further evaluate technologies. The TIP consists of three systems: Advanced Electromagnetic Signature Reduction, Advanced Sail, and Conformal Acoustic Velocity Sensor Wide Aperture Array, the first of which is scheduled for insertion in 2010.... The Advanced Electromagnetic Signature Reduction (AESR) is a software package that uses improved algorithms to continuously monitor and recalibrate the submarine’s signature. Similar software has been demonstrated in British submarines, but the technology is considered immature because modifications to the software will require additional testing. Software modification is expected to begin in October 2008, and insertion is scheduled for fiscal year 2010. Once development is complete, AESR will be retrofitted on all Virginia-class submarines. The Advanced Sail is a redesign of the structure that sits atop the main body of the submarine. The new design provides expanded space to carry weapons, anti-submarine systems, and communications systems external to the hull. Development began in June 2006, and the composite material used to 8 For more on the Navy’s plan for reducing the procurement cost of the Virginia-class design, see Statement of Ms. Allison Stiller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Ship Programs) and RDML {Rear Admiral] William Hilarides, Program Executive Officer for Submarines, Before the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee [hearing on] Force Structure Requirements and Alternative Funding Strategies for the United States Submarine Fleet, March 8, 2007; Richard R. Burgess, “Sub Force Innovation,” Seapower, February 2008: 16-19; Dave Johnson and Dustin Muniz, “More for Less,” Undersea Warfare, Winter 2007: 22-23, 28; and William Hilarides, “2 For 4 in 2012, The Virginia-Class Road Ahead,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, June 2006: 68-69. 9 Geoff Fein, “Navy Closing In On $2 Billion Price Tag For Virginia-Class Subs,” Defense Daily, December 11, 2007. 10 Dan Taylor, “Virginia-Class Subs $30 Million From $2 Billion-Per-Sub Price Goal,” Inside the Navy, March 24, 2008. CRS-8 construct the sail has been demonstrated under a separate program. However, insertion of the Advanced Sail has been delayed because related costs may exceed budget limits. A new bow design that also adds payload space for weapons and systems will be used on submarines starting in fiscal year 2009. The Navy will await testing of the new bow before completing a new sail design. The Conformal Acoustic Velocity Sensor Wide Aperture Array (CAVES WAA) is intended to be a more cost-effective sensor array. CAVES WAA consists of two developmental technologies — fiber optic sensors and integrated panels that house them and manage their signature — that will be integrated together. Both technologies are still immature. To save costs, the insertion schedule has been deferred 2 years, to fiscal year 2014. In fiscal year 2009, the Navy will conduct at-sea testing of a CAVES WAA integrated panel being used as part of another application, but not in the form necessary for the Virginia-class submarine.... The Navy hopes to reduce construction time from more than 80 months to just 60 months. While SSN 778 and SSN 779 are expected to be delivered in 72 and 68 months, respectively, construction time must be reduced by another 17 and 12 percent, respectively, in order to meet the 60 month target. Historically, construction efficiencies tend to be captured in the early part of a production run, but SSN 778 and SSN 779 are the fifth and sixth ships being built. Additionally, a recent Navy estimate indicates that construction for the SSN 784 may take 6 months longer than target.... According to program officials, about 79 percent of the program’s target savings for construction and design has already been achieved (approximately $158 million). However, a recent cost analysis of the program indicated that the Navy may have difficulty achieving target costs in fiscal year 2012.11 Submarine Construction Industrial Base General. In addition to GD/EB and Newport News, the submarine construction industrial base includes scores of supplier firms, as well as laboratories and research facilities, in numerous states. About 80% of the total material procured from supplier firms for the construction of submarines (measured in dollars rather than pieces, parts, or purchase orders) comes from single or sole source suppliers. Observers in recent years have expressed concern for the continued survival of many of these firms. For nuclear-propulsion component suppliers, an additional source of stabilizing work is the Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier construction program.12 In terms of work provided to these firms, a carrier nuclear propulsion plant is roughly equivalent to five submarine propulsion plants. Design and Engineering Portion. The part of the submarine industrial base that some observers are currently most concerned about is the design and 11 Government Accountability office, Defense Acquisitions[:] Assessments of Selected Weapons Systems, GAO-08-467SP, March 2008, pp. 171-172. 12 For more on this program, see CRS Report RS20643, Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class (CVN-21) Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. CRS-9 engineering portion, much of which is resident at GD/EB and Newport News. (A small portion is resident at a some of the component makers.) With Virginia-class design work now winding down and no other submarine-design projects underway, the submarine design and engineering base is facing the near-term prospect, for the first time in about 50 years, of having no major submarine-design project on which to work. Navy and industry officials, Members of Congress, and other observers are concerned that unless a major submarine-design project is begun soon, the submarine design and engineering base will begin to atrophy through the departure of experienced personnel. Rebuilding an atrophied submarine design and engineering base, Navy and industry officials believe, could be time-consuming, adding time and cost to the task of the next submarine-design effort, whenever it might begin. Concern about this possibility among some Navy and industry officials was strengthened by the UK’s difficulties a few years ago in designing its new Astute15 For more on this program, see CRS Report RS20643, Navy CVN-21 Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. CRS-10 classAstuteclass SSN. The UK submarine design and engineering base atrophied for lack of work, and the subsequent Astute-class design effort experienced considerable delays and cost overruns. Submarine designers and engineers from GD/EB were assigned to the Astute-class project to help the UK overcome these problems.1613 Projected SSN Shortfall Size and Timing of Shortfall. The Navy’s 30-year SSN procurement plan, if implemented, would not be sufficient to maintain a force of 48 SSNs consistently over the long run. As shown in Table 43, the Navy projects that the SSN force under this plan would will fall below 48 boats during the 1412-year period 20202022-2033, reaching a minimum of 40 41 boats in 202820292028-2029. Since the Navy plans to retire the four SSGNs by 2028 without procuring any replacements for them, no SSGNs would be available in 2028 and subsequent years to help compensate for a drop in SSN force level below 48 boats. Table 43. SSN Force Level, 2008-20372009-2038 (Navy Projection) 08 52 23 46 09 53 24 4546 10 52 25 4445 11 52 26 4344 12 53 27 4243 13 54 28 4041 14 51 29 4041 15 51 30 4142 16 49 31 4344 17 4950 32 4445 18 4849 33 4647 19 4950 34 4849 20 4748 35 4950 21 4748 36 5152 22 4647 37 5253 23 47 38 53 Source: Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 20082009, p. 68. The potential for the Navy’s long-range SSN procurement plan to produce a shortfall in the SSN force over the long run has been discussed by CRS since 1995, in the form of testimony to Congress in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006, a 1997 CRS presentation to a Defense Science Board task force on the submarine of the future, which issued its report in 1998;17 a 1999-2000 CRS report,18 a 2002 CRS report,19 and this report since its inception in 2004. 16 13 See, for example, Andrew Chuter, “U.K. Spending Mounts for U.S. Help on Sub,” Defense News, September 13, 2005: 4; Richard Scott, “Electric Boat Provides Project Director for Astute Class,” Jane’s Navy International, May 2004: 33; Richard Scott, “Astute Sets Out on the Long Road to Recovery,” Jane’s Navy International, December 2003, pp. 28-30; Richard Scott, “Recovery Plan Shapes Up for Astute Submarines,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, November 19, 2003, p. 26. 17 U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense For Acquisition & Technology, Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on [the] Submarine of the Future, July 1998, pp. 7, 19-20. 18 CRS Report RL30045, Navy Attack Submarine Programs: Background and Issues for Congress (out of print; for a copy, contact the author at 707-7610), by Ronald O’Rourke. 