SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10949]
EVOLVING MISSIONS OF THE U.S. NAVY AND THE ROLE OF SURFACE AND SUBSURFACE COMBATANTS
PROJECTION FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
MARCH 15, 2006
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PROJECTION FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland, Chairman
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
THELMA DRAKE, Virginia
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
KEN CALVERT, California
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
STEVE ISRAEL, New York
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
DAN BOREN, Oklahoma
Harry Cartland, Professional Staff Member
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDoug Lane, Professional Staff Member
Heath Bope, Professional Staff Member
Andrew Hunter, Professional Staff Member
Bill Natter, Professional Staff Member
Claire E. Dunne, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Wednesday, March 15, 2006, Evolving Missions of the U.S. Navy and the Role of Surface and Subsurface Combatants
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2006
EVOLVING MISSIONS OF THE U.S. NAVY AND THE ROLE OF SURFACE AND SUBSURFACE COMBATANTS
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
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Bartlett, Hon. Roscoe G., a Representative from Maryland, Chairman, Projection Forces Subcommittee
Taylor, Hon. Gene, a Representative from Mississippi, Ranking Member, Projection Forces Subcommittee
Crenshaw, Vice Adm. Lewis W., Jr., Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Resources, Requirements and Assessments (N8), Department of the Navy, U.S. Navy; Accompanied by Maj. Gen. Gordon C. Nash, Director, Expeditionary Warfare Division (N75), U.S. Marine Corps; Rear Adm. Bernard J. ''Barry'' McCullough, Director, Surface Warfare (N76), Department of the Navy, U.S. Navy; Rear Adm. Joseph A. Walsh, Director, Submarine Warfare Division (N77), Department of the Navy, U.S. Navy; and Rear Adm. Thomas J. Kilcline, Director, Air Warfare Division (N78), Department of the Navy, U.S. Navy
O'Rourke, Ronald, Specialist in National Defense, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Crenshaw, Vice Adm. Lewis W., Jr., joint with Maj. Gen. Gordon C. Nash, Rear Adm. Thomas J. Kilcline, Rear Adm. Bernard J. ''Barry'' McCullough, and Rear Adm. Joseph A. Walsh
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DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
THE EVOLVING MISSIONS OF THE U.S. NAVY AND THE ROLE OF SURFACE AND SUBSURFACE COMBATANTS
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Projection Forces Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, March 15, 2006.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 3 p.m., in room 2212, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Roscoe Bartlett (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MARYLAND, CHAIRMAN, PROJECTION FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
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Mr. BARTLETT. Our subcommittee hearing on evolving missions of the U.S. Navy and the role of surface and subsurface combatants will come to order.
Good afternoon. We are meeting today to receive testimony on the evolving missions of the U.S. Navy and the role of surface and subsurface combatants.
Our first panel of witnesses today includes Vice Admiral Lewis Crenshaw, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Requirements and Assessments; Major General Gordon Nash, Director of Expeditionary Warfare; Rear Admiral Barry McCullough, Director of Surface Warfare; Rear Admiral Joseph Walsh, Director of Submarine Warfare; and Rear Admiral Thomas Kilcline, Director of Air Warfare. Our second panel includes only one witness, Mr. Ron O'Rourke.
Gentlemen, I want to apologize for keeping you waiting and then ultimately postponing this hearing last week. Thank you very much for coming back today. We sincerely appreciate your patience and thank you for coming today to testify before us.
First, I want to state that the committee is committed to working with the Department of Defense to ensure that our Navy remains the best in the world, properly manned and equipped to defeat any adversary and successfully defend the United States.
I want to congratulate you for the outstanding job the Navy and Marine Corps have done prosecuting the long war and projecting American military power around the globe, as well as providing humanitarian aid, both at home and abroad.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Of particular interest today is the Navy's recently stated goal of developing a stable shipbuilding plan that will eventually build us a 313-ship navy by the year 2020. Not only will this provide some predictability to the shipbuilding industry regarding Navy procurement plans, but it will also give us in Congress a clear understanding of the capability we are buying.
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO)'s 313-ship fleet of the future has been recently published in the Annual Long Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for fiscal year 2007. This document briefly describes the process by which the CNO's 313-ship plan was developed. However, we hope to gain more insight into its development during our hearing today. We are particularly interested in hearing about how threat assessments were translated into capabilities, and then how those capabilities were assigned to particular components of the fleet.
Undoubtedly, the development of the long-range shipbuilding plan was a multivariable problem, a balance between providing the desired naval capability for an affordable price while sustaining the shipbuilding industrial base. I want to focus today's hearing on the capability piece of the equation in an attempt to understand how the Navy plans to carry out its evolving missions with the CNO's 313-ship navy of the future.
Hearings planned over the next month will concentrate on the affordability and the industrial base implications of the plan. I realize that the three issues are interdependent. However, I want us to try to keep our focus on capability today.
Gentlemen, we all look forward to your testimony and appreciate your appearance before the committee this afternoon.
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Let me now recognize the committee's ranking member, my good friend Mr. Taylor, for any remarks he may wish to make.
STATEMENT OF HON. GENE TAYLOR, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSISSIPPI, RANKING MEMBER, PROJECTION FORCES SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank our panel again, and along with the chairman I very much apologize for keeping you here last week and it just didn't work out that we could hear from you. Thank you for coming back.
A couple of things in particular that I would like to hear from that is probably already a part of your prepared statements. But, obviously, I mentioned it in the future, the DD(X) program, the Littoral Combat Ship program and, given the geographic makeup of my congressional district, I am very keenly interested in the future of the riverine program, the hand-off between the Marines to the Navy on that, what your timeline is.
And, as a proponent of military-to-military, and knowing that some of the things that we have done have delayed our ability to have mil-to-mil meetings with our colleagues in Latin America, how, if any, would that affect the training of the people who come from other countries for riverine programs, the switch from the Marines over to the Navy.
So, again, thank you for being here. If you could address that, I would appreciate it. I know you have a lot of other things to tell us.
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Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you. During the first panel, I hope we can gain an understanding of the development of the 313-ship plan and how that force will be employed. During the second panel, I hope to discuss the pros and cons of the 313-ship plan and entertain potential alternatives.
The entirety of the witnesses' prepared statements will be entered into the record.
Admiral Crenshaw, the floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF VICE ADM. LEWIS W. CRENSHAW, JR., DEPUTY CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS, RESOURCES, REQUIREMENTS AND ASSESSMENTS (N8), DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, U.S. NAVY; ACCOMPANIED BY MAJ. GEN. GORDON C. NASH, DIRECTOR, EXPEDITIONARY WARFARE DIVISION (N75), U.S. MARINE CORPS; REAR ADM. BERNARD J. ''BARRY'' MCCULLOUGH, DIRECTOR, SURFACE WARFARE (N76), DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, U.S. NAVY; REAR ADM. JOSEPH A. WALSH, DIRECTOR, SUBMARINE WARFARE DIVISION (N77), DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, U.S. NAVY; AND REAR ADM. THOMAS J. KILCLINE, DIRECTOR, AIR WARFARE DIVISION (N78), DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, U.S. NAVY
Admiral CRENSHAW. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Taylor.
It is a privilege for me, as the Navy's lead resource requirements and assessment officer to appear before you today to discuss the Navy's force structure as recently submitted in the President's 2007 budget. As you have mentioned, Mr. Chairman, I am joined by my resource and requirements directors from the surface, subsurface, aviation and expeditionary areas, and they will assist me today in answering any questions you may have.
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I am really excited about this budget, because it is the basis from which we will implement the findings of the recently completed Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which includes new and emerging mission sets, such as the riverine warfare and the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, the maritime domain awareness and partner capacities.
Additionally, this budget supports the CNO's priorities. It sustains combat readiness, develops the 21st century leaders, and, finally, it builds a fleet for the future, which is the focus for this particular hearing.
Over the last year, we have employed a capabilities-based approach to calculate the size and the composition of this future force required to meet the expected joint force demands of the future. This analysis concluded, as you have mentioned, a force of about 313 ships is necessary to meet all demands with acceptable risk.
This budget is the stepping stone to realizing this fleet and as the 30-year shipbuilding plan evolves over the next year, it will produce an investment plan that is both executable and affordable, based on balancing several factors that you have mentioned: naval force capability, risk and the ability of the industrial base to execute this plan. Implementing it will be a challenge, but I believe that it is achievable, and it is essential that we control the cost of building the ships that we say that we need to maintain stability in the program.
To do this, I have instituted a review board at the highest levels of the Navy leadership in an effort to come to grips with the steps necessary to reach the cost targets we may discuss today. Right-sizing capabilities, adhering to cost and production schedules, common hull forms, common electronics across classes and producibility are some of the methods that we will be using to control costs.
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Determining the right size of the force will not stop there. This year, we are also concluding a detailed review of naval aviation in the same manner that we looked at the shipbuilding force in 2007, for the 2007 budget. Combined with these plans, they will form our road map to the future naval force, which is capable, stable and affordable.
We look forward to the future for a continued strong partnership with the Congress that has brought us the many successes that we have today. Thank you for your consideration, and we are ready to answer your questions, sir.
[The joint prepared statement of Admiral Crenshaw with General Nash, Admiral Kilcline, Admiral McCullough, and Admiral Walsh can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much, and thank your colleagues for coming to meet with us today.
As my usual custom is, I ask my questions last on the subcommittee, so I turn to my ranking member, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. I will throw it open to the panel. If you could walk me through how you see the future of the DD(X) program, timeline. One of the complaints I have had on a very informal basis with some of the designers from one of the yards is that they feel like the Navy keeps moving the goalpost. Part of the reason for the cost escalation is that Navy won't, for want of a better term, sanctify a design, therefore the costs keep going up with the changes.
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The second thing is the future littoral combat system, if you could give us a timeline of when you expect the first dozen of those vessels to be at sea.
And the third is, I recognize that the Navy's changed in growth of the riverine program. It certainly makes sense for what is happening in Iraq. I know that my port security unit, a bunch of Coast Guardsmen have been over there twice now. It strikes me as something that we need right now.
The question is, with the stated goal of the administration that we are not going to be in Iraq forever, are we putting resources to something that we may not need five to ten years from now. The situation may be a Chinese thrust toward Taiwan or whatever. Again, just your thoughts on those three things.
