Index

STATEMENT OF CONRAD C. LAUTENBACHER
VICE ADMIRAL, U.S. NAVY
DEPUTY CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS
RESOURCES, WARFARE REQUIREMENTS, AND ASSESSMENTS

ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Department of the Navy’s FY 2001 shipbuilding plan, and how future platforms fit into the overall joint warfare requirements for the future.

1. INTRODUCTION

 

The Navy and Marine Corps provide the Nation with a continuous, adaptable, and active instrument of security policy with which to promote stability and project maritime power.  Forward-deployed, combat-credible expeditionary naval forces are important to shaping the global security environment; helping assure access to regions of vital interest; and permitting timely and frequently the initial crisis response from the sea.  The ability to reassure friends and allies, deter potential adversaries, and, when called upon, engage in combat at all levels of intensity makes the Navy-Marine Corps Team especially useful to the Nation in peace, crisis, and war. 

Inherently versatile naval forces can execute a broad range of missions and are relatively unconstrained by regional infrastructure requirements and restrictions by other nations.  At one end of the spectrum, rotational naval forces are engaged daily to favorably influence overseas security environments.  These same forces are thus immediately available for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, or crisis response.  Likewise, naval forces provide the most cost-effective and survivable component of our strategic nuclear deterrence triad of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, manned bombers, and inter-continental missiles.  At the other end of the spectrum, on-station Navy and Marine Corps forces can provide a timely and powerful response through the full range of strike and amphibious operations.  They are central to the unimpeded flow and sustainment of follow-on forces in both small-scale contingencies and larger-scale conflict. 

 

It is no secret that our current force of 316 ships is fully employed and in many cases stretched thin to meet the growing national security demands.  For example, to respond to an emergent crisis in one region, forward naval presence is frequently reduced in another.  This reality was brought to the forefront twice in 1999.  In January-February 1999, dual contingencies in Central Command (Iraq and Eritrea-Ethiopia) necessitated that the BELLEAU WOOD ARG/MEU (SOC) remain on station in the Persian Gulf while the BOXER ARG/MEU (SOC), its scheduled replacement, deployed to the Gulf of Aden.  As a result, the Western Pacific was temporarily without ARG/MEU (SOC) presence.  Similarly, during OPERATION ALLIED FORCE in March-June 1999, the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT CVBG deployed to support the coalition operations in the Balkans.  As a result, the USS KITTY HAWK CVBG, which is homeported in Japan, made an unplanned deployment to the Persian Gulf.  This left the Western Pacific Theater without a CVBG for 86 days.  During this time there were increased tensions between North and South Korea in the Yellow Sea, between China and Taiwan, and between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.  Additionally, there are several classified examples with nuclear attack submarines where emerging requirements resulted in gaps in planned coverage.

 

 

 

2. THE NAVY SHIPBUILDING PLAN AND REQUIREMENTS

 

The 1997 QDR concluded that a force structure of approximately 305 ships fully manned, properly trained, and adequately resourced is assessed to be the minimum acceptable to satisfy the Navy’s forward presence and warfighting requirements.

 

The centerpiece of today's Navy force structure are 12 CV/CVN battle groups and 12 amphibious ready groups.  The Navy’s day-in-day-out experience – being on station, forward deployed, and ready to directly and decisively influence events ashore from the sea – shows that current forces, some 316 ships, are stretched to meet the requirements of our National Military Strategy.  Future shipbuilding requirements will be central in the Department’s recapitalization considerations for the upcoming QDR in 2001 and subsequent force structure planning.

 

We must recapitalize for three basic reasons.  First, maintaining military preeminence into the future requires prudent investment in new capabilities.  Second, the aging of many of our ships, aircraft, and vehicles, coupled with the added wear and tear associated with higher than anticipated use, mandates their systematic replacement.  Third, the industrial base that supports our armed forces is still largely unique and, absent new programs, would likely not remain economically viable.

 

      To some extent in recent years we maintained our near- and mid-term readiness at the expense of investments in longer-term capabilities.  Resolving this tension between current imperatives and long-term requirements has been, and will remain, a challenge.  In fact, the issue is now attaining some urgency, as we seek funding to keep current and future shipbuilding plans on track.