19 CRS Report RL31372, Navy Shipbuilding in the FY2003 Defense Budget: Issues for Congress (out of print; for a copy, contact the author at 707-7610), by Ronald O’Rourke. CRS-11 CRS-10 in the form of testimony to Congress in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2007, a 1997 CRS presentation to a Defense Science Board task force on the submarine of the future, which issued its report in 1998;14 a 1999-2000 CRS report,15 a 2002 CRS report,16 and this report since its inception in 2004. Navy Study On Options For Mitigating Projected Shortfall . The Navy in 2006 initiated a study on options for mitigating the projected SSN shortfall. The study was completed in early 2007 and briefed to CRS and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on May 22, 2007.20 Principal points in the study include the 17 At the time of the study, the SSN force was projected to bottom out at 40 boats — an 8-boat shortfall. The addition of a second submarine to be procured in FY2011 has since reduced the projected shortfall to seven boats, as shown in Table 3. Principal points in the Navy study include the following: ! The day-to-day requirement for deployed SSNs is 10.0, meaning that, on average, a total of 10 SSNs are to be deployed on a day-today basis.2118 ! The peak projected wartime demand is about 35 SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time. This figure includes both the 10 SSNs that are to be deployed on a day-to-day basis and 25 additional SSNs surged from the United States within a certain amount of time.2219 ! Reducing Virginia-class shipyard construction time to 60 months — something that the Navy already plans to do as part of its strategy for meeting the Virginia-class cost-reduction goal (see earlier discussion on cost-reduction goal) — will increase the size of the SSN force by two boats, so that the force would bottom out at 42 boats rather than 40.23 ! If, in addition to reducing Virginia-class shipyard construction time to 60 months, the Navy also lengthens the service lives of 16 existing SSNs by periods ranging from 3 months to 24 months (with many falling in the range of 9 to 15 months), this would increase the 20 14 U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense For Acquisition & Technology, Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on [the] Submarine of the Future, July 1998, pp. 7, 19-20. 15 CRS Report RL30045, Navy Attack Submarine Programs: Background and Issues for Congress (out of print; for a copy, contact the author at 707-7610), by Ronald O’Rourke. 16 CRS Report RL31372, Navy Shipbuilding in the FY2003 Defense Budget: Issues for Congress (out of print; for a copy, contact the author at 707-7610), by Ronald O’Rourke. 17 Navy briefing entitled, “SSN Force Structure, 2020-2033,” presented to CRS and CBO on May 22, 2007. 2118 The requirement for 10.0 deployed SSNs, the Navy stated in the briefing, was the current requirement at the time the study was conducted. 2219 The peak projected wartime demand of about 35 SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time, the Navy stated, is an internal Navy figure that reflects several studies of potential wartime requirements for SSNs. The Navy stated that these other studies calculated various figures for the number of SSNs that would be required, and that the figure of 35 SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time was chosen because it was representative of the results of these other studies. 23 If shipyard construction time is reduced from 72 months to 60 months, the result would be a one-year acceleration in the delivery of all boats procured on or after a certain date. In a program in which boats are being procured at a rate of two per year, accelerating by one year the deliveries of all boats procured on or after a certain date will produce a one-time benefit of a single year in which four boats will be delivered to the Navy, rather than two. In the case of the Virginia-class program, this year might be around 2017. As mentioned earlier in the discussion of the Virginia-class cost-reduction goal, the Navy believes that the goal of reducing Virginia-class shipyard construction time is a medium-risk goal. If it turns out that shipyard construction time is reduced to 66 months rather than 60 months (i.e., is reduced by 6 months rather than 12 months), the size of the SSN force would increase by one boat rather than two, and the force would bottom out at 41 boats rather than 42. CRS-12 size of the SSN force by another two boats, so that the force would bottom out at 44 boats rather than 40 boats.24 The total cost of extending the lives of the 16 boats would be roughly $500 million in constant FY2005 dollars.25 ! The resulting 44-boat force could meet the 10.0 requirement for dayto-day deployed SSNs throughout the 2020-2033 period if, as an additional option, about 40 SSN deployments occurring in the eightyear period 2025-2032 were lengthened from 6 months to 7 months. These 40 or so lengthened deployments would represent about onequarter of all the SSN deployments that would take place during the eight-year period. ! The resulting 44-boat force could not meet the peak projected wartime demand of about 35 SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time. The 44-boat force could generate a total deployment of 32 SSNs within the time in question — three boats (or about 8.6%) less than the 35-boat figure. Lengthening SSN deployments from 6 months to 7 months would not improve the 44-boat force’s ability to meet the peak projected wartime demand of about 35 SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time. CRS-11 two boats, so that the force would bottom out at 42 boats rather than 40.20 ! If, in addition to reducing Virginia-class shipyard construction time to 60 months, the Navy also lengthens the service lives of 16 existing SSNs by periods ranging from 3 months to 24 months (with many falling in the range of 9 to 15 months), this would increase the size of the SSN force by another two boats, so that the force would bottom out at 44 boats rather than 40 boats.21 The total cost of extending the lives of the 16 boats would be roughly $500 million in constant FY2005 dollars.22 ! The resulting force that bottoms out at 44 boats could meet the 10.0 requirement for day-to-day deployed SSNs throughout the 20202033 period if, as an additional option, about 40 SSN deployments occurring in the eight-year period 2025-2032 were lengthened from six months to seven months. These 40 or so lengthened deployments would represent about one-quarter of all the SSN deployments that would take place during the eight-year period. ! The resulting force that bottoms out at 44 boats could not meet the peak projected wartime demand of about 35 SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time. The force could generate a total deployment of 32 SSNs within the time in question — three boats (or about 8.6%) less than the 35-boat figure. Lengthening SSN deployments from six months to seven months would not improve the force’s ability to meet the peak projected wartime demand of about 35 SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time. 20 If shipyard construction time is reduced from 72 months to 60 months, the result would be a one-year acceleration in the delivery of all boats procured on or after a certain date. In a program in which boats are being procured at a rate of two per year, accelerating by one year the deliveries of all boats procured on or after a certain date will produce a one-time benefit of a single year in which four boats will be delivered to the Navy, rather than two. In the case of the Virginia-class program, this year might be around 2017. As mentioned earlier in the discussion of the Virginia-class cost-reduction goal, the Navy believes that the goal of reducing Virginia-class shipyard construction time is a medium-risk goal. If it turns out that shipyard construction time is reduced to 66 months rather than 60 months (i.e., is reduced by 6 months rather than 12 months), the size of the SSN force would increase by one boat rather than two, and the force would bottom out at 41 boats rather than 42. 21 The Navy study identified 19 existing SSNs whose service lives currently appear to be extendable by periods of 1 to 24 months. The previous option of reducing Virginia-class shipyard construction time to 60 months, the Navy concluded, would make moot the option of extending the service lives of the three oldest boats in this group of 19, leaving 16 whose service lives would be considered for extension. 22 The Navy stated that the rough, order-of-magnitude (ROM) cost of extending the lives of 19 SSNs would be $595 million in constant FY2005 dollars, and that the cost of extending the lives of 16 SSNs would be roughly proportional. CRS-12 ! To meet the 35-boat figure, an additional four SSNs beyond those planned by the Navy would need to be procured. Procuring four additional SSNs would permit the resulting 48-boat force to surge an additional three SSNs within the time in question, so that the force coldcould meet the peak projected wartime demand of about 35 SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time. ! Procuring one to four additional SSNs could also reduce the number of 7seven-month deployments that would be required to meet the 10.0 requirement for day-to-day deployed SSNs during the period 20252032. Procuring one additional SSN would reduce the number of 7month deployments during this period to about 29; procuring two additional SSNs would reduce it to about 17, procuring three additional SSNs would reduce it to about 7, and procuring four additional SSNs would reduce it to 2. The Navy added a number of caveats to these results, including but not limited to the following: 24 The Navy study identified 19 existing SSNs whose service lives currently appear to be extendable by periods of 1 to 24 months. The previous option of reducing Virginia-class shipyard construction time to 60 months, the Navy concluded, would make moot the option of extending the service lives of the three oldest boats in this group of 19, leaving 16 whose service lives would be considered for extension. 