The last thing is sea swap. Two of the complaints I have heard, and I welcome you gentlemen to address it, one is that the sailor loses connection with the ship. He is no longer part of the crew, that he is now just an interchangeable part of any number of ships. And some of the people I have spoken to think that is a serious concern.
The other part is that for everything that is made, that motor is going to spin so many times before it breaks down, whether it is electrical, nuclear or whatever. And I can see by our seeing those points that that ship is going to spend more time at sea. The point I would like addressed is, if it is spending more time at sea, doesn't that mean we are wearing it out that much faster?
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Those are my questions. I throw them open to the panel.
Admiral CRENSHAW. I think, sir, if it is okay with you, we are going to tackle these one at a time. DD(X), Admiral McCullough can give you the details of it.
As you know, it is a key program for us, because of the capabilities that it delivers. There has been a lot of focus on the fact that it is a naval fire platform to support our expeditionary forces, but it does a lot more than that, too, and I think Admiral McCullough will cover that for you.
It really is a complete sea shield. It is a very capable air warfare ship, capable surface warfare and undersea warfare ship, and one that as we look at things like open architectures and some of the new exciting electric-drive technologies and other technology we are putting in there are going to be very important to us, not only for this program. But we are going to see benefits in this program for a long time in some of the other platforms that we are purchasing.
I will turn it over to Barry to cover the details of the schedule and where we are there, but I think we are looking good so far.
Admiral MCCULLOUGH. Yes, sir. Thanks, Admiral.
Mr. Taylor, the current build profile is two ships in 2007 with a dual lead-ship strategy, none in 2008 and then one thereafter to complete the build of seven. The Program Executive Officer (PEO) and the shipbuilder in Operations Navy (OPNAV) have been in multiple discussions to figure out how to get cost out of the ship, which is very important to us.
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Recently, we have been to capabilities, and those that would not affect Operational Requirements Document (ORD) requirements or Key Performance Parameters (KPPs) and not affect schedules in one bin, those requirements that potentially affect ORD or KPP but not schedule and those that could affect both schedule and ORD or KPP requirements. Working with the shipbuilders, PEO and OPNAV, we took all the cost trades that were presented in the non-scheduled, non-ORD, non-KPP bin and about three in those that could affect ORD or KPP but not schedules, and the ones we have took affected ORDs and not key performance parameters.
In doing that, we took about $265 million out of the lead ship, which gets us to nearly our target that we work with the shipbuilders of, of $3 billion. And when we look at the recurring costs and the benefits from the non-recurring costs that we took, we got about $214 million out of this ship, which puts it below our target cost of $2 billion.
So I think between OPNAV and the Naval Sea Systems (NAVSEA) organization, we have worked with the shipbuilders to stabilize design efforts. Using the Catia5 computer program, both shipyards have designed critical pieces of the ship, meaning they have designed engineering compartments as well as non-engineering compartments. And then they traded the computer design and the alternate shipyard built rough drawings off of the opposite shipyard's Catia-based design.
So we think we have mitigated any problems with the computer design being run by the two shipyards. So I would tell you that the program is stable at this point. The capability the ship brings is sorely needed by the Navy to buy us back battle space in the littoral.
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Admiral Crenshaw talked about improved capability. The radar that is being developed has superior technology to spy in both waveform development, side-lobe suppression and ability to track targets in a high-clutter environment, which means over land. So we can, in fact, project the fence over forces ashore, and that is in addition to the volume in highly accurate precision fires that the shift will provide with the two advanced gun systems.
So I think the program is sound, and I think it is stable, and we look forward to working with the shipbuilders to maintain it.
Mr. TAYLOR. When is the first ship delivered to the fleet?
Admiral MCCULLOUGH. The first ship delivers to the fleet in fiscal year 2013, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. You bet month's paycheck on that?
Admiral MCCULLOUGH. Yes, sir, I will.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay.
Mr. BARTLETT. I have made a note here.
Mr. TAYLOR. I hope it comes true.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just walk me through the LCS, please.
Admiral MCCULLOUGH. Yes, sir. Current profile on LCS is two in 2007. The CNO submitted an unfunded for two additional, coupled with the four previous and the two that the Congress added in the 2006 Defense Authorization Act.
Mr. TAYLOR. What are the two that are delivered in 2007, where are they actually manufactured?
Admiral MCCULLOUGH. The 2007 ships, one is going to be built in Marinette and the other one is an Austal ship. So one of them will be built in Wisconsin and one of them will be built in Alabama.
Mr. TAYLOR. Did the storm have any effect on the Alabama yard?
Admiral MCCULLOUGH. I am sure it had some, sir. I can't quantify it, but they did the keel laying for the first ship in December, and that is pretty much what we planned, and so I don't see that that ship will be delayed.
You asked when we would get to the first dozen. The first four and then the two that the Congress added make six. There is two in 2007 for eight. Three in 2008 will give you 11, and then the profile goes to six, six, six, through to fiscal year 2011. So we get the slightly more than 12 in fiscal year 2009. And our current plan, as the CNO has directed, is to build the flight zero ships through the 2009 plan so we can get enough of these ships at sea to continue our spiral of development in both sea frames and mission packages, sir.
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Mr. TAYLOR. Do you envision them working in consult with other LCS vessels? Any mix with other fleets? How does that work out?
Admiral MCCULLOUGH. The concept of operations for employment of the LCSs is being developed by the commander of the 3rd Fleet in conjunction with Fleet Forces Command and OPNAV. The initial CONOPS we have in phase zero is to have these ships operating independently for stability operations and developing preparation of a potential battle space.
Should the situation deteriorate, they would be brought under the networked umbrella of multi-mission combatants to provide them the protection they would need. They would use the off-board vessels, both the unmanned undersea vehicle and the unmanned aerial vehicles to do their work and keep the sailors out of potential danger areas.
Mr. TAYLOR. If you can walk me through your riverine plans, the transition from the Marines to the Navy.
Admiral CRENSHAW. I will let General Nash handle that one, but I would like to answer one part of your question, sir. And you ask about do you think that, if when Iraq is over, whether or not these will still be a capability that we think we need.
We did a lot of work last year in preparation and as part of the QDR looking at what our role is going to be, not only in major conflict, but where we play also in the Global War on Terrorism and in irregular warfare. And time and time again, the capabilities that we needed in order to be effective in these arenas have pointed to the need to have a brown water capability to be able to engage some of these emerging navies on their own level.
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It is one thing to go into some of these smaller countries and show up with a very large ship that they would have no capability or hope of ever achieving. On the other hand, when we get to their level at the riverine level, they can feel non-threatened and feel like it is a doable do, and really I think we get a better insertion into the organizations when we do that.
But there is definite need, as we look to the future of the instability, to be able to have a naval presence, both in what we call the green water, which is sort of the interface between the deep water and the brown water forces, and then the brown water, where we can begin to engage some of these countries that arethe QDR refers to it as at a strategic crossroad, to decide which way do we think this country is going to go. And being there and being able to engage with them with these type of vessels is going to be very important to us.
They have their own war fighting capabilities and involvement in the Global War on Terrorism and in other ways as well, and we will see some of that. I am sure General Nash will cover that.
Mr. TAYLOR. Admiral, one of the things I am curious, in other branches of the service, the Coast Guard is kicking around putting together three teams, something similar to the Special Forces. Obviously, it will be different being Coast Guard, one on each coast, in the event that there is a suspect vessel that refuses to stop.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So my question that I hope you all would address is, does the riverine capability make that unnecessary to the laws of the land? I am very much aware that you could stick a Coast Guard petty officer onboard one of your vessels and therefore you are now clear as far as the law if you had to board a domestic vessel in territorial waters.
Does that create a redundancy that maybe we don't need, given the stand up of the river units? Or if you don't want to touch that, but the question does jump out in my mind, whether or not we really need both.
Admiral CRENSHAW. Well, I don't think we have refined the Concept of Operations (CONOPS) enough to be able to give specific detail on how the riverine force may fit into homeland defense, other than to say that as we develop the entire plan of about 313 ships, one of the assumptions that we made were that the forces that were in Continental United States (CONUS), in various stages of workup and training, would be available for those types of missions should that arise.
Mr. TAYLOR. Do you envision stationing all of these units in one place?
Admiral CRENSHAW. I don't believe we have gone that far down the road to be able to say that, sir.
One of the things, though, I think is very important to mention is this notion of an interagency approach to this is really, I think, fundamental to the success of homeland defense as well as the war on terror, and in a major war. And so I think this is a key area that we will be working with the Coast Guard on to make sure that it is not a redundant capability, but I think there will be more than enough work to go around.
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General NASH. Mr. Taylor, it is good to see you again.
Mr. TAYLOR. It is good to see you, General.
General NASH. The Marine Corps developed a riverine capability in the late 1980's. General Elgray was the commandant. It became a fully funded and operational unit really in the late 1990's. The Marine Small Craft Company has been in combat for the last three years in Iraq, both on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, probably for the last two years securing the Haditha Dam, which has been their primary mission.
The United States Marine Corps made a conscious decision with the Nation at war, fixed end strength, to get out of the riverine business directly, and put these Marines in other combat units, specifically infantry battalions. When the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mullen, became CNO in July, he said we are a nation at war, we are in a national crisis, we are in a national emergency. The United States Navy must do everything possible to relieve the stress on the rest of the forces in combat.
He said, I will deploy the first Navy conventionalthe key word is conventionalriverine capability to relieve the Marines the Haditha Dam by March of 2007. And that takes us to where we are today.
Riverine group one, as part of the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command, has been stood up in Little Creek, Virginia, initially, under Rear Admiral Don Bullard, the commander of the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command. We will stand up three riverine squadrons. Riverine squadron one will fall on equipment that equipment that Marines already have.
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Mr. TAYLOR. And riverine squadron is how many vessels?
General NASH. Sir, it is 12 vessels. But this initial squadron will fall in upon ten Marine craft that are in Iraq today. They have seven craft in the continental United States, down in Camp Lejeuene, where riverine squadron one will conduct its initial training, redeployment training, if you will, and use a lot of the equipment from the Marines, an agreement really made between Chief of Naval Operations Mullen and Commandant of the Marine Corps Hagee.
We have two more squadrons to stand up. We don't know the end state of this rotation to Iraq, so although we have riverine squadron one with equipment to fall in upon, we have got to start acquiring the equipment for the great sailors who will man and deploy with riverine squadron two and three.
