Navy LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Amphibious Ship Programs: Background and Issues for Congress




Navy LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Amphibious
Ship Programs: Background and Issues for
Congress

Updated August 2, 2021
Congressional Research Service
https://crsreports.congress.gov
R43543




Navy LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Amphibious Ship Programs

Summary
This report discusses two types of amphibious ships being procured for the Navy: LPD-17 Flight
II class amphibious ships and LHA-type amphibious assault ships. Both types are built by
Huntington Ingalls Industries/Ingalls Shipbuilding (HII/Ingalls) of Pascagoula, MS. Section 124
of the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 6395/P.L. 116-283 of January
1, 2021) provides authority for the Navy to use a block buy contract for the procurement of three
LPD-17 class ships and one LHA-type amphibious assault ship.
One issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s FY2022 procurement
funding requests for the LPD-17 Flight II and LHA programs. The Navy’s proposed FY2022
budget requests $60.6 million in procurement funding to complete the procurement cost of the
second LPD-17 Flight II class ship, LPD-31, and $68.6 million in procurement funding to help
fund the procurement cost of the amphibious assault ship LHA-9.
Another issue for Congress concerns the Navy’s force-level goals for amphibious ships and the
effect these goals could have on future procurement of LPD-17 Flight II and LHA-type ships
Another issue for Congress is whether the Navy intends to use the block buy contracting authority
provided by Section 124 of the FY2021 NDAA, and if not, then what, if anything, Congress
should do in response.
Another issue for Congress concerns the treatment of LHA-9’s procurement date in the Navy’s
FY2022 budget submission. The Navy’s FY2021 budget submission presented the second LPD-
17 Flight II class amphibious ship, LPD-31, as a ship requested for procurement in FY2021, and
the next amphibious assault ship, LHA-9, as a ship projected for procurement in FY2023.
Consistent with congressional action on the Navy’s FY2020 and FY2021 budgets, this CRS
report treats LPD-31 and LHA-9 as ships that Congress procured (i.e., authorized and provided
procurement—not advance procurement—funding for) in FY2020 and FY2021, respectively. The
Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) decision to present LPD-31 and LHA-9 in its FY2021 budget
submission as ships requested for procurement in FY2021 and FY2023, respectively, even though
Congress procured the ships in FY2020 and FY2021, respectively, posed an institutional issue for
Congress regarding the preservation and use of Congress’s power of the purse under Article 1 of
the Constitution, and for maintaining Congress as a coequal branch of government relative to the
executive branch. Section 126 of the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R.
6395/P.L. 116-283 of January 1, 2021) states
SEC. 126. TREATMENT IN FUTURE BUDGETS OF THE PRESIDENT OF SYSTEMS
ADDED BY CONGRESS.
In the event the procurement quantity for a system authorized by Congress in a National
Defense Authorization Act for a fiscal year, and for which funds for such procurement
quantity are appropriated by Congress in the Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy account
for such fiscal year, exceeds the procurement quantity specified in the budget of the
President, as submitted to Congress under section 1105 of title 31, United States Code, for
such fiscal year, such excess procurement quantity shall not be specified as a new
procurement quantity in any budget of the President, as so submitted, for any fiscal year
after such fiscal year.
The Navy’s FY2022 budget submission, like its FY2021 budget submission, treats LHA-9 as a
ship to be procured in FY2023. A question for Congress is whether this is consistent with Section
126 of the FY2021 NDAA, and if not, what, if anything, Congress should do in response.
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Contents
Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 1
Background ..................................................................................................................................... 1

Amphibious Ships in General ................................................................................................... 1
Roles and Missions ............................................................................................................. 1
Types of Amphibious Ships ................................................................................................ 2
Amphibious Ship Force Level at End of FY2020 ..................................................................... 2
Amphibious Ship Force-Level Goal ......................................................................................... 3
Current Force-Level Goal ................................................................................................... 3
Potential New Force-Level Goal ........................................................................................ 3

Existing LSD-41/49 Class Ships ............................................................................................... 6
Amphibious Warship Industrial Base ........................................................................................ 7
LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Programs ........................................................................................ 7

LPD-17 Flight II Program ................................................................................................... 7
LHA-9 Amphibious Assault Ship ..................................................................................... 10
FY2021 Legislation .................................................................................................................. 11
Authority for Block Buy Contract ..................................................................................... 11
Ship Procurement Dates ..................................................................................................... 11

FY2022 Procurement Funding Request .................................................................................. 12
Issues for Congress ........................................................................................................................ 12
FY2022 Procurement Funding ................................................................................................ 12
Future Amphibious Ship Force-Level Goal ............................................................................ 12
Use of Block Buy Contract Authority ..................................................................................... 13
Treatment of LHA-9 Procurement Date in FY2022 Budget Submission ............................... 14
Potential Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic .............................................................................. 14
Technical and Cost Risk in LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Programs .......................................... 14

LPD-17 Flight II Program ................................................................................................. 14
LHA Program .................................................................................................................... 15
Legislative Activity for FY2022 .................................................................................................... 16
Summary of Congressional Action on FY2022 Funding Request .......................................... 16
FY2022 DOD Appropriations Act (H.R. 4432) ...................................................................... 16

House ................................................................................................................................ 16

Figures
Figure 1. LSD-41/49 Class Ship ...................................................................................................... 7
Figure 2. LPD-17 Flight II Design .................................................................................................. 9
Figure 3. LHA-8 Amphibious Assault Ship................................................................................... 10

Tables
Table 1. Current and Potential New Amphibious Ship Force-Level Goals ..................................... 6
Table 2. Summary of Congressional Action on FY2022 Procurement Funding Request ............. 16

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Appendixes
Appendix. Procurement Dates of LPD-31 and LHA-9 ................................................................. 18

Contacts
Author Information ........................................................................................................................ 21
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Navy LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Amphibious Ship Programs

Introduction
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on two types of amphibious
ships being procured for the Navy: LPD-17 Flight II class amphibious ships and LHA-type
amphibious assault ships. Both types are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries/Ingalls
Shipbuilding (HII/Ingalls) of Pascagoula, MS.
The Navy’s LPD-17 Flight II and LHA shipbuilding programs pose multiple oversight issues for
Congress. Congress’s decisions on the LPD-17 Flight II and LHA programs could affect Navy
capabilities and funding requirements and the shipbuilding industrial base. They could also have
implications for the preservation and use of Congress’s power of the purse under Article 1 of the
Constitution, and for maintaining Congress as a coequal branch of government relative to the
executive branch.
A separate CRS report discusses the Navy’s new Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) program.1
Background
Amphibious Ships in General
Roles and Missions
Navy amphibious ships are operated by the Navy, with crews consisting of Navy personnel. The
primary function of Navy amphibious ships is to lift (i.e., transport) embarked U.S. Marines and
their equipment and supplies to distant operating areas, and enable Marines to conduct
expeditionary operations ashore in those areas. Although amphibious ships are designed to
support Marine landings against opposing military forces, they are also used for operations in
permissive or benign situations where there are no opposing forces. Due to their large storage
spaces and their ability to use helicopters and landing craft to transfer people, equipment, and
supplies from ship to shore without need for port facilities,2 amphibious ships are potentially
useful for a range of combat and noncombat operations.3
On any given day, some of the Navy’s amphibious ships, like some of the Navy’s other ships, are
forward-deployed to various overseas operating areas. Forward-deployed U.S. Navy amphibious
ships are often organized into three-ship formations called amphibious ready groups (ARGs).4 On

