Order Code RL32665 Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress Updated March 27, 2008 Ronald O’Rourke Specialist in Naval Affairs Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress Summary In February 2008, as part of its proposed FY2009 budget, the Navy submitted to Congress the FY2009 version of its annual 30-year shipbuilding plan. The 30-year plan is intended to support the Navy’s goal of achieving and maintaining a 313-ship fleet. The Navy first presented the 313-ship plan to Congress in February 2006. Although the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan, if implemented, would generally be adequate to achieve and maintain a fleet of about 313 ships, it does not include enough ships to fully support certain elements of the 313-ship fleet consistently over the long run — shortfalls would occur in areas such as amphibious lift capability and the number of attack submarines. The FY2009 30-year plan, moreover, includes new assumptions about extended service lives for amphibious ships and for cruisers and destroyers. If these longer service lives are not achieved, it could increase the shortfall in amphibious lift capability and create a shortfall in the number of cruisers and destroyers. The Navy this year has increased its estimate of the average annual cost to fund the 30-year plan by about 40% in real (inflation-adjusted) terms. This 40% figure excludes the cost of 12 replacement ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) that are shown in the plan. If the cost of these 12 ships is included in the calculation, the increase in estimated cost becomes roughly 49% to 57%. The Navy’s new estimated cost for implementing the 30-year plan is similar to estimates issued over the last two years by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The Navy downplayed CBO’s estimates in 2007, referring to them in testimony as “worst-case analysis” or as an “extremely conservative” estimate. The increase in the Navy’s estimated cost for implementing the plan is so large that the Navy no longer appears to have a clearly identifiable, announced strategy for generating the funds needed to implement the 30-year plan, at least not without significantly reducing funding for other Navy programs or increasing the Navy’s programmed budget in coming years by billions of dollars per year Concerns about the Navy’s prospective ability to afford the 30-year shipbuilding plan, combined with year-to-year changes in Navy shipbuilding plans and significant cost growth and other problems in building certain new Navy ships, have led to strong concerns among some Members about the status of Navy shipbuilding and the potential future size and capabilities of the fleet. As a consequence of these strong concerns, some Members in hearings this year on the Navy’s proposed FY2009 budget have strongly criticized aspects of the Navy’s shipbuilding plan and indicated that they are considering making changes to the plan. Some Members in the House, for example, have indicated that they are considering the option of not procuring a third DDG-1000 class destroyer in FY20009, as the Navy has requested, and using the funding programmed for that ship to instead procure other kinds of ships for the Navy. This report will be updated as events warrant. Contents Introduction and Issue for Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Proposed 313-Ship Fleet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 FY2009-FY2013 Shipbuilding Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 FY2009 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Oversight Issues for Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Adequacy of Proposed 313-Ship Fleet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Adequacy of Shipbuilding Plan for Maintaining 313 Ships . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Shortfalls Relative to 313-Ship Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Affordability and Executibility of Shipbuilding Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 March 2008 CBO Testimony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 FY2009 Legislative Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Appendix A. Potential For Changing 313-Ship Proposal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 In General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Amphibious and MPF(F) Ships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 SSBNs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Appendix B. Modified Description of Required Number of Aircraft Carriers . . 17 Appendix C. Adequacy of Planned 313-Ship Fleet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Specific Ship Categories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Amphibious Ships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Attack Submarines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Aircraft Carriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Overall Number of Ships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Appendix D. Affordability of Navy 30-Year Plan in 2006-2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Appendix E. Size of Navy and Navy Shipbuilding Rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 List of Tables Table 1. Recent Navy Ship Force Structure Proposals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Table 2. Navy FY2009-FY2013 Shipbuilding Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Table 3. Navy FY2009 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Table 4. Navy Projection of Future Force Levels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Table 5. Projected Shortfall Relative to 313-Ship Force Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Table 6. Projected Amount of Amphibious Lift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Table 7. Average Annual Shipbuilding Costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Table 8. Battle Force Ships Procured or Projected, FY1982-FY2013 . . . . . . . . 24 Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress Introduction and Issue for Congress In February 2008, as part of its proposed FY2009 budget, the Navy submitted to Congress the FY2009 version of its annual 30-year shipbuilding plan. The 30-year plan is intended to support the Navy’s goal of achieving and maintaining a 313-ship fleet. The Navy first presented the 313-ship plan to Congress in February 2006. Although the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan, if implemented, would generally be adequate to achieve and maintain a fleet of about 313 ships, it does not include enough ships to fully support certain elements of the 313-ship fleet consistently over the long run — shortfalls would occur in areas such as amphibious lift capability and the number of attack submarines. The FY2009 30-year plan, moreover, includes new assumptions about extended service lives for amphibious ships and for cruisers and destroyers. If these longer service lives are not achieved, it could increase the shortfall in amphibious lift capability and create a shortfall in the number of cruisers and destroyers. The Navy this year has increased its estimate of the average annual cost to fund the 30-year plan by about 40% in real (inflation-adjusted) terms. This 40% figure excludes the cost of 12 replacement ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) that are shown in the plan. If the cost of these 12 ships is included in the calculation, the increase in estimated cost becomes roughly 49% to 57%. The Navy’s new estimated cost for implementing the 30-year plan is similar to estimates issued over the last two years by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The Navy downplayed CBO’s estimates in 2007, referring to them in testimony as “worst-case analysis”1 or as an “extremely conservative” estimate.2 The increase in the Navy’s estimated cost for implementing the plan is so large that the Navy no longer appears to have a clearly identifiable, announced strategy for generating the funds needed to implement the 30-year plan, at least not without significantly reducing funding for other Navy programs or increasing the Navy’s programmed budget in coming years by billions of dollars per year. 1 Source: Transcript of spoken testimony of Vice Admiral Paul Sullivan before the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on March 20, 2007. 