25 The Navy stated that the rough, order-of-magnitude (ROM) cost of extending the lives of 19 SSNs would be $595 million in constant FY2005 dollars, and that the cost of extending the lives of 16 SSNs would be roughly proportional. CRS-13 23 ! The requirement for 10.0 SSNs deployed on a day-to-day basis is a current requirement that could change in the future. ! The peak projected wartime demand of about 35 SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time is an internal Navy figure that reflects recent analyses of potential future wartime requirements for SSNs. Subsequent analyses of this issue could result in a different figure. ! The identification of 19 SSNs as candidates for service life extension reflects current evaluations of the material condition of these boats and projected use rates for their nuclear fuel cores. If the material condition of these boats years from now turns out to be worse than the Navy currently projects, some of them might no longer be suitable for service life extension. In addition, if world conditions over the next several years require these submarines to use up their nuclear fuel cores more quickly than the Navy now projects, then the amounts of time that their service lives might be extended could be reduced partially, to zero, or to less than zero (i.e., the service lives of the boats, rather than being extended, might need to be shortened). ! The analysis does not take into account potential rare events, such as accidents, that might force the removal an SSN from service before the end of its expected service live.26 ! Seven-month deployments might affect retention rates for submarine personnel. Alternative Funding Approaches for Additional SSNs Alternatives for funding the procurement of one to four additional SSNs in the period FY2008-FY2011 include but are not necessarily limited to the following: ! 26 full funding with advance procurement — the traditional approach, under which there are two years or so of advance procurement funding for the SSN’s long-leadtime components, followed by the remainder of the boat’s procurement funding in the year of procurement; In January 2005, the Los Angeles-class SSN San Francisco (SSN-711) was significantly damaged in a collision with an undersea mountain near Guam. The ship was repaired in part by transplanting onto it the bow section of the deactivated sister ship Honolulu (SSN-718). (See, for example, Associated Press, “Damaged Submarine To Get Nose Transplant,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 26, 2006.) Prior to the decision to repair the San Francisco, the Navy considered the option of removing it from service. (See, for example, William H. McMichael, “Sub May Not Be Worth Saving, Analyst Says,” Navy Times, February 28, 2005; Gene Park, “Sub Repair Bill: $11M,” Pacific Sunday News (Guam), May 8, 2005.) CRS-14 ! single-year full funding — full funding of the SSN in the year of procurement, with no advance procurement funding in prior years; ! incremental funding — partial funding of the SSN in the year of procurement, followed by one or more years of additional funding increments needed to complete the procurement cost of the ship; and ! advance appropriations — a form of full funding which can be viewed as a legislatively locked in form of incremental funding.27 Procuring SSNs Without Advance Procurement Funding. Navy testimony to Congress in 2007 has suggested that two years of advance procurement funding are required to fund the procurement of an SSN, and consequently that additional SSNs could not be procured until FY2010 at the earliest.28 This testimony understates Congress’ options regarding the procurement of additional SSNs in the near term. Although SSNs are normally procured with two years of advance procurement funding (which is used primarily for financing long-leadtime nuclear propulsion components), an SSN can be procured without advance procurement funding, or with only one year of advance procurement funding. Consequently, Congress has the option of procuring an additional SSN in FY2008 or FY2009, even though no advance procurement funding has been provided for such ships in prioryear budgets. Doing so would not materially change the way such an SSN would be built — the process would still encompass about two years of advance work on longleadtime components, and an additional six years or so of construction work on the ship itself. The outlay rate for the SSN could be slower, as outlays for construction of the ship itself would begin two years later than normal (for an SSN procured in FY2008 or FY2009 with no advance procurement funding) or one year later than normal (for an SSN procured in FY2009 with a single year of advance procurement funding in FY2008). Procuring SSNs With Single-Year Full Funding. Single-year full funding has been used in the past by Congress to procure nuclear-powered ships for which no prior-year advance procurement funding had been provided. Specifically, Congress used single-year full funding in FY1988 to procure the nuclear-powered aircraft carriers CVN-74 and CVN-75, and in FY1980 to procure the nuclear- 27 For additional discussion of these funding approaches, see CRS Report RL32776, Navy Ship Procurement: Alternative Funding Approaches — Background and Options for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. 28 For example, at a March 1, 2007, hearing before the House Armed Services Committee on the FY2008 Department of the Navy budget request, Representative Taylor asked which additional ships the Navy might want to procure in FY2008, should additional funding be made available for that purpose. In response, Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter stated in part: “The Virginia-class submarines require us to start with a two-year advanced procurement, to be able to provide for the nuclear power plant that supports them. So we would need to start two years in advance. What that says is, if we were able to start in ‘08 with advanced procurement, we could accelerate, potentially, the two a year to 2010.” (Source: Transcript of hearing.) Navy officials made similar statements before the same subcommittee on March 8, 2007, and before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 29, 2007. CRS-15 powered aircraft carrier CVN-71. In the case of the FY1988 procurement, under the Administration’s proposed FY1988 budget, CVN-74 and CVN-75 were to be procured in FY1990 and FY1993, and the FY1988 budget was to make the initial advance procurement payment for CVN-74. Congress, in acting on the FY1988 budget, decided to accelerate the procurement of both ships to FY1988, and fully funded the two ships that year at a combined cost of $6.325 billion. The ships entered service in 1995 and 1998, respectively.29 Procuring SSNs in a 2-1-2 Pattern. Some potential approaches for procuring additional boats in FY2008-FY2011 (see the Options For Congress section) would result in a pattern of procuring two boats in a given year, followed by one boat the following year, and two boats the year after that — a 2-1-2 pattern. Navy testimony to Congress in 2007 has suggested that if the procurement rate were increased in a given year to two boats, it would not be best, from a production efficiency point of view, to decrease the rate to a single boat the following year, and then increase it again to two boats the next year, because of the workforce fluctuations such a profile would produce.3023 In January 2005, the Los Angeles-class SSN San Francisco (SSN-711) was significantly damaged in a collision with an undersea mountain near Guam. The ship was repaired in part by transplanting onto it the bow section of the deactivated sister ship Honolulu (SSN-718). (continued...) CRS-13 ! Seven-month deployments might affect retention rates for submarine personnel. Funding Additional SSNs Alternative Funding Methods. Alternative methods of funding the procurement of SSNs include but are not necessarily limited to the following: ! two years of advance procurement funding followed by full funding — the traditional approach, under which there are two years of advance procurement funding for the SSN’s long-leadtime components, followed by the remainder of the boat’s procurement funding in the year of procurement; ! one year of advance procurement funding followed by full funding — one year of advance procurement funding for the SSN’s long-leadtime components, followed by the remainder of the boat’s procurement funding in the year of procurement; ! full funding with no advance procurement funding (single-year full funding) — full funding of the SSN in the year of procurement, with no advance procurement funding in prior years; ! incremental funding — partial funding of the SSN in the year of procurement, followed by one or more years of additional funding increments needed to complete the procurement cost of the ship; and ! advance appropriations — a form of full funding which can be viewed as a legislatively locked in form of incremental funding.24 Navy testimony to Congress in early 2007, when Congress was considering the FY2008 budget, suggested that two years of advance procurement funding are required to fund the procurement of an SSN, and consequently that additional SSNs could not be procured until FY2010 at the earliest.25 This testimony understated 23 (...continued) (See, for example, Associated Press, “Damaged Submarine To Get Nose Transplant,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 26, 2006.) Prior to the decision to repair the San Francisco, the Navy considered the option of removing it from service. (See, for example, William H. McMichael, “Sub May Not Be Worth Saving, Analyst Says,” Navy Times, February 28, 2005; Gene Park, “Sub Repair Bill: $11M,” Pacific Sunday News (Guam), May 8, 2005.) 24 For additional discussion of these funding approaches, see CRS Report RL32776, Navy Ship Procurement: Alternative Funding Approaches — Background and Options for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. 