1 CRS Report R46374, Navy Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) Program: Background and Issues for Congress, by
Ronald O'Rourke.
2 Amphibious ships have berthing spaces for Marines; storage space for their wheeled vehicles, their other combat
equipment, and their supplies; flight decks and hangar decks for their helicopters and vertical take-off and landing
(VTOL) fixed-wing aircraft; and well decks for storing and launching their landing craft. (A well deck is a large,
garage-like space in the stern of the ship. It can be flooded with water so that landing craft can leave or return to the
ship. Access to the well deck is protected by a large stern gate that is somewhat like a garage door.)
3 Amphibious ships and their embarked Marine forces can be used for launching and conducting humanitarian-
assistance and disaster-response (HA/DR) operations; peacetime engagement and partnership-building activities, such
as exercises; other nation-building operations, such as reconstruction operations; operations to train, advise, and assist
foreign military forces; peace-enforcement operations; noncombatant evacuation operations (NEOs); maritime-security
operations, such as anti-piracy operations; smaller-scale strike and counterterrorism operations; and larger-scale ground
combat operations. Amphibious ships and their embarked Marine forces can also be used for maintaining forward-
deployed naval presence for purposes of deterrence, reassurance, and maintaining regional stability.
4 An ARG notionally includes three amphibious ships—one LHA or LHD, one LSD, and one LPD. These three
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average, two or perhaps three ARGs might be forward-deployed at any given time. Amphibious
ships are also sometimes forward-deployed on an individual basis to lower-threat operating areas,
particularly for conducting peacetime engagement activities with foreign countries or for
responding to smaller-scale or noncombat contingencies.
Types of Amphibious Ships
Current Navy amphibious ships can be divided into two main groups—the so-called “big-deck”
amphibious assault ships, designated LHA and LHD, which look like medium-sized aircraft
carriers, and the smaller (but still sizeable) amphibious ships designated LPD or LSD, which are
sometimes called “small-deck” amphibious ships.5 The LHAs and LHDs have large flight decks
and hangar decks for embarking and operating numerous helicopters and vertical or short takeoff
and landing (V/STOL) fixed-wing aircraft, while the LSDs and LPDs have much smaller flight
decks and hangar decks for embarking and operating smaller numbers of helicopters. The LHAs
and LHDs, as bigger ships, in general can individually embark more Marines and equipment than
the LSDs and LPDs.
Amphibious Ship Force Level at End of FY2020
The Navy’s force of amphibious ships at the end of FY2020 included 33 ships, including 10
amphibious assault ships (2 LHAs and 8 LHDs), 11 LPD-17 Flight I ships, and 12 LSD-41/49
class ships. The LSD-41/49 class ships, which are the ships to be replaced by LPD-17 Flight II
class ships, are discussed in the next section.
One of the Navy’s LHDs—Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6)—was extensively damaged by a fire in
July 2020. It was decommissioned on April 15, 2021, and will be scrapped.6 Excluding LHD-6,

amphibious ships together can embark a Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) consisting of about 2,200 Marines, their
aircraft, their landing craft, their combat equipment, and about 15 days’ worth of supplies. ARGs can operate in
conjunction with carrier strike groups (CSGs) to form larger naval task forces; ARGs can also be broken up into
individual ships that are sent to separate operating areas.
5 U.S. Navy amphibious ships have designations starting with the letter L, as in amphibious landing. LHA can be
translated as landing ship, helicopter-capable, assault; LHD can be translated as landing ship, helicopter-capable, well
deck; LPD can be translated as landing ship, helicopter platform, well deck; and LSD can be translated as landing ship,
well deck. Whether noted in the designation or not, almost all these ships have well decks. The exceptions are LHAs 6
and 7, which do not have well decks and instead have expanded aviation support capabilities. For an explanation of
well decks, see footnote 2.
6 The four-day (some sources say five-day) fire on LHD-6 began on July 12, 2020, while the ship was at pier in San
Diego. At the time of the fire, the ship was 22 years old and had thus expended about 50% of its expected service life of
40 to 45 years. Following the fire, the Navy spent months assessing condition of the ship and examining options for
repairing it and returning it to service in some capacity. On November 30, 2020, the Navy announced that due to the
estimated cost and time to repair the ship and return it to service, the Navy had decided to decommission the ship and
scrap it. The Navy stated that about 60% of the ship was ruined and would need to be rebuilt or replaced. Repairing the
ship and returning it to service as an LHD, the Navy estimated, would cost between $2.5 billion and $3.2 billion and
take about five to seven years to complete. (By then, portions of the ship would be 27 to 29 years old.) By comparison,
the Navy said, a new replacement LHA-type ship would cost an estimated $4.1 billion to procure and take about six
years to build. (The Navy’s estimated repair cost for LHD-6 equates to about 61% to 78% of the Navy’s estimated
procurement cost for a replacement LHA. A new-built LHA would have a full 40- to 45-year expected service life.)
Repairing LHD-6 and reconfiguring it for use as either a hospital ship or a tender (i.e., a ship used to repair, maintain,
or otherwise support other Navy ships), the Navy estimated, would cost more than $1 billion, and also take five to
seven years to complete. The Navy stated that designing and building a new hospital ship or tender would cost less than
repairing LHD-6 and converting it into a hospital ship or tender. The Navy estimated that decommissioning the ship,
salvaging usable parts of it for use on other Navy ships (which began in September 2020), towing the ship to its
scrapping site, and scrapping the ship would cost about $30 million. (See Megan Eckstein, “UPDATED: Navy Will
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the Navy’s force of amphibious ships at the end of FY2020 included 32 ships, including 9
LHA/LHD-type amphibious assault ships.
Amphibious Ship Force-Level Goal
Current Force-Level Goal
The Navy’s current force-level goal, released in December 2016, calls for achieving and
maintaining a 355-ship fleet that includes 38 amphibious ships—12 LHA/LHD-type ships, 13
LPD-17 Flight I class ships, and 13 LPD-17 Flight II class ships (12+13+13).7
Potential New Force-Level Goal
Overview
The Navy and DOD since 2019 have been working to develop a new force-level goal to replace
the Navy’s current 355-ship force-level goal. This new force-level goal is expected to introduce a
once-in-a-generation change in fleet architecture, meaning basic the types of ships that make up
the Navy and how these ships are used in combination with one another to perform Navy
missions. This new fleet architecture is expected to be more distributed than the fleet architecture
reflected in the 355-ship goal or previous Navy force-level goals. In particular, the new fleet
architecture is expected to feature
 a smaller proportion of larger ships (such as large-deck aircraft carriers, cruisers,
destroyers, large amphibious ships, and large resupply ships);
 a larger proportion of smaller ships (such as frigates, corvettes, smaller
amphibious ships, smaller resupply ships, and perhaps smaller aircraft carriers);
and
 a new third tier of surface vessels about as large as corvettes or large patrol craft
that will be either lightly manned, optionally manned, or unmanned, as well as
large unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).
Navy and DOD leaders believe that shifting to a more distributed fleet architecture is
operationally necessary, to respond effectively to the improving maritime anti-
access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities of other countries, particularly China;8