2 Source: Transcript of spoken testimony of Allison Stiller before the Defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on April 25, 2007. CRS-2 Concerns about the Navy’s prospective ability to afford the 30-year shipbuilding plan, combined with year-to-year changes in Navy shipbuilding plans and significant cost growth and other problems in building certain new Navy ships, have led to strong concerns among some Members about the status of Navy shipbuilding and the potential future size and capabilities of the fleet. As a consequence of these strong concerns, some Members in hearings this year on the Navy’s proposed FY2009 budget have strongly criticized aspects of the Navy’s shipbuilding plan and indicated that they are considering making changes to the plan.3 Some Members in the House, for example, have indicated that they are considering the option of not procuring a third DDG-1000 class destroyer in FY20009, as the Navy has requested, and using the funding programmed for that ship to instead procure other kinds of ships for the Navy.4 The issue for Congress that is discussed in this report is how to respond to the Navy’s proposed FY2009 shipbuilding plan. Decisions that Congress makes on this issue could significantly affect future U.S. military capabilities, Navy funding requirements, and the Navy shipbuilding industrial base. Background Proposed 313-Ship Fleet Table 1 shows the composition of the Navy’s planned 313-ship fleet, which the Navy first presented to Congress in February 2006, and compares the 313-ship plan to other recent Navy ship force structure proposals. The Navy has indicated that it might adjust certain elements of the 313-ship plan in coming years; for further discussion, see Appendix A. The Navy in 2007 also modified its description of the planned number of aircraft carriers within the 313-ship fleet; for further discussion, see Appendix B. 3 See, for example, the opening remarks of Representative Gene Taylor, the chairman of the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services committee, at a March 14, 2008, hearing before the subcommittee on Navy shipbuilding. 4 For additional discussion, see CRS Report RL32109, Navy DDG-1000 Destroyer Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. CRS-3 Table 1. Recent Navy Ship Force Structure Proposals Ship type Ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) Cruise missile submarines (SSGNs) Attack submarines (SSNs) Aircraft carriers Cruisers, destroyers, frigates Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) Amphibious ships MPF(F) shipsd Combat logistics (resupply) ships Dedicated mine warfare ships Otherf Total battle force ships Early-2005 Navy proposal for fleet of 260-325 ships 2002-2004 2001 QDR Navy plan for proposal 310-ship for 375Navy ship Navya 2006 Navy proposal for 313ship fleet 260-ships 325-ships 14 14 14 14 14 4 4 4 4 2 or 4b 48 37 41 55 55 11/12c 10 11 12 12 88 67 92 104 116 55 63 82 56 0 31 12d 17 14d 24 20d 37 0d 36 0d 30 24 26 42 34 0 0 0 26e 16 20 10 11 25 25 313/314 260 325 375 310 or 312 Sources: U.S. Navy data. a. Initial composition. Composition was subsequently modified. b. The report on the 2001 QDR did not mention a specific figure for SSGNs. The Administration’s proposed FY2001 Department of Defense (DOD) budget requested funding to support the conversion of two available Trident SSBNs into SSGNs, and the retirement of two other Trident SSBNs. Congress, in marking up this request, supported a plan to convert all four available SSBNs into SSGNs. c. 11 carriers, and eventually 12 carriers. d. Today’s 16 Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) ships are intended primarily to support Marine Corps operations ashore, rather than Navy combat operations, and thus are not counted as Navy battle force ships. The Navy’s planned MPF (Future) ships, however, may be capable of contributing to Navy combat capabilities (for example, by supporting Navy aircraft operations). For this reason, MPF(F) ships are counted here as battle force ships. e. The figure of 26 dedicated mine warfare ships includes 10 ships maintained in a reduced mobilization status called Mobilization Category B. Ships in this status are not readily deployable and thus do not count as battle force ships. The 375-ship proposal thus implied transferring these 10 ships to a higher readiness status. f. Includes, among other things, command ships and support ships. FY2009-FY2013 Shipbuilding Plan Table 2 shows the Navy’s FY2009-FY2013 ship-procurement plan. The plan includes 47 new construction ships in FY2009-FY2013 — a reduction of 13 ships, or about 22%, from the 60 new-construction ships that were planned for FY2009- CRS-4 FY2013 under the Navy’s proposed FY2008 budget. Most of the 13-ship reduction is due to an 11-ship reduction in the number of Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) planned for FY2009-FY2013, which is a consequence of the Navy’s 2007 restructuring of the LCS program. Table 2. Navy FY2009-FY2013 Shipbuilding Plan (Ships funded in FY2007 and FY2008 shown for reference) 1 1 1 8 1 1 12 1 12 Total FY09FY13 1 8 5 2 18 0 0 2 1 0 5 0 1 1 3 47 5 8 6 29 FY07 FY08 FY09 FY10 FY11 FY12 FY13 CVN-21 SSN-774 DDG-1000 CG(X) LCS LPD-17 LHA(R) TAKE JCC(X) TATF JHSVd MPF(F) TAKE MPF(F) LHA(R) MPF(F) LMSR MPF(F) MLP Total Subtotal: ships other than LCSs 1 2a 0b 1 1 1 1 0a 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 0c 2c 2 1 1 3 1 2 1 4 2 1 1 6 1 1 1 1 5 4c 7 1 8 5 3 5 5 Source: Navy FY2009 budget submission. Key: CVN-21 = Ford (CVN-21) class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. SSN-774 = Virginia (SSN774) class nuclear-powered attack submarine. CG(X) = CG(X) class cruiser. DDG-1000 = Zumwalt (DDG-1000) class destroyer. CG(X) = CG(X) class cruiser. LCS = Littoral Combat Ship. LPD-17 = San Antonio (LPD-17) class amphibious ship. LHA(R) = LHA(R) class amphibious assault ship. TAKE =Lewis and Clark (TAKE-1) class resupply ship. TAKE-MPF(F) = Modified TAKE intended for MPF(F) squadron. MPF(F) LHR(A) (also called MPF(F) Aviation) = Modified LHA(R) intended for MPF(F) squadron. LMSR-MPF(F) = Modified large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) sealift ship intended for MPF(F) squadron. MLP-MPF(F) = Mobile Landing Platform ship intended for MPF(F) squadron. TATF = oceangoing fleet tug. JCC(X) = Joint command and control ship. JHSV = Joint High-Speed Vessel transport ship. a. Two DDG-1000s were procured in FY2007 using split-funding in FY2007 and FY2008. b. Although two LCSs were originally funded in FY2007, the Navy canceled these ships as part of its 2007 restructuring of the LCS program. c. Although Congress funded the procurement of one TAKE for Navy use in FY2008, the Navy is using much of this funding to complete the cost of the TAKE funded in FY2007. (The Navy is using much of the funding that Congress had provided for the FY2007 TAKE in turn to pay for cost growth on TAKEs procured in earlier years.) The Navy consequently now records zero TAKEs as procured in FY2008 (rather than one), and the total number of ships of all kinds procured in FY2008 as four (rather than five). One of the two TAKEs requested for FY2009 is the same TAKE that Congress originally funded in FY2008. d. Ships shown are those being procured