 

      Funding concerns in shipbuilding revolve around unanticipated cost growth in new ship construction, sufficient research and development funds to develop the leap ahead technologies needed to meet mission requirements and reduced operating cost goals, and the funding to match recapitalization goals of our fleet.  Also of great concern is sufficient funding to support readiness, the procurement of precision guided munitions and aircraft recapitalization.

 

Nonetheless, we are making substantial progress in developmental programs that will be the core of our forces in the future.  The DD-21 destroyer, CVN-77 and CVN(X) aircraft carriers, VIRGINIA-class SSN, LHA Replacement, and the SAN ANTONIO-class LPD-17, are examples.  These programs are profiled in detail in the Navy’s Vision, Presence, Power and the Marine Corps’ Concepts and Issues program guides.

 

Funding for DDG 51 procurement continues in FY 2001 into the last year of the four-year multiyear contract.  The fifth and sixth ships of the USS San Antonio (LPD 17) Class amphibious transport dock ship, which will serve as the functional replacement for four existing amphibious ship classes, are also funded in FY 2001.  Additionally, the second Auxiliary Dry Cargo Vessel (T-ADC(X)) is funded in FY 2001.  This ship class will serve as replacement for the Navy’s aging Combat Logistics Force.  The Navy Department has fully funded the CVN 77 in FY 2001, and the FY 2001 budget also includes full funding for the third and advance procurement for the fourth and fifth VIRGINIA Class submarines.

 

To support these forces, the President’s FY 2001 Budget request increases the amount of investment critical to maintaining our Navy and Marine Corps Team as the pre-eminent Naval force in the world.  The

FY 2001 Department of the Navy budget request reaches nearly $27 billion for procurement programs.  The main thrusts of our budget request are designed to support the elements of the Shape… Respond… Prepare… defense strategy established by the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and acquisition strategies that focus on program stability and reducing total operational costs.  We seek an agile, flexible force, which can counter both the known and the unforeseeable threats to our national security. 

 

 

3. HOW FUTURE PLATFORMS FIT INTO THE OVERALL JOINT WARFARE REQUIREMENTS OF THE FUTURE

 

Projecting U.S. maritime power from the sea to influence events ashore directly and decisively is the essence of the Navy and Marine Corps Team’s contribution to national security.  The strategic and operational flexibility of naval forces provides the U.S. extraordinary access overseas.  Sea-based, self-contained, and self-sustaining naval forces are relatively unconstrained by regional infrastructure requirements or restrictions.  Further, naval forces can exploit the freedom of maneuver afforded by the seas to respond to contingencies and remain engaged in activities that support our interests around the world.

 

The Navy-Marine Corps vision, ...From the Sea, steered us from the broad ocean areas into the littorals where most of the world's population resides and conflicts occur.  Forward ... From the Sea broadened that shift in focus.  The landward focus of those documents provides a bridge from strategic vision to programmatic priorities and operational concepts.  The defining characteristics of naval forces suggest this vision will remain relevant in the future security environment.  However, emerging threats and opportunities will require us to develop and assess new concepts of warfighting in the Information Age that may differ from those of the past.

 

Naval forces have enduring characteristics and attributes that have evolved from constant exposure to the vastness, harshness, unpredictability, accessibility, and opportunity offered by the sea.

Three defining characteristics differentiate the Naval Services from our complementary sister Services and make us a uniquely powerful asset.  First, we operate from the sea.  Second, we are an expeditionary force -– our ships, aircraft, Sailors and Marines are forward-deployed, and they exercise power far from American bases.  Third, in an age of jointness, the Navy and the Marine Corps are linked more closely than any other two Services in their structures, training, deployments, operations, equipment, and staffing.

 

      Four clusters of attributes derive from these defining characteristics:

 

Mobility and Adaptability.  Naval forces can operate anywhere on the oceans, free of diplomatic restraint.  As such, they have an unmatched ability to operate forward continuously, react to contingencies with power and speed, and act as the enabling force for follow-on Army and Air Force power projected from the U.S.