Scrap USS Bonhomme Richard,” USNI News, November 30, 2020; Geoff Ziezulewicz, “Navy Will Scrap Fire-
Ravaged Bonhomme Richard,” Navy Times, November 20, 2020; Nancy A. Youssef, “Navy Will Decommission Ship
Damaged in Five-Day Blaze,” Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2020; Andrew Dyer, “Ravaged by Fire, USS
Bonhomme Richard Bound for Scrapyard, Navy Says,” San Diego Union-Tribune, November 30, 2020.)
7 For more on the Navy’s 355-ship force-level goal, see CRS Report RL32665, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding
Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke. For a more detailed review of the 38-ship force
structure requirements, see Appendix A of archived CRS Report RL34476, Navy LPD-17 Amphibious Ship
Procurement: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke.
8 See, for example, David B. Larter, “With China Gunning for Aircraft Carriers, US Navy Says It Must Change How It
Fights,” Defense News, December 6, 2019; Arthur H. Barber, “Redesign the Fleet,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings,
January 2019. Some observers have long urged the Navy to shift to a more distributed fleet architecture, on the grounds
that the Navy’s current architecture—which concentrates much of the fleet’s capability into a relatively limited number
of individually larger and more expensive surface ships—is increasingly vulnerable to attack by the improving A2/AD
capabilities (particularly anti-ship missiles and their supporting detection and targeting systems) of potential
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technically feasible as a result of advances in technologies for UVs and for
networking widely distributed maritime forces that include significant numbers
of UVs; and
affordable—no more expensive, and possibly less expensive, than the current
fleet architecture, so as to fit within expected future Navy budgets.9
Operational Rationale
To improve their ability to perform various missions in coming years, including a potential
mission of countering Chinese forces in a possible conflict in the Western Pacific, the Navy and
Marine Corps want to implement a new operational concept called Distributed Maritime
Operations (DMO).10 DMO calls for U.S. naval forces (meaning the Navy and Marine Corps)11 to
operate at sea in a less concentrated, more distributed manner, so as to complicate an adversary’s
task of detecting, identifying, tracking, and targeting U.S. naval forces, while still being able to
bring lethal force to bear against adversary forces. To support the implementation of DMO, the
Navy wants to shift to the new and more distributed fleet architecture outlined above.
In parallel with DMO, and with an eye toward potential conflict scenarios in the Western Pacific
against Chinese forces, the Marine Corps has developed two supporting operational concepts,
called Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE) and Expeditionary Advanced
Base Operations (EABO). Under the EABO concept, the Marine Corps envisions, among other
things, having reinforced-platoon-sized Marine Corps units maneuver around the theater, moving
from island to island, to fire anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) and perform other missions so as
to contribute, alongside Navy and other U.S. military forces, to U.S. operations to counter and
deny sea control to Chinese forces.
More specifically, the Marine Corps states that the EABO concept includes, among other things,
establishing and operating “multiple platoon-reinforced-size expeditionary advance base sites that

adversaries, particularly China. Shifting to a more distributed architecture, these observers have argued, would

complicate an adversary’s targeting challenge by presenting the adversary with a larger number of Navy units
to detect, identify, and track;

reduce the loss in aggregate Navy capability that would result from the destruction of an individual Navy
platform;

give U.S. leaders the option of deploying USVs and UUVs in wartime to sea locations that would be
tactically advantageous but too risky for manned ships; and

increase the modularity and reconfigurability of the fleet for adapting to changing mission needs.
For more on China’s maritime A2/AD capabilities, see CRS Report RL33153, China Naval Modernization:
Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke.
9 For additional discussion, see CRS Report RL32665, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and
Issues for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke.
10 For additional discussion, see CRS Report RL32665, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: 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.
11 Although the term naval is often used to refer specifically to the Navy, it more properly refers to both the Navy and
Marine Corps, because both the Navy and Marine Corps are naval services. Even though the Marine Corps sometimes
operates for extended periods as a land fighting force (as it has done in recent years, for example, in Afghanistan and
Iraq), and is often thought of as the country’s second land army, it nevertheless is, by law, a naval service. 10 U.S.C.
§8001(a)(3) states, “The term ‘member of the naval service’ means a person appointed or enlisted in, or inducted or
conscripted into, the Navy or the Marine Corps.” DON officials sometimes refer to the two services as the Navy-
Marine Corps team. For additional discussion, see CRS In Focus IF10484, Defense Primer: Department of the Navy,
by Ronald O'Rourke.
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can host and enable a variety of missions such as long-range anti-ship fires, forward arming and
refueling of aircraft, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance of key maritime terrain, and
air-defense and early warning,”12 The use of Marine Corps units to contribute to U.S. sea-denial
operations against an opposing navy by shooting ASCMs would represent a new mission for the
Marine Corps.13
December 9, 2020, Shipbuilding Document
On December 9, 2020, the Trump Administration released a long-range Navy shipbuilding
document that called for a Navy with a more distributed fleet architecture, including 382 to 446
manned ships and 143 to 242 large unmanned surface and underwater vehicles (UVs). Within the
total of 382 to 446 manned ships, the document called for an amphibious fleet of 61 to 67
amphibious ships, including 9 to 10 LHA/LHD-type ships and a combined total of 52 to 57 LPD-
type ships and LAWs.
The December 9, 2020, document did not break down the above figure of 52 to 57 amphibious
ships into separate figures for LPD-type ships and LAWs. As discussed in the CRS report on the
LAW program, the Navy has envisaged procuring a notional total of 28 to 30 LAWs. Subtracting
out 28 to 30 LAWs would leave a potential total of 22 to 29 LPD-17 class ships, including 13
LPD-17 Flight I ships procured in earlier years, and 9 to 16 LPD-17 Flight II class ships.
The December 9, 2020, document also calls for a future Navy with 0 to 6 light aircraft carriers
(CVLs). The design for such carriers, if any are procured, might be based on the LHA design.14
June 17, 2021, Shipbuilding Document
On June 17, 2021, the Biden Administration released a long-range Navy shipbuilding document
that calls for a Navy with a more distributed fleet architecture, including 321 to 372 manned ships
and 77 to 140 large unmanned surface and underwater UVs. Within the total of 321 to 372
manned ships, the document calls for an amphibious fleet of 48 to 63 amphibious ships, including
8 to 9 LHA/LHD-type ships, 16 to 19 LPD-type ships, and 24 to 35 LAWs. The document stated:
“New capability concepts like a light aircraft carrier continue to be studied and analyzed to fully
illuminate their potential to execute key mission elements in a more distributed manner and to
inform the best mix of a future force.”15

