Navy John Lewis (TAO-205) Class Oiler Shipbuilding Program: Background and Issues for Congress




Navy John Lewis (TAO-205) Class Oiler
Shipbuilding Program: Background and
Issues for Congress

Updated July 28, 2020
Congressional Research Service
https://crsreports.congress.gov
R43546




Navy John Lewis (TAO-205) Class Oiler Shipbuilding Program

Summary
The Navy began procuring John Lewis (TAO-205) class oilers in FY2016, and a total of six have
been procured through FY2020, including two in FY2020. The first six TAO-205s are being
procured under a block buy contract that was authorized by Section 127 of the FY2016 National
Defense Authorization Act (S. 1356/P.L. 114-92 of November 25, 2015). The Navy’s FY2021
budget submission estimates that TAO-205s cost about $530 million each when they are procured
at a rate of two per year. The Navy wants to procure a total of 20 TAO-205s. The ships are being
built by General Dynamics/National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (GD/NASSCO) of San
Diego, CA.
The Navy’s FY2020 budget submission projected a request for one TAO-205 class ship in
FY2021 and programmed a total of six over the period FY2021-FY2025. Under the Navy’s
FY2021 budget submission, however, no TAO-205 class ship is requested for procurement in
FY2021, and a total of four are programmed for the period FY2021-FY2025. The Navy’s
FY2021 budget requests $59.9 million in FY2021 cost-to-complete procurement funding to cover
cost growth on TAO-205s procured in prior fiscal years, but it does not request any FY2021
funding for the procurement of additional TAO-205s.
Issues for Congress include the following:
 the potential impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation on the execution of
U.S. military shipbuilding programs, including the TAO-205 program;
 whether to fund the procurement in FY2021 of no TAO-205 class ship (as
requested by the Navy), one TAO-205 class ship (as was projected for FY2021
under the Navy’s FY2020 budget submission), or two TAO-205s (as were
procured in FY2020 and also in FY2019).
 the number of oilers the Navy will require in coming years to support its
operations, particularly in light of the Navy’s new Distributed Maritime
Operations (DMO) operating concept; and
 whether to encourage or direct the Navy to build TAO-205s with more ship self-
defense equipment than currently planned by the Navy.
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Contents
Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 1
Background ..................................................................................................................................... 1

Navy Fleet Oilers ...................................................................................................................... 1
Role of Fleet Oilers ............................................................................................................. 1
Existing Kaiser (TAO-187) Class Oilers ............................................................................ 2
TAO-205 Program ..................................................................................................................... 3
Program Name .................................................................................................................... 3
Ship Design and Capabilities .............................................................................................. 5
Total Planned Quantity ....................................................................................................... 5
Annual Procurement Quantities .......................................................................................... 5
Unit Procurement Cost ........................................................................................................ 6
Builder ................................................................................................................................ 6
Block Buy Contract............................................................................................................. 7
U.S. Content Requirement for Certain Components ........................................................... 7
FY2021 Funding ................................................................................................................. 8
Issues for Congress .......................................................................................................................... 8
Potential Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Situation .......................................................... 8
Number of TAO-205s to Procure in FY2021 ............................................................................ 8
Required Number of Oilers ....................................................................................................... 8
Issues Discussed in June 2020 GAO Report ............................................................................. 9
TAO-205 Ship Self-Defense Equipment .................................................................................. 11
Legislative Activity for FY2021 ..................................................................................................... 11
Summary of Congressional Action on FY2021 Funding ......................................................... 11
FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 6395/S. 4049) ......................................... 11

House ................................................................................................................................. 11
Senate (Committee Report) ............................................................................................... 12
Senate (Floor Consideration) ............................................................................................ 14
FY2021 DOD Appropriations Act (H.R. 7617) ...................................................................... 14
House ................................................................................................................................ 14

Figures
Figure 1. Fleet Oiler Conducting an UNREP .................................................................................. 2
Figure 2. Fleet Oiler Conducting an UNREP .................................................................................. 3
Figure 3. Fleet Oiler Conducting an UNREP .................................................................................. 4
Figure 4. Kaiser (TAO-187) Class Fleet Oiler ................................................................................ 5
Figure 5. Artist’s Rendering of the Oiler John Lewis (TAO-205) ................................................... 6

Tables
Table 1. TAO-205 Procurement Quantities, FY2021-FY2025 ........................................................ 6
Table 2. Congressional Action on FY2021 Funding for Additional TAO-205s ............................. 11

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Appendixes
Appendix A. TAO-205 Ship Self-Defense Equipment .................................................................. 16

Contacts
Author Information ........................................................................................................................ 17

