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 »
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.”
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."
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.
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."
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."