So we have an initial concept of what the boats will be, 33-foot Special Operations craft, riverine, built by U.S. Marines in Gulfport, Mississippi. A 34-foot Dauntless by SeaArk Marine in Monticello, Arkansas, and a 39-foot small unit riverine craft built by SAFE Boat in Port Orchard, Washington.
These will provide enough craft for riverine squadrons two and three to deploy. We then must look at what is the craft to actually buy for riverine squadron one after they return from Iraq.
As to your question, is this a limited or one-time operational requirement, Mr. Taylor, last year when we first tabled this concept, we modeled it after Special Boat Team (SBT) 22, home ported in Stennis. And they weren't focused on Iraq. They were focused on worldwide missions. Some Special Operations capable or Special Operations force missions, but the majority were missions such as deployments for training, mobile training teams, building these trusted relationships that Vice Admiral Crenshaw talked about with the navies, both riverine and littoral navies, around the world.
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Specific mission, interdicting illicit drugs, interdicting insurgents on the waterways of the world. This is a mission, as we first came to develop it, which focused more on a worldwide deployment missions rather than just on the Haditha Dam or the dam on the Tigris and the Euphrates.
Mr. TAYLOR. I am curious, if I am not mistaken, the men who man SBT 22, that becomes a career path.
General NASH. Yes, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. They are not pulled off to go do destroyer duty or something else. Is that how you envision it for the riverine units?
General NASH. Sir, that is still under consideration, whether we will make that a specialty for life, where you will become a riverine sailor, or you maybe serve on the Cape St. George for a while, and then are assigned, detailed to the riverine units, and the Navy is still looking at all options to see what is best for the individual sailor, for his career pathcan he still get promoted? Have a chance to command later on his career? And what is best for the United States Navy?
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You have been very generous.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much.
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And we have now been joined by Mr. Simmons, and I would turn to him for his questions and comments.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize for being late.
And I welcome Rear Admiral Walsh. Good to see you again, my way in years past and for a submariner you keep floating up and up and up. Usually they go down, down, down. Congratulations.
Thank you all, gentlemen, for your testimony.
There is been a lot of discussion about the naval ship construction program and the plan. The chairman has very rightly pointed out previously that the United States of America has six shipyards, six major shipyards, and work enough for four, or three. And whether the analogy is that you are a farmer with six horses and food for three or you are a father with six children and food for three, either somebody is going to end up with no food and expire, or everybody is going to expire slowly.
Up my way, we are going down slowly and not in a happy way. We have the Electric Boat Corporation, the world's is premier designer and builder of submarines, recently issued 190 pink slips to designers. They are being laid off. Upwards of 900 will be laid off this year, upwards of 2,000 shipyard workers. And that is a national asset walking out the door. It is a unique national capability walking out the door, a capability that is really unparalleled anywhere else in the world.
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But if we allow this to occur, and we don't take it seriously, when we need that capability in a few years, it won't be there. The Chinese will be freshly equipped with between 50 and 20 new diesel end nuclear submarines, happily provided by the Soviet Union so they can keep their design and construction up to date. And our British friends, we have bailed them out in subsurface a few years ago because they let their capacity decline and disappear. So we bailed them out. They can't bail us out, because they don't have that capacity.
And so the question I ask myself is, who is going to help us? The Russians, the Chinese? Now, against that backdrop, we have the Navy stating that we want to do two strategic attack subs a year, two Virginia class a year, but not right away. We want to wait for the out years, and, besides, we want to get them down to two billion a year, which I believe we can do. But we need to start the advanced procurement (AP) now. We need to start the advanced procurement now.
Is there anyone at the desk that wishes to respond to these comments, that shares my concern? Is there anyone at the desk that shares my concern, or are we simply going to slip ever close to this precipice?
And let me conclude that the last time that we had major layoffs of designers, we only got 10 percent back. They go elsewhere. And like any team that is put together for a certain purpose, when they dissipate, you will never replicate, you have to rebuild, and that is hard to do. That is hard to do and that worries me greatly.
It worries me greatly that the Advanced SEAL Delivery Systems (ASDS), which is something our Special Operations forces drastically need, is 700 percent over budget, 12 years behind schedule and still hasn't delivered a workable first SEAL delivery system because of design problems, principally, and program management problems. And yet that project still limps along while the world's best submarine designers and builders are walking out the door with pink slips.
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What are we going to do about this?
Admiral CRENSHAW. Mr. Simmons, I appreciate your question. The issue of the submarine design base is one that is of concern to all of us. I know the CNO is very concerned about this, and it is something we know we need to do something about. This is a national capability and one that we have to retain.
I think Admiral Walsh can speak more to a study that the RAND Corporation is doing to help us figure out a way ahead here, and it is something that we are going to have to fix. There is no doubt about that.
This is one of the strengths of the United States is having these designers, and we know that they design the best submarines, nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, and that is one of those asymmetric advantages that we enjoy here. And so we are very concerned about this and trying to come up with some ways that will allow us to preserve this asset. There are options available. I will let Admiral Walsh, maybe he has got a few of those, but that is a problem with us.
In terms of the two submarines a year, as we crafted the plan for the CNO on determining the numbers of ships and submarines that we were going to need, we worked very carefully to try to make sure that we met what the nation's needs were in terms of capability, as well as how do we balance industrial base issues. And then we had to take a look and see what the affordability is.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And the CNO is committed to beginning to build two submarines a year, Virginia-class submarines, in 2012. That is what I intend to do and lay the money in the budget for the advanced procurement for that. Typically, we put in a little bit of money on a three-year profile about two years prior and spend some more AP the year before, and then the bulk of the year we purchase them.
But given the number of submarines we have today and the affordability issues we had, we just couldn't afford to try to procure any more submarines any earlier. And this is something we will continue to take a look at as we develop the budgets over the next several years and see what we can do.
But we worked very hard to produce this plan so that it would be affordable and producible and there were some trade-offs that we had to make here. So I am trying to stick as close as we can to this plan to make sure that we can have the stability we need to allow all of our suppliers to be able to put some confidence in the numbers we have and allow them to make some of the capital investments they need in order to save money in building some of these ships.
I have invested some money in the program for cost-saving initiatives within the submarine program, and Admiral Walsh can cover those in a little bit more detail for you, but this is a decision we worked very hard on and we will continue to work on. But, right now, I see two and 12 with the money that we have, is about the best we are going to be able to do. And I will defer the ASDS to Admiral Walsh, here, on that.
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Admiral WALSH. Yes, sir.
Mr. Simmons, the question you asked with respect to the submarine industrial bases is clearly one that is of critical concern to use, and there really are two components of that, as you mention. There is the construction industrial base, the actual manufacturers, the actual shipyard workers that build the ship, and then there is the design industrial base.
In my mind, the design industrial base is at this particular time more critical for us to address and the CNO has gone on record. He recognizes the criticality of maintaining that design industrial base. He has also gone on record by saying that he recognizes that if we as a company lose that design industrial base, we may not be able to reconstitute that design industrial base, even if we should desire to do that, which we obviously do.
As Admiral Crenshaw mentioned, we are working with RAND to, A, define the industrial base for us. We have worked with Electric Boat to initially kind of put the bookends on what that is. We understand the 24 design skills that we need to retain to design high-end nuclear submarines. And we are looking at every option that we need to to try to retain that capability.
Designing high-end nuclear submarines, in my mind, is half science and half art, and that becomes part of the issue. We have to retain sufficient designers that have been designing submarines for most of their adult lives and transfer that knowledge to young designers that are going to sustain this design industrial base out into the future. So it is a very complex problem. We have talked, can we just bring the SSBN design, the future SSBN design to the left, to retain that critical mass of designers?
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That is one option we can look at, but does that really solve the problem for us? If it only retains the designers that are 50 to 55 years old and then they retire in 5 years, we haven't accomplished our needs, so it is a very complex equation, I think, in terms of what skill sets we have to retain, what the demographics are of the people that we need to retain, what options do we have with respect to mitigating the design industrial base issues, such as some of the cost-reduction initiatives that we are working on with Virginia to kind of maintain that critical mass further to the right than we are today? What can we do with either an SSBN design or an SSXN design, a possible follow on to a modular submarine that would meet both the SSBN and SSN future requirements?
So we understand, and, as I said, the CNO is fully committed to retaining that design capability and we are looking at that. The RAND study that we have will report out in the late summer, early fall time frame, so we will be able I think to really put some real meet on the bones of what it is we would like to do to retain that industrial base, but we are committed to doing so.
With respect to ASDS, well, first to the issue of starting, as Admiral Crenshaw discussed. Right now, we are committed to starting the two-per-year Virginia in 2012. Part of starting the two-per-year Virginia is getting the cost of ship down to $2 billion per hull, as you are aware.
I absolutely believe that we can accomplish that. It is going to take some time to accomplish that. We are looking at lots of expenditures with combining with the shipbuilder where we will join with them in making the capital expenditures to improve the modularity. For example, with the super barges now, we are going to go from where today we build the Virginia in ten different modules. We will build that ship in four super-modules.
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We will put the molet in place, special hull treatment on, up at Quonset Point, so that we don't have to do that in post shakedown availability (PSA), reducing the timeline, reducing the cost of building the ship.
We are looking at initiatives in our non-propulsion electronics where today when we contract for the ship, we contract for the entire ship, including the sonar system, the combat system, yet the cost of all the capability in those systems is software based. We pull all of that equipment out during the PSA period and put the updated combat and sonar systems on. We will look at putting the bare bones combat and sonar systems on and putting the state-of-the-art equipment on while the ship is in PSA.
So I think we are on a road where we can accomplish the $2 billion per hull change that we have before us, but we do have to absolutely retain the stability in the shipbuilding plan. A 30-year shipbuilding plan is really a couple of months old and, I mean, ships are big rocks in the plan, and if you move a Virginia to the left, you have to move something else to the right and I think the entire plan kind of unravels quickly.
So we are trying to maintain stability. I think stability in and of itself will reduce costs that the shipbuilders can plan on a plan of record that we do not change, so we are committed to the stability of the plan that the CNO proposed.