12 Emailed statement from Marine Corps as quoted in Shawn Snow, “New Marine Littoral Regiment, Designed to Fight
in Contested Maritime Environment, Coming to Hawaii,” Marine Times, May 14, 2020.
13 For press articles discussing these envisioned operations, see, for example, Megan Eckstein, “CMC Berger Outlines
How Marines Could Fight Submarines in the Future,” USNI News, December 8, 2020; David Axe, “Meet Your New
Island-Hopping, Missile-Slinging U.S. Marine Corps,” Forbes, May 14, 2020; Shawn Snow, “New Marine Littoral
Regiment, Designed to Fight in Contested Maritime Environment, Coming to Hawaii,” Marine Times, May 14, 2020;
William Cole (Honolulu Star-Advertiser), “The Marine Corps Is Forming a First-of-its-Kind Regiment in Hawaii,”
Military.com, May 12, 2020; Joseph Trevithick, “Marines To Radically Remodel Force, Cutting Tanks, Howitzers In
Favor Of Drones, Missiles,” The Drive, March 23, 2020; Chris “Ox” Harmer, “Marine Boss’s Audacious Plan To
Transform The Corps By Giving Up Big Amphibious Ships,” The Drive, September 5, 2019.
14 For additional discussion, see CRS Report RS20643, Navy Ford (CVN-78) Class Aircraft Carrier Program:
Background and Issues for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke.
15 U.S. Navy, Report to Congress on the Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for Fiscal Year
2022
, June 2021, p. 4.
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Current Goal Compared with December 9, 2020, and June 17, 2021, Documents
Table 1 compares the 355-ship force-level goal for amphibious ships to the emerging force-level
goals for amphibious ships in the December 9, 2020, long-range Navy shipbuilding document and
the June 17, 2021, long-range Navy shipbuilding document.
Table 1. Current and Potential New Amphibious Ship Force-Level Goals
Emerging force-level goal in
Emerging force-level goal
355-ship
Trump Administration
in Biden Administration
Ship type
goal
December 9, 2020, document
June 17, 2021, document
Large-deck (LHA/LHD)
12
9 to 10
8 to 9
LPD-type
26
n/a
16 to 19
Light Amphibious Warships (LAWs)
0
n/a
24 to 35
LPD-type and LAWs combined
26
52 to 57
40 to 54
TOTAL
38
61 to 67
48 to 63
Source: Table prepared by CRS based on U.S. Navy data.
Note: N/a means not available.
Existing LSD-41/49 Class Ships
The Navy’s 12 aging Whidbey Island/Harpers Ferry (LSD-41/49) class ships (Figure 1) were
procured between FY1981 and FY1993 and entered service between 1985 and 1998.16 The LSD-
41/49 class includes 12 ships because the class was built at a time when the Navy was planning a
36-ship (12+12+12) amphibious force. LD-41/49 class ships have an expected service life of 40
years; the first ship will reach that age in 2025. The Navy’s FY2020 30-year shipbuilding plan
projected that the 12 ships would retire between FY2026 and FY2038.

16 The class was initially known as the Whidbey Island (LSD-41) class. The final four ships in the class, beginning with
Harpers Ferry (LSD-49), were built to a modified version of the original LSD-41 design, prompting the name of the
class to be changed to the Harpers Ferry/Whidbey Island (LSD-41/49) class. Some sources refer to these 12 ships as
two separate classes..
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Figure 1. LSD-41/49 Class Ship

Source: Cropped version of U.S. Navy photo dated July 13, 2013, showing the Pearl Harbor (LSD-52).
Amphibious Warship Industrial Base
Huntington Ingalls Industries/Ingalls Shipbuilding (HII/Ingalls) of Pascagoula, MS, is the Navy’s
current builder of both LPDs and LHA-type ships, although other U.S. shipyards could also build
amphibious ships.17 The amphibious warship industrial base also includes many supplier firms in
numerous U.S. states that provide materials and components for Navy amphibious ships. HII
states that the supplier base for its LHA production line, for example, includes 457 companies in
39 states.18
LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Programs
LPD-17 Flight II Program
Program Origin and Name
The Navy decided in 2014 that the LSD-41/49 replacement ships would be built to a variant of
the design of the Navy’s San Antonio (LPD-17) class amphibious ships. (A total of 13 LPD-17
class ships [LPDs 17 through 29] were procured between FY1996 and FY2017.) Reflecting that
decision, the Navy announced on April 10, 2018, that the replacement ships would be known as
the LPD-17 Flight II class ships.19 By implication, the Navy’s original LPD-17 design became the

17 Amphibious ships could also be built by U.S. shipyards such as HII/Newport News Shipbuilding (HII/NNS) of
Newport News, VA; General Dynamics/National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD/NASSCO) of San Diego, CA;
and (for LPDs at least) General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works (GD/BIW) of Bath, ME. The Navy over the years has from
time to time conducted competitions among shipyards for contracts to build amphibious ships.
18 Source: HII statement as quoted in Frank Wolfe, “Navy Budget Plan Delays Buy of Amphibious Ships,” Defense
Daily
, March 15, 2019.
19 Megan Eckstein, “Navy Designates Upcoming LX(R) Amphibs as San Antonio-Class LPD Flight II,” USNI News,
April 11, 2018. Within a program to build a class of Navy ships, the term flight refers to a group of ships within the
class that are built to a particular version of the class design. The LPD-17 Fight II program was previously known as
the LX(R) program and before that as the LSD(X) program.
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LPD-17 Flight I design. The first LPD-17 Flight II class ship is designated LPD-30. Subsequent
LPD-17 Flight II class ships are to be designated LPD-31, LPD-32, and so on.
Whether the LPD-17 Flight II class ships constitute their own shipbuilding program or an
extension of the original LPD-17 shipbuilding program might be a matter of perspective. As a
matter of convenience, this CRS report refers to the Flight II class shipbuilding effort as a
separate program. Years from now, LPD-17 Flight I and Flight II class ships might come to be
known collectively as either the LPD-17 class, the LPD-17/30 class, or the LPD-17 and LPD-30
classes.
On October 10, 2019, the Navy announced that LPD-30, the first LPD-17 Flight II class ship, will
be named Harrisburg, for the city of Harrisburg, PA.20 As a consequence, LPD-17 Flight II, if
treated as a separate class, would be referred to as Harrisburg (LPD-30) class ships.
Design
Compared to the LPD-17 Flight I design, the LPD-17 Flight II design (Figure 2) is somewhat
less expensive to procure, and in some ways less capable—a reflection of how the Flight II design
was developed to meet Navy and Marine Corps operational requirements while staying within a
unit procurement cost target that had been established for the program.21 In many other respects,
however, the LPD-17 Flight II design is similar in appearance and capabilities to the LPD-17
Flight I design. Of the 13 LPD-17 Flight I ships, the final two (LPDs 28 and 29) incorporate some
design changes that make them transitional ships between the Flight I design and the Flight II
design.

