Navy: Plan to Build New Strategic Sub Requires ‘Unsustainable’ Funding

July 8, 2014, 6:59 a.m.

The U.S. Navy says that it can­not af­ford to sim­ul­tan­eously build a new stra­tegic sub­mar­ine fleet and to up­date the rest of its con­ven­tion­al ships.

In a Ju­ly 1 re­port to Con­gress on its long-term ship­build­ing plan, the Navy said by fisc­al 2032 it would be spend­ing in ex­cess of $24 bil­lion an­nu­ally — al­most double the tra­di­tion­al av­er­age of $13 bil­lion, In­side De­fense re­por­ted. The sea ser­vice de­scribed that amount of fund­ing as “un­sus­tain­able.”

“There will be re­sourcing chal­lenges out­side the [fisc­al 2015 - fisc­al 2019 fu­ture years de­fense plan] largely due to in­vest­ment re­quire­ments as­so­ci­ated wit the SSBN(X) re­quire­ment,” wrote U.S. Deputy De­fense Sec­ret­ary Robert Work in the 28-page re­port. “SSBN(X)” refers to the planned suc­cessor class to the Ohio bal­list­ic mis­sile sub­mar­ine.

The Navy’s long-term ship­build­ing plan does not factor in cur­rent de­fense spend­ing caps im­posed by the 2011 Budget Con­trol Act.

Ac­quis­i­tion costs for the next-gen­er­a­tion nuc­le­ar de­liv­ery vehicle are fore­cast in the re­port to boost yearly ship­build­ing spend­ing to an av­er­age of $19.7 bil­lion yearly dur­ing the fisc­al 2015 - fisc­al 2019 peri­od.

The need to mod­ern­ize the U.S. stra­tegic sub­mar­ine fleet “will cause sig­ni­fic­ant and note­worthy risks to the Navy’s over­all ship­build­ing plan,” the re­port says.

The pro­jec­ted cost of the lead SSBN(X) sub­mar­ine also has in­creased, rising by about $400 mil­lion from last year’s pro­jec­tion to $12.4 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Navy.

There is a move­ment in both cham­bers of Con­gress to cre­ate a sep­ar­ate fund to pay for the new stra­tegic sub­mar­ine fleet in or­der to pre­vent the ex­pense from swamp­ing the Navy’s ship­build­ing budget. The Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee in May passed an­nu­al de­fense-au­thor­iz­a­tion le­gis­la­tion that would re­quire the es­tab­lish­ment of a “Na­tion­al Sea-based De­terrence Fund.” Le­gis­la­tion with a sim­il­ar goal has already been ap­proved by the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives.

Con­struc­tion of the new sub­mar­ine fleet is an­ti­cip­ated to be­gin in fisc­al 2021. A total of 12 new ves­sels — armed with nuc­le­ar-tipped Tri­dent D-5 bal­list­ic mis­siles — are planned for ac­quis­i­tion.

What We're Following See More »
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
1 hours ago

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
2 hours ago

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Former Sen. Conrad Burns Dies in Montana
3 hours ago

Conrad Burns, the colorful livestock auctioneer and radio executive from Montana who served three terms as a senator, died on Thursday at age 81. Burns "was ousted from office in 2006 under the specter of scandal after developing close ties to "super-lobbyist" Jack Abramoff," although no charges were ever filed.

Biden Goes Max Biden at the Vatican
3 hours ago

In an exchange not ripped from the page of The Onion, Vice President Biden revealed to a Vatican cardinal that he's been betting reporters on which cars are faster. After meeting privately with Pope Francis, Biden met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State. Within moments of greeting one another, Biden said that he'd met with the pope and, gesturing to the press pool, "I've met with these guys too." Singling out reporter Gardiner Harris, who recounted the exchange, he said, "I had to pay this man $10. He's from the New York Times. We had a bet: which is the faster car, the newer Cadillac or the new [Tesla]. ... The Tesla's two tenths of a second faster. But I lost. I paid my $10." He joked that he's "seeking absolution."

Trump’s First California Rally Turns Ugly
5 hours ago

Donald Trump held his first rally in California Thursday night, and things were chaotic: "Hundreds of demonstrators filled the street outside the Orange County amphitheater where ... stomping on cars, hurling rocks at motorists and forcefully declaring their opposition to the Republican presidential candidate. Traffic came to a halt as a boisterous crowd walked in the roadway, some waving American and Mexican flags. Protesters smashed a window on at least one police cruiser, punctured the tires of a police sport utility vehicle, and at one point tried to flip a police car."