25 For example, at a March 1, 2007, hearing before the House Armed Services Committee on the FY2008 Department of the Navy budget request, Representative Taylor asked which additional ships the Navy might want to procure in FY2008, should additional funding be made available for that purpose. In response, Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter stated (continued...) CRS-14 Congress’s options regarding the procurement of additional SSNs in the near term. Although SSNs are normally procured with two years of advance procurement funding (which is used primarily for financing long-leadtime nuclear propulsion components), Congress can procure an SSN without prior-year advance procurement funding, or with only one year of advance procurement funding. Consequently, Congress currently has the option of procuring an additional SSN in FY2009 and/or FY2010. Single-year full funding has been used in the past by Congress to procure nuclear-powered ships for which no prior-year advance procurement funding had been provided. Specifically, Congress used single-year full funding in FY1980 to procure the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier CVN-71, and again in FY1988 to procure the CVNs 74 and 75. In the case of the FY1988 procurement, under the Administration’s proposed FY1988 budget, CVNs 74 and 75 were to be procured in FY1990 and FY1993, respectively, and the FY1988 budget was to make the initial advance procurement payment for CVN-74. Congress, in acting on the FY1988 budget, decided to accelerate the procurement of both ships to FY1988, and fully funded the two ships that year at a combined cost of $6.325 billion. The ships entered service in 1995 and 1998, respectively.26 The existence in both FY1980 and FY1988 of a spare set of Nimitz-class reactor components was not what made it possible for Congress to fund CVNs 71, 74, and 75 with single-year full funding; it simply permitted the ships to be built more quickly. What made it possible for Congress to fund the carriers with single-year full funding was Congress’s constitutional authority to appropriate funding for that purpose. Procuring an SSN with one year of advance procurement funding or no advance procurement funding would not materially change the way the SSN would be built — the process would still encompass about two years of advance work on longleadtime components, and an additional six years or so of construction work on the ship itself. The outlay rate for the SSN could be slower, as outlays for construction of the ship itself would begin one or two years later than normal. Congress in the past has procured certain ships in the knowledge that those ships would not begin construction for some time and consequently would take longer to 25 (...continued) in part: “The Virginia-class submarines require us to start with a two-year advanced procurement, to be able to provide for the nuclear power plant that supports them. So we would need to start two years in advance. What that says is, if we were able to start in ‘08 with advanced procurement, we could accelerate, potentially, the two a year to 2010.” (Source: Transcript of hearing.) Navy officials made similar statements before the same subcommittee on March 8, 2007, and before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 29, 2007. 26 In both FY1988 and FY1980, the Navy had a spare set of Nimitz (CVN-68) class nuclear propulsion components in inventory. The existence of a spare set of components permitted the carriers to be built more quickly than would have otherwise been the case, but it is not what made the single-year full funding of these carriers possible. What made it possible was Congress’ authority to appropriate funds for the purpose. CRS-15 enter service than a ship of that kind would normally require. When Congress procured two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (CVNs 72 and 73) in FY1983, and another two (CVNs 74 and 75) in FY1988, it did so in both cases in the knowledge that the second ship in each case would not begin construction until some time after the first. Procuring SSNs in a 2-1-2 Pattern. Some potential approaches for procuring additional boats in FY2009-FY2011 could result in a pattern of procuring two boats in a given year, followed by one boat the following year, and two boats the year after that — a 2-1-2 pattern. Navy testimony to Congress in early 2007 suggested that if the procurement rate were increased in a given year to two boats, it would not be best, from a production efficiency point of view, to decrease the rate to a single boat the following year, and then increase it again to two boats the next year, because of the workforce fluctuations such a profile would produce.27 This statement may overstate the production-efficiency disadvantages of a 2-1-2 pattern. If two boats were procured in a given year, followed by one boat the next year — a total of three boats in 24 months — the schedule for producing the three boats could be phased so that, for a given stage in the production process, the production rate would be one boat every eight months. A production rate of one boat every eight months might actually help the industrial base make the transition from the current schedule of one boat every twelve months (one boat per year) to one boat every six months (two boats per year). Viewed this way, a 2-1-2 pattern might actually lead to some benefits in production efficiency on the way to a steady rate of two boats per year. The Navy’s own 30-year (FY2008-FY2037FY2009-FY2038) SSN procurement plan calls for procuring SSNs in a 1-2-1-2 pattern in FY2029-FY2037. 29 In both FY1988 and FY1980, the Navy had a spare set of Nimitz (CVN-68) class nuclear propulsion components in inventory. The existence of a spare set of components permitted the carriers to be built more quickly than would have otherwise been the case, but it is not what made the single-year full funding of these carriers possible. What made it possible was Congress’ authority to appropriate funds for the purpose. 30FY2038. Issues for Congress Accelerating Procurement of Second FY2011 Boat One issue for Congress for FY2009 is whether to accelerate the full funding of the second Virginia-class boat now planned for FY2011 to either FY2010 or FY2009, so as to facilitate a follow-on option of funding an additional one or two Virginiaclass submarines in FY2010 and/or FY2011. Supporters of this option might argue the following: 27 At a March 1, 2007, hearing before the House Armed Services Committee on the FY2008 Department of the Navy budget request, Representative Taylor asked which additional ships the Navy might want to procure in FY2008, should additional funding be made available for that purpose. In response, Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter stated in part: “If we’re going to go to two a year in 2010, we really need to go to two a year for 2010, 2011 and out from there on. We don’t want to go to two a year and then back to one a year. I think that would create too much stress into the workforce there.” (Source: Transcript of hearing.) Navy officials made similar statements before Senate Armed Services Committee on March 29, 2007. CRS-16 Issues for Congress 48-Boat Attack Submarine Force-Level Goal Is 48 the correct number of SSNs to meet future needs? Some observers have argued that the Navy in coming years should maintain a force of more than 48 SSNs. The Navy has defended the 48-boat force-level goal. For additional discussion of this issue, see Appendix B. Accelerated Virginia-Class Procurement Should the start of two-per-year Virginia-class procurement be accelerated from FY2012 to an earlier year, so as to come closer to maintaining a force of 48 SSNs in the 2020s-2030s, and if so, how might that be done financially? Navy View. Those who support the position that two-per-year Virginia-class procurement should not start until FY2012 could argue the following: ! Given constraints on Navy funding, the Navy cannot afford to accelerate the start of two-per-year procurement to a year earlier than FY2012 without reducing funding for one or more other Navy programs budgeted that year. The operational risk that would be created by reducing funding for these other programs is greater than the operational risk that would result from waiting until FY2012 to start two-per-year procurement of Virginia-class boats. ! The Navy has on-procurement options for mitigating the projected SSN shortfall. These options would allow the Navy to meet the current requirement for the number of SSNs to be deployed on a day-to-day basis, and to come close to meeting the projected peak wartime demand for SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time. ! If two Virginia-class boats were procured per year before FY2012, those boats would not meet the Navy’s unit procurement cost target of $2.0 billion each in FY2005 dollars, because certain cost-reducing technologies needed to meet the $2.0-billion target will not be ready until FY2012. Alternative View. Supporters of accelerating Virginia-class procurement to a year earlier than FY2012 could argue one or more of the following: ! The operational risks of allowing the SSN force to drop below 48 are unacceptable. The Navy has described the 48-boat goal as a moderate-risk force, so dropping substantially below 48 boats would imply a high-risk force. If the force drops to 40 boats, as currently projected, the Navy would be without one of every six SSNs it is supposed to have. Although the deepest part of the projected SSN SSN shortfall lasts only a certain number of years, potential adversaries CRS-17 adversaries can know in advance when this will occur and make plans to take advantage of it. ! The Navy’s non-procurement options for mitigating the SSN shortfall carry their own risks. The Navy might not be able to reduce the shipyard construction period for Virginia-class boats to 60 months due to unexpected problems in the effort to reduce shipyard construction time. The Navy might not be able to extend the service lives of existing SSNs as much as currently projected due to fasterthan-anticipated deterioration in ship material condition or higherthan-anticipated rates of nuclear fuel core use in coming years. The Navy might not be able to lengthen SSN deployments without adversely affecting retention rates for submarine personnel. ! Procuring one to four additional SSNs Accelerating the second FY2011 SSN to FY2010 or FY2009 and procuring one or two additional SSNs in FY2010 and/or FY2011 would reduce the number of 7 seven-month SSN deployments needed to meet the requirement for having 10 SSNs deployed on a day-to-daytoday basis between 2025 and 2032, and permit the SSN force to fulfill more of the peak wartime demand for 35 SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time. ! Accelerating the start of two-per-year Virginia-class procurement to a year earlier than FY2012 would permit the Navy to begin reaping sooner the cost-reducing effects of procuring two