20 Secretary of the Navy Public Affairs, “SECNAV Names Future Amphibious Transport Dock Ship in Honor of the
city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,” Navy News Service, October 10, 2019.
21 The Navy’s unit procurement cost targets for the LPD-17 Flight II program were $1,643 million in constant FY2014
dollars for the lead ship, and an average of $1,400 million in constant FY2014 dollars for ships 2 through 11. (Source:
Navy briefing on LX(R) program to CRS and CBO, March 23, 2015.) The cost target for the lead ship was greater than
the cost target for the subsequent ships primarily because the procurement cost of the lead ship incorporates much or all
of the detail design and nonrecurring engineering (DD/NRE) costs for the program. Incorporating much or all of the
DD/NRE costs of for a shipbuilding program into the procurement cost of the lead ship in the program is a traditional
Navy shipbuilding budgeting practice.
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Figure 2. LPD-17 Flight II Design
Artist’s rendering

Source: Cropped version of Huntington Ingalls Industries rendering accessed March 2, 2021, at
https://newsroom.huntingtoningalls.com/file?fid=5c9a85ca2cfac22774673031.
Procurement Quantity
Under the Navy’s current 38-ship amphibious force-level goal, the Navy would procure a total of
13 LPD-17 Flight II class ships.
Procurement Schedule
The first LPD-17 Flight II class ship, LPD-30, was procured in FY2018. The Navy’s FY2021
budget submission presented the second LPD-17 Flight II class amphibious ship, LPD-31, as a
ship requested for procurement in FY2021. Consistent with congressional action on the Navy’s
FY2020 budget, this CRS report treats LPD-31 as a ship that Congress procured (i.e., authorized
and provided procurement—not advance procurement—funding for) in FY2020. (For additional
discussion, see the Appendix.) Under the Navy’s FY2021 budget submission, the third and
fourth LPD-17 Flight II class ships (i.e., LPDs 32 and 33) were programmed for procurement in
FY2023 and FY2025. The December 9, 2020, long-range navy shipbuilding document submitted
by the Trump Administration similarly showed the third and fourth LPD-17 Flight II class ships
as programmed for procurement in FY2023 and FY2025.
Procurement Cost
The Navy’s FY2021 budget submission estimated the procurement costs of LPDs 30, 31, 32, and
33 as $1,819.6 million, $2,029.9 million, $1,847.6 million, and $1,864.7 million, respectively
(i.e., about $1.8 billion, $2,0 billion, $1.8 billion, and $1.9 billion, respectively). As discussed
below, Section 124 of P.L. 116-283 provides authority for the Navy to use a block buy contract
for the procurement of three LPD-17 class ships and one LHA-type amphibious assault ship.
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Using block buy contracting could reduce the unit procurement costs of LPD-17 Flight II class
ships.22
LHA-9 Amphibious Assault Ship
LHA-type amphibious assault ships are procured once every few years. LHA-8 (Figure 3) was
procured in FY2017. The Navy’s FY2021 budget submission estimated the procurement cost of
LHA-9, if procured in FY2023, at $3,873.5 million (i.e., about $3.9 billion).
Figure 3. LHA-8 Amphibious Assault Ship
Artist’s rendering

Source: Rendering accompanying Tyler Rogoway, “The Next America Class Amphibious Assault Ship Wil
Almost Be In a Class of its Own,” The Drive, April 17, 2018. A note on the photo credits the photo to HII.
The Navy’s FY2020 budget submission projected the procurement of the next amphibious assault
ship, LHA-9, for FY2024. Some in Congress were interested in accelerating the procurement of
LHA-9 from FY2024 to an earlier year, such as FY2020 or FY2021, in part to achieve better
production learning curve benefits in shifting from production of LHA-8 to LHA-9 and thereby
reduce LHA-9’s procurement cost in real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) terms.
The Navy’s FY2022 budget submission, like its FY2021 budget submission, presents LHA-9 as a
ship projected for procurement in FY2023.23 Consistent with congressional action on the Navy’s
FY2020 and FY2021 budgets, this CRS report treats LHA-9 as a ship that Congress procured

22 For more on block buy contracting, see CRS Report R41909, Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy
Contracting in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke. See also Megan
Eckstein, “Ingalls Eyeing LPD Cost Reductions, Capability Increases As Future Fleet Design Evolves,” USNI News,
January 21, 2021.
23 The Navy’s FY2022 budget submission does not show an LHA as having been procured in FY2020 or FY2021, and
refers to LHA-9 as an “FY23 ship.” (Department of Defense, Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget Estimates, Navy,
Justification Book Volume 1 of 1, Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy
, May 2021, p. 271 [PDF page 291 of 390].)
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(i.e., authorized and provided procurement—not advance procurement—funding for) in FY2021.
(For additional discussion, see Appendix.)
FY2021 Legislation
Authority for Block Buy Contract
Section 124 of P.L. 116-283 provides authority for the Navy to use a block buy contract for the
procurement of three LPD-17 class ships and one LHA-type amphibious assault ship. Such a
contract would be the first block buy contract to cover the procurement of ships from two
separate ship classes. Using block buy contracting could reduce the unit procurement costs of
LPD-17 Flight II and LHA-type ships and affect Congress’s flexibility for making changes to
Navy shipbuilding programs in response to potential changes in strategic or budgetary
circumstances during the period covered by the block buy contract.24
Ship Procurement Dates
The Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) decision to present LPD-31 and LHA-9 in its FY2021
budget submission as ships requested for procurement in FY2021 and FY2023, respectively, even
though Congress procured the two ships in FY2020 and FY2021, respectively, posed an
institutional issue for Congress regarding the preservation and use of Congress’s power of the
purse under Article 1 of the Constitution, and for maintaining Congress as a coequal branch of
government relative to the executive branch. Section 126 of the FY2021 National Defense
Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 6395/P.L. 116-283 of January 1, 2021) states
SEC. 126. TREATMENT IN FUTURE BUDGETS OF THE PRESIDENT OF SYSTEMS
ADDED BY CONGRESS.
In the event the procurement quantity for a system authorized by Congress in a National
Defense Authorization Act for a fiscal year, and for which funds for such procurement
quantity are appropriated by Congress in the Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy account
for such fiscal year, exceeds the procurement quantity specified in the budget of the
President, as submitted to Congress under section 1105 of title 31, United States Code, for
such fiscal year, such excess procurement quantity shall not be specified as a new
procurement quantity in any budget of the President, as so submitted, for any fiscal year
after such fiscal year.
Regarding the original Senate version of this provision, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s
report (S.Rept. 116-236 of June 24, 2020) on the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (S.
4049) states
Treatment of weapon systems added by Congress in future President’s budget
requests (sec. 126)

The committee recommends a provision that would preclude the inclusion in future annual
budget requests of a procurement quantity of a system previously authorized and
appropriated by the Congress that was greater than the quantity of such system requested
in the President’s budget request.