ASDS, as you know, sir, is actually a Special Operations Command (SOCOM) program, not a program that is resourced from OPNAV. General Brown is certainly committed to the requirement for having a capability where we can provide Special Forces in a dry environment to go ashore. The wet environment that the Special Operations Forces (SOF) forces operate in is the limiting item in their mission set in terms of their mission profiles and how far and how long they can stay submerged if they are in a wet environment.
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So having a dry environment capability is certainly necessary. General Brown and his folks are looking hard at what is the required reliability that they need in a dry submersible vehicle? And then, what is the reliability that we can get from the present vehicle? That work is ongoing.
As you know, General Brown has reduced the program buy to the single ship that we have and we are working to see if we can increase the reliability of that vehicle to the point that it will satisfy the SOCOM needs.
Mr. SIMMONS. Mr. Chairman, would you indulge me a few more minutes, the ranking member?
Mr. BARTLETT. Certainly.
Mr. SIMMONS. Okay, thank you.
I realize the ASDS is a SOCOM-paid-for system, but it is a system that will be delivered in some respects on the top of a fast-attack submarine. It is a system that has to protect the fast-attack submarine that is delivering it. Therefore, it cannot afford to be noisy. It cannot afford to create vortices in the water, underwater, as it is being transported. It might disclose the location of the delivery vessel if that is how it is being delivered in that particular mode.
It is rectangular in shape. I don't know how many rectangular submarines are out in the world these days. It doesn't look like a submarine or a submersible to me, and a lot of smart people are saying that whatever investment the taxpayer has made in R&D, research and development, that system simply is not going to work, we are ten years beyond that. It is time to re-bid the project, and maybe it is time for the Navy to assume responsibility for the delivery system, since the Navy is going to be intimately involved in the use of the delivery system.
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Essentially, in years past, Special Ops folks would ride with you and get delivered, and they would get picked up. And so it is a curious thing that we have now wasted $700 million of the taxpayers' money on a submersible designed to deliver Special Ops people, but obviously incapable of doing so in a safe and secure fashion.
So I understand what you are saying when you are saying it is a SOCOM project, but it is certainly a project that could directly affect the Navy and the safety of Navy personnel and the security of Navy equipment, namely a $2.4 billion nuclear submarine.
Let me shift to one more question. The President of the United States in April of 2001 authorized the sale of eight diesel submarines to the Republic of China on Taiwan. That project moved through channels at the Pentagon until I believe around January of 2004, and then it appeared it was not going to move forward any more.
In my recent visit to Taiwan, they indicated that they were balking at the sale price of $12 billion as a bulk purchase of the eight subs, without knowing what they looked like, what they were designed to do and what in fact the Taiwanese were getting for that sale price. And I suggested breaking the project out into pieces, most specifically, $225 million for complete design, conceptual through final detail design, at which point the decision could be made as to whether to proceed with production.
That would effect, in a beneficial way, it seems to me, the problem of the hemorrhage of designers from Electric Boat, $220 million designing a diesel submarine for sale to Taiwan, which has been approved by the President and supported by the State Department. It seems to me a smart way to address the problem that we have with the designers, and yet the officials I talked to in Taiwan, from President Chen Shui-bian on down to Defense Minister Lee Chieh, who happens to be a submariner, have all said the Navy has been dragging its feet on that.
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Is that correct? Has the Navy been dragging its feet on that project, and would the Navy support a breakout of the design work for an Foreign Military Sale (FMS)?
General Nash, I apologize. If you want to take a 5-minute break and get a cup of coffee.
General NASH. Sir, my father served in three wars as a submariner. I appreciate your question.
Mr. SIMMONS. Bless you. Okay, thank you.
Admiral WALSH. Sir, to answer your question, no, the Navy has not been dragging its feet on the procurement of eight diesel submarines by Taiwan. We in the Navy support the President's initiative to sell eight diesel submarines to Taiwan.
With respect to the concept that your raised with respect to splitting out the design and the construction, I think that is something that could very well help mitigate the design industrial base issues that we previously discussed. Clearly, it would not solve that problem for us. There is a difference in designing a diesel submarine, clearly, from a high-end nuclear submarine, but I think that could potentially help with respect to the design industrial base issues.
Whether Taiwan would want to actually do that and do a two-step process obviously is up to the people of Taiwan to decide.
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Mr. SIMMONS. I thank you for that answer. They would prefer that. Just the way members of this subcommittee, members of our Congress, like to see what we are buying with the taxpayers' dollars, they like to see what they are buying with their taxpayers' dollars. And, traditionally, an FMS sale is a sale of something that exists. It is a sale of an aircraft, it is a sale of a destroyer.
It is a sale of something you can see and you can touch, but this is the sale of something that doesn't even exist. And so common sense tells you, give them the opportunity to buy a design, to work with a designer, whoever that may beand there are four companies that are involved. It is not just E.B. But give them the opportunity to work with a designer, to come up with a design, which could beneficially, as you say, mitigate against the problem we have with the designers, and at a later date, decisions can be made about production. So I appreciate that response.
Mr. Chairman, thank you, and I yield back.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much for your questions.
One of the advantages of holding hearing on a subject like this is that we hopefully have the opportunity to submit questions to you for the record. And with your agreement, you can expect some questions for the record that after we look over your testimony and reflect on the discussion here that we will need to ask you.
Admiral Crenshaw, you mentioned that you developed this plan for a 313-ship navy that met what you called acceptable risk. How many different risk categories do you have, and what are they?
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Admiral CRENSHAW. That is a good question, Mr. Chairman.
Typically, when I am being briefed on programs and I take a look at things, I kind of start out kind of at what I might call a red line, and that, Admiral Clark years ago used to refer to that as what it takes to win. So I would say probably my riskiest category is my red line, below which it has a serious effect on our ability to prevail in whatever mission area that we are taking a look at. So that is sort of a discriminator that I use, red lines.
In fact, when I ask people to come brief me on things, I say show me what the red line is so I know below which I can't go. Now, this is not necessarily a standard, but certainly the way I look at things, is there is severe risk category. And that is a category that when I talk about severe risk that means that there are some serious issues
Mr. BARTLETT. Is that above or below the red line?
Admiral CRENSHAW. That would be just above the red line.
Mr. BARTLETT. Just above the red line, okay.
Admiral CRENSHAW. And that would be you can see your way clear, but there is a lot of risk associated there. And I think moderate risk in my mind is probably a very doable and need to be careful to look at the assumptions that we made when we came in with that.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And then, typically, we have low risk, which is a category that when people tell me low risk, I sort of sigh and feel good. That is typically an area where we may have redundant capabilities, or not only an overmatching, an overwhelming capability, but too much of a certain capability.
That is kind of the categories I use, and I am at a little risk here. I haven't talked to Admiral Mullen about the specific categories he uses, but that is typically what we will talk about in meetings, is what is the red line, boy, this is really severe, we don't want to go there. This is moderate, we have to have some mitigating circumstances in place, or no risk with this thing.
Mr. BARTLETT. Does what is acceptable move up and down that scale relative to how much money is available?
Admiral CRENSHAW. I try not to let that influence. Personally, I try not to do that. I try to keep what the risk is separate from affordability, and that is one of the things that we balance.
Mr. BARTLETT. Now, you use the term acceptable risk. For this exercise, what did you consider acceptable? What were you working to, moderate?
Admiral CRENSHAW. There was a variety of areas that we looked at when we came up with evaluating the risk in the various categories. I think it would be best if I could sit down some time and kind of show you what each different category, what we looked at, what we thought the factors were, level of maturity and technologies and things. It wasn't just a set answer, as we looked at various pieces of the plan that we were evolving.
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Mr. BARTLETT. There were different risk levels for different parts of the plan?
Admiral CRENSHAW. Well, I think if you looked at the plan, there would be some areas where I could show you that there was a little less risk in the metrics that we used in certain areas than in some of the others. I think that would be something that would probably in a session that we could sit down and kind of walk you through where we saw those.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. BARTLETT. In any exercise like this, obviously what you do is somewhere between a threat-driven and a budget-driven solution. We want you to be now not a good team player, but to be honest, personally, with us. Were you driving closer to the threat-driven or the budget-driven line when you developed this plan?
If you told us you were driving a little closer to the budget-driven line, we would be inclined to think that was a very thoughtful and correct answer.
Admiral CRENSHAW. Yes, sir. I appreciate that, but I honestly take a look at what I think the capabilities are that we needed to win and prevail in the various areas that we were looking at. One of the things that we have to do is try to balance affordability here, and that is where we came up with this notion of we need a certain number of capabilities.
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Now, the affordability piece comes into how much can we afford to spend on a particular item, how much can we actuallywhat sort of trades do we have to make here? And we certainly made those trades. I think in every case, the acid test that it always use and the CNO always used, is this what it takes to win, is this what it takes to prevail? Because I don't want to go below that.
Mr. BARTLETT. I don't think that there is any question that we are going to win. The real question is at what cost, and that is determined of course by the risk level. If we assume, and I think it would be a fair assumption, that much of your plan brings us to your kind of mid range of risk at moderate risk, if you were to be developing a plan for what your Navy would look like and you were going to say I don't want to go below low risk, and I know you can't do that today, but could you respond for the record for us and tell us what your Navy would look like, if you were at low risk rather than moderate risk?
I am going to assume that your acceptable risk was for at least many elements of this plan moderate risk, and we would like to know what your Navy would look like if you are developing a plan to low risk. Can you do that for us?
Admiral CRENSHAW. We can certainly take a crack at it, sir.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. BARTLETT. There are several questions I was going to ask you, and we may for the record need to ask you these questions that they have got on my sheet because of this risk thing. How has the availability of innovative crewing concepts impacted the 313-ship navy?
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Obviously, you are going to do sea swapping because it saves money. And, as Mr. Taylor mentioned, there is an emotional element involved here. Sailors now don't have their ship. I mean, they are sharing it with two other crews, maybe. You are going to be a little bit less effective in fighting. If it is your ship, you are going to be a little bit more effective, a little bit more of a team, than if it is not your ship.
And so obviously you have some sort of a compromise when you are doing sea swapping, and you wouldn't do sea swapping if you had all the money in the world. So that is just one of the questions that I thought got on my sheet because there was a budgetary consideration here.
Another one is if we need 48 SSNs, how come for a dozen years or so we are down at around 40 SSNs. And I would suspect that if budget weren't a consideration, that you would be at at what you thought we ought to be at for all of those years, that is, 48 instead ofI think you dip down in some of the out years to 40, which is way below the 48.