SSNs per year. The boats might cost more than the Navy’s target of $2.0 billion each in FY2005 dollars, but the $2.0-billion figure is an internal Navy goal that need not control congressional action. Maintaining the Design and Engineering Base How should the submarine design and engineering base be maintained in coming years? Navy and industry officials appear to agree that preserving the submarine design and engineering base over the next several years will require funding submarine design and engineering work that is in addition to the amount of such work currently planned. In assessing options for additional submarine design and engineering work, issues of interest include the total volume of work that the options would provide, and the number of submarine design and engineering skills they would engage and thereby help preserve. Potential Options for Congress Options for Procuring Additional SSNs in FY2008-FY2011 This section discusses some potential funding approaches for procuring one to four additional boats in FY2008-FY2011. The examples shown are illustrative but not exhaustive, as there are many possible permutations. CRS-18 Procuring One Additional Boat. One potential approach to fund a single additional boat in FY2008-FY2011 would be to procure the boat in FY2011 using the traditional approach — full funding in FY2011 with advance procurement in FY2009 and FY2010. This option would require little or no additional procurement funding in FY2008. A second potential approach would be to procure the boat in FY2010 using the traditional approach — full funding in FY2010 and advance procurement funding in FY2008 and FY2009. As discussed earlier in this report, the Navy estimates that this approach would require $400 million in additional advance procurement funding in FY2008. This approach would also preserve an option for adding a second additional boat in FY2011, should Congress decide next year that it wanted to fund a second additional boat in FY2011. Procuring Two Additional Boats. Table 5 below shows three potential profiles for procuring two additional boats in FY2008-FY2011 (i.e., a total of six boats during this period). Table 5. Some Potential Profiles for Procuring Two Additional Boats FY08 1 1 2 FY09 1 2 1 FY10 2 1 2 FY11 2 2 1 In first profile in Table 5, the additional boats in FY2010 and FY2011 could be funded in the traditional manner, with advance procurement funding starting in FY2008 for the FY2010 boat and in FY2009 for the FY2011 boat. In the second profile in Table 5, the additional boat in FY2009 could be procured with single-year full funding in FY2009, which would not require any additional funding in FY2008. Under this approach, the boat might enter service in FY2017, as opposed to FY2015 for a boat procured in FY2009 that had received traditional advance procurement funding starting in FY2007. Alternatively, the second boat in FY2009 could be procured with a combination of funding in FY2008 and FY2009 (and perhaps also FY2010). Under this approach, the FY2008 funding might be limited to the $400 million that the Navy states would be required for longleadtime components, and the boat might enter service in FY2016. In the third profile in Table 5, the additional boat in FY2008 could be funded using either single-year full funding in FY2008, or two-year incremental funding (i.e., split funding) in FY2008 and FY2009. In either case, the boat might enter service in FY2016, as opposed to FY2014 for a boat procured in FY2008 that had received advance procurement funding starting in FY2006. The additional boat in FY2010 could be procured with advance procurement funding starting in FY2008 (which might permit the boat to enter service in FY2016) or with advance procurement funding starting in FY2009 (which might permit the boat to enter CRS-19 service in FY2017). The remainder of the boat’s procurement cost could be fully funded in FY2010, or divided between FY2010 and FY2011 (split funding). Procuring Three Additional Boats. Table 6 below shows two potential profiles for procuring three additional boats in FY2008-FY2011 (i.e., a total of seven boats during this period). Table 6. Some Potential Profiles for Procuring Three Additional Boats FY08 2 1 FY09 1 2 FY10 2 2 FY11 2 2 In the first profile in Table 6, the additional boat in FY2008 could be procured using either single-year full funding in FY2008, or split funding in FY2008 and FY2009. In either case, the boat might enter service in FY2016, as opposed to FY2014 for a boat procured in FY2008 that had received advance procurement funding starting in FY2006. In the second profile, the additional boat in FY2009 could be procured with single-year full funding in FY2009, or with a combination of funding in FY2008 and FY2009, in which case the FY2008 funding might be limited to the $400 million that the Navy states would be required for long-leadtime components. Procuring Four Additional Boats. If four additional boats were procured in FY2008-FY2011, with one additional boat in each year, then the additional boat in FY2008 could be procured using either single-year full funding or incremental funding. The second boat could be procured with advance procurement funding in FY2008 followed by either full funding in FY2009 or incremental funding in FY2009 and one or more subsequent years. The additional boats in FY2010 and FY2011 could be funded in the traditional manner, with advance procurement funding starting in FY2008 and FY2009, respectively. Options for Submarine Design and Engineering Base Options for providing additional work for the submarine design and engineering base over the next few years include the following: ! within a certain amount of time. Opponents of this option might argue the following: ! Given constraints on Navy funding, the Navy cannot afford to accelerate the second FY2011 SSN to FY2010 or FY2009 and procure one or two additional SSNs in FY2010 and/or FY2011 without reducing funding for one or more other Navy programs in those years. The operational risks that would be created by reducing funding for these other programs is greater than the operational risk that would result from procuring one or two additional SSNs in FY2010 and/or FY2011. ! The Navy has non-procurement options for mitigating the projected SSN shortfall. These options would allow the Navy to meet the current requirement for the number of SSNs to be deployed on a day-to-day basis, and to come close to meeting the projected peak wartime demand for SSNs deployed within a certain amount of time. Maintaining Design and Engineering Base Navy and industry officials appear to agree that preserving the submarine design and engineering base over the next several years will require funding substantial submarine design and engineering work in the near term. The Navy plans to address the issue by accelerating into the near term the start of design work on the next- CRS-17 generation SSBN. Given the ages of the Navy’s 14 current SSBNs, work on a replacement SSBN design would normally not need to start for several years. The Navy, however, is accelerating the start of this project into the near term, with an eye toward carrying out the project as a steady-state effort over several years, rather than as a more-concentrated effort starting several years from now. The Navy’s plan will provide a significant amount of submarine design and engineering work for several years, and engage a wide range of submarine design and engineering skills. The Navy asked RAND to study the question of sustaining the submarine design and engineering base. The RAND study, which was briefed in early 2007 and published in mid-2007, states that, based on RAND’s analysis, we reach the following recommendations: — Seriously consider starting the design of the next submarine class by 2009, to run 20 years, taking into account the substantial advantages and disadvantages involved. If the 20-year-design alternative survives further evaluation, the issue of a gap in submarine design is resolved, and no further actions need be taken. If that alternative is judged too risky, we recommend the following: — Thoroughly and critically evaluate the degree to which options such as the spiral development of the Virginia class or design without construction will be able to substitute for new-submarine design in allowing design professionals to retain their skills. If options to sustain design personnel in excess of demand are judged on balance to offer clear advantages over letting the workforce erode, then the Navy should take the following actions: — Request sufficient funding to sustain excess design workforces at the shipyards large enough to permit substantial savings in time and money later. — Taking into account trends affecting the evolution of critical skills, continue efforts to determine which shipyard skills need action to preserve them within the sustained design core. — Conduct a comprehensive analysis of vendors to the shipyards to determine which require intervention to preserve critical skills. — Invest $30 million to $35 million annually in the NSWC’s Carderock Division submarine design workforce in excess of reimbursable demand to sustain skills that might otherwise be lost.28 28 John F. Schank, et al, Sustaining U.S. Submarine Design Capabilities, RAND, Santa Monica (CA), 2007. pp. xxvii-xxviii. (Prepublication copy posted on the Internet by RAND, accessed on May 9, 2007, at [http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/ 2007/RAND_MG608.pdf].) CRS-18 48-Boat Attack Submarine Force-Level Goal Some observers have argued that the Navy in coming years should maintain a force of more than 48 SSNs, particularly in light of, for example, Chinese naval modernization29 and the possibility of a rejuvenated Russian submarine force. The Navy has defended the 48-boat force-level goal. For additional discussion of this issue, see Appendix B. Potential Options for Congress Potential options for Congress include but are not limited to the following, some of which might be combined: ! approving the Navy’s current plans for procuring Virginia-class boats; ! accelerating the full funding of the second Virginia-class boat now planned for FY2011 to either FY2010 or FY2009, so as to facilitate a follow-on option of funding an additional one or two Virginiaclass submarines in FY2010 and/or FY2011; ! funding near-term submarine design and engineering work that is in addition to the work of this kind that the Navy is currently planning; and ! directing the Navy to review the 48-boat SSN force level objective in light of recent developments, including Chinese naval modernization and the possibility of a rejuvenated Russian submarine force. With regard to the third option above, options for providing additional work for the submarine design and engineering base over the next few years (in addition to the Navy’s plan for accelerating the start of design work on the next-generation SSBN) include the following: ! 