CONTAINERSHIP
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What will be the size of the largest containerships ordered by the end of this year?

10,000 TEU
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August 8, 2005

New CNO orders shipbuilding report

Admiral Mullen

Newly installed Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, has reportedly fired off a batch of memos demanding studies on 10 critical areas of navy activity.

Among them is a memo to Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Robert Willard that calls on him to provide by August 31 a study of alternative shipbuilding plans

According to a report by Robert A. Hamilton, who covers Navy, defense and related topics for The Day, New London, CT, Mullen "wants a study of shipbuilding that could lead to more stable funding and a firm force-structure plan in an industry that has been beleaguered by uncertainty for several years."

Hamilton writes that the one-page memo establishes seven goals for the shipbuilding review, starting with a plan for " 'fencing' a particular amount of the (Navy budget) on an annual basis to form a steady foundation of funding to stabilize the Industrial Base."

Navy shipbuilding plans have had an increasingly troubled reception in Congress as ship prices have escalated and the numbers of ships proposed by the Navy has dropped--threatening the viability of the shipbuilding industrial base. In particular, the DD(X) destroyer has caused sticker shock--with the House Armed Services Committee version of the FY 2006 defense authorization bill lopping $1 billion from the program and putting a $1.7 billion a copy ceiling on the cost of each DD(X) while directing the Secretary of Defense to start developing a new, more affordable, surface combatant.

Another irritant for Congress has been the Navy's apparent inability to come up with a firm number of ships for the future Navy.

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