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Introduction
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the John Lewis (TAO-
205) class oiler shipbuilding program, a program to build a new class of 20 fleet oilers for the
Navy. The Navy’s proposed FY2021 budget does not request any funding for the procurement of
additional TAO-205s.
Issues for Congress regarding the TAO-205 program include the number of TAO-205s to procure
in FY2021, the number of oilers the Navy will require in coming years to support its operations,
and whether to encourage or direct the Navy to build TAO-205s with more ship self-defense
equipment than currently planned by the Navy.
For an overview of the strategic and budgetary context in which the TAO-205 program and other
Navy shipbuilding programs may be considered, see CRS Report RL32665, Navy Force Structure
and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke.
Background
Navy Fleet Oilers
Role of Fleet Oilers
The primary role of Navy fleet oilers is to transfer fuel to Navy surface ships that are operating at
sea, so as to extend the operating endurance of these surface ships and their embarked aircraft.
Fleet oilers also provide other surface ships with lubricants, fresh water, and small amounts of dry
cargo. Fleet oilers transfer fuel and other supplies to other surface ships in operations called
underway replenishments (UNREPs). During an UNREP, an oiler steams next to the receiving
ship and transfers fuel by hose (see Figure 1, Figure 2, and Figure 3).1
Oilers are one kind of Navy UNREP ship; other Navy UNREP ships include ammunition ships,
dry cargo ships, and multiproduct replenishment ships. The Navy’s UNREP ships are known
more formally as the Navy’s combat logistics force (CLF). Most of the Navy’s CLF ships are
operated by the Military Sealift Command (MSC).
Although the role of fleet oilers might not be considered as glamorous as that of other Navy ships,
fleet oilers are critical to the Navy’s ability to operate in forward-deployed areas around the world

1 The Navy states that
A typical connected replenishment starts when a warship makes an “approach” on a CLF ship. The
CLF ship maintains steady course and speed while the “customer ship” approaches and comes
alongside the CLF ship, matching course and speed. The distance between the two ships is usually
between 120-200 feet. The CLF ship then passes heavy metal wires, to the customer ship, that are
connected at the replenishment stations. These wires are placed under tension to support fuel hoses
for refueling operations or trolleys that move pallets of provisions, ammunition, or other cargo from
ship to ship. Ships with flight decks can also receive provisions and ammunition via vertical
replenishment. During this evolution a helicopter transfers cargo in external sling loads, or in the
case of mail or passengers, inside the helicopter.
(Statement of Mr. F. Scott DiLisio, Director, Strategic Mobility / Combat Logistics Division,
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, on the Logistics and Sealift Force Requirements and Force
Structure Assessment Before the House Armed Services Committee Seapower and Projection
Forces Subcommittee, July 30, 2014, p. 3.)
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on a sustained basis. The U.S. Navy’s ability to perform UNREP operations in a safe and efficient
manner on a routine basis is a skill that many other navies lack. An absence of fleet oilers would
significantly complicate the Navy’s ability to operate at sea on a sustained basis in areas such as
the Western Pacific or the Indian Ocean/Persian Gulf region. The Navy states that
the ability to rearm, refuel and re-provision our ships at sea, independent of any restrictions
placed on it by a foreign country, is critical to the Navy’s ability to project warfighting
power from the sea.
As the lifeline of resupply to Navy operating forces underway, the ships of the Navy’s
Combat Logistic Force (CLF) enable Carrier Strike Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups
to operate forward and remain on station during peacetime and war, with minimal reliance
on host nation support.2
Figure 1. Fleet Oiler Conducting an UNREP

Source: Navy photo accessed May 5, 2014, at http://www.navy.mil/view_image.asp?id=163895. The Navy states
that the photo is dated October 24, 2013, and shows the oiler Tippecanoe (TAO-199) extending its fuel probe to
the Aegis cruiser USS Antietam (CG-54), a part of the George Washington (CVN-73) Carrier Strike Group, in the
South China Sea.
Existing Kaiser (TAO-187) Class Oilers
The Navy’s existing force of fleet oilers consists of 15 Henry J. Kaiser (TAO-187) class ships
(Figure 4), commonly called Kaiser-class oilers for short.3 These ships were procured between
FY1982 and FY1989 and entered service between 1986 and 1996. They have an expected service

2 Statement of Mr. F. Scott DiLisio, Director, Strategic Mobility / Combat Logistics Division, Office of the Chief of
Naval Operations, on the Logistics and Sealift Force Requirements and Force Structure Assessment Before the House
Armed Services Committee Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, July 30, 2014, pp. 2-3.
3 The oilers shown in Figure 1, Figure 2, and Figure 3 are also Kaiser-class class oilers.
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life of 35 years; the first ship in the class will reach that age in 2021. The ships are about 677 feet
long and have a full load displacement of about 41,000 tons, including about 26,500 tons of fuel
and other cargo. The ships were built by Avondale Shipyards of New Orleans, LA, a shipyard that
eventually became part of the shipbuilding firm Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII). HII
subsequently wound down Navy shipbuilding operations at Avondale, and the facility no longer
builds ships. (HII continues to operate two other shipyards that build Navy ships.)
Figure 2. Fleet Oiler Conducting an UNREP