29 Expanded Virginia-class modification effort. The Navy is currently funding certain work to modify the Virginia-class design, in part to reach the Navy’s Virginia-class cost-reduction target. The scope of this effort could be expanded to include a greater number and variety of modifications. An expanded modification effort would add to the amount of submarine design and engineering work currently programmed, but by itself might not be sufficient in terms of volume of work or number of skills areas engaged to fully preserve the submarine design and engineering base. For further discussion, see CRS Report RL33153, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. CRS-19 CRS-20 ! New Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS). The ASDS is a mini-submarine that is attached to the back of an SSGN or SSN to support operations by Navy special operations forces (SOF), who are called SEALs, an acronym that stands for Sea, Air, and Land. DOD has decided, after building one copy of the current ASDS design, not to put that design into serial production. Some observers have proposed developing a new ASDS design with the intention of putting this new design into serial production. This option, like the previous one, would add to the amount of submarine design and engineering work currently programmed, but by itself might not be sufficient in terms of volume of work or number of skills areas engaged to fully preserve the submarine design and engineering base. ! Diesel-electric submarine for Taiwan. In April 2001, the Bush Administration announced a proposed arms-sales package for Taiwan that included, among other things, eight diesel-electric submarines.3130 Since foreign countries that build diesel-electric submarines appear reluctant to make their designs available for a program to build such boats for Taiwan, some observers have proposed that the United States develop its own design for this purpose. This option would generate a substantial volume of work and engage many skill areas. Uncertainty over whether and when this project might occur could make it difficult to confidently incorporate it into an integrated schedule of work for preserving the U.S. design and engineering base. Although the project would engage many skill areas, it might not engage all of them. Skills related to the design of nuclear propulsion plants, for example, might not be engaged. In addition, this project might raise concerns regarding the potential for unintended transfer of sensitive U.S. submarine technology — an issue that has been cited by the Navy in the past for not supporting the idea of designing and building dieselelectric submarines in the United States for sale to foreign buyers.3231 ! New SSN design. Developing a completely new SSN design as the successor to the Virginia-class design would fully support the design and engineering base for several years. The Navy in the past has estimated that the cost of this option would be roughly equivalent to 31 30 For more on the proposed arms sales package, including the diesel-electric submarines, see CRS Report RL30957, Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990, by Shirley A. Kan. 3231 An additional issue that some observers believe might be behind Navy resistance to the idea of designing and building diesel-electric submarines in the United States for sale to foreign buyers, but which these observers believe the Navy is unwilling to state publicly, is a purported fear among Navy officials that the establishment of a U.S. production line for such boats would lead to political pressure for the Navy to accept the procurement of such boats for its own use, perhaps in lieu of nuclear-powered submarines. The Navy argues that non-nuclear-powered submarines are not well suited for U.S. submarine operations, which typically involve long, stealthy transits to the operating area, long submerged periods in the operating area, and long, stealthy transits back to home port. CRS-21 the procurement cost of three SSNs. The House version of the FY2006 defense authorization bill (H.R. 1815) proposed this idea, but the idea was not supported by the Navy, in large part because of its cost, and the conference version of the bill did not mandate it. ! Accelerated start of next SSBN design. Given the ages of the Navy’s 14 current SSBNs, work on a replacement SSBN design would normally not need to start for several years. The start of this project, however, could be accelerated to FY2008 or FY2009. The project could then be carried out as a steady-state effort over several years, rather than as a more-concentrated effort starting several years from now. This option could provide a significant amount of submarine design and engineering work for several years, and could engage all submarine design and engineering skills. The total cost of this effort would be comparable to that of the previous option of designing a new SSN, but this option would accelerate a cost that the Navy already plans to incur, whereas the option for designing a new SSN would be an additional cost. The Navy appears to favor the last of these options. The Navy asked the RAND Corporation to study the issue. The RAND report, which was briefed in early 2007 and published in mid-2007, appears to validate the Navy’s preference for accelerating the start of the next SSBN. The report states that, based on RAND’s analysis, we reach the following recommendations: — Seriously consider starting the design of the next submarine class by 2009, to run 20 years, taking into account the substantial advantages and disadvantages involved. If the 20-year-design alternative survives further evaluation, the issue of a gap in submarine design is resolved, and no further actions need be taken. If that alternative is judged too risky, we recommend the following: — Thoroughly and critically evaluate the degree to which options such as the spiral development of the Virginia class or design without construction will be able to substitute for new-submarine design in allowing design professionals to retain their skills. If options to sustain design personnel in excess of demand are judged on balance to offer clear advantages over letting the workforce erode, then the Navy should take the following actions: — Request sufficient funding to sustain excess design workforces at the shipyards large enough to permit substantial savings in time and money later. — Taking into account trends affecting the evolution of critical skills, continue efforts to determine which shipyard skills need action to preserve them within the sustained design core. — Conduct a comprehensive analysis of vendors to the shipyards to determine which require intervention to preserve critical skills. CRS-22 — Invest $30 million to $35 million annually in the NSWC’s Carderock Division submarine design workforce in excess of reimbursable demand to sustain skills that might otherwise be lost.33 33 John F. Schank, et al, Sustaining U.S. Submarine Design Capabilities, RAND, Santa Monica (CA), 2007. pp. xxvii-xxviii. (Prepublication copy posted on the Internet by RAND, accessed on May 9, 2007, at [http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/ 2007/RAND_MG608.pdf].) CRS-23 Legislative Activity for FY2008 FY2008 Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 1585/S. 1547) House. Section 122 of the House-reported version of the FY2008 defense authorization bill (H.R. 1585) would approve the Navy’s FY2008 request for authority to enter into a multiyear procurement (MYP) contract for Virginia-class submarines to be procured in FY2009-FY2013. The House Armed Services Committee, in its report (H.Rept. 110-146 of May 11, 2007) on H.R. 1585, recommended approving the Navy’s request for FY2008 procurement funding for the Virginia-class program, and increasing by $588 million the Navy’s request for FY2008 advance procurement funding for the program, with the additional $588 million to be used for the procurement of an additional ship-set of Virginia-class reactor plant and main propulsion components, and prefabrication of Virginia-class components. The committee’s report stated: The committee understands that the procurement of an additional ship-set of reactor plant components and main propulsion components reduces risk of construction delay and provides savings in the form of increased production orders. Additionally, the committee understands that additional funding allows the shipbuilders to prefabricate major components reducing the overall time of construction. The committee is aware of the Navy requirement for a force of 48 fast attack submarines, and that the Navy will fall short of that number after the year 2020 under the current shipbuilding plan. The committee is committed to increasing the procurement of Virginia class submarines to two per year prior to the Navy’s current plan of increased procurement in fiscal year 2012. The addition of advance procurement for construction of long-lead items such as reactor plant and main propulsion components allows the committee the flexibility to increase the procurement rate of submarines in the coming years. Therefore, the committee recommends an increase of $588.0 million