And a really good question, we are going to go if we follow your plan down to ten carriers. It is a big world out there, and the question was, can you really achieve your six plus one goal with only ten boats? And, again, this is a budget-driven consideration.
The original sea basing strategy discussed having multiple MPF squadrons. The 313-ship navy plan purchased only one 14-ship squadron in the next 30 years. And the question was, was this decision made for budgetary or operational reasons? I suspect that is a pretty rhetorical question. It was obviously made for budgetary reasons. If you thought you needed several, why, you would have put several in the plan if you could have afforded it.
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So I think we would be very interested in what your Navy would look like if you were developing a plan to the low-risk level, rather than the moderate-risk level, which I am going to assume was a risk level you were planning to for most of the elements of this plan.
And one other exercise I would like you to do for us, which would be very instructive for us, and I was going to ask this question even before Mr. Simmons came, because it is on my list herewe have had a surface Navy for 5,000 years of recorded history.
We have had submarines for about 150 years, and I suspect, just because of how we operate, that when we are looking at missions and who is going to conduct the mission, that just about the only missions we really consider submarines for are those missions that the surface fleet obviously can't do. And I would like to know what your Navy would look like if you competed all the missionsfor instance, I am not so sure that we would be building the littoral combat ships if we had really competed that mission and submarines had been in that mix.
I think there is an incredible advantage to being able to duck your head and hide in today's world, and you can't do that when you are on the surface. You sure can do that when you are a submarine. And so if you could, for us, kind of compete these missions. Don't assume that just because the surface fleet has usually done it that it ought to be a mission of the surface fleet, but really think through who could better do that. And what would your mix of ships look like if we were competing every mission and not just giving submarines only those things that surface ships can't do.
And that was on my list, I was going to ask that, before you came.
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Mr. SIMMONS. Excellent question, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BARTLETT. There is one other question I want to ask you, and I think this is clearly budget driven.
I went to a little briefing where they told us that an analysis of cost indicated that for our major transport ships, that the lines had already crossed for nuclear versus diesel, that it would now be as cheap or cheaper to have nuclear large transport ships than it would be to have our diesel ships.
I suspect that you have diesel ships in your plan. Because we don't have any capital budget in the military, you expense it the year you buy it, which is pretty tough to buy a $14-billion aircraft carrier in one year, which is why we kind of cheat a little and have some incremental procurement and so forth to get there. But what would your Navy look like if you weren't budget constrained and you could put diesel in every ship you would like to put diesel in, considering that I believe, and a lot of people believeby the way, there is a very recent release, not a recent study, but a recent release, because the study was completed in September of last year.
But the Corps of Engineers conducted a study on energy. This was Army and it could have just as well been Navy, but they were advising the Army to as quickly as they can free themselves from the need to be using oil, these liquid fuels, most of which come, as the president says, or much of which comes from countries that don't even like us. They really are urging a pretty crash program to develop alternatives, because they believe, as I believe, that we have now reached the maximum capacity in the world for producing oil, and it is going to be downhill from now on, with enormous consequences for our military.
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And I think the Navy is in the best position to exploit nuclear. And if the budget was not a constraint, how many of your ships would not be nuclear? Because if you fuel a ship only once in 33 years, not only do you have an enormous advantage that you no longer have to have all these refueling ships out there, or pull into a foreign port that you wouldn't like to be in, like the Cole did, but also these lines have crossed for the big ships. They will shortly cross for the smaller ships, and so we would like to see if you were not dollar constrained, how much of your Navy would really be nuclear, if you could tell us that.
From a personal perspective, I would like to see you putwe have a pretty itty-bitty sub that is nuclear, don't we?
Mr. SIMMONS. Mr. Chairman, the NR1, which was designed and built by the wonderful people of Electric Boat over 30 years ago, is the world's smallest nuclear-powered submarine. There have been some books written about it in recent years. It has performed the most incredible subsurface missions, and one of the rumors back home is that the world-famous subsurface explorer, Mr. Robert Ballard, actually got his first inclination of where the Titanic was located when he, as a naval officer, was assigned to a mission on the NR1.
Mr. BARTLETT. Is the NR1 larger or smaller than the littoral combat ship?
Mr. SIMMONS. Smaller. Substantially smaller.
Mr. BARTLETT. So if you could build a nuclear power plant for NR1, you could build one for the LCS. That is correct?
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Mr. SIMMONS. You certainly could. Of course, the problem is the NR1, when it is underwater, is stealthy. Nobody knows it is there, it is very hard to target it.
If you were using nuke in an LCS, which is a surface ship operating in the littorals, it is vulnerable to certain types of attacks, so you would have to protect your nuclear capacity.
Mr. BARTLETT. Of course, these power plants don't explode, they simply radiate.
Mr. SIMMONS. Right.
Mr. BARTLETT. They simply radiate, which is a whole different thing from exploding.
Well, I would like to turn to my colleague and ask them if they have additional questions or comments.
Mr. TAYLOR. The last question, if you don't mind, I raised the question earlier, at a sea swap, it is obviously putting more hours on the vessel, which is obviously going to affect the life of the vessel, or your maintenance costs, or both. How does that fit in with the 313-ship navy? Was that at least factored in that you are going to be wearing out those vessels faster?
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I guess the second question would be is the Navy's plan for 313 sustainable, or do you get there and take a snapshot and said we did it and dropped back down to 270 ships the next year?
Admiral CRENSHAW. Let me take a crack at that last question, and then I will turn it over to Admiral McCullough as the surface guy that can give you some detail on the sea swap, but it is sustainable. Three-thirteen is a target number that we focus when we look at average investments and what we need, but if you look over our 30-year plan, for instance, we move around that number. We sometimes are above it, sometimes are below it, because of the complexities of buying ships that last 30 to 50 years in their service life. And there are also some industrial base considerations that we have to plug in there.
So 313 is not a number that we peak in and then begin to go back down on
Mr. TAYLOR. Is all you are doing for 313, Admiral?
Admiral CRENSHAW. It is a target number that we look at and the number will go up and down slightly, depending on any given year and how things shape up in the numbers in that particular year.
Mr. TAYLOR. Your targeted date for 313?
Admiral CRENSHAW. About 313 is the target number we are looking at.
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Mr. TAYLOR. I know. The target date to have 313 ships.
Admiral CRENSHAW. We said in, Barry, I think it is 2012?
Barry can get it for me. I think 2012 is the first year we reach it.
Mr. TAYLOR. And the second question is, Admiral McCullough, you were very quick to offer a one-month paycheck waiver on the DD(X) delivery date. Do you have that level of confidence on the 313 being to fleet size that year?
Admiral MCCULLOUGH. Yes, sir. It is in the shipbuilding plan to get to I believe it is 315 ships by 2012. I think with the construction schedule that is proposed in the plan, I will give you another paycheck for that, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. The last question to Admiral Crenshaw, I noticed thatand this is completely different from everything else, but it is something that did happen. Admiral Mullen was great to have given me his cell number shortly after the storm. I remember calling, telling him things were really bad, asking for his help.
And one of the things that either he and Lieutenant General Blum both did, or at least one of them did, that I rememberafter all, it was unusual, when I said we really need help. The question back to me was how are your bases? Where can I put people? This occurred either Tuesday night or Wednesday night. Everything is a little fuzzy. So that would have been at least 36 hours after the storm, or maybe as much as 2 days since the end of the storm. And I thought it unusual that he is asking me, as our bridges were out, our phones were down, most of the cars went underwater. The ones that didn't go underwater didn't have any fuel.
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So my question for the record is when did the Pentagon first get in touch with Navy Construction Battalion Gulfport for an assessment? As well as when did they first get in touch with home port Pascagoula? And this really goes back to Congressman Bartlett's concerns about an electromagnetic pulse. Because I think what we saw with the communications breakdown is pretty similar to what we could expect should that ever happen.
Just going back to using runners to deliver messages, just total inability to find out what the other guy is doing. So, again, for the record, mostly for my curiosity, but it did affect human life, when was the first time you actually got any sort of word from either of those installations as to what was going on there and their capabilities?
Admiral MCCULLOUGH. Yes, sir. We will take that, sir.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you.
Mr. BARTLETT. I have two quick questions, and then I want to ask a question, and then Ms. Bordallo, who just joined us. If we had a carrier that was the minimum size that could launch and retrieve an aircraft, how big would it be and how many aircraft could it accommodate, and could you give us that for the record?
With today's firepower from our airplanes, it is now not how many planes per target, it is how many targets per plane. And I have a feeling that maybe our big, big carriers are kind of a dinosaur from the Cold War age when we were doing carpet bombing. I was watching the History Channel the other evening and watching the bombs come out of those B52s. It looked like a farmer sowing seed, they were dropping so many bombs.
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And I am wondering what the minimum size would be for a carrier that could launch and retrieve a plane, and how many planes would that carrier accommodate, that small carrier accommodate? And how much firepower would that give us relative to the firepower that our big carriers had, only as recently as the Gulf War, a decade or so ago? If you could give us that for the record, we would be very curious in that answer.
And one other question I would like to ask for the record is, since a major concern for our future is going to be homeland security, and since the big advantage of our nuclear subs is not operating locally here, it is getting from here to there very surreptitiously so that your enemy doesn't know you are comingI am asking this question because of a comment made by a German representative of their plant that builds submarines that was at a cocktail in Europe a summer ago. And maybe it is because it was the cocktail that he made this comment, but he referred to our big fast-attack subs relative to their little diesel subs as being the equivalent of an underwater rock concert.
I suspect that is a bit of a stretch, but what I would like to know is, if homeland security is really a challenge, why shouldn't we be thinking of the same kind of little diesel subs that you will be building for Taiwan for protecting our ports here?
Ms. Bordallo, we were about to dismiss this panel and empanel the next one, and if your questions be appropriate for the next panel, you will be the first questioner.
Ms. BORDALLO. Well, Mr. Chairman, I do think I do have
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Mr. BARTLETT. Okay, go ahead.
Ms. BORDALLO. Yes, and I want to say at the on start, I am glad to bewe are a trio, our chairman, Mr. Bartlett and Congressman Taylor and myself are going to be in Guam, and we are going to be visiting the Far East. So I am looking forward to that.
First, I think this would be to Admiral McCullough. First of all, I want to ask you gentlemen. You may know that Guam has a ship repair facility, and one that we would very much like to see grow. And the shipyard employs some of Guam's proudest and most-skilled laborers.
Currently, submariners assigned to Guam have to spend multiple months away from home to dry dock in Hawaii, but they have told me many times that they would like to dry dock right here in Guam, or right there in Guam. I should note the incredible job the Guam Shipyard did in dry-docking and building a new nosecone on the Submarine San Francisco after its collision, and, further, the Guam Shipyard has been called of vital strategic importance by the commander of the Pacific Fleet.
With more ships coming to the Pacific, I am hoping you might be able to discuss the value of having an American ship repair facility so close to our forward-operating ships, where they can be repaired forward in the security of an American port at an American Naval base.
The shipyard has been badly underutilized in recent years, but we are expecting and hoping this will change as more Naval forces and operate in the Pacific. And I would also like to mention that right now they are working on the Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships, but they certainly need more business.
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So, Admiral, can you comment on that?
Admiral CRENSHAW. If I could take that question, Ms. Bordallo, I think the value of Guam to us is very clear, and it has played a key role in some of the things that we have been doing, and, actually, as we developed the 313 plan. And having some sort of repair capability there is certainly going to be important to us.
As far as how extensive that can be, I would like to maybe take that for the record just to talk about what the art of the possible is, I just know that having that capability is important to us. I don't know to what extent and how big and the things we would need to do for that. So if I could get back with you on the specifics of what might be within that possible realm, I would do that.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Ms. BORDALLO. Surely, Admiral.
And, Mr. Chairman, I would like to, for the second group, I think I have questions to, as well. So I defer to the second panel.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much.
Gentlemen, thank you very much for your testimony. We look forward to your answers for the record, and you will be excused and we will empanel our next panel. Thank you very much.
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Mr. O'Rourke is our witness for our second panel, and I was trying to think how to phrase this. The fact that he is only one compared to the five that were there before should not diminish the quality of the content of his testimony.
Mr. O'Rourke, the floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF RONALD O'ROURKE, SPECIALIST IN NATIONAL DEFENSE, CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Mr. O'ROURKE. Thank you, Chairman Bartlett, Congressman Taylor and distinguished members of the subcommittee. It is a pleasure to be here today, and with your permission I would like to submit my formal statement for the record and present a brief summary of it here.
Mr. BARTLETT. Without objection.
Mr. O'ROURKE. When the Cold War ended, the focus of formal Navy planning shifted from preparing for blue water operations against Soviet naval forces to preparing for operations in littoral waters against the land- and sea-based forces of countries other than Russia.
More recently, Navy missions have evolved again to place a greater emphasis on homeland defense and the Global War on Terrorism. And in coming years, Navy missions may evolve further, to place greater emphasis on preparations for countering improved Chinese military forces.
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Surface combatants and attack submarines are both capable of performing an array of Navy missions. Surface combatants can be a primary or substantial contributor to a wider array of Navy missions than attack submarines, but attack submarines can perform their missions covertly, which can increase the effectiveness of the missions they perform and permit them to perform them in locations that are denied to surface combatants or other Navy forces.
Regarding operational effectiveness, the current mix of surface combatants and attack submarines constitutes a powerful force, but one that might be viewed as having certain limitations. The projected force mix will address many of these limitations, but some limitations might remain.
For example, both surface combatants and attack submarines may continue to lack a long-range, high-speed precision strike capability. Attack submarines may continue to lack a capability for overhead and deep inland Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations.
Attack submarines will continue to have little capability for launching and unmanned vehicles with diameters larger than 21 inches, though this will be offset to some degree by the four converted Trident submarines. And, unless regional combatant commanders in coming years reduce their requests for deployed attack submarines substantially from levels of such requests in recent years, the attack submarine force may not be able to fully meet requests for deployed attack submarines.
Statements made by Navy officials in recent years indicate that the recent attack submarine force of more than 50 boats has been able to meet about two-thirds of such requests, suggesting that a force of 70 or more boats might have been needed to fully meet these requests.
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Regarding cost effectiveness, the projected force of surface combatants and attack submarines will address certain issues limiting the cost effectives of the current force. Assessing the cost effectiveness of the projected force, however, is hampered by uncertainty about a number of significant cost-related issues. Those who might favor increasing the number surface combatants and reducing the number of attack submarines, and those who might favor the reverse, each have arguments they can bring to bear.
Potential oversight questions for Congress regarding surface combatants and attack submarines include the following: First, was the Navy's decision to plan for a force of 48 attack submarines, rather than a higher number, influenced by the procurement cost of the additional submarines that would be needed to support a force of more than 48?
Next, was the Navy's decision to plan for a force of 55 LCSs, rather than a lower number, influenced by a desire to create an affordable fleet plan that included at least 300 ships?
Third, what is the operational significance of the Navy having enough attack submarines to meet about two-thirds of regional combatant commander requests for deployed attack submarines? What types of missions are not being performed by attack submarines for the regional commanders due to insufficient numbers of deployed attack submarines? To what extent can these missions be performed by other systems and platforms, and what is the resulting operational risk?
Fourth, procurement cost of a nuclear-powered ship includes the cost of its fuel core, while the procurement cost of a non-nuclear-powered ship includes neither the cost of the fuel it will use during its life, nor a portion of the costs of procuring and operating the replenishment ships that refuel non-nuclear-powered ships at sea.
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Some supporters of attack submarines are concerned that this creates a built-in bias in the budget against nuclear-powered ships, including attack submarines. Is this concern valid?
Next, the Navy plans to fund LCS mission modules through the Other Procurement Navy, or OPN account, rather than the shipbuilding account. Some observers are concerned that this will make the cost of these modules less visible and thereby possibly create a bias in favor of LCSs in decisions about which kinds of ships to procure with available shipbuilding funds. Is this concern valid?
And, last, some supporters of attack submarines are concerned that flag rank admirals from the submarine community are underrepresented in the resource allocation offices of the Navy, and that this may be causing a bias against submarines in Navy resource allocation decisions. Is this concern valid?
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement and I will be happy to respond to any questions the subcommittee may have. My testimony has focused on capabilities, but a number of the questions today have referred to shipbuilding programs, and I will be happy to try and respond to any shipbuilding program-related questions that people might have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. O'Rourke can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Since Ms. Bordallo kind of had a brief opportunity for the previous panel, let me recognize her first for questions for this panel.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. O'Rourke, thank you for your testimony, and I have heard from others that you are an expert in your field, so I have a couple of questions.
First, can you please comment on the home porting decision that we face for the carrier in the Pacific? As you know, Guam is very interested, and can you also comment on how you think this process should proceed and on what timeline?
We were told to wait for the QDR to give us some indication, but that proved to be false, and we waited for two years. So, I was wondering, do you have any indication?
Mr. O'ROURKE. I personally don't have a clear indication from the Navy as to when they might announce a decision about if or where an additional carrier might be home ported in the western Pacific.
As you know, the Navy was setting the options of home porting a carrier in either Hawaii or Guam, and discussion about that appeared to go on for some time while the QDR was underway, and discussion of that option appears to have subsided in recent months. And, I will be honest with you, I don't know what the status is now of the Navy's intention for moving a carrier further out into the western Pacific, or which of those two sites it might prefer, or when they might want to have that happen.
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Ms. BORDALLO. Well, I have just heard recently that they still are considering one carrier out there, but the location we don't know.
The other one is about the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities of the new Virginia-class submarine, as against both conventional and unconventional enemies and about keeping up with potential enemies in the Pacific. Can you comment on how we are doing in keeping up with the growth of our enemies in the Pacific, especially in subsurface warfare? And are we doing enough on anti-submarine warfare?
Mr. O'ROURKE. Our attack submarines are one of our main platforms for conducting ASW operations. They are not the only kind of platform, and, as you know, ASW operations are a team effort in which submarines and surface ships and aircraft all play a part.
Submarines are often the best or the most important component of an ASW effort, depending on the tactical circumstances. In other circumstances, the surface ship or the airplane might play a more important role. In terms of keeping up with emerging undersea challenges in the Pacific theater, probably the one that most people would point to as an emerging area of concern would be China's undersea fleet.
China has a considerable amount of momentum underway at present with their submarine acquisition program. They are at the moment acquiring five different classes of attack submarines simultaneously, which is a rather extraordinary level of effort.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of those classes is being purchased from Russia. They are buying some additional Kilo-class submarines. But they are also building, indigenously, four other classes of submarines, a new SSBN, a new SSN and two types of non-nuclear-powered attack submarines.
That is quite an effort, and if you look at the publicly available records, they have been commissioning one or two or three new submarines per year. And so within about the next year or so, they will have a force that could include up to 28 relatively modern submarines of all kinds, which is a relatively large number for any country to have and would represent a somewhat formidable force for us to worry about.
If the momentum of China's submarine construction program continues in coming years, then that number is only going to grow. And so I think there are people who are concerned about where the situation may lead, not just numerically with China's submarines, but also at the same time qualitatively, because these are considerably better boats that China is building now than have been in China's submarine force in past years.
That is one reason why the United States Navy has taken actions to bolster its anti-submarine warfare capabilities in the Pacific. Part of that is through increasing the exercises that deploying battle groups go to before they deploy to the western Pacific, so that they can hone their ASW skills more. I think that is part of the reason why the QDR announced that some of the submarines currently home ported in the Atlantic fleet would now be switched to the Pacific fleet, so that we would have a 6040 split instead of a 5050 split.
And it is one of the things, I am sure, that is on the docket for our attack submarine force, including the new Virginia-class submarines as a mission in coming years that they would need to prepare for as well.
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Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you for your very candid reply. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BARTLETT. Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. O'Rourke, thank you for being here and for sticking around this long. The Chairman is real great about getting you to think about things. One of them is electro-magnetic pulse (EMP). The other is max oil. And I happen to believe that we are probably more vulnerable as far as our dependence on foreign oil than probably at any time in American history. We keep hovering around the same number, but certainly not trending in the right direction.
Do you see any evidence that the Navy or any other branch of the service, as we are such a fuel-dependent nation, and particularly a fuel-dependent military, that they are taking steps to recognize this and doing anything to lessen our dependency on fuel, making the ships more efficient, the jets more efficient, the generatorsanything. Because I don't see it, and if you are seeing something, or not, I would welcome those thoughts.
Mr. O'ROURKE. There is one action you can point to, which will be fairly substantial in coming years, in terms of reducing the amount of fuel consumed by the Navy, and that is the switch in the surface combatant community to integrated electric drive propulsion.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. If I may, the prime mover of that is still a turbine. A turbine is less efficient than a diesel, which is less efficient than a steam plant. And I am told, and you can please correct me, that the rule of thumb is any time you go from one form of energy to another you are automatically losing ten percent again.
So you have got a turbine, which is less efficient than a diesel plant, going over to an electrical plant, so you are down ten percent there. So tell me where we are picking up this efficiency?
Mr. O'ROURKE. You pick up the efficiencies in moving to integrated electric drive propulsion, because you are able to operate the turbines at their most efficient speeds for a greater percentage of the time that they are operating. And, as a result, depending on the operating profile for the surface combatant, the same surface combatant, if you were to swap out the traditional mechanical drive system and put in an electric drive system, it could reduce the life cycle fuel consumption of that ship by perhaps somewhere between 5 and 15 percent.
Turbines have different efficiencies at different operating speeds, and when you go to integrated electric drive propulsion, you can keep the turbines. You can mix and match your turbines that you are operating in a way that keeps the ones that are operating at their most efficient speeds for a higher percentage of the time than is the case in the mechanical drive system that separates the drive from the ship's own electrical system. And, over time, it does offer the potential to create that kind of efficiency.
So that is one step that you can point to that the Navy is taking, as new surface combatants, like the DD(X) and the CG(X) enter the force, and over time
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Mr. TAYLOR. Just for the heck of it, if you were to take that same vessel and put a steam plant in, is that turbine-electric more efficient than a steam plant over the life cycle of that vessel?
Mr. O'ROURKE. I don't know the answer to that?
Mr. TAYLOR. Is it more efficient than a diesel over the life cycle? I know you get a lot of things, particularly for your weaponry, for going all electric. My concern is that you are paying a premium in fuel.
Mr. O'ROURKE. I don't know what the efficiencies are for a steam plant versus a diesel versus a turbine, but whatever your prime mover is, if you move from mechanical drive to electrical drive, as the Navy is planning to do with its cruisers and destroyers, then you will have the potential for reducing the amount of fuel consumed by that ship over its life cycle. Because, at least in the case of the steam turbines, it allows you to mix and match and to operate them at a greater percentage of the time at their most efficient speeds.
Now, that may not be the same equation if you have a steam plant. But, as you know, the steam plants pose maintenance issues that the Navy has been trying to move away from in moving to turbines. And turbines also respond very quickly so the ship can get up to maximum speed within an order to do so much more quickly than might be the case with a steam plant.
Mr. BARTLETT. If the gentleman would yield?
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. Certainly.
Mr. BARTLETT. Mr. O'Rourke, what kind of efficiencies accrue when you recognize that with the electric drive that you now have all of the power generation available when you aren't steaming, and with the conventional ship, there is a part of your power which is available only to you when you are steaming? And if you are sitting still and doing whatever you do then, that is not available to you, so you have to have a larger power plant to meet both of those needs?
How much efficiency do we get because now you can use all of your energy either for steaming or for doing things when you are sitting still?
Mr. O'ROURKE. That is the kind of efficiency that I was talking about in my response to Representative Taylor. When you have two sets of turbines, one of which is dedicated to the propulsion system, and one of which is dedicated to generating electricity for the rest of the ship, which is what you have in a mechanical drive ship, it limits your options for how you need to turn on your turbines or turn them off or the speed that you might want to operate them at.
And it forces the Navy into a situation where they often operate their turbines at not very efficient speeds because the power has to go to one function rather than another. In an integrated electric drive ship, where one set of turbines creates a common pool of electricity for both propulsion and ship services, it gives the Navy greater flexibility to manage its total power load and then use only those turbines that it needs to to generate that power and in a combination set they are operating at their most efficient speed.
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Mr. BARTLETT. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. O'Rourke, we tend to live from crisis to crisis on this committee. We had the crisis of not enough steam. At the moment, the Air Force is paying the prices of an aging tanker fleet. Since you impress me as someone who is good at looking out at the future, do you foresee a crisis between now and the year 2020 where the Navy comes to us and says, we have got to do something about these, for want of a better term, gas guzzlers?
Given all the things that the chairman talks about, the Chinese buying more fuel. Quite possibly, I have bought off on his theory that we are at max peak oil. Apparently, the American public has seen a lot of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) checks cashed buying Dodge 350 pickup trucks. At $2.00 plus a gallon, people keep buying bigger vehicles, it seems like, so I don't see the American consumer responding in any way to this.
Is that something that we think we could foresee, actually, in the fine careers of Mr. Bartlett and I, or is that just something that is going to happen that somebody else has to worry about.
Mr. O'ROURKE. You ask should we worry about something along those lines between now and 2020? I would answer it this way. The Navy's shipbuilding plan for supporting its proposed 313-ship fleet is dependent on getting the shipbuilding budget up to a certain higher level compared to where it is today. And the Navy has explained to me that certain things need to happen to enable the Navy within a certain top line to get their shipbuilding budget up to that higher level.
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And one of those things that needs to happen is that the Navy needs to be able to control O&M costs, basically to keep them flat. And, if between now and 2020, oil costs rise from where they are today, and especially if they rise considerably from where they are today, that will make it difficult for the Navy to constrain their operation and maintenance (O&M) costs, to keep them flat, and thereby release funding into shipbuilding. That is one of the risks in the Navy's shipbuilding plan at this point.
And so between now and 2020, if fuel costs rise and put upward pressure on Navy O&M costs, it will make it that much more difficult, other things held equal, for the Navy to shift additional funding into the shipbuilding budget to pay for the ships that are in the Navy shipbuilding plan. And of those ships don't get procured, it could lead to an operational risk that is closer to Admiral Crenshaw's red line.
Mr. TAYLOR. Off the top of your head, if you were to take the total cost of operating the DDG51. The crew, maintenance, fuel, food, weapons that wear out, things that wear out. If you were going to put the budget for operating the DDG51 for one calendar year, what percentage of that would be fuel?
Mr. O'ROURKE. I haven't looked at that pie chart in a long time, so if I could take that for the record I will get that information forwarded to you.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. TAYLOR. The second question is what is the historical trend of that? What would it have been for an equivalent vessel which would probably have been a Spruance, off the top of my head, 20 years ago? And then what do you anticipate that to be, based on what you are seeing in the world's oil market, ten years from now?
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Mr. O'ROURKE. Again, I will go to the Navy and then bring those figures to you.
Another step, and it is a small one, but one that I recalled when we were discussing further in relation to your earlier question about fuel economy and has the Navy taken any actions. One additional action, in a marginal way it helps, is to put stern flaps on the back of its surface combatants, which is simply a flap that goes down onto the water at the stern end of the ship. And because of the way that it change the flow of the water at the stern of the ship, you can get some minor improved efficiencies out of that.
I don't want to overlook that. I don't want to exaggerate it either, but it is another step you can point to that the Navy has taken in recent years to try and reduce its consumption of fuel on its ships.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BARTLETT. I really appreciate my colleague's questions relative to energy costs and energy availability. There were two dates this month that were important. One was the 8th of this month, which happened to be the 50th year anniversary of the very famous speech that M. King Hubbert gave at a hotel in San Antonio, Texas, in which he predicted that the United States would peak in oil production in 1970.
He was ridiculed at the time, but in 1970, when we did peak and it was very obvious a few years later that we had peaked, he became kind of an institution in his own time.
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Another anniversary that was important to me this week was yesterday, because that was the one-year anniversary of when I gave my first one-hour floor speech on peak oil. The subject was so new then that we debated whether we should call it the great rollover or peak oil. The rollover refers to that point at which the production curve ceases rising, it rolls over and then starts down.
In the intervening year, a number of things have happened. Oil has gone up from a 50-couple dollars a barrel to 60-couple dollars a barrel, and gasoline from $2.05 to $2.45, roughly, now.
But two other really significant things happened. One, the Energy Department commissioned SAIC to do a major study on energy, and Dr. Robert Hersh headed that study, and their report is known as the Hersh report. And in that they say that the world has never faced a problem like this, that the mitigation consequences will be unprecedented.
Just yesterday, a report that was prepared in September of last year somehow did not get out, it just got out yesterday, a very large report, prepared by the Army Corps of Engineers that could just as well have been prepared by a Navy entity or an Air Force entity. And it echoed the concerns of Robert Hersh and their study.
They indicated that the age of cheap, easy-to-find oil was over. And they said that there is no viable substitute for liquid fuels today, and that should enormously concern our military, particularly our Navy. So I really thank my colleague for his questions that help raise consciousness of this.
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Mr. O'Rourke, what do you think Admiral Crenshaw meant by acceptable risk? Do you think that was low, moderate, severe, or near the red line?
Mr. O'ROURKE. I thought it was an excellent question, because I have long wanted to know what the categories of risk were and how they were defined. I have always presumed that acceptable might mean moderate risk, not simply low risk. But I never knew for certain, so I can only tell you that that has been my own way of defining the word to myself when I have heard Navy officials use it.
Mr. BARTLETT. He didn't correct me when I suggested that we were going to assume that by acceptable risk he meant moderate risk. And so I would like to ask you the same question that we asked him.
If you were doing this study and developing a fleet to the low-risk level, what would it look like compared to the 313-ship fleet which we are going to presume was developed to the moderate-risk level? Can you do that for the record? Because we want to know how much they were constrained in their thought process by budget.
Do you think that their analysis, that they drove closer to the threat line or to the budget line?
Mr. O'ROURKE. I think their analysis was tempered by their sense of how much money they feel they have to work with and therefore how many ships of various kinds they could build. I think one potential oversight line of inquiry for the committee is to go to the Navy and ask which portions of that fleet are closer to the red line under what kinds of scenarios.
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And if, upon hearing the answer to that question from the Navy, the committee is concerned about one or more parts of the fleet being close to the red line or closer than other parts, then that could help identify for the committee the parts of the Navy that might most be open to further review in terms of their force level goals.
Mr. BARTLETT. If we competed all of our missions between the surface fleet and the submarine fleet, my assumption is that the submarines get to do only what the surface can't do. If I am wrong, I would like to be corrected, but that is my perception of how missions are assigned. If we were to compete missions without regard as to whether they are surface or subsurface, just who could do it better, do you think there would be a different mix of submarines and surface ships in their projected 313-ship Navy?