     

Versatility of Power/Scalability.  Ships can be benevolent and welcome visitors, sending their Sailors and Marines ashore as ambassadors of U.S. interest and good will.  Ships can also manifest our interest by re-positioning at high speed to areas of concern.  The same ships can also deploy Marines to rescue our citizens or deter those who would harm them.  And ships and submarines can be important platforms to gather intelligence.  Ultimately, they can bring massive and precise firepower to bear and deploy Marine forces to deter and, if necessary, fight and win battles and campaigns.

 

Presence and Visibility.  Ships can be purposely conspicuous or exceptionally difficult to detect.  In peacetime, we value visibility for the sense of security and stability our forces convey by signaling U.S. interest, readiness, and ability to act if a crisis brews.  With the ability to cumulate forces, naval power can be adjusted or scaled at will, increasing or decreasing pressure as our civilian leadership chooses to raise or lower U.S. commitment, and engage or disengage much more easily than land-based forces.

 

Cooperative and Independent Capabilities.  Naval forces are important instruments of international cooperation.  Navy ships conduct numerous exercises and interact with naval forces of allies, neutral nations, and even potential adversaries every year.  The Marine Corps is a natural partner for many foreign land forces.  At the same time, the Navy and Marine Corps are a powerful independent force, with little reliance on foreign bases or overflight rights to conduct strike or forcible entry operations around the world. 

 

In short, the enduring attractiveness of naval power is the flexibility that stems from these inherent characteristics and attributes.  Investments in the Navy and Marine Corps are like money in the bank.  We do not need to know precisely how and where we will use this resource in order to see its value -- indeed our value is greater because we are useful virtually anywhere and anytime.  Our expeditionary character, mobility, adaptability, variable visibility, and cooperative and independent capabilities combine with our immense firepower to make us an especially relevant and useful force.  The following future platforms and conversion initiatives were designed to sustain our warfighting capability and relevancy well into the 21st century.

 

DD 21 Class Destroyer

 

The FY 2001 budget request includes $550 million to continue development of the 21st Century Land Attack Destroyer.   DD 21 will be a multi-mission surface combatant tailored for land attack and maritime dominance.  Armed with an array of land attack weapons, DD 21 will provide offensive, distributed, and precise firepower at long ranges in support of forces ashore.  Entering the fleet as our Frigates and DD 963-class ships retire, DD 21 will sustain the Quadrennial Defense Review-mandated 116 surface combatant force level.  It will also drive down the fleet's operating & support costs by leveraging increased automation to significantly reduce manning requirements, by incorporating an integrated power system designed to reduce fuel cost, and by leveraging commercial technology which offers reliable performance, reduced maintenance and reduced support cost. DD 21 will provide independent forward presence and deterrence, and operate as an integral part of Joint and Combined Expeditionary Forces.  To ensure effective operations in the littoral, the Navy’s new surface combatant will be powered by an Integrated Electric Drive propulsion system, and possess full-spectrum signature reduction, active and passive self-defense systems, and cutting-edge survivability features.

 

 

 

ARLEIGH BURKE (DDG 51) Class Destroyer

 

      The DDG 51 Class guided missile destroyer program remains the Navy’s largest surface ship program.  The Three ARLEIGH BURKE Class destroyers procured in FY 2001 will be Flight IIA ships configured with Baseline 7 Aegis Combat System.  This baseline incorporates new integrated mission capability and makes these ships more capable in the littoral than any other combatant in the world.

 

Smartship

 

The budget request includes $28 million to fund the procurement of “Smartship” upgrades for five CG 47 Class cruisers in FY 2001.  A total of $467 million spanning FY 1999 through FY 2005 is programmed for these “Smartship” improvements Fleet-wide, which will reduce manning and ease the maintenance burdens on our Sailors.  By eliminating mundane tasks and allowing the crew to concentrate on high priority items, this technology is an enabler for reduced manning.  Through automation, the number of personnel required to perform these tasks can be reduced. Smartship technology will continue to cause constructive policy change in the Navy. The budget request for the DDG 51 shipbuilding continues the forward fit installation of “Smartship” technologies beginning with the FY 1996 ships.

 

TICONDEROGA (CG 47) Cruiser Conversion Plan

     

The Navy has a plan to add new mission capabilities and extend the mission-capable service life of the CG 47 Class cruisers.  12 ship conversions are funded in the FY 2001-FY 2005 FYDP.  The FY 2001 budget request includes $72 million in RDT&E for an upgrade of these ships to add new and enhance existing combat system capabilities for Theater Ballistic Missile Defense, Land Attack, and Area Air Defense Commander missions.  These new mission capabilities will improve dramatically the ability of these warships to operate in Joint and Coalition warfare environments.  The program is essential to maintaining a mission-relevant force of at least 116 surface combatants over the next 20 years.

 

Carrier Maintenance and Modernization

 

The maintenance and upgrade of our NIMITZ Class carriers is accomplished through the Incremental Maintenance Plan (IMP), of which the mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) is the industrial availability necessary to achieve the full 50-year service life potential of the NIMITZ Class without requiring a late-in-life Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) or other similar programs.  The RCOH accomplishes repairs and modernization necessary for reliable ship operations, extends docking requirements to a 12-year cycle, refuels the reactors, prepares the ship for entry into the IMP, implements the TOC reduction initiatives, and recapitalizes the ship. USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) began its RCOH in May 1998 and is expected to complete by June 2001. USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) will enter its RCOH in May 2001.  We are currently executing the Advance Procurement/Planning portion of the EISENHOWER RCOH.  Our FY 2001 budget request contains $703.4 million to execute the FY 2001 portion of the EISENHOWER RCOH.  USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) enters advanced procurement/planning with a $25 million FY 2001 request in support of its FY 2005 RCOH.  These investments are vital to the recapitalization of these national assets. 

 

CVN 77

 

The fully funded FY 2001 procurement of CVN 77, the tenth and final ship of the NIMITZ Class, begins an evolutionary aircraft carrier acquisition strategy, which will be used to develop the next generation of aircraft carriers.   The CVN 77 will serve as a technology bridge to the next generation of aircraft carriers designated CVNX.  The FY 2001 budget request includes RDT&E funding of $38 million to continue incorporating critical transition technologies in CVN 77.  RDT&E efforts have been focused on a new, fully integrated combat system and related initiatives to reduce TOC. Technological innovations fielded in CVN 77 will be forward fitted to achieve cost savings and risk reduction in the next class, CVNX.  Additionally, design changes for CVN 77 and CVNX will also be evaluated for backfit where possible into NIMITZ Class Carriers to reduce life cycle cost.  Transition technology insertion along with full funding for basic ship procurement is reflected in the FY 2001 SCN budget submission.

 

CVNX

 

The new CVNX Class will use an evolutionary, multi-ship process for inserting new technologies that will enhance warfighting, enable critical features for future flexibility, and dramatically reduce TOC.  In September 1998, the Defense Acquisition Board concurred with Navy recommendations for a large-capacity (75 aircraft) nuclear powered aircraft carrier and the evolutionary acquisition strategy.  CVN 77, as the first step toward CVNX, will receive a new integrated combat system. CVNX 1 will receive a new nuclear propulsion plant, electrical system, and Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System providing immediate warfighting capabilities and substantially reducing TOC.  They are also the critical enablers for future carrier improvements.  CVNX 2 will receive restoration of service life allowance, balanced survivability and warfighting improvements.  The $5-7 billion reduction of TOC, including backfit of applicable initiatives to in-service carriers, will be a recurring and underlying focus throughout this evolutionary approach.  The CVNX Class will encompass critical warfighting improvements to improve sortie rates and quality of life for our Sailors.   The FY 2001 budget request includes RDT&E funding of $225.2 million for the continued implementation of the CVNX plan, and $22 Million in SCN funding for long lead time reactor plant forgings.