Source: Navy photo accessed May 5, 2014, at http://www.navy.mil/view_image.asp?id=61415. The Navy states
that the photo is dated July 13, 2008, and shows the oiler Leroy Grumman (TAO-195) refueling the frigate
Underwood (FFG-36) during an exercise with the Iwo Jima (LHD-7) Expeditionary Strike Group in the Atlantic
Ocean.
TAO-205 Program
Program Name
Navy oilers carry the designation TAO (sometimes written as T-AO). The T means that the ships
are operated by MSC with a mostly civilian crew; the A means it is an auxiliary ship of some
kind; and the O means that it is, specifically, an oiler. TAO-205 will be the Navy’s next oiler after
TAO-204, which is the final Kaiser-class oiler.
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On January 6, 2016, then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the TAO-205 class
ships will be named for “people who fought for civil rights and human rights,”4 and that the first
ship in the class, TAO-205, which was procured in FY2016, was being be named for
Representative John Lewis,5 making TAO-205 one of a small number of Navy ships that have
been named for people who were living at the time that the naming announcement was made.6
TAO-205 class ships consequently are now known as John Lewis-class oilers.
Figure 3. Fleet Oiler Conducting an UNREP

Source: Navy photo accessed May 5, 2014, at http://www.navy.mil/view_image.asp?id=1737. The Navy states
that the photo is dated June 19, 2002, and shows the oiler Walter S. Diehl (TAO-193), at center, conducting
simultaneous UNREPs with the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CV-67) and the Aegis destroyer Hopper (DDG-
70). CV-67, a conventionally powered carrier, has since retired from the Navy, and all of the Navy’s aircraft
carriers today are nuclear powered. Even so, Navy oilers continue to conduct UNREPs with Navy aircraft
carriers to provide fuel for the carriers’ embarked air wings.

4 Valerie Insinna, “Navy to Name Next Generation Oilers for Civil Rights Icons,” Defense Daily, January 7, 2016. For
more on the names of TAO-205 class ships, see CRS Report RS22478, Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress,
by Ronald O'Rourke.
5 “Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus Names Fleet Replenishment Oiler,” Navy News Service, January 6, 2016; Sam
LaGrone, “SECNAV Mabus Names First TAO(X) Next Generation Oiler After Rep. John Lewis,” USNI News, January
6, 2016; “Navy to Name New Oiler after Civil Rights Icon,” Military.com, January 6, 2020; Valerie Insinna, “Navy to
Name Next Generation Oilers for Civil Rights Icons,” Defense Daily, January 7, 2016.
6 Representative Lewis died on July 17, 2020. For more on Navy ships named for people who were living at the time
that the naming announcement was made, see CRS Report RS22478, Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress, by
Ronald O'Rourke.
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Figure 4. Kaiser (TAO-187) Class Fleet Oiler

Source: U.S. Navy image accessed April 14, 2014, at http://www.navy.mil/management/photodb/photos/130703-
N-TG831-240.jpg. (The oilers shown in Figure 1, Figure 2, and Figure 3 are also Kaiser-class class oilers.)
Ship Design and Capabilities
The TAO-205 class design (Figure 5) will have capabilities similar to those of the Kaiser-class
ships, and will rely on existing technologies rather than new technologies. To guard against oil
spills, TAO-205s are to be double-hulled, like modern commercial oil tankers, with a space
between the two hulls to protect the inner hull against events that puncture the outer hull. (The
final Kaiser-class ships are double-hulled, but earlier ships in the class are single-hulled.)
Total Planned Quantity
As part of its goal for achieving a fleet of 355 ships, the Navy wants to procure a total of 20 TAO-
205s.7 The required number of oilers largely depends on the numbers and types of other surface
ships (and their embarked aircraft) to be refueled, and the projected operational patterns for these
ships and aircraft.
Annual Procurement Quantities
The Navy procured the first TAO-205 in FY2016, the second in FY2018, the third and fourth in
FY2019, and the fifth and sixth in FY2020. The first TAO-205 is scheduled for delivery in June
2021.

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.
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Figure 5. Artist’s Rendering of the Oiler John Lewis (TAO-205)

Source: “US Navy Picks General Dynamics to Build First Six T-AO 205 Replenishment Oilers,” NavalToday.com,
July 1, 2016, which credits the image to GD/NASSCO. The background shows the skyline of San Diego, where
GD/NASSCO is located.
Table 1 compares the Navy’s FY2020 and FY2021 budget submissions in terms of numbers of
TAO-205s programmed for procurement during the period FY2021-FY2025. As can be seen in
the table, the Navy’s FY2020 budget submission projected a request for one TAO-205 class ship
in FY2021 and programmed a total of six TAO-205s over the period FY2021-FY2025, while the
Navy’s FY2021 budget submission does not request a TAO-205 class ship in FY2021 (or
FY2022) and programs a total of four over the period FY2021-FY2025.
Table 1. TAO-205 Procurement Quantities, FY2021-FY2025
Under Navy’s FY2020 and FY2021 budget submissions
Total
FY2021-

FY21
FY22
FY23
FY24
FY25
FY2025
FY2020 budget
1
1
2
1
1
6
FY2021 budget
0
0
1
2
1
4
Difference
-1
-1
-1
+1