for the procurement of an additional ship-set of reactor plant, main propulsion, and prefabrication of Virginia class components. (Pages 79-80) Senate. Section 131 of the Senate-reported version of the FY2008 defense authorization bill (S. 1547) would approve the Navy’s FY2008 request for authority to enter into a multiyear procurement (MYP) contract for Virginia-class submarines to be procured in FY2009-FY2013, subject to the Secretary of the Navy providing a certification that all of the criteria in 10 USC 2306b (the section of the U.S. Code governing MYP arrangements) have been met. The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its report (S.Rept. 110-77 of June 5, 2007) on S. 1547, recommended approving the Navy’s request for FY2008 procurement funding for the Virginia-class program, and increasing by $470 million the Navy’s request for FY2008 advance procurement funding for the program. The committee’s report suggests that the Navy could choose to use the additional $470 million for either: CRS-24 ! economic order quantity (EOQ) procurement of long-leadtime materials for the submarines that the Navy plans to procure under an MYP arrangement in FY2009-FY2013; or ! procurement of long-leadtime items for a second Virginia-class submarine to be procured in FY2010. The committee’s report stated that the committee: Added $470.0 million in advance procurement funding for Virginia class submarines to support buying an additional submarine in fiscal year 2010. There is no requirement that the Navy allocate additional funds to buy the second submarine in fiscal year 2010. If the Navy chooses not to do that, the funds could be used to support economic order quantity buys of material in fiscal year 2008, which could yield additional savings for the multiyear procurement and reduce pressure on the outyear shipbuilding budget. (Pages 4-5) The committee’s report further stated: The budget request included $702.7 million for advance procurement for the Virginia class submarine program. However, the budget request included no funding for economic order quantity (EOQ) procurement of long lead material in conjunction with the fiscal year 2009 multiyear procurement request. The Navy has reported that roughly 13 percent savings will be achieved through the multiyear procurement for the seven Virginia class submarines programmed in fiscal years 2009 through 2013. Further, as reported by the Navy and testified by the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of the Navy to the Subcommittee on Seapower, additional advance procurement for economic order quantity purchases of long lead material would increase multiyear savings, help stabilize the Nation’s critical submarine industrial base, provide greater opportunity to achieve program schedule reductions, and provide for an efficient transition to build two submarines per year. The Navy estimates that approximately 14 percent savings can be achieved on an additional $470.0 million investment in advance procurement. The Navy has identified the requirement for a fleet of 313 ships, including 48 attack submarines. However, the Navy projects that attack submarine levels will fall as low as 40 boats, and remain below the 48-boat requirement for more than a decade. The Navy is now claiming that it will be able to mitigate this shortage in forces using three techniques: (1) building the new Virginia class submarines faster by reducing the time between the start of construction to delivery to a level of 60 months; (2) extending the life of some boats currently in the fleet from 3 to 24 months; and (3) increasing the length of deployments. By using a combination of these measures, the Navy claims that it will be able to maintain no fewer than 42 boats in the force and will be able to maintain the current level of commitments to the combatant commanders (roughly 10 boats continuously on deployment). CRS-25 The committee commends the Navy for exploring alternatives for maintaining the current levels of commitment to the combatant commanders. However, these potential actions are not without some risk. Reducing the construction start-to-delivery time would certainly speed the arrival of new construction boats in the fleet. However, the committee understands that on the whole SSN-688 class consisting of 62 boats, the contractors were only able to deliver three boats with a start-to-delivery interval of 60 months or less. The maximum building time was 86 months and the average for all 62 boats was 72 months. In addition, extending the length of deployments would help produce more deployed days for meeting requirements, but the committee wonders about the price that this could exact. The Navy’s previous attempts to extend times on deployment (and reduce the amount of time spent at home) have resulted in retention problems. In fact, submarine sailors already spend much more time deployed on average than the rest of the Navy. But even if one assumes that these measures are successful, current deployments are not sufficient to meet all of the priority national requirements and less than 60 percent of the combatant commanders’ overall requirements. The committee believes that it is essential for the Navy to increase attack submarine production rates as soon as practicable in order to minimize the risk to our national security posture posed by the long-term shortfall to the attack submarine force. Therefore, the committee recommends an increase of $470.0 million for Virginia class advance procurement, which would support building two submarines in fiscal year 2010. (Pages 95-96) The committee’s report also recommends a $25 million increase in the Navy’s research and development account to begin study of options for a next-generation SSBN to replace the Navy’s existing Ohio (SSBN-726) class Trident SSBNs. (Page 184) The committee’s report states: The budget request included $134.9 million in PE 63561N for advanced submarine systems development. The design and development efforts in these programs are to evaluate a broad range of system and technology alternatives to directly support and enhance the mission capability of current submarines and future submarine concepts. The budget request included no funding to begin studies that would lead to developing a replacement for the Ohio class strategic missile submarine program which was designed in the 1970s. The Navy has begun low level studies under a program called the Undersea Launch Missile Study (ULMS). The efforts within ULMS will involve exploring new technologies, conceptual design of ship configurations, supporting ship systems, consideration of strategic payloads, and development of other payloads. However, there appears to be insufficient work to maintain the skill set among submarine designers until the Navy would otherwise start designing a replacement for the Ohio class. A recent report by the RAND Corporation evaluating the submarine design industrial base concluded that it would be less expensive to sustain some number of workers in excess of those needed to meet the residual design demands during such a gap. One means of achieving this goal CRS-26 would be to begin the more extensive design activities earlier than the Navy would otherwise start them to support a specific date to start building the next class. The committee believes that the Navy should start that effort in fiscal year 2008 and recommends an increase of $25.0 million for that purpose. (Pages 200201) CRS-2720 estimated that the cost of this option would be roughly equivalent to the procurement cost of three SSNs. The House version of the FY2006 defense authorization bill (H.R. 1815) proposed this idea, but the idea was not supported by the Navy, in large part because of its cost, and the conference version of the bill did not mandate it. Legislative Activity for FY2009 The Navy’s proposed FY2009 budget was submitted to Congress in early February 2008. CRS-21 Appendix A. Past SSN Force-Level Goals This appendix summarizes attack submarine force-level goals since the Reagan Administration (1981-1989). The Reagan-era plan for a 600-ship Navy included an objective of achieving and maintaining a force of 100 SSNs. The George H. W. Bush Administration’s proposed Base Force plan of 19911992 originally called for a Navy of more than 400 ships, including 80 SSNs.3432 In 1992, however, the SSN goal was reduced to about 55 boats as a result of a 1992 Joint Staff force-level requirement study (updated in 1993) that called for a force of 51 to 67 SSNs, including 10 to 12 with Seawolf-level acoustic quieting, by the year 2012.3533 The Clinton Administration, as part of its 1993 Bottom-Up Review (BUR) of U.S. defense policy, established a goal of maintaining a Navy of about 346 ships, including 45 to 55 SSNs.3634 The Clinton administration’s 1997 QDR supported a requirement for a Navy of about 305 ships and established a tentative SSN forcelevel goal of 50 boats, “contingent on a reevaluation of peacetime operational requirements.”3735 The Clinton administration later amended the SSN figure to 55 boats (and therefore a total of about 310 ships). The reevaluation called for in the 1997 QDR was carried out as part of a Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) study on future requirements for SSNs that was completed in December 1999. The study had three main conclusions: ! “that a force structure below 55 SSNs in the 2015 [time frame] and 62 [SSNs] in the 2025 time frame would leave the CINC’s [the regional military commanders-in-chief] with insufficient capability 34 to respond to urgent crucial demands without gapping other 32 For the 80-SSN figure, see Statement of Vice Admiral Roger F. Bacon, U.S. Navy, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Undersea Warfare) in U.S. Congress, House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Seapower and Strategic and Critical Materials, Submarine Programs, March 20, 1991, pp. 10-11, or Statement of Rear Admiral Raymond G. Jones, Jr., U.S. Navy, Deputy Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Undersea Warfare), in U.S. Congress, Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Projection Forces and Regional Defense, Submarine Programs, June 7, 1991, pp. 10-11. 