24 For more on block buy contracting, see CRS Report R41909, Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy
Contracting in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke. See also Megan
Eckstein, “Ingalls Eyeing LPD Cost Reductions, Capability Increases As Future Fleet Design Evolves,” USNI News,
January 21, 2021.
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The committee is concerned that by presenting CVN–81 as a ship that was procured in
fiscal year 2020 (instead of as a ship that was procured in fiscal year 2019), LPD–31 as a
ship requested for procurement in fiscal year 2021 (instead of as a ship that was procured
in fiscal year 2020), and LHA–9 as a ship projected for procurement in fiscal year 2023
(instead of as a ship that was procured in fiscal year 2020), the Department of Defense, in
its fiscal year 2021 budget submission, is disregarding or mischaracterizing the actions of
Congress regarding the procurement dates of these three ships. (Page 11)
FY2022 Procurement Funding Request
The Navy’s proposed FY2022 budget requests $60.6 million in procurement funding to complete
the procurement cost of the second LPD-17 Flight II class ship, LPD-31, and $68.6 million in
procurement funding to help fund the procurement cost of the amphibious assault ship LHA-9.
Issues for Congress
FY2022 Procurement Funding
One issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s FY2022 procurement
funding requests for the LPD-17 Flight II and LHA programs.
In considering this issue, Congress may consider, among other things, whether to provide any
FY2022 procurement and/or advance procurement (AP) funding for LPD-32 and LPD-33 (i.e.,
the third and fourth LPD-17 Flight II class ships). As part of its action on the Navy’s proposed
FY2021 budget, Congress provided $1 million in AP funding for each of these two ships.
Congress may also consider, among other things, how much of LHA-9’s estimated total
procurement cost of about $3.9 billion to provide in FY2022. As part of its action on the Navy’s
proposed FY2021 budget, Congress provided $500 million in procurement funding for the ship.
Under the Navy’s FY2022 budget submission, a relatively small portion ($68.6 million) of the
remainder of the ship’s estimated procurement cost would be provided in FY2022, while most of
the remainder of the ship’s estimated procurement cost would be provided in FY2023 and
FY2024.
Future Amphibious Ship Force-Level Goal
Another issue for Congress concerns the future amphibious ship force-level goal, which could
affect future procurement quantities for LHA-type ships, LPD-17 Flight II class ships, and LAWs.
In connection with this issue, one potential oversight question for Congress concerns the
difference between the emerging force-level goal for amphibious ships in the Biden
Administration’s June 17, 2021, long-range Navy shipbuilding document and the emerging force-
level goal for amphibious ships in the Trump Administration’s December 9, 2020, long-range
Navy shipbuilding document. Using the figures shown in Table 1, the Trump Administration’s
emerging force-level goal for amphibious ships includes about 6%-27% more amphibious ships
in total than the Biden Administration’s emerging force-level goal for amphibious ships. A
potential oversight question is to what degree this difference between the two emerging force-
level goals is due to differences between the two Administrations regarding one or more of the
following factors:
 U.S. national security strategy and U.S. national defense strategy;
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 projections of future capabilities of potential adversaries such as China and
Russia;
 consequent requirements, from the two factors above, for day-to-day forward-
deployed Navy capacity and capability and Navy warfighting capacity and
capability;
 assumptions about the capabilities of future U.S. Navy manned and unmanned
ships;
 Navy homeporting arrangements and operational cycles;
 projections about future Navy budgets, including future Navy shipbuilding
budgets; and
 the degree of operational risk deemed acceptable regarding the ability of the
Navy to successfully perform its various day-to-day and warfighting missions.
Use of Block Buy Contract Authority
Another issue for Congress is whether the Navy intends to use the block buy contracting authority
provided by Section 124 of the FY2021 NDAA, and if not, then what, if anything, Congress
should do in response. In considering this issue, Congress may consider, among other things, how
using a block buy contract might affect the procurement costs and funding profiles of the LPD-17
Flight II and LHA-type ships being procured, and how it might affect Congress’s flexibility for
making changes to Navy shipbuilding programs in response to potential changes in strategic or
budgetary circumstances during the period covered by the block buy contract.
At a June 22, 2021, hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Department of
the Navy’s proposed FY2022 budget, General David Berger, the Commandant of the Marine
Corps, stated that using the block buy authority would reduce the combined cost of the four ships
by $722 million.25 At a June 17, 2021, hearing before the Seapower and Projection Forces
subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on seapower programs in the Department
of the Navy’s proposed FY2022 budget, Frederick J. Stefany, Acting Assistant Secretary of the
Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN RDA) (i.e., the Navy’s acting acquisition
executive), stated that this would equate to a reduction of 7.1%.26 At a June 8, 2021, hearing
before the Seapower subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Navy and
Marine Corps investment programs, the Department of Navy witnesses were asked about the
Navy’s intentions regarding the block buy contracting authority granted by Section 124. Stefany
replied that
to update you on that authority that your—your committee provided last year, the Section
124 Authority, we have finished negotiating with HII Ingalls to document a … contract
structure that could be put in place to implement the four-ship procurement that you’re
referring to, that—that we just finished that up about a week ago.
And, so we had a—a handshake agreement [with HII Ingalls] on what that would look like
if we were to actually enact it into a contract and we packaged that up and we’re sending

25 Richard R. Burgess, “Senators Hammer $1 Billion Loss, Industrial Instability with Navy’s Planned 2022
Shipbuilding,” Seapower, June 22, 2021.
26 Megan Eckstein, “Marines Explain Vision for Fewer Traditional Amphibious Warships,” Defense News, June 21,
2021.
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it to the department27 leadership for—for a decision. But what—and—and get that in place
before the authority that expires at the end of this year, that you provided us.
But—in—I’ll just let you know the initial indications we’re getting from the department is
that they would like to defer this decision so that they can make an overall, as they do their
overall [FY]'23 budget review this summer and fall, of the overall force structure, work
with Admiral Kilby and General Smith on the right mix of ships of the future, the
commitment of four ships at once, they would like to make—defer that commitment until
they are able to make that force-structure assessment.
So, right now, indicators are that we are not gonna be able to execute that, but it’s not a
done deal. It’s going through the process within the department for a final decision sir.28
Treatment of LHA-9 Procurement Date in FY2022 Budget
Submission
Another issue for Congress concerns the treatment of LHA-9’s procurement date in the Navy’s
FY2022 budget submission. As noted earlier, the Navy’s FY2022 budget submission, like its
FY2021 budget submission, treats LHA-9 as a ship to be procured in FY2023. A question for
Congress is whether this is consistent with Section 126 of the FY2021 NDAA, and if not, what, if
anything, Congress should do in response. In considering this issue, Congress may consider the
impact this issue might have regarding the preservation and use of Congress’s power of the purse
under Article 1 of the Constitution, and for maintaining Congress as a coequal branch of
government relative to the executive branch.
Potential Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic
Another issue for Congress concerns the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the
execution of U.S. military shipbuilding programs, including the LPD-17 Flight II and LHA
programs. For additional discussion of this issue, see CRS Report RL32665, Navy Force
Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke.
Technical and Cost Risk in LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Programs
Another potential issue for Congress is technical and cost risk in the LPD-17 Flight II and LHA
programs.
LPD-17 Flight II Program
Regarding technical and cost risk in the LPD-17 Flight II program, a June 2021 Government
Accountability Office (GAO) report—the 2021 edition of GAO’s annual report surveying DOD
major acquisition programs—states the following about the LPD-17 Flight II program:
Current Status