for Navy use. Additional JHSVs are being procured separately for Army use and are not shown in the Navy’s shipbuilding plan. CRS-5 FY2009 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan Table 3 shows the Navy’s FY2009 30-year ship-procurement plan. Table 3. Navy FY2009 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan F Y (including FY2009-FY2013 FYDP) Ship type (see key below) C V N S C L C S S S N S S G N S S B N A W S C L F M P F (F) S u p t T O T A L 1 2 1 1 1 1 09 7 1 3 1 2 1 10 8 2 3 2 1 11 8 1 1 4 2 2 2 12 12 2 6 2 1 1 13 12 1 6 2 2 2 14 13 2 6 2 1 2 15 13 1 2 6 2 1 16 12 2 6 2 1 1 17 12 2 6 2 1 1 1 18 13 2 4 2 1 1 19 10 2 2 2 2 2 20 10 1 2 2 2 21 7 2 2 1 1 2 2 22 10 1 2 1 2 3 23 9 2 2 1 1 2 2 24 10 1 3 2 1 2 2 25 11 3 2 1 2 2 26 10 3 2 1 27 6 3 2 1 1 28 7 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 29 9 3 2 1 1 1 8 30 3 1 1 1 1 31 7 3 1 2 1 2 1 1 32 11 3 1 1 1 1 33 7 1 3 2 2 1 1 34 10 3 5 1 1 1 35 11 3 5 2 1 36 11 3 5 1 37 9 1 3 5 2 2 38 13 Source: Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2009. Key: FY = Fiscal Year; CVN = aircraft carriers; SC = surface combatants (i.e., cruisers and destroyers); LCS = Littoral Combat Ships; SSN = attack submarines; SSGN = cruise missile submarines; SSBN = ballistic missile submarines; AWS = amphibious warfare ships; CLF = combat logistics force (i.e., resupply) ships; MPF(F) = Maritime Prepositioning Force (Future) ships; Supt = support ships. CRS-6 Oversight Issues for Congress Adequacy of Proposed 313-Ship Fleet Some observers have questioned whether the Navy’s planned 313-ship fleet includes sufficient numbers of certain ships. Areas of concern include planned numbers of amphibious ships and attack submarines. For additional discussion of the issue, see Appendix C. Adequacy of Shipbuilding Plan for Maintaining 313 Ships Summary. Table 4 shows the Navy’s projection of future force levels that would result from fully implementing the Navy’s FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan. As shown in the table, the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan, if implemented, would generally be adequate to achieve and maintain a fleet of about 313 ships. Under the FY2009 30-year plan, the Navy is to reach a total of at least 313 ships in FY2019 — three years later than under the FY2008 30-year shipbuilding plan. A primary cause of the three-year delay is the FY2009 plan’s 13-ship reduction in the total number of ships planned for procurement in FY2009-FY2013. Most of the 13ship reduction is due to an 11-ship reduction in the number of Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) planned for FY2009-FY2013, which is a consequence of the Navy’s restructuring of the LCS program in 2007.5 Although the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan would generally be adequate to achieve and maintain a fleet of about 313 ships, it does not include enough ships to fully support certain elements of the 313-ship fleet consistently over the long run — shortfalls would occur in areas such as amphibious lift capability and the number of attack submarines. The Navy’s report on the 30-year plan states: “While in the main this plan achieves the necessary raw numbers of ships and sustains the shipbuilding industrial base, there are certain time periods where the ship mix, and therefore inherent capability of the force, varies from that required as a result of funding constraints and the timing of legacy fleet service life limits.”6 The FY2009 30-year plan includes new assumptions about extended service lives for amphibious ships and for cruisers and destroyers. If these longer service lives are not achieved, it could increase the shortfall in amphibious lift capability and create a shortfall in the number of cruisers and destroyers. 5 For more on the LCS program, see CRS Report RL33741, Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. 6 U.S. Navy, Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2009, p. 5. CRS-7 Table 4. Navy Projection of Future Force Levels (resulting from implementation of 30-year shipbuilding plan shown in Table 3) F Y Ship type (see key below) T O T A L 109 2 53 4 14 31 31 14 0 17 09 11 286 111 2 52 4 14 32 30 14 0 17 10 11 287 113 2 52 4 14 34 28 14 0 17 11 11 289 110 3 53 4 14 34 29 14 0 18 12 11 290 107 8 54 4 14 33 29 14 1 19 13 10 293 99 11 51 4 14 33 30 14 1 20 14 10 287 94 14 51 4 14 33 30 14 2 21 15 11 288 92 18 49 4 14 33 30 14 4 22 16 11 291 92 24 50 4 14 33 30 13 6 24 17 11 301 93 30 49 4 14 32 30 13 7 26 18 11 309 93 36 50 4 14 32 30 11 9 24 19 12 315 94 42 48 4 14 32 30 10 9 24 20 12 319 95 48 48 4 14 32 30 7 9 24 21 12 323 94 54 47 4 14 32 30 6 10 24 22 12 327 94 55 47 4 14 32 30 2 10 24 23 12 324 94 55 46 4 14 32 30 1 10 24 24 12 322 93 55 45 4 14 33 30 0 10 24 25 12 320 91 55 44 2 14 33 30 0 10 24 26 12 315 91 55 43 1 13 33 30 0 10 24 27 12 312 89 55 41 0 13 33 30 0 10 24 28 12 307 91 55 41 0 13 33 30 0 10 24 29 12 309 94 55 42 0 12 33 30 0 10 24 30 12 312 96 55 44 0 12 33 30 0 10 24 31 12 316 99 55 45 0 12 33 30 0 10 24 32 12 320 101 55 47 0 12 33 30 0 10 24 33 12 324 100 55 49 0 12 33 30 0 10 24 34 12 325 98 55 50 0 12 33 30 0 10 24 35 12 324 95 55 52 0 12 33 30 0 10 24 36 12 323 94 55 53 0 12 33 30 0 10 24 37 12 323 94 55 53 0 12 32 30 0 10 24 38 12 322 Source: Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2009. Key: FY = Fiscal Year; CVN = aircraft carriers; SC = surface combatants (i.e., cruisers and destroyers); LCS = Littoral Combat Ships; SSN = attack submarines; SSGN = cruise missile submarines; SSBN = ballistic missile submarines; AWS = amphibious warfare ships; CLF = combat logistics force (i.e., resupply) ships; MIW = mine warfare ships; MPF(F) = Maritime Prepositioning Force (Future) ships; Supt = support ships. C V N S C L C S S S N S S G N S S B N A W S C L F M I W M P F (F) S u p t Shortfalls Relative to 313-Ship Goals. The FY2009 version of the 30year shipbuilding plan, like the FY2008 and FY2007 versions, does not include enough ships to fully support all elements of the planned 313-ship force structure over the long run. As shown in Table 5 below, however, the total projected shortfall in the 30-year plan relative to the 313-ship force structure has been reduced from CRS-8 about 39 ships two years ago to 15 ships today. The reduction in the shortfall from about 39 ships two years ago to about 26 ships one year ago was due primarily to a Navy decision to insert additional destroyers into the final years of the FY2008 plan. The reduction in the shortfall from about 26 ships a year ago to 15 ships today is due primarily to a new assumption incorporated into the FY2009 plan to extend the service lives of the Navy’s 62 Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class Aegis destroyers by five years (from 35 years to 40). Table 5. Projected Shortfall Relative to 313-Ship Force Structure Projected shortfall by ship type, in numbers of ships, under... FY2007 (FY07-FY36) plan of Feb. 2006 1 8 4 FY2008 (FY08-FY37) plan of Feb. 2007 1 8 4 FY2009 (FY09FY38) plan of Feb. 2008 0a Amphibious ships 7 Attack submarines (SSNs) 4 Cruise missile submarines (SSGNs) 0 0 2b Ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) ~26 ~10 0 Cruisers and destroyers 0 0 2 MPF(F) ships ~39 ~26 15 Total projected shortfall Source: CRS analysis of Navy data. a. Although the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan would support a force of 32 or 33 amphibious ships, as opposed to 31 called for in the 313-ship plan, the 32- or 33-ship force would include nine LPD-17 class ships, as opposed to the 10 called for in the 313-ship plan. The Marine Corps states that fully meeting the requirement for an amphibious force capable of lifting the assault echelons of 2.0 Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs) would require a 33-ship amphibious force that includes 