3533 See Richard W. Mies, “Remarks to the NSL Annual Symposium,” Submarine Review, July 1997, p. 35; “Navy Sub Community Pushes for More Subs than Bottom-Up Review Allowed,” Inside the Navy, November 7, 1994, pp. 1, 8-9; Attack Submarines in the Post-Cold War Era: The Issues Facing Policymakers, op. cit., p. 14; Robert Holzer, “Pentagon Urges Navy to Reduce Attack Sub Fleet to 50,” Defense News, March 15-21, 1993, p. 10; Barbara Nagy, “ Size of Sub Force Next Policy Battle,” New London Day, July 20, 1992, pp. A1, A8. 3634 Secretary of Defense Les Aspin, U.S. Department of Defense, Report on the Bottom-Up Review, October 1993, pp. 55-57. 3735 Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, U.S. Department of Defense, Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review, May 1997, pp. 29, 30, 47. CRS-28 to respond to urgent crucial demands without gapping other22 requirements of higher national interest. Additionally, this force structure [55 SSNs in 2015 and 62 in 2025] would be sufficient to meet the modeled war fighting requirements;” ! “that to counter the technologically pacing threat would require 18 Virginia class SSNs in the 2015 time frame;” and ! “that 68 SSNs in the 2015 [time frame] and 76 [SSNs] in the 2025 time frame would meet all of the CINCs’ and national intelligence community’s highest operational and collection requirements.”3836 The conclusions of the 1999 JCS study were mentioned in discussions of required SSN force levels, but the figures of 68 and 76 submarines were not translated into official Department of Defense (DOD) force-level goals. The George W. Bush Administration’s report on the 2001 QDR revalidated the amended requirement from the 1997 QDR for a fleet of about 310 ships, including 55 SSNs. In revalidating this and other U.S. military force-structure goals, the report cautioned that as DOD’s “transformation effort matures — and as it produces significantly higher output of military value from each element of the force — DOD will explore additional opportunities to restructure and reorganize the Armed Forces.”3937 DOD and the Navy conducted studies on undersea warfare requirements in 2003-2004. One of the Navy studies — an internal Navy study done in 2004 — reportedly recommended reducing the attack submarine force level requirement to as few as 37 boats. The study reportedly recommended homeporting a total of nine attack submarines at Guam and using satellites and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) to perform ISR missions now performed by attack submarines.4038 In March 2005, the Navy submitted to Congress a report projecting Navy force levels out to FY2035. The report presented two alternatives for FY2035 — a 260ship fleet including 37 SSNs and 4 SSGNs, and a 325-ship fleet including 41 SSNs and 4 SSGNs.41 3839 36 Department of Navy point paper dated February 7, 2000. Reprinted in Inside the Navy, February 14, 2000, p. 5. 3937 U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review, September 2001, p. 23. 4038 Bryan Bender, “Navy Eyes Cutting Submarine Force,” Boston Globe, May 12, 2004, p. 1; Lolita C. Baldor, “Study Recommends Cutting Submarine Fleet,” NavyTimes.com, May 13, 2004. 41 39 U.S. Department of the Navy, An Interim Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for the Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2006. The report was delivered to the House and Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees on March 23, 2005. CRS-2923 In May 2005, it was reported that a newly completed DOD study on attack submarine requirements called for maintaining a force of 45 to 50 boats.4240 In February 2006, the Navy proposed to maintain in coming years a fleet of 313 ships, including 48 SSNs. 4240 Robert A. Hamilton, “Delegation Calls Report on Sub Needs Encouraging,” The Day (New London, CT), May 27, 2005; Jesse Hamilton, “Delegation to Get Details on Sub Report,” Hartford (CT) Courant, May 26, 2005. CRS-3024 Appendix B. Views Regarding 48-Boat SSN Force-Level Goal This appendix summarizes the Navy’s view and an alternative view regarding the appropriateness of the Navy’s 48-boat SSN force-level goal. Navy View.4341 In support of its position that 48 is the correct number of SSNs to meet future needs, the Navy in 2006 argued the following: ! The figure of 48 SSNs was derived from a number of force-level studies that converged on a figure of about 48 boats, making this figure an analytical “sweet spot.” ! A force of 48 boats is a moderate-risk (i.e., acceptable-risk) force, as opposed to the low-risk force called for in the 1999 JCS study. ! A force of 48 boats will be sufficient in coming years to maintain about 10 forward-deployed SSNs on a day-to-day basis — the same number of forward-deployed boats that the Navy has previously maintained with a force of more than 50 SSNs. The Navy will be able to maintain 10 forward-deployed SSNs in coming years with only 48 boats because the force in coming years will include an increased number of newer SSNs that require less maintenance over their lives and consequently are available for operation a greater percentage of the time. ! U.S. regional military commanders would prefer a day-to-day forward-deployed total of about 18 SSNs, but total of 10 will be sufficient to meet their most important needs. ! All 10 of the forward-deployed SSNs are needed for day-to-day missions such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), while about 7.5 of these submarines are also needed to ensure that an adequate number of SSNs are in position for the opening phases of potential conflicts in various locations. On the issue of meeting U.S. regional military commanders’ requirements for day-to-day forward-deployed SSNs, the Navy states: Each Combatant Commander (COCOM) requests assets to execute required missions utilizing the Global Force Management Process. Broad categories of mission types are used to make requests including: National and Fleet ISR, Exercise and Training (supporting US tactical development), Exercise and Operations (supporting US engagement strategy), Carrier Strike Group (CSG) /Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) tasking, OPLAN (war plans) support, and Other. As assignment of Critical, High Priority, Priority or Routine is assigned 43 41 This section is based on Navy testimony to the Projection Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on March 28, 2006, and to the Seapower subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 29, and April 6, 2006. CRS-3125 Other. As assignment of Critical, High Priority, Priority or Routine is assigned to each of the requested missions. The theater allocation request process prior to 2004 did not include a priority breakdown. In general, ISR missions have been assigned as Critical or High Priority requirements. Other mission areas have been assigned from High Priority to Routine, based on the relative importance to the theater commander. No allocation is currently requested to support OPLAN or Other mission areas. Each COCOM has authority to use its allocated SSNs as required to meet current national and theater priorities. The CJCS [Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff] allocation order to the Submarine Force strictly directs an allotted number of SSN days of presence be provided, capable of meeting each theaters’ [sic] taskings. The breakdown of mission priorities into Critical, High Priority, Priority and Routine is predominantly a construct to demonstrate how a COCOM could meet their priorities, given a specific level of SSN presence. It serves as an aid to the CJCS in apportioning limited SSN presence to the various theaters. The number of SSNs allocated against Critical Missions enabled COCOMs to meet all requirements in 2004 and 2005, and 99% of the requirements in 2006. For High Priority missions, sufficient SSNs were allocated to meet 25%, 50% and 34% of requirements in 2004, 2005, and 2006 respectively. Overall, the number of SSNs forward deployed was sufficient to cover 66%, 61% and 54% of Combatant Commanders’ requested SSN mission taskings in 2004, 2005, and 2006 respectively.4442 Alternative View. Some observers believe that more than 48 SSNs will be needed to meet future needs. One such observer — retired Vice Admiral Albert Konetzni, Jr., a former commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet submarine force — argued the following in 2006:4543 ! The Navy’s SSN force-level analyses called for a force of 48 to 60 SSNs. In this context, a force of 48 SSNs looks more like a sour spot than a sweet spot. ! The Navy’s SSN force-level analyses reflect “reverse engineering,” in which an SSN force-level number is selected at the outset for affordability reasons, and assumptions used in the force-level study are then adjusted to produce that figure. ! The 1999 JCS study on SSN requirements remains valid today. 4442 Source: Written response by Vice Admiral Charles L. Munns, Commander Naval Submarine Forces, to a question posed by Representative Rob Simmons at a March 28, 2006, hearing before the Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on submarine force structure. Munns’ written response was provided to CRS on July 5, 2006, by the office of Representative Simmons and is used here with the permission of that office. 4543 These points are based on Konetzni’s testimony to the Projection Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on March 28, 2006. CRS-32 4626 44 ! All of the U.S. regional military commanders’ requirements for dayto-day forward-deployed SSNs, and not just the 60% or so of those requirements that are being met, are critical. ! In light of the potential size of China’s submarine force in 2020, a force of 48 SSNs in that year will be insufficient.4644 For more on China’s submarine force, and China’s naval modernization effort in general, see CRS Report RL33153, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke.