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RL33741 (3)

RL33741 (3)

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RL33741 (3)
RL33741 (3)

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Published by: samlagrone on Aug 12, 2014
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Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs August 4, 2014
Congressional Research Service
7-5700 www.crs.gov RL33741
 
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
Congressional Research Service
Summary
The LCS is a relatively inexpensive Navy surface combatant equipped with modular “plug-and-fight” mission packages for countering mines, small boats, and diesel-electric submarines,  particularly in littoral (i.e., near-shore) waters. Two very different LCS designs are being built. One was developed by an industry team led by Lockheed; the other was developed by an industry team that was led by General Dynamics. The Lockheed design is built at the Marinette Marine shipyard at Marinette, WI; the General Dynamics design is built at the Austal USA shipyard at Mobile, AL. A total of 20 Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) have been funded through FY2014. The Navy had been planning to procure an eventual total of 52 LCSs, but on February 24, 2014, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that “no new contract negotiations beyond 32 ships will go forward” and that the Navy is to submit “alternative proposals to procure a capable and lethal small surface combatant, generally consistent with the capabilities of a frigate. I’ve directed the Navy to consider a completely new design, existing ship designs, and a modified LCS.” Following Hagel’s February 24, 2014, announcement, the Navy began an internal study of options for small surface combatants to be procured following the 32 LCSs. The Navy states that study was completed on July 31, 2014, as required. The Navy states that it is now reviewing the results of the study, and that the decision regarding the design of the small surface combatants to  be procured after the 32 LCSs will be announced as part of DOD’s proposed FY2016 budget, which is to be submitted to Congress in February 2015. LCSs have been procured since FY2010 under a pair of 10-ship, fixed-price incentive (FPI) block  buy contracts that the Navy awarded to the two LCS builders—Lockheed and Austal USA—on December 29, 2010. Under these contracts, which cover the years FY2010-FY2015, four LCSs (numbers 21 through 24) were to be requested for procurement in FY2015. The Navy’s proposed FY2015 budget, however, requests funding for the procurement of three rather than four LCSs. Hagel’s February 24 announcement and the Navy’s request for three rather than four LCSs in FY2015 raise several potential oversight issues for Congress, including the Navy’s plan for determining which of the two LCS builders would receive one LCS in FY2015 rather than two, and the analytical basis for the actions affecting the LCS program announced by Hagel on February 24. The LCS program has been controversial due to past cost growth, design and construction issues with the lead ships built to each design, concerns over the ships’ survivability (i.e., ability to withstand battle damage), and concerns over whether the ships are sufficiently armed and would  be able to perform their stated missions effectively. Prior to Secretary Hagel’s February 24, 2014, announcement, some observers, citing one or more of these issues, had proposed truncating the LCS program. In response to criticisms of the LCS program, the Navy has acknowledged certain  problems and stated that it was taking action to correct them, and disputed other arguments made against the program.
 
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress
Congressional Research Service
Contents
Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 1
 
Background ...................................................................................................................................... 1
 
The Program in General ............................................................................................................ 1
 
The LCS in Brief ................................................................................................................. 1
 
Planned Procurement Quantities ......................................................................................... 2
 
Two LCS Designs ................................................................................................................ 3
 
Two LCS Shipyards ............................................................................................................ 5
 
LCSs in Service ................................................................................................................... 5
 
Mission Package Deliveries Initial Operational Capability (IOC) Dates ............................ 5
 
Manning and Deployment ................................................................................................... 6
 
Unit Procurement Cost Cap ................................................................................................. 6
 
Procurement Cost ................................................................................................................ 7
 
Major Program Developments Prior to February 24, 2014, DOD Announcement of Actions Affecting LCS Program ............................................................................................ 8
 
Growth in Sea Frame Procurement Costs ........................................................................... 8
 
2007 Program Restructuring and Ship Cancellations .......................................................... 9
 
2009 Down Select Acquisition Strategy (Not Implemented) .............................................. 9
 
2010 Dual-Award Acquisition Strategy (Implemented) .................................................... 10
 
Changes in Mission Package Equipment .......................................................................... 11
 
2012 Establishment of LCS Council ................................................................................. 11
 
Controversy and Proposals to Truncate the Program ........................................................ 12
 
February 24, 2014, DOD Announcement of Actions Affecting LCS Program ....................... 13
 
February 24, 2014, Address and Background Briefing ..................................................... 13
 
February 24, 2014, Memorandum to Navy Leadership .................................................... 14
 
Earlier Press Reports That DOD Was Considering Truncating Program .......................... 14
 
 Navy Work to Identify Ship to Follow 32 LCSs ..................................................................... 15
 
Overview ........................................................................................................................... 15
 
 Navy Testimony and Letter ............................................................................................... 15
 
Press Reports ..................................................................................................................... 19
 
FY2015 LCS Program Funding Request ................................................................................. 24
 
Issues for Congress ........................................................................................................................ 24
 
Oversight Issues Arising from Request to Procure Three Rather Than Four LCSs in FY2015 ................................................................................................................................. 24
 
Oversight Issues Arising from DOD’s February 24, 2014, Announcement ............................ 25
 
Potential Oversight Questions Relating to Figure of 32 Ships .......................................... 25
 
Potential Oversight Questions Relating to Follow-On Ship Generally Consistent With Capabilities of A Frigate ........................................................................................ 26
 
Generalized Arguments For and Against Truncating LCS Program ................................. 27
 
Should There Be a Down Select to a Single LCS Design After the 24
th
 Ship? ....................... 31
 
Operation and Support (O&S) Costs ....................................................................................... 32
 
LCS Sea Frame Weight Management ...................................................................................... 34
 
Should Procurement of LCS Sea Frames and Mission Modules Be Slowed Until Operational Testing Is More Complete? ............................................................................... 35
 
Technical Risk in LCS Program .............................................................................................. 40
 
Sea Frame .......................................................................................................................... 41
 
Mission Packages .............................................................................................................. 45
 

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