11 LPD-17s. b. Although the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan includes 12 replacement SSBNs rather than the 14 called for in the 313-ship plan, the Navy has testified that the 12 new SSBNs would be sufficient to perform the missions of today’s 14-ship SSBN force because the 12 new ships would be built with life-of-the-ship nuclear fuel cores and consequently would not require mid-life refuelings. The Navy states that the need for today’s SSBNs to be taken out of service for some time to receive mid-life refuelings is what drives the need for a 13th and 14th SSBN. Amphibious Ships. Although the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan would support a force of 32 or 33 amphibious ships, as opposed to a total of 31 called for in the 313-ship plan, this 32- or 33-ship force would include 9 San Antonio (LPD-17) CRS-9 class amphibious ships, as opposed to the 10 called for in the 313-ship plan.7 The Navy’s report on the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan states: While the mix of the 33 [amphibious] ships reflected in this plan differs slightly from the USMC requirement, it represents acceptable risk considering the amphibious ships planned for decommissioning are not scheduled for dismantling or sinking to permit mobilization at a later date if required. The decommissioning ships are being replaced with newer more capable LPD 17 and LHA 6 class ships. The Navy will maintain the 33-ship requirement for amphibious shipping through the FYDP while these new ships are integrated into the battleforce. Consequently, there will be no amphibious ship capability gaps through at least FY 2019.8 The Marine Corps states that fully meeting the requirement for an amphibious force capable of lifting the assault echelons of 2.0 Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs) would require a 33-ship amphibious force that includes 11 LPD-17s.9 Table 6 shows the Marine Corps’ calculation of the amount of amphibious lift, in MEB equivalents, resulting from the 32- or 33-ship amphibious force that is projected in the Navy’s FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan. The table presents the five different elements of amphibious lift. In the table, a figure of 2.0 in a cell would meet 100% of the 2.0 MEB lift goal for that lift element, a figure of 1.0 would meet 50% of the goal for that element, and a figure of 1.5 would meet 75% of the goal for that element. As can be seen in the table, the Marine Corps projects significant shortfalls in certain lift elements, particularly vehicles (measured in square feet of storage space) and vertical takeoff or landing (VTOL) aircraft spots. 7 Congress, as part of its action on the FY2008 defense budget, provided $50 million in advance procurement funding for a 10th LPD-17 to be procured in a fiscal year after FY2008. The FY2009 shipbuilding plan, like the FY2008 shipbuilding plan, does not include a 10th LPD-17, and calls for ending LPD-17 procurement with the ninth ship, which was procured in FY2008. A 10th LPD-17, at a cost of $1,700 million, is the number-two item on the Navy’s FY2009 Unfunded Requirements List (URL) and the first item presented in the Marine Corps’ FY2009 URL. 8 U.S. Navy, Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2009, p. A-3. 9 The 33-ship force that would fully meet the 2.0 MEB lift requirement includes 11 largedeck amphibious assault ships (LHAs/LHDs), 11 LPD-17s, and 11 LSD-41/49 class amphibious ships. CRS-10 Table 6. Projected Amount of Amphibious Lift (In MEB equivalents, Resulting From Amphibious Force Supported By FY2009 Navy 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan) 2008 2009 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 1.46 1.35 1.38 1.45 1.42 1.35 1.49 1.59 Troops 0.75 0.80 0.90 0.88 0.93 1.05 1.17 Vehicle (sq. ft.) 0.77 2.02 1.90 1.92 2.07 2.04 1.95 2.28 2.49 Cargo (cu. ft.) 1.02 0.93 0.94 1.07 1.06 0.97 1.18 1.31 VTOL aircraft 1.81 1.75 1.79 1.79 1.75 1.77 1.65 1.50 LCACs Source: U.S. Marine Corps data provided to CRS, March 11, 2008. Calculations are based on a MEB that is sized to be carried aboard 15 amphibious ships. If the Navy cannot extend the service lives of amphibious ships as much as assumed in the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan, then the shortfall in amphibious lift capability could become larger than shown in Table 6. Attack Submarines (SSNs). Although the 313-ship plan calls for a total of 48 SSNs, the 30-year shipbuilding plan does not include enough SSNs to maintain a force of 48 boats consistently over the long run. The Navy projects that the SSN force will drop below 48 boats in 2022, reach a minimum of 41 boats (14.6% less than the required figure of 48) in FY2028 and FY2029, and remain below 48 boats through 2033. The Navy has completed a study on various options for mitigating the projected SSN shortfall. One of these options is to procure one or more additional SSNs in the period FY2008-FY2011. The issue is discussed in more detail in another CRS report.10 Converted Trident Submarines (SSGNs). Although the 313-ship plan calls for four SSGNs, the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan includes no replacements for the four current SSGNs, which the Navy projects will reach retirement age and leave service in FY2026-FY2028. The Navy’s report on the 30year shipbuilding plan states: Plans for recapitalization [i.e., replacement] of the OHIO class submarines that have been converted to SSGN have been deferred until their warfighting utility can be assessed. Should their replacement be required, it will be necessary to integrate their procurement with other ship and submarine recapitalization efforts planned for the post-FY 2020 period.11 Ballistic Missile Submarines (SSBNs). Although the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan includes 12 replacement SSBNs rather than the 14 called for in the 313-ship plan, the Navy has testified that the 12 new SSBNs would be sufficient to perform the missions of today’s 14-ship SSBN force because the 12 new ships would 10 CRS Report RL32418, Navy Attack Submarine Force-Level Goal and Procurement Rate: Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. 11 U.S. Navy, Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2009, p. 8. CRS-11 be built with life-of-the-ship nuclear fuel cores and consequently would not require mid-life refuelings. The Navy states that the need for today’s SSBNs to be taken out of service for some time to receive mid-life refuelings is what drives the need for a 13th and 14th SSBN. Cruisers and Destroyers. Although the FY2009 30-year plan assumes a 5year service life extension for the Navy’s 62 DDG-51s, a Navy official was quoted after the FY2009 30-year plan was released as stating that the Navy has not yet officially approved the idea of extending the service lives of those ships.12 One potential oversight issue for Congress is why the 30-year plan assumed a 5-year service life extension for the DDG-51s if the Navy had not yet officially approved the idea. If the Navy approves the idea, a second potential oversight issue for Congress is whether the Navy will actually be able to extend the service lives of the DDG-51s and operate them in a cost-effective manner for 40 years, given the wear and tear that might accrue on the ships in coming years, as well as the DDG-51 design’s space, weight, and electrical-power capacities. If a five-year service life extension for the DDG-51s proves infeasible or not cost-effective, a shortfall in cruisers and destroyers similar to that shown in the FY2008 column in Table 5 might reappear. MPF(F) Ships. The projected two-ship shortfall in MPF(F) ships is due to a decision to drop two Lewis and Clark (TAKE-1) class dry cargo ships from the shipbuilding plan. These two ships were previously planned for procurement in FY2010 and FY2011. Navy officials have stated the two ships were removed from the plan pending the completion of a study on the MPF(F) concept of operations, and that the two ships might be put back into the shipbuilding plan next year, following the completion of this study.13 Aircraft Carriers. As mentioned earlier, the Navy projects that the carrier force will drop from the current figure of 11 ships to 10 ships for a 33-month period between the scheduled retirement of the carrier Enterprise (CVN-65) in November 2012 and scheduled the entry into service of its replacement, the carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), in September 2015. The Navy projects that the force will increase to 12 carriers starting in FY2019, when CVN-79 is commissioned. 10 USC §5062 requires the Navy to maintain an aircraft carrier force of at least 11 operational ships. As it did for FY2008, the Navy for FY2009 is requesting a legislative waiver from Congress that would permit the Navy to reduce the carrier force to 10 operational ships for the 33-month between the retirement of the Enterprise and the entry into service of the Ford. Affordability and Executibility of Shipbuilding Plan Overview. One of the most significant features in the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan, compared to the FY2008 30-year plan, is an apparent increase of 12 Zachary M. Peterson, “Destroyer Extension Part of 313-Ship Plan,” NavyTimes.com, February 11, 2008. 13 See, for example, U.S. Navy, Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2009, p. 9. CRS-12 roughly 40% in real (inflation-adjusted) terms in the Navy’s estimated average annual cost to implement the 30-year plan. The Navy last year estimated that the FY2008 30-year plan would cost an average of $14.4 billion per year in FY2007 dollars. The Navy’s estimated cost for the FY2009 30-year appears to be roughly $20.1 billion per year in FY2007 dollars, or roughly 40% more. The Navy’s estimate for the first 12 years of the plan (FY2009-FY2020) has increased to $15.8 billion per year in FY2007 dollars — an increase of about 9.7%. Its estimate for the final 18 years of the plan (FY2021-FY2038) appears to have increased to about $22.9 billion per year in FY2007 dollars — an increase of roughly 59%.14 An average of $15.8 billion per year for 12 years and $22.9 billion per year for 18 years works out to a 30-year average of about $20.1 billion per year This roughly 40% real increase is not due to significant changes in the composition of the 30-year plan, because the types and quantities of ships to be procured under FY2009 30-year plan are generally the same as those in the FY2008 30-year plan.15 As discussed further below, the Navy’s report on the FY2009 30-year plan states that the Navy’s cost estimate excludes the cost of the 12 replacement ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) that are shown in the plan. Depending on the cost one assumes for these 12 SSBNs, including their cost might increase the roughly 40% figure in the previous paragraph to roughly 49% to 57%.16 In 2007, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that last year’s version of the 30-year plan would cost roughly 35% more per year to implement than the Navy was estimating. The Navy in 2007 downplayed CBO’s higher cost estimate, referring to it in testimony as “worst-case analysis”17 or as an “extremely conservative” estimate.18 The Navy’s new estimated cost for the FY2009 30-year plan, however, is now comparable to CBO’s estimates for last year’s plan. 14 Although the Navy’s report on the 30-year plan does not state an estimated average annual cost for the 18 later years of the plan, visual inspection of a graph in the report (Figure 1) suggests that the average figure for this period is roughly $22.9 billion a year in FY2007 dollars. 15 The FY2009-FY2038 plan includes 296 ships, or about 1.7% more than the 291 ships in the FY2008-FY2037 plan. The types of ships procured under the two plans are essentially the same, and the total numbers of each type being procured are in most cases similar. 16 Using Navy and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates for the cost of these SSBNs as presented in CBO testimony to this subcommittee on July 24, 2007, including the costs of 12 replacement SSBNs could increase the estimated cost of the 30-year plan by about $1.3 billion per year (using the Navy’s estimate) to about $2.5 billion a year (using CBO’s estimate). 17 Source: Transcript of spoken testimony of Vice Admiral Paul Sullivan before the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on March 20, 2007. 18 Source: Transcript of spoken testimony of Allison Stiller before the Defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on April 25, 2007. CRS-13 In 2006 and 2007, the Navy had a clearly identifiable strategy for achieving the shipbuilding budget that the Navy then estimated would be needed to implement the 30-year shipbuilding plan. CRS and CBO discussed in reports and testimony in 2006 and 2007 how the Navy’s strategy for executing the shipbuilding plan depended on a series of five assumptions concerning the future size and composition of the Navy’s budget and the costs of future Navy ships. As noted by both CRS and CBO in 2006 and 2007, all five of these assumptions could be viewed as risk items for the plan, because there were grounds for questioning whether each of them would be borne out. (For additional discussion, see Appendix D.) The new increase in the Navy’s estimated cost for implementing the 30-year plan is so large that the Navy no longer appears to have a clearly identifiable, announced strategy for generating the funds needed to implement the 30-year plan, at least not without significantly reducing funding for other Navy programs or increasing the Navy’s programmed budget in coming years by billions of dollars per year. March 2008 CBO Testimony. CBO testified in March 2008 that the Navy’s FY2009 30-year plan “appears to increase the Navy’s estimate of the costs to implement the plan by about 50 percent,”19 and that its analysis indicates the following: — Executing the Navy’s most recent 30-year shipbuilding plan will cost an average of about $25 billion a year (in 2009 dollars), or double the $12.6 billion a year the Navy has spent, on average, since 2003. — The Navy appears to have substantially revised its estimate of the cost of implementing the 30-year shipbuilding plan, bringing its overall estimate into general alignment with CBO’s estimates of the past three years. — CBO’s estimates of the Navy’s shipbuilding program through the 20092013 Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) are about 30 percent higher than the Navy’s estimates. In particular, CBO estimates that the DDG-1000 guidedmissile destroyer and the CG(X) future cruiser would probably cost significantly more than the Navy currently estimates. — For the 2009 — 2020 period, which the Navy’s plan describes as the “near term,” CBO’s estimates for new-ship construction alone are about 15 percent higher than the Navy’s. — The Navy’s cost estimates for the 2009 shipbuilding plan beyond 2020, which the Navy’s plan describes as the “far term,” appear higher than CBO’s by about 20 percent. CBO cannot explain the difference between its estimates and the Navy’s because detailed information from the Navy explaining the basis of its cost estimates is not yet available.20 19 Statement of Eric J. Labs, Senior Analyst, [on] Current and Projected Navy Shipbuilding Programs, before the Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. House of Representatives, March 14, 2008, p. 2. 