August 25, 2008
Various responses to this report have added valuable insights to specific issues. This feedback has been integrated into an updated version of the ‘Abandon Ships’ report. Most significantly, a revised Navy shipbuilding cost estimate for Fiscal Year 2009 illustrates the scope of the strategy-reality disconnect (see A Growing Congressional Backlash). Furthermore, recent developments in the Navy’s destroyer procurement policy warrant an extension of the respective section in this report (see DDG-1000 Guided Missile Destroyer).
The Navy’s procurement policy is in serious disarray. Unrealistic force plans, overoptimistic cost estimates, unrealistic projections of technical feasibility, and inadequate program management have created an unaffordable ship building program, led the Navy to phase out capable ships for new ships it cannot fund, and threaten the US Navy’s ability to implement an effective maritime strategy.
Key mission areas such as amphibious lift capability and the number of attack submarines are likely to be affected by funding shortfalls. To compensate for such gaps, the Navy relies on untested and unbudgeted assumptions about extended service life cycles for amphibious ships, cruisers, and destroyers.