-2
Source: Table prepared by CRS based on navy’s FY2020 and FY2021 budget submissions.
Unit Procurement Cost
The Navy’s FY2021 budget submission estimates that TAO-205s cost about $530 million each
when they are procured at a rate of two per year.
Builder
TAO-205s are being built by General Dynamics/National Steel and Shipbuilding Company
(GD/NASSCO) of San Diego, CA, a shipyard that builds Navy auxiliaries and DOD sealift ships.
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Block Buy Contract
The first six TAO-205s are being procured under a block buy contract that was authorized by
Section 127 of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1356/P.L. 114-92 of
November 25, 2015). It was earlier estimated that the block buy contract would reduce the
procurement cost of the second through sixth TAO-205s by an average of about $45 million each,
compared to costs under the standard or default DOD approach of annual contracting.8 The Navy
states that about $35 million of the $45 million in per-ship savings will come from using advance
procurement (AP) funding for batch-ordering TAO-205 components. The Navy states that this use
of AP funding could have occurred under annual contracting, and that the savings that are
intrinsic to the block buy contract are thus about $10 million per ship.9
U.S. Content Requirement for Certain Components
Section 8113(a) of the FY2020 Appropriations Act (Division A of 1158/P.L. 116-93 of December
20, 2020) states the following:
Sec. 8113. (a) None of the funds provided in this Act for the TAO Fleet Oiler program shall
be used to award a new contract that provides for the acquisition of the following
components unless those components are manufactured in the United States: Auxiliary
equipment (including pumps) for shipboard services; propulsion equipment (including
engines, reduction gears, and propellers); shipboard cranes; and spreaders for shipboard
cranes.

8 The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its report (S.Rept. 114-49 of May 19, 2015) on the FY2016 National
Defense Authorization Act (S. 1376), stated:
Fleet replenishment oiler program (sec. 118)
The committee recommends a provision [Section 118] that would grant the Secretary of the Navy
contracting authority to procure up to six fleet replenishment oilers (T–AO(X)). This new ship class
is a nondevelopmental recapitalization program based on existing commercial technology and
standards. The ship design is considered to be low risk by the Navy, with the design scheduled to
be complete prior to the start of construction on the lead ship. This provision would generate an
estimated $45.0 million in savings per ship compared to annual procurement cost estimates. In
addition, the provision would provide a long-term commitment to the shipbuilder and vendors,
which would enable workforce stability and planning efficiency. (Pages 11-12)
The committee print that includes the legislative text and joint explanatory statement for the enacted FY2016 National
Defense Authorization Act (S. 1356/P.L. 114-92 of November 25, 2015) stated:
Fleet replenishment oiler program (sec. 127)
The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 118) that would grant the Secretary of the Navy
contracting authority to procure up to six fleet replenishment oilers (T–AO (X)). This new ship
class is a non-developmental recapitalization program based on existing commercial technology
and standards. The ship design is considered to be low risk by the Navy, with the design scheduled
to be complete prior to the start of construction on the lead ship. This provision would enable an
estimated $45.0 million in savings per ship, for ships 2–6, for a total of $225.0 million in savings
compared to current annual procurement cost estimates.
(114th Congress, 1st Session, Committee Print No. 2, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Year 2016, Legislative Text and Joint Explanatory Statement to accompany
S. 1356, P.L. 114-92,
November 2015
, Printed for the use of the Committee on Armed Services of the House of
Representatives, p. 608)
For more on block buy contracts, see CRS Report R41909, Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy Contracting
in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke and Moshe Schwartz.
9 Source: Navy briefing on TAO-205 program for CRS and CBO, April 12, 2019.
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FY2021 Funding
The Navy’s FY2021 budget requests $59.9 million in FY2021 cost-to-complete procurement
funding to cover cost growth on TAO-205s procured in prior fiscal years, but it does not request
any FY2021 funding for the procurement of additional TAO-205s.
Issues for Congress
Potential Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Situation
One issue for Congress concerns the potential impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation on
the execution of U.S. military shipbuilding programs, including the TAO-205 program. 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.
Number of TAO-205s to Procure in FY2021
One issue for Congress is whether to fund the procurement in FY2021 of no TAO-205 class ship
(as requested by the Navy), or one TAO-205 class ship (as was projected for FY2021 under the
Navy’s FY2020 budget submission), or two TAO-205s (as were procured in in FY2020 and also
in FY2019). In assessing this issue, Congress may consider various factors, including the
following:
 the expected service lives and scheduled retirement dates of the existing TAO-
187 class oilers;
 construction times for new TAO-205s;
 potential changes in the required number of oilers (see next section);
 shipyard workloads and employment levels at NASSCO;
 potential cost impacts (including shipyard and supplier firm production learning
curve impacts) of procuring or not procuring one or two TAO-205s in FY2021;
 the amount of funding that would be needed to procure one or two TAO-205s in
FY2021; and
 competing Navy or other DOD uses for such funding.
Required Number of Oilers
Another issue for Congress concerns the number of oilers the Navy will require in coming years
to support its operations. The Navy is implementing a new operational concept, called Distributed
Maritime Operations (DMO), that could lead to the development of a fleet with larger numbers of
individually smaller ships, and to more-widely dispersed Navy operations. DMO could affect
requirements for Navy logistics, including oilers. The Navy states that
Recapitalizing the auxiliary and sealift fleet in support of DMO has become a top priority.
The initial reviews of the requirements to support this operational maritime concept
indicate potential growth across the five lines of effort: refuel, rearm, resupply, repair, and
revive. Coincident is the review of the level of effort needed to distribute logistics into a
contested maritime environment following safe transfer by the logistics fleet—smaller,
faster, multi-mission transports likely resident within the future battle force. The work to
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fully flesh out the requirement is ongoing, but the aggregate is expected to be no less than
the current requirement, reinforcing the urgency to recapitalize the current fleet.10
An August 2017 GAO report states the following:
The readiness of the surge sealift and combat logistics fleets has trended downward since
2012. For example, GAO found that mission-limiting equipment casualties—incidents of
degraded or out-of-service equipment—have increased over the past 5 years, and
maintenance periods are running longer than planned, indicating declining materiel
readiness across both fleets....
The Navy has not assessed the effects of widely distributed operations, which could affect
the required number and type of combat logistics ships. The Navy released its new
operational concept of more widely distributed operations—ships traveling farther
distances and operating more days to support a more distributed fleet—in 2017. The Navy
has not assessed the effects that implementing this concept will have on the required
number and type of combat logistics ships. These effects could be exacerbated in the event
that the Navy is less able to rely on in-port refueling—which has comprised about 30
percent of all refuelings over the past 3 years—placing greater demand on the combat
logistics fleet. Given the fleet’s dependence on the combat logistics force, waiting until
2019 or 2020 to conduct an assessment, as planned, could result in poor investment
decisions as the Navy continues to build and modernize its fleet. Furthermore, without
assessing the effects of widely distributed operations on logistics force requirements and
modifying its force structure plans accordingly, the Navy risks being unprepared to provide
required fuel and other supplies.11
Issues Discussed in June 2020 GAO Report
A June 2020 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report—the 2020 edition of an annual
GAO report assessing major DOD acquisition programs—stated the following about the TAO-
205 program:
Technology Maturity, Design Stability, and Production Readiness
All Lewis class critical technologies are mature and the design is stable. The critical
technologies were all determined to be mature based on prototype testing conducted before
detail design contract award—an approach consistent with best practices.
Lead ship construction began in September 2018 with 95 percent of the ship’s total design
effort, including the basic and functional design, complete—also consistent with best
practices. Throughout detail design and now into construction, the Navy has not changed
the Lewis class program’s performance requirements. The Navy also leveraged
commercial vessel designs to minimize design and construction risks. The Lewis class
features a modern double-hull construction, an environmental-based design standard for
commercial tankers, to ensure the ships can dock at ports-of-call.
According to the program office, as of January 2020, lead ship construction was 65 percent
complete and second ship construction was less than 10 percent complete. Both ships
experienced cost growth primarily due to quantity increases but also due to higher-than-
forecast overhead and labor costs; increasing costs of steel and vendor components; and,
according to officials, a small amount of cybersecurity related design cost growth.