20 Ibid, p. 1. CRS-14 Table 7, which is taken from CBO’s March 2008 testimony, summarizes Navy and CBO estimates of the cost to implement the 30-year shipbuilding plan. Table 7. Average Annual Shipbuilding Costs (from CBO March 2008 testimony; figures in billions of constant FY2009 dollars) New-ship construction Excluding SSBNs Including SSBNs New-ship construction (including SSBNs), plus: Nuclear Nuclear refuelings, LCS refuelings mission modules, and surface combat-ant modernization 12.4 12.6 11.1 11.1 Actual Navy spending, FY03-FY08 Average annual cost as estimated by: 25.1b 25.9b 22.4 24.0a Navy 20.4 23.2 24.4 25.2 CBO Memorandum: Navy’s estimate average annual cost in 2006 and 2007 n.a. 16.1 17.2b 18.0b Source: Table 3 from Statement of Eric J. Labs, Senior Analyst, [on] Current and Projected Navy Shipbuilding Programs, before the Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. House of Representatives, March 14, 2008, p. 13. a. The Navy’s estimate for new-ship construction plus the Navy’s cost target for SSBNs under the FY2007 and FY2008 shipbuilding plans. b. The Navy’s estimate for new-ship construction and cost target for SSBNs plus CBO’s estimates for the additional costs. FY2009 Legislative Activity The Navy’s FY2009 shipbuilding plans were submitted in early February, as part of the Navy’s FY2009 budget submission. CRS-15 Appendix A. Potential For Changing 313-Ship Proposal The Navy in 2006 stated in general that it may change the 313-ship proposal at some point. The Navy in 2007 and 2008 has suggested more specifically that it may change the planned numbers of amphibious ships, MPF(F) ships, and SSBNs. In General. A May 2006 Navy planning document stated that the Navy will continue to refine capability and capacity requirements in POM-08 [the Program Objective Memorandum for the FY2008 budget] by reviewing the force mix against emerging and evolving threats. [The] Navy will conduct an analytic review and analysis of potential alternative capacity and capability mixes that will support Joint Force requirements and enable stable shipbuilding and procurement accounts.21 Amphibious and MPF(F) Ships. The Navy’s February 2007 report on the FY2008 30-year shipbuilding plan stated: Future combat operations may require us to revisit many of the decisions reflected in this report, including those associated with amphibious lift. As the Navy embarks on production of the Maritime Prepositioning Force in this FYDP, the Navy will continue to analyze the utility of these ships in terms of their contribution to, and ability to substitute for, the assault echelon forces in the Navy’s future battle-force inventory. The current force represents the best balance between these forces available today. However, changing world events and resulting operational risk associated with the various force structure elements that make up these two components of overall lift will be analyzed to ensure the Navy is not taking excessive risk in lift capability and capacity. While there needs to be a balance between expeditionary and prepositioning ships for meeting the overall lift requirement, future reports may adjust the level of support in one or both of these solutions. Any adjustments made in these capabilities will have to be accommodated in light of the resources available and could require the Navy to commit additional funding to this effort in order to support the overall balance of our shipbuilding program.22 The Navy’s February 2008 report on the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan stated that the Department of the Navy “is reviewing options to increase assault echelon amphibious lift to 33 ships to meet USMC requirements.”23 The report also states: The Commandant of the Marine Corps has determined that a minimum of 33 amphibious ships is necessary to support their assault echelon lift 21 U.S. Department of the Navy, Navy Strategic Plan In Support of Program Objective Memorandum 08, May 2006, p. 11. 22 U.S. Navy, Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2008, p. 5. 23 U.S. Navy, Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2009, p. 5. CRS-16 requirements; specifically, he has requested a force of 11 aviation capable amphibious ships, 11 LPDs and 11 LSDs. The Chief of Naval Operations supports the Commandant’s determination.24 SSBNs. The Navy has testified in 2007 and 208 that its next-generation ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) are to be fueled with a nuclear fuel core sufficient for the ships’ entire expected service lives. Consequently, the Navy has testified, these SSBNs, in contrast to today’s SSBNs, would not need a mid-life nuclear refueling. As a result, the Navy testified, the Navy in the future may be able to meet its requirements for SSBN deployments with a force of 12 SSBNs rather than 14.25 This testimony suggests that the Navy might at some point change the required number of SSBNs in the 313-ship plan from 14 to 12. The Navy’s February 2008 report on the FY2009 shipbuilding plan continues to state that the 313-ship forcestructure includes 14 SSBNs, but the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan includes 12 SSBNs rather than 14. 24 U.S. Navy, Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2009, p. A-3. 25 Source: Transcripts of Navy testimony to Senate Armed Services Committee, March 29, 2007, and to Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee of House Armed Services Committee, March 14, 2008. CRS-17 Appendix B. Modified Description of Required Number of Aircraft Carriers In late-March 2007, the Navy modified its description of the number of aircraft carriers in the 313-ship proposal. From February 2006 through early March 2007, the Navy described the 313-ship proposal as one centered on, among other things, 11 aircraft carriers.26 In late March 2007, the Navy modified its description of the 313ship proposal to one centered on, among other things, 11, and eventually 12, aircraft carriers, the modification being the addition of the phrase “and eventually 12.”27 The Navy’s modification of its description of the number of aircraft carriers in the 313-ship proposal occurred about a week after the decommissioning of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CV-67), which occurred on March 23, 2007. The decommissioning of the Kennedy reduced the Navy’s carrier force from 12 ships to 11. The Navy had proposed decommissioning the Kennedy in its FY2006 and FY2007 budgets, and opponents of the Kennedy’s retirement had resisted the proposal. If the Navy, prior to the Kennedy’s decommissioning, had described the 313-ship fleet as one centered on, among other things, 11, and eventually 12, aircraft carriers, opponents of the Kennedy’s decommissioning might have cited the “eventually 12” part as evidence that the Navy really requires 12 carriers, not just 11.28 The Navy’s February 2008 report on the FY2009 30-year shipbuilding plan states that the 313-ship plan includes 11 carriers and does not include a reference to “eventually 12” carriers, but the long-range force projection in the report continues to show a total of 12 carriers in FY2019 and subsequent years. 26 See, for example, Navy testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on March 1, 2007 (transcript of hearing). 27 See, for example, Navy testimony before the Defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee on March 28, 2007, and before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 29, 2007 (transcripts of hearings). 