 

Smart Carrier

 

The Smart Carrier Project is an initiative to reduce shipboard workload through industry standard process reengineering and the insertion of enabling technologies to enhance Sailors’ quality of life and lower TOC.  Initial Smart Carrier funding in RDT&E,N is $12 million in FY 2001.  The Smart Carrier Program has adopted an Integrated Product Team (IPT) approach whereby the IPT determines the technology package for each carrier backfit.

 

Submarine Technology

 

The Navy continues to pursue a strategy of increasing the capabilities of the VIRGINIA Class submarine force through the insertion of advanced technology into new construction and follow-on ships.  The FY 2001 budget request includes $113 million in RDT&E funding for advanced submarine technology development emphasizing capability improvements in sonars and major electrical/mechanical systems.  Additionally, the Navy is pursuing R&D in other areas of submarine technology that address a spectrum of new capabilities for existing submarines, planned construction, and future submarine classes.

  

Both submarine shipbuilders are playing important roles by assisting the Department's efforts to identify additional technologies for insertion opportunities and by identifying design changes that bring a life cycle cost avoidance benefit.  The shipbuilders have provided 49 Design Improvement Proposals that were approved and funded since inception of this program.  Nine proposals were approved and funded last year alone.  Additional details of the design improvement are provided in the FY 2001 Design Improvement Report submitted with the President’s Budget.

The next generation of Submarine Large Scale Vehicle, CUTTHROAT (LSV 2), is under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding and Electric Boat Corporation.  CUTTHROAT will support technology insertion in VIRGINIA Class submarines during a 20 year operating life at the Navy’s Acoustic Research Facility at Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho.  The design is an exact external replica of VIRGINIA.  Quieter and more powerful than her predecessor, CUTTHROAT will enable advancements in submarine hydroacoustic and hydrodynamic testing.  At 111 feet long and 200 tons displacement, CUTTHROAT will be the world’s largest unmanned autonomous vehicle.  Hull fabrication is complete and modules are being outfitted today in Newport News, Virginia and Groton, Connecticut.  Shipment of three major sections to Idaho is planned for spring 2000.  Following final assembly at the lake facilities, CUTTHROAT will be launched in September 2000 and begin lake trial testing before the end of the year.  Delivery to the Navy is planned for February 2001.

Submarine Force Structure

The Joint Chiefs of Staff released a study on Attack Submarine Force Structure recommending a submarine force level higher than the QDR level of 50. The FY 2001 Presidents budget establishes a new SCN procurement line for Submarine Force Structure and provides funding to refuel SSN 688’s scheduled for early inactivation and/or to perform SSGN conversions.  The FY 2001 budget includes $31 million in advance procurement to support possible outyear SSN 688 refueling overhauls.

VIRGINIA (SSN 774) Class Attack Submarines

The Virginia Class Submarine will be the Navy’s most capable, flexible, and cost effective attack submarine design well into the 21st Century.  As such, we will continue to evaluate production and procurement strategies that will allow an affordable increase in the production rate in order to reach and maintain CJCS study requirements.  

The keel for the first VIRGINIA Class submarine was laid in September of 1999.  Construction on the TEXAS, second in the class, is well underway.  The FY 2001 budget request includes $1.7 billion for full funding of the third ship and advance procurement for the fourth and fifth ships of the VIRGINIA Class.  The third and fourth ships are part of the unique single contract and construction-teaming plan approved by Congress in 1998.  Teaming has already achieved significant cost savings for the first four submarines when compared to a typical four-ship allocation plan. The current FYDP includes level-loading of one ship each year for FY 2001-2005 providing a cost effective steady production rate that helps both shipbuilders achieve level manning and more economic material buys.

The VIRGINIA Class submarine will surpass the operational performance of SEAWOLF in stealth, special warfare, mine warfare, surveillance, battle group operations, and mission flexibility—but for 30% less total life cycle cost.  To maintain such margins, the design incorporates flexibility to adapt future advanced technologies rapidly and affordably.  This strategy requires steady investment to succeed. 