10 U.S. Navy, Report to Congress on the Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for Fiscal Year
2020
, March 2019, p. 24.
11 Government Accountability Office, Navy Readiness[:] Actions Needed to Maintain Viable Surge Sealift and Combat
Logistics Fleets
, GAO-17-503, August 2017, summary page.
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Delivery of the lead ship has slipped by 7 months from November 2020 to June 2021.
Program officials stated that the delay is primarily due to late delivery of the ship’s main
reduction gear and delays by the subsidiary of the contractor. A tool for transporting
reduction gears from a heat treatment cracked and needed to be replaced, causing the
reduction gear delay. According to program officials, the flooding of a graving dock in
2018 shifted ship construction schedules and accelerated construction in certain trades,
such as pipefitting. This increased production demand for additional pipes and vents that
one subsidiary has been unable to meet and has negatively impacted the schedule for both
the lead and second ships. In addition, while repairs are being planned and implemented,
the graving dock’s unavailability has disrupted the contractor’s schedule for future ships.
According to the program office, the flooding incident resulted in an average of 5- to 12-
month delays to the delivery dates for ships two through six. As a result of these delays,
the Lewis class will not meet its initial operational capability (IOC) date of January 2022.
The revised IOC date is now August 2022.
Software and Cybersecurity
The program is using off-the-shelf software systems tailored for the T-AO 205 design and
did not collect details of its software development costs or activities.
With regard to cybersecurity, the program conducted its first cyber tabletop test—an
exercise used to assess the probability of success for attackers—in January 2018. Based on
the results, the program has another cyber test scheduled in January 2020, which will
include several of the ship’s linked subsystems. The program reported it has experienced
increases in costs related to meeting cybersecurity requirements. Specifically, officials
reported that in March 2019, the program began making modifications to the contract to
address cyber requirements that were not in effect at the 2016 contract award. The changes
are expected to cost approximately $7.4 million over the first six ships, an amount that will
be reflected in the program’s forthcoming revised acquisition program baseline.
Other Program Issues
As part of the Navy’s plan to expand the fleet, the Navy concluded in fiscal year 2019 that
it would need an additional three Lewis class ships. To date, the Navy has procured six of
the 20 ships the Navy plans to purchase. In addition to these six ships, the Navy plans to
add one more ship to the low-rate initial production phase via a modification to what it
refers to as the “block buy” contract. Program officials stated they plan to competitively
award the remaining 13 ships, likely awarding contracts to more than one contractor. The
program plans to use the same design for these 13 remaining ships.
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 the lead ship’s delivery initially slipped due to the late
delivery of main engines and reduction gear, but was further impacted by the late delivery
of outfitting material. The program office also stated the fiscal year 2021 President’s
budget submission removes the planned procurement of one ship each in fiscal years 2021
and 2022 but does not impact the six-ship “block buy” contract. The program office noted
that the Navy plans to procure a seventh ship through the existing six-ship “block buy”
contract in fiscal year 2022. The program office further noted that the revised acquisition
program baseline is complete and reflects the planned update to the total number of ships.12