28 For additional discussion of the debate over the Kennedy’s retirement, see CRS Report RL32731, Navy Aircraft Carriers: Retirement of USS John F. Kennedy — Issues and Options for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. CRS-18 Appendix C. Adequacy of Planned 313-Ship Fleet Specific Ship Categories Amphibious Ships. Some observers have questioned whether the Navy’s proposed total of 31 amphibious ships within the 313-ship fleet will be sufficient. The Marine Corps has stated that a total of 33, including 11 San Antonio (LPD-17) class ships, would be needed to meet the Marine Corps’ requirement for having a force capable of lifting the assault echelons of 2.0 Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs). The issue is discussed in more detail in another CRS report.29 Attack Submarines. Some observers have questioned whether the Navy’s proposed total of 48 attack submarines within the 313-ship plan will be sufficient, and have suggested that a total of 55 or more would be more appropriate, particularly in light of requests for forward-deployed attack submarines from U.S. regional military commanders, and the modernization of China’s naval forces, including its submarine force. The issue is discussed in more detail other CRS reports.30 Aircraft Carriers. Some observers have questioned whether the Navy’s proposed total of 11 aircraft carriers through FY2018 will be sufficient, particularly in light of past Navy plans that have called for 12 carriers, the Navy’s testimony in 2007 that the 313-ship proposal includes a requirement for an eventual total of 12 carriers, and Navy plans to increase the carrier force back to 12 ships in 2019 and maintain it at that level thereafter. The latter two points, they argue, suggest that the Navy would actually prefer to have 12 carriers between now and FY2019, rather than 11. Observers have expressed concern that the current carrier force of 11 ships will temporarily decline further, to 10 ships, during the 33-month period between the scheduled retirement of the carrier Enterprise (CVN-65) in November 2012 and scheduled the entry into service of its replacement, the carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN78), in September 2015. Even if an 11-carrier force is adequate, these observers argue, a 10-carrier force might not be, even if only for a 33-month period. 10 USC §5062 requires the Navy to maintain an aircraft carrier force of at least 11 operational ships. The Navy for FY2009 is requesting a legislative waiver from Congress that would permit the Navy to reduce the carrier force to 10 operational ships for the 33-month between the retirement of the Enterprise and the entry into service of the Ford. The Navy made the same request as part of its FY2008 budget submission; Congress did not act on the request in FY2008. 29 CRS Report RL32513, Navy-Marine Corps Amphibious and Maritime Prepositioning Ship Programs: Background and Oversight Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. 30 CRS Report RL32418, Navy Attack Submarine Force-Level Goal and Procurement Rate: Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke; and CRS Report RL33153, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. CRS-19 Overall Number of Ships Some observers have questioned whether the overall planned total of 313 ships would be adequate, particularly in light of Navy plans in recent decades for larger total numbers of ships. One possible method for assessing the appropriateness of the total number of ships being proposed by the Navy is to compare that number to historical figures for total fleet size. Historical figures for total fleet size, however, might not be a reliable yardstick for assessing the appropriateness of the Navy’s proposed 313-ship fleet, particularly if the historical figures are more than a few years old, because the missions to be performed by the Navy, the mix of ships that make up the Navy, and the technologies that are available to Navy ships for performing missions all change over time. The Navy, for example, reached a late-Cold War peak of 568 battle force ships at the end of FY1987,31 and as of February 14, 2008, had declined to a total of 279 battle force ships. The FY1987 fleet, however, was intended to meet a set of mission requirements that focused on countering Soviet naval forces at sea during a potential multi-theater NATO-Warsaw Pact conflict, while the February 2008 fleet is intended to meet a considerably different set of mission requirements centered on influencing events ashore by countering both land- and sea-based military forces of potential regional threats other than Russia, including non-state terrorist organizations. In addition, the Navy of FY1987 differed substantially from the February 2008 fleet in areas such as profusion of precision-guided air-delivered weapons, numbers of Tomahawk-capable ships, and sophistication of C4ISR systems.32 In coming years, Navy missions may shift again, to include, as a possible example, a greater emphasis on being able to counter improved Chinese maritime military capabilities.33 In addition, the capabilities of Navy ships will likely have changed further by that time due to developments such as more comprehensive 31 Some publications, such as those of the American Shipbuilding Association, have stated that the Navy reached a peak of 594 ships at the end of FY1987. This figure, however, is the total number of active ships in the fleet, which is not the same as the total number of battle force ships. The battle force ships figure is the number used in government discussions of the size of the Navy. In recent years, the total number of active ships has been larger than the total number of battle force ships. For example, the Naval Historical Center states that as of November 16, 2001, the Navy included a total of 337 active ships, while the Navy states that as of November 19, 2001, the Navy included a total of 317 battle force ships. Comparing the total number of active ships in one year to the total number of battle force ships in another year is thus an apple-to-oranges comparison that in this case overstates the decline since FY1987 in the number of ships in the Navy. As a general rule to avoid potential statistical distortions, comparisons of the number of ships in the Navy over time should use, whenever possible, a single counting method. 32 C4ISR stands for command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. 33 For a discussion, see CRS Report RL33153, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress, by Ronald O’Rourke. CRS-20 implementation of networking technology and increased use of ship-based unmanned vehicles. The 568-ship fleet of FY1987 may or may not have been capable of performing its stated missions; the 279-ship fleet of February 2008 may or nor may not have been capable of performing its stated missions; and a fleet years from now with a certain number of ships may or may not be capable of performing its stated missions. Given changes over time in mission requirements, ship mixes, and technologies, however, these three issues are to a substantial degree independent of one another. For similar reasons, trends over time in the total number of ships in the Navy are not necessarily a reliable indicator of the direction of change in the fleet’s ability to perform its stated missions. An increasing number of ships in the fleet might not necessarily mean that the fleet’s ability to perform its stated missions is increasing, because the fleet’s mission requirements might be increasing more rapidly than ship numbers and average ship capability. Similarly, a decreasing number of ships in the fleet might not necessarily mean that the fleet’s ability to perform stated missions is decreasing, because the fleet’s mission requirements might be declining more rapidly than numbers of ships, or because average ship capability and the percentage of time that ships are in deployed locations might be increasing quickly enough to more than offset reductions in total ship numbers. Previous Navy force structure plans, such as those shown in Table 1, might provide some insight into the potential adequacy of a proposed new force-structure plan, but changes over time in mission requirements, technologies available to ships for performing missions, and other force-planning factors suggest that