The VIRGINIA Class is the first major combatant designed in the post cold war era to meet post cold war multi-mission requirements.  It was also designed in a cost conscious manner—reducing TOC was a key design factor—providing the best value for the future.  To reduce TOC, the VIRGINIA Class includes the disciplined application of commercial specifications and components, fewer developed specifications, and fewer construction drawings.   Additionally, the modular design and the use of digital design tools will allow seamless integration of new technologies into each subsequent ship.  The program continues to examine innovative ways to reduce acquisition and life cycle costs. 

SEAWOLF (SSN 21) Class Attack Submarines

The SEAWOLF Class submarine program has delivered and commissioned the first two ships and has awarded an $887 million (RDT&E) contract modification for design and construction changes to the third and final SEAWOLF Class submarine.

      Pre-Commissioning Unit JIMMY CARTER (SSN 23) is being modified with additional volume to accommodate advanced technology for Naval Special Warfare, tactical surveillance, and mine warfare operations. As part of the December 1999 contract modification, the base ship contract was converted to a Firm Fixed Price contract (SCN) with a revised ship delivery date of June 2004.

Advanced Seal Delivery System (ASDS)

The Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS) is a Special Operations

Command sponsored program being executed by the Naval Sea Systems Command.  A specially designed combatant submarine being developed for the clandestine insertion and extraction of Special Operations Forces, the ASDS will provide a quantum leap in SOF undersea mobility.

Design and construction of the lead ship is complete and shallow-water testing is currently underway at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.  So far, the ship has successfully completed a number of slow speed surfaced and submerged operations. Testing of the ship's submerged anchoring and lock-in/lock-out capability using actual fleet divers is imminent, and the ship will be ready for deep-water testing in Pearl Harbor early this Spring.  Delivery to the Fleet is anticipated sometime this Summer.

      This program remains a top warfighter priority at SOCOM.  Construction of five additional ships is scheduled to begin in FY 2002 at a rate of one ship every other year.

SAN ANTONIO (LPD 17) Amphibious Transport Dock Ship

The SAN ANTONIO Class amphibious transport dock ships represent the Navy and Marine Corps future in amphibious warfare, and is one of the cornerstones in the Department’s strategic plan known as "Forward...from the Sea".  The 12 ships of the SAN ANTONIO Class will functionally replace 27 amphibious ships from the classes now in service.  This plan will not only modernize our amphibious forces, but will also result in significant manpower and life-cycle cost savings.

The FY 2001 budget request includes $1.5 billion for the fifth and sixth ships of this 12-ship program.  Design of the class is underway and lead ship construction will commence this spring.  

Auxiliary Dry Cargo Vessel (T-ADC (X))

Several of our supply ships have been in service for over 30 years.  Many of them are steam ships whose service lives will expire in FY 2007.   The Navy plans to replace these aging vessels with the T-ADC(X) Auxiliary Dry Cargo Vessels.  The FY 2001 budget request includes $339 million in SCN funding for the second ship of this 12-ship class.  T-ADC(X) is a new class of ship that will replace the aging Ammunition and Dry Stores Ships (TAEs and TAFs). 

      The Navy awarded Phase I contracts to four shipbuilders in August 1999 for cargo system integration studies for efficient methods of handling material within the ship.  Contract award for Phase II, detail design and lead ship construction, will occur in FY 2000 with scheduled delivery in 2004.

Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC) SLEP

      The Navy is continuing the LCAC Service Life Extension Program in Fiscal Year 2001. This program combines major structural improvements with Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Navigation upgrades and adds 10 years to the service life, extending it to 30 years. In FY 2001, it is funded at $19.9 million and will extend the service life of 1 craft.  The SLEP is planned for a total of 74 craft.

4. SUMMARY

Mr. Chairman, the Navy and Marine Corps is continuing to work very hard to build a Navy of the future.  We are constantly reassessing our force structure and the requirements to modernize that force.  This committee has always been very helpful and supportive in addressing Navy readiness and modernization, and we look forward to continuing that strong, positive relationship. We ask for your continued support for our critical needs as addressed in out fiscal year 2001 budget submission.