Tuesday, April 09, 2019

SSBN Re-Capitalization Footsteps

We are planning for 12, but I will stick by to what I said almost exactly nine-years ago; we'll be lucky to get 10. (NB: that is in spite of the fact that Obama did not retreat and cut and the (R) unexpectedly took the House for the 8-following years - so the budget got larger. Hey, I'm not Nostradamus.)

The COLUMBIA Class is going to be the hungry-hungry hippo of defense money.

Can you hear it?
The Navy's $115 billion procurement cost estimate is not reliable partly because it is based on overly optimistic assumptions about the labor hours needed to construct the submarines. While the Navy analyzed cost risks, it did not include margin in its estimate for likely cost overruns. The Navy told us it will continue to update its lead submarine cost estimate, but an independent assessment of the estimate may not be complete in time to inform the Navy's 2021 budget request to Congress to purchase the lead submarine. Without these reviews, the cost estimate—and, consequently, the budget—may be unrealistic. A reliable cost estimate is especially important for a program of this size and complexity to help ensure that its budget is sufficient to execute the program as planned.

The Navy is using the congressionally-authorized National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund to construct the Columbia class. The Fund allows the Navy to purchase material and start construction early on multiple submarines prior to receiving congressional authorization and funding for submarine construction. The Navy anticipates achieving savings through use of the Fund, such as buying certain components early and in bulk, but did not include the savings in its cost estimate. The Navy may have overestimated its savings as higher than those historically achieved by other such programs. Without an updated cost estimate and cost risk analysis, including a realistic estimate of savings, the fiscal year 2021 budget request may not reflect funding needed to construct the submarine.
You can get links to the full report and the highlights here.

Part of me would rather see 8 SSBN and 2-4 SSGN from the design, but that is just me. Those SSGN bring a lot of punch forward when needed ... and flexibility.

The world in nine years further down the road will be different than we think it will be. Always keep that in mind.

Hat tip Phil.

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