some caution should be applied in using past force structure plans for this purpose, particularly if those past force structure plans are more than a few years old. The Reagan-era plan for a 600-ship Navy, for example, was designed for a Cold War set of missions focusing on countering Soviet naval forces at sea, which is not an appropriate basis for planning the Navy today.34 34 Navy force structure plans that predate those shown in Table 1 include the Reagan-era 600-ship plan of the 1980s, the Base Force fleet of more than 400 ships planned during the final two years of the George H. W. Bush Administration, the 346-ship fleet from the Clinton Administration’s 1993 Bottom-Up Review (or BUR, sometimes also called Base Force II), and the 310-ship fleet of the Clinton Administration’s 1997 QDR. The table below summarizes some key features of these plans. Features of Recent Navy Force Structure Plans Plan 600-ship Base Force 1993 BUR 1997 QDR 346 ~305/310b ~600 ~450/416a Total ships 45-55 50/55d 100 80/~55c Attack submarines 12 11+1f 11+1f 15e Aircraft carriers ~150 ~124 116 242/228g Surface combatants h i i 51 36 36i ~75 Amphibious ships Source: Prepared by CRS based on DOD and U.S. Navy data. a. Commonly referred to as 450-ship plan, but called for decreasing to 416 ships by end of (continued...) CRS-21 34 (...continued) FY1999. b. Original total of about 305 ships was increased to about 310 due to increase in number of attack submarines to 55 from 50. c. Plan originally included 80 attack submarines, but this was later reduced to about 55. d. Plan originally included 50 attack submarines but this was later increased to 55. e. Plus one additional aircraft carrier in the service life extension program (SLEP). f. Eleven active carriers plus one operational reserve carrier. g. Plan originally included 242 surface combatants but this was later reduced to 228. h. Number needed to lift assault echelons of one Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) plus one Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB). i. Number needed to lift assault echelons of 2.5 MEBs. Note how number needed to meet this goal changed from Base Force plan to the BUR plan — a result of new, larger amphibious ship designs. CRS-22 Appendix D. Affordability of Navy 30-Year Plan in 2006-2007 In 2006 and 2007, the Navy’s position was that for its shipbuilding plan to be affordable and executable, five things needed to happen: ! The Navy’s overall budget needed to remain more or less flat (not decline) in real (inflation-adjusted) terms. ! Navy Operation and Maintenance (O&M) spending needed to remain flat (not grow) in real terms. ! Navy Military Personnel (MilPer) spending needed to remain flat (not grow) in real terms. ! Navy research and development (R&D) spending needed to decrease from recent levels and remain at the decreased level over the long run. ! Navy ships needed to be built at the Navy’s currently estimated prices. The Navy said that the first four things were needed for the Navy to be able to increase the shipbuilding budget from an average in FY2002-FY2007 of about $9.6 billion per year in FY2008 dollars to a long-term average of about $15.4 billion per year in FY2008 dollars — an increase of about 60% in real terms.35 The fifth thing on the list, the Navy said, was needed if all the ships in the shipbuilding plan were to be affordable within an average annual shipbuilding budget of $15.4 billion in FY2008 dollars. Some observers in 2006 and 2007 questioned whether all five of the above things would happen, arguing the following: 35 ! The need in coming years to fund an increase in Army and Marine end strength could, within an overall DOD budget that remains more or less flat in real terms, require funding to be transferred from the Air Force and Navy budgets to the Army and Marine Corps budgets, which could, for a time at least, lead to a real decline in the Air Force and Navy budgets. ! DOD in the past has not been fully successful in meeting its goals for controlling O&M costs. Source: CBO telephone conversation with CRS, May 31, 2006. See also Statement of J. Michael Gilmore, Assistant Director, and Eric J. Labs, Principal Analyst, [On] Potential Costs of the Navy’s 2006 Shipbuilding Plan, [Testimony] before the Subcommittee on Projection Forces Committee on Armed Services U.S. House of Representatives, March 30, 2006. CRS-23 ! The Navy does not have full control over its MilPer costs — they can be affected, for example, by decisions that Congress makes on pay and benefits. ! While the Navy may be able to decrease R&D spending in coming years as a number of new systems shift from development to procurement, it may be difficult for the Navy to keep R&D spending at that reduced level over the long run, because the Navy at some point will likely want to start development of other new systems. ! Several Navy shipbuilding programs have experienced significant cost growth in recent years, and CBO estimates that Navy ships will cost substantially more to build than the Navy estimates. If one or more of the five required things listed above did not happen, it was argued in 2006 and 2007, it might become difficult or impossible to execute the Navy’s shipbuilding plans. The risk of the plan becoming unexecutable, it was argued, might become particularly acute starting in FY2011-FY2013, when the Navy planned to increase procurement rates for cruisers and destroyers and for submarines. CRS-24 Appendix E. Size of Navy and Navy Shipbuilding Rate The total number of battle force ships in the Navy reached a late-Cold War peak of 568 at the end of FY1987 and began declining thereafter.36 The Navy fell below 300 battle force ships in August 2003 and included 280 battle force ships as of March 17, 2008. Table 8 below shows past (FY1982-FY2008) and projected (FY2009-FY2013) rates of Navy ship procurement. Table 8. Battle Force Ships Procured or Projected, FY1982-FY2013 (Procured FY1982-FY2008; projected FY2009-FY2013) 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 17 14 16 19 20 17 15 19 15 11 11 7 4 4 5 4 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 5 5 6 6 6 5 7 8 4a 5a 4 7 8 8 12 12 Source: CRS compilation based on examination of defense authorization and appropriation committee and conference reports for each fiscal year. The table excludes non-battle force ships that do not count toward the 313-ship goal, such as certain sealift and prepositioning ships operated by the Military Sealift Command and oceanographic ships operated by agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). a. The totals shown for FY2006 and FY2007 have been adjusted downward to reflect the Navy’s decision to cancel two LCSs funded in FY2006 and another two LCSs funded in FY2007. 36 Some publications have stated that the Navy reached a peak of 594 ships at the end of FY1987. This figure, however, is the total number of active ships in the fleet, which is not the same as the total number of battle force ships. The battle force ships figure is the number used in government discussions of the size of the Navy. In recent years, the total number of active ships has been larger than the total number of battle force ships. For example, the Naval Historical Center states that as of November 16, 2001, the Navy included a total of 337 active ships, while the Navy states that as of November 19, 2001, the Navy included a total of 317 battle force ships. Comparing the total number of active ships in one year to the total number of battle force ships in another year is thus an apple-tooranges comparison that in this case overstates the decline since FY1987 in the number of ships in the Navy. As a general rule to avoid potential statistical distortions, comparisons of the number of ships in the Navy over time should use, whenever possible, a single counting method.