May 4, 2007
House Seapower increases Navy shipbuilding spending
The House Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee today completed its markup of H.R. 1585,The National Defense Authorization Act for FY08.
The subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Navy and Marine Corps procurement and research and development programs.
Subcommittee Chairman Gene Taylor noted that "For the first time this subcommittee [also] has jurisdiction over programs of the Maritime Administration of the Department of Transportation. This mark authorizes the budget request for the Maritime Administration and reaffirms the authorization of the Maritime Security Program and the Maritime Guaranteed Loan Program which have multiple year authorizations contained in the Maritime Security Act of 2003."
The subcommittee's version of the bill substantially increases spending oin some important shipbuilding programs. It:
The mark authorizes the Department's budget request for the following major ship programs:
Chairman Taylor also noted that the panel's version of the bill contains a number of legislative provisions, including:
The former Chairman of the panel, Ranking Republican Roscoe Bartlett, (R-MD). said that "where we were forced to make funding cuts, these were made primarily on the basis of under-performance of an acquisition program," citing the Littoral Combat Ship as one example.
He said that "tough choices" on funding cuts had enabled the subcommittee to strengthen the shipbuilding program.
"By strengthening the shipbuilding program," said Rep. Bartlett, "not only do we take an additional step to delivering the Chief of Naval Operation's 313-ship Navy, but we also address the Navy's number one and number two unfunded priorities."
"Mr. Chairman, as we discussed earlier this week, I would ask that as we move forward, we continue to refine funding for T-AKE. I understand that while the mark in Title III fully funds the procurement cost for an additional T-AKE in Fiscal Year 2008, the actual cost of an additional T-AKE in 2008, may be $122 million - $145 million greater than the amount provided in the mark. This is due to additional post delivery and outfitting costs, which are separate from procurement costs, and also due to material cost escalations, not reflected in the baseline budget request for the Fiscal Year 2008 ship. I would simply ask that we ensure, if we're adding money to the budget for an extra ship, that we're giving the Navy the total amount they would need to add a new T-AKE to the fleet.
Bartlett described the provision requiring that future major combatant vessels have integrated nuclear propulsion as "simply the right thing to do." He noted the finding of a DoD study that risks associated with the cost and supply of oil will make the US military's ability to rapidly deploy on demand "unsustainable in the long term."