12 Government Accountability Office, Defense Acquisitions Annual Assessment[:] Drive to Deliver Capabilities Faster
Increases Importance of Program Knowledge and Consistent Data for Oversight
, GAO-20-439, p. 142.
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TAO-205 Ship Self-Defense Equipment
Another issue for Congress is whether to encourage or direct the Navy to build TAO-205s with
more ship self-defense equipment than currently planned by the Navy. The issue relates to how
changes in the international security environment might affect how the Navy operates and equips
its underway replenishment ships. For additional background information on this issue, see
Appendix A.
Legislative Activity for FY2021
Summary of Congressional Action on FY2021 Funding
Table 2
summarizes congressional action on the Navy’s request for FY2021 funding for
procurement of additional TAO-205s. (It consequently does not show the Navy’s request for
$59.9 million in cost-to-complete procurement funding to cover cost growth on TAO-205s
procured in prior fiscal years.)
Table 2. Congressional Action on FY2021 Funding for Additional TAO-205s
Millions of dollars, rounded to nearest tenth
Authorization
Appropriation

Request
HASC
SASC
Conf.
HAC
SAC
Conf.
Procurement
0
0
0

20.0


Advance procurement (AP)
0
0
0

0


(Quantity)
(0)
(0)
(0)

(0)


Source: Navy FY2021 budget submission, committee and conference reports, and explanatory statements on
FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act and FY2021 DOD Appropriations Act.
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.
FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 6395/S. 4049)
House
The House Armed Services Committee, in its report (H.Rept. 116-442 of July 9, 2020) on H.R.
6395, recommended the funding levels shown in the HASC column of Table 2.
Section 823 of H.R. 6395 as reported by the committee states:
SEC. 823. REQUIREMENT THAT CERTAIN SHIP COMPONENTS BE
MANUFACTURED IN THE NATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND INDUSTRIAL BASE.
(a) TECHNICAL AMENDMENT.—The second subsection (k) of section 2534 of title 10,
United States Code (relating to Implementation of Auxiliary Ship Component Limitation),
is redesignated as subsection (l).
(b) COMPONENTS FOR AUXILIARY SHIPS.—Section 2534(a) of title 10, United
States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
‘‘(6) COMPONENTS FOR AUXILIARY SHIPS.—Subject to subsection (l), the
following components:
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‘‘(A) Large medium-speed diesel engines.
‘‘(B) Auxiliary equipment, including pumps, for all shipboard services.
‘‘(C) Propulsion system components, including engines, reduction gears, and propellers.
‘‘(D) Shipboard cranes.
‘‘(E) Spreaders for shipboard cranes.’’.
(c) IMPLEMENTATION.—Subsection (l) of section 2534 of title 10, United States Code,
as redesignated by subsection (a), is amended—
(1) by redesignating the second sentence to appear as flush text at the end;
(2) by striking ‘‘auxiliary ship after the date’’ and inserting the following: ‘‘auxiliary
ship—
‘‘(1) with respect to large medium-speed diesel engines described under subparagraph (A)
of such subsection, after the date’’;
(3) in paragraph (1) (as so designated), by striking ‘‘Navy.’’ and inserting ‘‘Navy; and’’;
and
(4) by inserting after paragraph (1) (as so designated) the following new paragraph:
‘‘(2) with respect to components listed in subparagraphs (B) through (E) of such
subsection, after the date of the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 2021 using funds available for National Defense Sealift Fund programs or
Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy.’’.
Senate (Committee Report)
The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its report (S.Rept. 116-236 of June 24, 2020) on S.
4049, recommended the funding levels shown in the SASC column of Table 2.
Section 812 of S. 4049 as reported by the committee states:
SEC. 812. MISCELLANEOUS LIMITATIONS ON THE PROCUREMENT OF GOODS
OTHER THAN UNITED STATES GOODS.
Section 2534 of title 10, United States Code, is amended—
(1) in subsection (a)—
(A) by striking paragraphs (2) through (5);
(B) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following new paragraph:
‘‘(2) COMPONENTS FOR NAVAL VESSELS.—
‘‘(A) Vessel propellers with a diameter of six feet or more.
‘‘(B) The following components of vessels, to the extent they are unique to marine
applications: gyrocompasses, electronic navigation chart systems, steering controls,
propulsion and machinery control systems, and totally enclosed lifeboats.’’;
(C) by redesignating paragraph (6) as paragraph (3); and
(D) in paragraph (3), as redesignated by subparagraph (C), by striking ‘‘(k)’’ and inserting
‘‘(j)’’;
(2) in subsection (b)—
(A) by striking paragraph (2) and redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (2); and
(B) in paragraph (2), as redesignated by subparagraph (A), by striking ‘‘subsection
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(a)(3)(A)(iii)’’ and inserting ‘‘subsection (a)(2)(A)’’;
(3) in subsection (c)—
(A) by striking ‘‘ITEMS.’’ and all that follows through ‘‘Subsection (a) does not apply’’
in paragraph (1) and inserting ‘‘ITEMS.—Subsection (a) does not apply’’; and
(B) by striking paragraphs (2) though (5);
(4) in subsection (g)—
(A) by striking ‘‘(1) This section’’ and inserting ‘‘This section’’; and
(B) by striking paragraph (2);
(5) in subsection (h), by striking ‘‘subsection (a)(3)(B)’’ and inserting ‘‘subsection
(a)(2)(B)’’;
(6) in subsection (i)(3), by striking ‘‘Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics’’ and inserting
‘‘Acquisition and Sustainment’’;
(7) by striking subsection (j); and (8) by redesignating the first subsection designated
subsection (k) as subsection (j).
Section 1025 of S. 4049 as reported by the committee states (emphasis added):
SEC. 1025. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON ACTIONS NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE A 355-
SHIP NAVY.
It is the sense of Congress that to achieve the national policy of the United States to have
available, as soon as practicable, not fewer than 355 battle force ships—
(1) the Navy must be adequately resourced to increase the size of the Navy in accordance
with the national policy, which includes the associated ships, aircraft, personnel,
sustainment, and munitions;
(2) across fiscal years 2021 through 2025, the Navy should start construction on not
fewer than