Mr. O'ROURKE. There might. I think advocates of submarines would certainly argue that they would have a good shot at increasing their share of the composition of the fleet. Part of this is limited by the kinds of investments that we make. We don't have in place right now a firm program to develop and procure and field a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for our submarines, and so they can't really compete in the absence of that kind of a program, for certain deep inland or overhead observations that surface ships of some kind or another might perform in future years with their own UAVs. So some of your ability to entertain competitions of that kind could be constrained by the presence or absence of investment programs that may enable certain missions for one platform or another.
Mr. BARTLETT. If we had capital budgeting so that you didn't have to expense a $14 billion aircraft carrier the year you bought it, what kind of decisions might we make differently relative to which ships were nuclear?
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Mr. O'ROURKE. There is a concern, which I think you were getting to in your question, that the full funding policy, which normally requires the entire end cost of an item to be fully funded in the year in which it is procured can create a bias in the budget process against the procurement of very expensive systems like an aircraft carrier.
Now, as a practical matter, it appears that we are beginning to move away from a strict adherence to the full funding policy and toward somewhat more of a de facto reliance on incremental funding in the procurement of very expensive ships that are procured once every several years, and those being the aircraft carriers and the large-deck amphibious assault ships, the LHA, LHD kinds of ships. And so it could be that if the practice continues to move in that direction, it will mitigate the budget spikes that would normally be associated with trying to fully fund a ship like that in a single year.
And if you think that that kind of spike creates a bias in the budget process against getting that kind of a ship in the first place, then mitigating that spike through the use of incremental funding could reduce that bias.
Mr. BARTLETT. The incremental funding looks at only a relatively few years ofwe are talking about nuclear versus diesel, we are talking about 33 years.
Mr. O'ROURKE. Right, there is
Mr. BARTLETT. You make an investment that you won't have to make again for 33 years. And I just suspect that we might have a very different mix of diesel and nuclear if we weren't budget constrained to expense everything this year or to cheat a little and to incrementally fund it over two or three years or so.
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Mr. O'ROURKE. There are some people who have a related concern, which is the one you just mentioned, that the budget process may put a bias against the procurement of nuclear-powered ships, because their up-front procurement costs includes their nuclear fuel, which in the case of submarines is sufficient now to last the entire expected life of the ship, whereas for non-nuclear-powered ships, their fuel costs are not included in their procurement costs, and those costs all come later.
One way of addressing that issue is to place more of an emphasis on total ownership cost, which is procurement plus life cycle operating costs, rather than focusing solely on the up-front procurement costs. Now, for good or bad, the budget process as it is today is organized in a way that puts much more of a spotlight on the up-front procurement cost. And even though people are conscious of the issue of looking at life cycle cost and total ownership costs, as a practical matter, the spotlight is not shined on that broader concept of cost as much as it is on the up-front procurement cost.
Mr. BARTLETT. We have two reasons today to look at nuclear versus diesel. One is the issue which I am thankful that Mr. Taylor raised, and that is that diesel may not always be here at the price or the quantities that we would like. And, second, I don't know what dollar value you place on freeing yourselves for 33 years from that obligation to take on fuel and go into an undesirable port like the Cole needed to do.
Do you have a suggestion, and you may want to think and give it to us for the record, of how we can work around this problem so that we can do the rational thing in spite of ourselves?
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Mr. O'ROURKE. Well, I think one thing the committee might entertain as an option is to submit a question to the Navy and have the Navy answer this, what are the prices of oil at which the total life cycle cost of various kinds of ships changes at the point where now nuclear-powered would be an advantage.
I have a rough sense of that from my discussions in the past. We are at or already past the point where oil is high enough to make the total life cycle costs of a large-deck aircraft carrier less than that of a conventional carrier.
Mr. BARTLETT. That is also true, I believe, of our large cargo ships.
Mr. O'ROURKE. Well, that could very well be the case, because some of those cargo ships can be quite big. The other category of ship that comes to mind are the large-deck amphibious ships, and we may now be approaching the neighborhood of the cost of oil that would reach the break-even point for making that kind of ship nuclear powered.
My understanding for large surface combatants, cruisers and destroyers, is that the cost of oil would have to be a lot higher still before you could get to the break-even point for that kind of ship. But we may have an issue right now that it might be worth studying, at least to understand the numbers, for a ship like a large-deck amphibious ship.
Mr. BARTLETT. I think the price of oil will be much higher, and if you are looking down the road 33 years, I think it is going to be very much higher by that time.
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Let me ask you the question that I asked our prior panel. If we had a carrier that was just barely large enough to launch and retrieve an aircraft, how big would it be, and how many aircraft would it accommodate and what would be its present firepower as compared to the firepower of all of the planes on our big carriers during the Gulf War in the early 1990's, for instance? Can you give us that for the record?
Mr. O'ROURKE. I can give you a nutshell answer right here.
Mr. BARTLETT. Okay.
Mr. O'ROURKE. There is one answer if you are talking about conventional takeoff and landing aircraft. There is another answer if you are talking about a vertical/short takeoff and landing (VSTOL) aircraft. If you are talking about conventional takeoff and landing, or a CTOL aircraft, then the minimum-size carrier is somewhere between 40 and 70,000 tons. And the number of airplanes it could carry would be somewhere between 30 and maybe 55.
The large-deck carrier is in the range of 100,000 tons, and it can carry an air wing of upwards of about 80 aircraft. But, also significantly, if you took the 55-aircraft air wing from the smaller carrier, the 70,000-ton carrier, and put it onto the larger 100,000-ton carrier, it could generate more sorties per unit of time on that bigger carrier than could the smaller one, and that is because there is simply more space. The arrangements are looser. You can move your planes around more easily than you could on the smaller ship.
So if the ultimate metric is sortie generation, then even if you kept the air wing the same size, at 55 planes, moving to the larger carrier gets you more sorties per day.
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But if you wanted to know what the answer is for how small can a carrier be for a CTOL plane, it is in the range of 40,000 to 70,000 tons. Some people might say you need to be closer to 70. Others might argue that you could somehow get it more toward 40. But 70,000 would be a safer answer for that question.
If you are talking about a VSTOL aircraft, then the ship can be much smaller. And Admiral Cebrowski's people in the past have looked at options which I think they call the Corsair, was the name they gave to the project that they studied at the time, for a small pocket aircraft carrier that might have as few as half a dozen planes on it and might just be a few thousand tons displacement, because the planes are taking off and landing vertically.
So, if you are talking about vertical takeoff, VTOL airplanes, then the carrier can get quite small. The number of planes on the carrier can get quite small, and, again, the issue becomes what is the cost effectiveness of a fleet composed of some number of those versus a smaller number of the larger carriers in terms of sortie generation, total ship costs over time, survivability rates and so on.
Mr. BARTLETT. This is the kind of logic that Admiral Cebrowski's people used in the naval architecture study when they concluded that we might have 48 carriers in our fleet at little or no more cost than our present 12?
Mr. O'ROURKE. That is right. In that study, they proposed two different kinds of alternative aircraft carriers. One was a carrier built on a 57,000-ton merchant-like hull, and so you might consider that to be a medium-sized carrier, except it would have more of a merchant hull than it would a Navy combat hull. And their smaller carrier was a 13,500-ton high-speed carrier that, if I remember right, used a surface-effect ship, or a catamaran-like design. So they had two alternative carriers, one of which fell into this range that I talked about earlier of 40,000 to 70,000 tons, the other of which was considerably smaller, but not as small as the small Corsair carrier that Admiral Cebrowski studied separately on a different occasion.
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That Corsair is the smallest thing that I have heard about in terms of how small a carrier might get.
Mr. BARTLETT. And my last question is much of the rest of the world, because they are primarily interested in defense are preferentially buying the diesel subs, which are very quiet, perform very well in your home port. And since we are anticipating that homeland defense is going to be a challenge for the foreseeable future, why aren't we thinking about these diesel subs for our Navy?
Mr. O'ROURKE. If I had to answer that and put myself in the Navy's shoes, my answer, my argument, would be the following, that submarines are a good way of defending your coastal waters if you cannot be sure in time of crisis or conflict that you can control the surface of the water or the air above. Because if you can control the surface of the water or the air above in these times of conflict or crisis, then it is more economical to use surface ships and airplanes to do this role.
Other countries go to submarines to defend their coastal waters because they cannot be sure in time of war that against an opposing naval force like the United States that they would still be able to control the surface of their home waters or the air space above. So they go to the second-best solution from their perspective of going underwater.
But that is not a concern for us, because we should be able to control the surface of the water and the air above in our home waters, because we certainly try to do that overseas as well. Then, at that point, submarines look less cost effective as a way of patrolling and conducting missions in your home waters. That would be the way I would answer the question from the Navy's standpoint.
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Mr. BARTLETT. Would there be an advantage of a submarine in that the potential enemy wouldn't know where your defenses were? If they are all surface, he is going to know darn well where they were and he just won't go there, he will go somewhere else.
Mr. O'ROURKE. There is a value to covertness, especially in terms of conducting surveillance and tracking the ship, and there are occasions in which we have used our submarines, apparently, to conduct surveillance of surface craft that have been operating in waters closer to the United States. And if you read the press accounts of this, it appears to be along the lines of doing surveillance of potential or known drug-carrying ships in the Caribbean, that if they don't know they are being surveilled, it can improve our options for how to respond to that ship. And, apparently, we do do some of that.
Now, whether you actually build a force of submarines for that niche of missions or not then becomes the question. Right now, the process is to take a nuclear-powered submarine and occasionally use it for that sort of thing, but also have it available for other missions, as well.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much.
Let me turn it to Mr. Langevin.
Mr. LANGEVIN. I may have some questions for the record, Mr. Chairman, but I will pass.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you. We have several questions for the record.
Any other questions or comments before we thank Mr. O'Rourke for being with us?
Thank you very much, sir, for being with us, and especially thanks for sitting through the prior testimony and waiting here last week for those several hours while we were making up our mind whether we should go ahead with this hearing or not.
It finally got to be 7 o'clock. One of the admirals, I think, had a wife who had a birthday, and so we postponed this hearing, and thank you very much for coming today.
We are adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:01 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]