27 This is a reference to the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.
28 Transcript of hearing as posted by CQ.com. The passage as printed here includes some minor typographical
corrections done by CRS for readability. See also Megan Eckstein, “Deal to Buy Four Amphibious Warships Losing
Steam, as Navy Takes Another Look at Future Force Needs,” Defense News, June 8, 2021; Mallory Shelbourne, “Navy
Reaches ‘Handshake’ Deal on Four-Ship Amphib Buy, Pentagon Wants New Navy Force Structure Assessment,” USNI
News
, June 8, 2021.
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In March 2020, the first Flight II ship construction began on LPD 30. The Navy purchased
LPD 31 in April 2020 and plans for construction to start in 2022.
According to the program, the Flight II design is approximately 80 percent complete and
includes roughly 200 changes from the Flight I design. The Navy is implementing these
changes across three ships, including adding some planned Flight II enhancements to LPD
28 and 29, the last two Flight I ships. For example, LPD 28 includes a new mast design
and LPD 29 will be the first LPD ship to include the Navy’s new Enterprise Air
Surveillance Radar (EASR). Program officials characterized Flight II design changes as
more similar to the types of changes expected on a follow-on ship rather than a lead ship.
However, risks remain in this approach. For example, EASR is still in testing, so any delays
in completing or integrating it could affect LPD 29, the last Flight I ship, which, according
to the program office, is approximately 49 percent complete as of February 2021.
Program officials said COVID-19 had some effect on the program although they have yet
to develop formal estimates of related cost or schedule changes. Program officials said the
number of people working on LPD 30 construction is about half of that planned due to
COVID-19-related labor shortages. Consequently, the program expects there may be
delays to LPD 30.
Program Office Comments
We provided a draft of this assessment to the program office for review and comment. The
program office provided technical comments, which we incorporated where appropriate.
The program office reported that Flight II will provide increased capability, including
improved command and control capabilities, over the ships being replaced. It also stated
that the shipbuilder is currently building three LPD 17 ships: LPD 28, LPD 29, and LPD
30.29
LHA Program
Regarding technical risk in the LHA program, the June 2021 GAO report stated the following
about the LHA program:
Current Status
From January 2020 to August 2020, LHA 8 construction progress increased from 5 percent
to almost 19 percent complete. LHA 9 is expected to save costs by using the same design
as LHA 8. As a result of receiving advanced procurement funding in 2019, the program
office stated that it plans to accelerate the contract award of LHA 9 from fiscal year 2024
to late fiscal year 2021.
The Navy is continuing to mitigate risks from the integration of the Enterprise Air
Surveillance Radar (EASR), a new rotating radar system for LHA 8 based on the
preexisting Air and Missile Defense Radar program. The Navy has completed a design
change to adjust the mast and antennas on top of the ship to avoid interference from EASR,
according to program officials. However, the program will be limited to laboratory testing
the change until EASR is delivered for installation in 2021.
The program is attempting to avoid repeating quality issues, such as issues with the ship’s
main reduction gears that resulted in delays to LHA 7 delivery. Program officials stated
that these quality issues increase schedule risk for LHA 8 but stated that there are currently
no delays. Program officials stated that they added contract incentives for better quality
control management of the ship’s construction, in part to address the quality issues with
the ship’s main reduction gears, such as poor welds. Program officials also told us the

29 Government Accountability Office, Weapon Systems Annual Assessment[:] Updated Program Oversight Approach
Needed
, GAO-21-22, p. 194.
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shipbuilder built more covered facilities to protect all equipment, including the gears, from
weather.
Program Office Comments
We provided a draft of this assessment to the program office for review and comment. The
program office provided technical comments, which we incorporated where appropriate.
The program office stated that as of January 15, 2021, LHA 8 is roughly 28 percent
complete. It also stated that the Navy has continued to work with the contractor to mitigate
technical risks to the design changes and address quality issues, and has finalized the new
arrangement of the mast and antennas with the contractor.30
Legislative Activity for FY2022
Summary of Congressional Action on FY2022 Funding Request
Table 2
summarizes congressional action on the Navy’s FY2022 procurement (including advance
procurement [AP]) funding request for the LPD-17 Flight II and LHA-9 programs.
Table 2. Summary of Congressional Action on FY2022 Procurement
Funding Request
Millions of dollars, rounded to nearest tenth; FY2021 Enacted shown for reference
FY2022 Authorization
FY2022 Appropriation
FY2021
FY2022

Enacted
Request
HASC
SASC
Conf.
HAC
SAC
Conf.
LPD-31
1,125.8
60.6



60.6


LPD-32
1.0
0



0


LPD-33
1.0
0



0


LHA-9
500.0
68.6



68.6


Source: Table prepared by CRS based on Navy’s FY2022 budget submission, committee and conference
reports, and explanatory statements on FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act and FY2022 DOD
Appropriations Act. In the FY2021 enacted column, the figures for LPD-31 and LHA-9 are procurement funding
and the figures for LPD-32 and LPD-33 are advance procurement (AP) funding.
Notes: HASC is House Armed Services Committee; SASC is Senate Armed Services Committee; HAC is
House Appropriations Committee; SAC is Senate Appropriations Committee; Conf. is conference agreement.
FY2022 DOD Appropriations Act (H.R. 4432)
House
The House Appropriations Committee, in its report (H.Rept. 117-88 of July 15, 2021) on H.R.
4432, recommended the funding levels shown in the HAC column of Table 2. H.Rept. 117-88
states:
AMPHIBIOUS SHIPS
The Committee understands that the Navy has not yet entered into a contract for the
procurement of three San Antonio-class amphibious ships and one America-class

30 Government Accountability Office, Weapon Systems Annual Assessment[:] Updated Program Oversight Approach
Needed
, GAO-21-22, p. 193.
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amphibious ship as authorized by Section 124 of the National Defense Authorization Act
for Fiscal Year 2021. The Committee encourages the Secretary of the Navy to
expeditiously enter into such a contract in order to take advantage of cost savings provided
by contracting for more than one ship at a time. The Committee directs the Secretary of the
Navy to submit a report to the congressional defense committees not later than 60 days
after the enactment of this Act which outlines the Navy’s acquisition plan for these
amphibious ships. (Page 187)


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Appendix. Procurement Dates of LPD-31 and LHA-9
This appendix presents background information regarding the procurement dates of LPD-31 and
LHA-9. In reviewing the bullet points presented below, it can be noted that procurement funding
is funding for a ship that is either being procured in that fiscal year or has been procured in a prior
fiscal year, while advance procurement (AP) funding is funding for a ship that is to be procured in
a future fiscal year.31
An institutional issue for Congress in FY2021 concerned the treatment in the Navy’s proposed
FY2021 budget of the procurement dates of LPD-31 and LHA-9. The Navy’s FY2021 budget
submission presented LPD-31 as a ship requested for procurement in FY2021 and LHA-9 as a
ship projected for procurement in FY2023. Consistent with congressional action on the Navy’s
FY2020 and FY2021 budgets regarding the procurement of LPD-31 and LHA-9, this CRS report
treats LPD-31 and LHA-9 as ships that Congress procured (i.e., authorized and provided
procurement funding for) in FY2020 and FY2021, respectively. Potential oversight issues for
Congress included the following:
 By presenting LPD-31 as a ship requested for procurement in FY2021 (instead of
a ship that was procured in FY2020) and LHA-9 as a ship projected for
procurement in FY2023 (instead of a ship that was procured in FY2021), was
DOD, in its FY2021 budget submission, disregarding or mischaracterizing the
actions of Congress regarding the procurement dates of these three ships? If so:
 Was DOD doing this to inflate the apparent number of ships requested
for procurement in FY2021 and the apparent number of ships included in
the five-year (FY2021-FY2025) shipbuilding plan?
 Could this establish a precedent for DOD or other parts of the executive
branch in the future to disregard or mischaracterize the actions of
Congress regarding the procurement or program-initiation dates for other
Navy ships, other Navy programs, other DOD programs, or other federal
programs? If so, what implications might that have for the preservation
and use of Congress’s power of the purse under Article 1 of the
Constitution, and for maintaining Congress as a coequal branch of
government relative to the executive branch?
The Navy’s FY2022 budget submission, like its FY2021 budget submission, treats LHA-9 as a
ship to be procured in FY2023. A question for Congress is whether this is consistent with Section
126 of the FY2021 NDAA, and if not, what, if anything, Congress should do in response.
LPD-31—an LPD-17 Flight II Class Amphibious Ship
The Navy’s FY2021 budget submission presented LPD-31, an LPD-17 Flight II class amphibious
ship, as a ship requested for procurement in FY2021. This CRS report treats LPD-31 as a ship
that Congress procured (i.e., authorized and provided procurement funding for) in FY2020,
consistent with the following congressional action on the Navy’s FY2020 budget regarding the
procurement of LPD-31:

31 For additional discussion, see CRS Report RL31404, Defense Procurement: Full Funding Policy—Background,
Issues, and Options for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke and Stephen Daggett.
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 The House Armed Services Committee’s report (H.Rept. 116-120 of June 19,
2019) on H.R. 2500, the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act,
recommended authorizing the procurement of an LPD-17 Flight II class ship in
FY2020, showing a quantity increase of one ship above the Navy’s request and
recommending procurement (not just AP) funding for the program.32
 The Senate Armed Services Committee’s report (S.Rept. 116-48 of June 11,
2019) on S. 1790, the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act,
recommended authorizing the procurement of an LPD-17 Flight II class ship in
FY2020, showing a quantity increase of one ship above the Navy’s request and
recommending procurement (rather than AP) funding for the program.33
 The conference report (H.Rept. 116-333 of December 9, 2019) on S. 1790/P.L.
116-92 of December 20, 2019, the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act,
authorized the procurement of an LPD-17 Flight II class ship in FY2020,
showing a quantity increase of one ship above the Navy’s request and
recommending procurement (rather than AP) funding for the program.34 Section
129 of S. 1790/P.L. 116-92 authorizes the Navy to enter into a contract,
beginning in FY2020, for the procurement of LPD-31, and to use incremental
funding to fund the contract.
 The Senate Appropriations Committee’s report (S.Rept. 116-103 of September
12, 2019) on S. 2474, the FY2020 DOD Appropriations Act, recommended
funding for the procurement of an LPD-17 Flight II class ship in FY2020,
showing a quantity increase of one ship above the Navy’s request and
recommending procurement (rather than AP) funding for the program.35
 The final version of the FY2020 DOD Appropriations Act (Division A of H.R.
1158/P.L. 116-93 of December 20, 2019) provided procurement (not AP) funding
for an LPD-17 Flight II class ship. The paragraph in this act that appropriated
funding for the Navy’s shipbuilding account, including this ship, includes a
provision stating “Provided further, That an appropriation made under the
heading ‘Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy’ provided for the purpose of
‘Program increase—advance procurement for fiscal year 2020 LPD Flight II
and/or multiyear procurement economic order quantity’ shall be considered to be
for the purpose of ‘Program increase—advance procurement of LPD–31’.” This
provision relates to funding appropriated in the FY2019 DOD Appropriations Act
(Division A of H.R. 6157/P.L. 115-245 of September 28, 2018) for the
procurement of an LPD-17 Flight II class ship in FY2020, as originally
characterized in the explanatory statement accompanying that act.36
LHA-9 Amphibious Assault Ship
The Navy’s FY2022 budget submission, like its FY2021 budget submission, presents the
amphibious assault ship LHA-9 as a ship projected for procurement in FY2023. This CRS report
treats LHA-9 as a ship that Congress procured (i.e., authorized and provided procurement funding

32 H.Rept. 116-120, p. 379, line 012.
33 S.Rept. 116-48, p. 433, line 12. See also pp. 23-24 for associated report language.
34 H.Rept. 116-333, p. 1566, line 012. See also p. 1144 for associated report language.
35 S.Rept. 116-103, p. 118, line 12. See also p. 122 for associated report language.
36 See PDF page 176 of 559, line 12, of the explanatory statement for H.R. 6157/P.L. 115-245.
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for) in FY2021, consistent with the following congressional action on the Navy’s FY2020 and
FY2021 budgets regarding the procurement of LHA-9:
 The Senate Armed Services Committee’s report (S.Rept. 116-48 of June 11,
2019) on S. 1790, the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act,
recommended authorizing the procurement of LHA-9 in FY2020, showing a
quantity increase of one ship above the Navy’s request and recommending
procurement (rather than AP) funding for the program.37
 The conference report (H.Rept. 116-333 of December 9, 2019) on S. 1790/P.L.
116-92 of December 20, 2019, the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act,
authorized the procurement of LHA-9 in FY2020, showing a quantity increase of
one ship above the Navy’s request and recommending procurement (rather than
AP) funding for the program.38 Section 127 of S. 1790/P.L. 116-92 authorizes the
Navy to enter into a contract for the procurement of LHA-9 and to use
incremental funding provided during the period FY2019-FY2025 to fund the
contract.
 The Senate Appropriations Committee’s report (S.Rept. 116-103 of September
12, 2019) on S. 2474, the FY2020 DOD Appropriations Act, recommended
funding for the procurement of an LHA amphibious assault ship in FY2020,
showing a quantity increase of one ship above the Navy’s request and
recommending procurement (rather than AP) funding for the program.39
 The final version of the FY2020 DOD Appropriations Act (Division A of H.R.
1158/P.L. 116-93 of December 20, 2019) provided procurement (not AP) funding
for an LHA amphibious assault ship. The explanatory statement for Division A of
H.R. 1158/P.L. 116-93 stated that the funding was for LHA-9.40
 The procurement (not AP) funding provided for LHA-9 in the FY2020 DOD
Appropriations Act (see previous bullet point) was subsequently reprogrammed
to provide support for counter-drug activities of the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) along the U.S. southern border.41 The final version of the
FY2021 DOD Appropriations Act (Division C of H.R. 133/P.L. 116-260 of
December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021), however, once
again provided procurement (not AP) funding for an LHA amphibious assault
ship. The explanatory statement for Division C of H.R. 133/P.L. 116-260 stated
that the funding is for “Program increase—LHA 9.”42 As a result of the FY2021
procurement (not AP) funding for LHA-9, the ship once again has an
authorization (provided in the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act),
authority for using incremental funding in procuring it (provided by Section 127
of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act), and procurement (not AP)
funding (provided in the FY2021 DOD Appropriations Act).

37 S.Rept. 116-48, p. 433, line 15.
38 H.Rept. 116-333, p. 1566, line 015.
39 S.Rept. 116-103, p. 118, line 15.
40 Explanatory statement for Division A of H.R. 1158, PDF page 175 of 414, line 15.
41 Reprograming action (Form DD 1415) FY 20-01 RA, February 13, 2020, page 3 of 5.
42 Explanatory statement for Division C of H.R. 133/P.L. 116-260, PDF page 204 of 469, line 17.
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Author Information

Ronald O'Rourke

Specialist in Naval Affairs



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under the direction of Congress. Information in a CRS Report should not be relied upon for purposes other
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Congressional Research Service
R43543 · VERSION 98 · UPDATED
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