(A) 12 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers;
(B) 10 Virginia-class submarines;
(C) 2 Columbia-class submarines;
(D) 3 San Antonio-class amphibious ships;
(E) 1 LHA-class amphibious ship;
(F) 6 John Lewis-class fleet oilers; and
(G) 5 guided missile frigates;
(3) new guided missile frigate construction should increase to a rate of between two and
four ships per year once design maturity and construction readiness permit;
(4) the Columbia-class submarine program should be funded with additions to the Navy
budget significantly above the historical average, given the critical single national mission
that these vessels will perform and the high priority of the shipbuilding budget for
implementing the National Defense Strategy;
(5) stable shipbuilding rates of construction should be maintained for each vessel class,
utilizing multi-year or block buy contract authorities when appropriate, until a deliberate
transition plan is identified; and
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(6) prototyping of potential new shipboard sub systems should be accelerated to build
knowledge systematically, and, to the maximum extent practicable, shipbuilding
prototyping should occur at the subsystem-level in advance of ship design.
Senate (Floor Consideration)
On June 29, 2020, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Inhofe,
proposed Senate Amendment 2301, an amendment in the nature of a substitute. This amendment
would, among other things, amend S. 4049 to add Section 5812, which states:
SEC. 5812. MISCELLANEOUS LIMITATIONS ON THE PROCUREMENT OF
GOODS OTHER THAN UNITED STATES GOODS.
Notwithstanding the amendments made by section 812--
(1) the subparagraph (A) proposed to be included in subsection (a)(2) of section 2534 of
title 10, United States Code, shall not be included;
(2) subsection (b) of such section is deemed to read as follows:
``(b) Manufacturer in the National Technology and Industrial Base.--A manufacturer meets
the requirements of this subsection if the manufacturer is part of the national technology
and industrial base.''; and
(3) the amendment to subsection (h) of such section is deemed to insert the following:
``subsection (a)(2)''.
FY2021 DOD Appropriations Act (H.R. 7617)
House
The House Appropriations Committee, in its report (H.Rept. 116-453 of July 16, 2020) on H.R.
7617, recommended the funding levels shown in the HAC column of Table 2. The recommended
increase of $20.0 million in procurement funding is for “Program increase—affordability
initiatives.” (Page 184) Regarding this funding recommendation, H.Rept. 116-453 states:
TAO FLEET OILER PROGRAM
The Committee recognizes that Navy TAO Fleet Oilers are essential for providing fuel to
deployed ships, allowing them and their embarked aircraft to remain combat ready and
extending the reach of naval forces worldwide. However, while the Committee remains
supportive of the TAO Fleet Oiler program, it understands there are long term affordability
concerns with the program due to aggregate capability and material choices made during
the post-contract award phase. The Committee also believes that ship costs must be reduced
in order to build the required fleet of ships. Therefore, the Committee recommendation
includes $20,000,000 for non-recurring engineering costs to execute cost reduction
initiatives and requirements changes that should be inserted into the TAO design as soon
as practical.
Additionally, the Committee directs the Secretary of the Navy to submit a report to the
congressional defense committees not later than 45 days after the enactment of this Act
that details how these changes will be implemented and the savings they will produce.
(Page 185)
Section 8104(a) of H.R. 7617 as reported by the committee states:
Sec. 8104. (a) None of the funds provided in this Act for the TAO Fleet Oiler program
shall be used to award a new contract that provides for the acquisition of the following
components unless those components are manufactured in the United States: Auxiliary
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equipment (including pumps) for shipboard services; propulsion equipment (including
engines, reduction gears, and propellers); shipboard cranes; and spreaders for shipboard
cranes.
Regarding Section 8104(a) and certain other provisions, H.Rept. 116-453 states:
DOMESTIC MANUFACTURING REQUIREMENTS FOR NAVY SHIPBUILDING
The Committee consistently has expressed its concern with the Department of the Navy
sourcing surface ship components from foreign industry partners rather than promoting a
robust domestic industrial base. To address these concerns, the Committee retains several
provisions from fiscal year 2020 and a new provision that expands the domestic
manufacturing requirement for several classes of ships under development. Absent
stringent contract requirements in these future surface ship classes, the Committee lacks
confidence that the Navy will make the necessary decisions and provide the required
resources to support a robust domestic industrial base. (Page 13)

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Appendix A. TAO-205 Ship Self-Defense
Equipment
This appendix provides additional background information on the issue of whether to encourage
or direct the Navy to build TAO-205s with more ship self-defense equipment than currently
planned by the Navy.
During the Cold War, the Navy procured underway replenishment ships to support a two-stage
approach to underway replenishment in which single-product “shuttle” ships (such as oilers,
ammunition ships, and dry stores ships) would take their supplies from secure ports to relatively
safe midocean areas, where they would then transfer them to multiproduct “station” ships called
TAOEs and AORs. The TAOEs and AORs would then travel to Navy carrier strike groups
operating in higher-threat areas and transfer their combined supplies to the carrier strike group
ships. As a result, single-product shuttle ships were equipped with lesser amounts of ship self-
defense equipment, and TAOEs and AORs were equipped with greater amounts of such
equipment.
When the Cold War ended and transitioned to the post-Cold War era, threats to U.S. Navy ships
operating at sea were substantially reduced. As a consequence, the amount of ship self-defense
equipment on the TAOEs and AORs was reduced, and a single-stage approach to underway
replenishment, in which oilers and dry stores ships took supplies from secure ports all the way to
carrier strike group ships, was sometimes used.
Now that the post-Cold War era has transitioned to a new strategic environment featuring
renewed great power competition with countries like China and Russia,13 and a consequent
renewal of potential threats to U.S. Navy ships operating at sea, the question is whether TAO-
205s should be equipped with lesser amounts of ship self-defense equipment, like oilers were
during both the Cold War and post-Cold War eras, or with greater amounts of ship self-defense
equipment, like TAOEs and AORs were during the Cold War. Building TAO-205s with more ship
self-defense equipment than currently planned by the Navy could increase TAO-205 procurement
costs by tens of millions of dollars per ship, depending on the amount of additional ship self-
defense equipment.
Section 1026 of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1356/P.L. 114-92 of
November 25, 2015) required an independent assessment of the Navy’s combat logistics force
ships. The report was delivered to Congress in February 2016. A copy of the report was posted by
the media outlet Politico on March 11, 2016. The report states the following:
The T-AO(X) will only have a limited capability to defeat a submarine launched torpedo
attack and no capability to defeat a missile attack. When delivered, the TAO(X) will have:
—[the] NIXIE Torpedo Countermeasure System [for decoying certain types of torpedoes]
—[the] Advanced Degaussing System (Anti-Mine) [for reducing the ship’s magnetic
signature, so as to reduce the likelihood of attack by magnetically fused mines]
When required, the T-AO(X) will also have ability to embark Navy Expeditionary Combat
Command Expeditionary Security Teams (EST). The ESTs will embark with several crew
served weapons and are designed to provide limited self-defense against a small boat
attack.

13 For more on this transition, see CRS Report R43838, A Shift in the International Security Environment: Potential
Implications for Defense—Issues for Congress
, by Ronald O'Rourke.
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The T-AO(X) will have Space, Weight, Power and Cooling (SWAP-C) margins for future
installations of the following systems:
—[the] Close In Weapon System (CIWS) or SeaRAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) [for
defense against missile attack]
—[the] Anti-Torpedo Torpedo Defense System (ATTDS) [for destroying torpedoes]
Even after the installation of a CIWS or ATTDS, if the T-AO(X) was to operate in anything
other than a benign environment, the ship will require both air and surface escorts.
The decision to rely on [other] Fleet assets to provide force protection [i.e., defense against
attacks] for the T-AO(X) was validated by the JROC [in June 2015].14


Author Information

Ronald O'Rourke

Specialist in Naval Affairs



Disclaimer
This document was prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). CRS serves as nonpartisan
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under the direction of Congress. Information in a CRS Report should not be relied upon for purposes other
than public understanding of information that has been provided by CRS to Members of Congress in
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copy or otherwise use copyrighted material.


14 Department of the Navy, Report to Congress on Requirements for the Fleet Replenishment Oiler, T-AO(X), February
2016 (with cover letter dated February 12, 2016), p. 8. The report was posted by Politico on March 11, 2016, at
http://static.politico.com/1e/e0/f26a9fb1471aacd5358c420fcf10/navy-oiler-report.pdf, and accessed by CRS on March
15, 2016.
Congressional Research Service
R43546 · VERSION 76 · UPDATED
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