Military Spending, DOD Contracts, National Defense $$$$

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Report to Congress on Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense​

The following is the Dec. 20, 2023, Congressional Research Service report Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report​

The Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) program, which is carried out by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Navy, gives Navy Aegis cruisers and destroyers a capability for conducting BMD operations. BMD-capable Aegis ships operate in European waters to defend Europe from potential ballistic missile attacks from countries such as Iran, and in in the Western Pacific and the Persian Gulf to provide regional defense against potential ballistic missile attacks from countries such as North Korea and Iran. The number of BMD-capable Aegis ships has been growing over time. MDA’s FY2024 budget submission states that “by the end of FY 2024, there will be 53 total BMD capable [Aegis] ships requiring maintenance support.” MDA testified on December 7, 2023, that the number of BMD-capable ships on that date was 49, and that under MDA’s FY2024 budget submission, the number is to grow to 56 by FY2025 and 69 by FY2030.

The Aegis BMD program is funded mostly through MDA’s budget. The Navy’s budget provides additional funding for BMD-related efforts. MDA’s proposed FY2024 budget requests a total of $1,747.2 million (i.e., about $1.7 billion) in procurement and research and development funding for Aegis BMD efforts, including funding for two Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania. MDA’s budget also includes operations and maintenance (O&M) and military construction (MilCon) funding for the Aegis BMD program.

Issues for Congress regarding the Aegis BMD program include the following:



Report to Congress on Hypersonic Weapons​

FEBRUARY 16, 2024 12:27 PM

From the report​

The United States has actively pursued the development of hypersonic weapons—maneuvering weapons that fly at speeds of at least Mach 5—as a part of its conventional prompt global strike program since the early 2000s. In recent years, the United States has focused such efforts on developing hypersonic glide vehicles, which are launched from a rocket before gliding to a target, and hypersonic cruise missiles, which are powered by high-speed, air-breathing engines during flight. As former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Commander of U.S. Strategic Command General John Hyten has stated, these weapons could enable “responsive, long-range, strike options against distant, defended, and/or time-critical threats [such as road-mobile missiles] when other forces are unavailable, denied access, or not preferred.” Critics, on the other hand, contend that hypersonic weapons lack defined mission requirements, contribute little to U.S. military capability, and are unnecessary for deterrence.

Funding for hypersonic weapons has been relatively restrained in the past; however, both the Pentagon and Congress have shown a growing interest in pursuing the development and near-term deployment of hypersonic systems. This is due, in part, to the advances in these technologies in Russia and China, both of which have a number of hypersonic weapons programs and have likely fielded operational hypersonic glide vehicles—potentially armed with nuclear warheads. Most U.S. hypersonic weapons, in contrast to those in Russia and China, are not being designed for use with a nuclear warhead. As a result, U.S. hypersonic weapons will likely require greater accuracy and will be more technically challenging to develop than nuclear-armed Chinese and Russian systems.



Navy Awards $1.2B Repair Contract for Attack Sub USS Boise More Than 7 Years Late​

The Navy awarded a contract to start repair work on a nuclear attack submarine that returned from its last deployment nine years ago, according to a Friday Pentagon contract announcement.

HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding won the $1.17 billion contract modification to start the long-overdue overhaul of Los Angeles-class attack boat USS Boise (SSN-764) at the company’s Virginia yard on the James River.

“This contract modification includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract modification to $1,238,312,189,” reads the announcement.

“Work will be performed in Newport News, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by September 2029.”



Republican Lawmakers Question CAPE on Amphibious Warship Buys​

Two Republican lawmakers are probing the Pentagon about the use of multi-year purchase strategies for large amphibious ships.

Citing the lack of San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks in last year’s Fiscal Year 2024 five-year budget proposal, Reps. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) and Trent Kelly (R-Miss.) are asking the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office whether it’s on the same page with the Navy and Marine Corps about the savings multi-year buys could yield and whether the Navy should use the purchase strategy for its amphibious ship portfolio.

The letter, dated March 1, references the 31 amphibious ship requirement that both the Navy’s 2022 Battle Force Ship Assessment and Requirement Study called for and that Congress codified into law in the Fiscal Year 2023 defense policy bill. The 31-ship requirement is for amphibious transport docks and amphibious assault ships, but does not include the new Landing Ship Medium that the Navy is pursuing for the Marine Corps.



Pentagon Claims It's 'Out Of Money,' Can't Replace Weapons Sent To Ukraine!​

Mar 12, 2024

The Pentagon is doing a Zelensky - begging for money because it has shipped all its weapons to Ukraine. Whose idea was it to send weapons we need to Ukraine? Also today, Poland's neocon foreign minister confirms there are NATO troops already in Ukraine.

The Pentagon is doing a Zelensky - begging for money because it has shipped all its weapons to Ukraine.
What bullshit. They have all the money they want. They spend billions on stupid weapon systems like the F35 but they agonize over spending a few tens of millions on guns that the regular enlisted will use. I think the whole Pentagon ("Defense") system should be turned around and the bulk of the spending should be redirected to the actual soldiers and well under half to the companies that sell their weapons systems.

Is it a bad idea to send more money to help the current and ex soldiers and less to the companies that sell the cruise missiles that send warheads to ... blow up an airfield that ... Iranians may have used... (Yes, I defend Trump for many cases, but he failed when sending 100 missiles here.)

Report to Congress on Navy TAGOS-25 Ocean Surveillance Shipbuilding Program​


The Navy in FY2022 procured the first of a planned class of seven new TAGOS-25 class ocean surveillance ships at a cost of $434.4 million. The Navy’s FY2024 budget submission showed that the ship’s estimated procurement cost had subsequently grown to $789.6 million—an increase of $355.2 million, or 81.8%. The Navy’s proposed FY2024 budget requested $355.2 million in additional cost-to-complete procurement funding to pay for this cost growth. Under the Navy’s FY2024 budget submission, the Navy wanted to procure the second TAGOS-25 class ship in FY2025.

Under the Navy’s FY2025 budget submission, the Navy is proposing to defer procurement of the second TAGOS-25 class ship from FY2025 to FY2026. The Navy’s proposed FY2025 shipbuilding budget requests no procurement funding for the TAGOS-25 program.



Fiscal Year 2025 Navy Unfunded Priorities List to Congress​

The following is the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2025 unfunded priorities list, that was released on March 25, 2024.

From the report​

Dear Mr. Chairman,

In accordance with 10U.S. Code § 222(a), I am submitting the enclosed list of Navy unfunded priorities for fiscal year (FY) 2025 that would complement the critical investments requested in the FY 2025 President’s Budget. I firmly support the FY 2025 President’s Budget as the best balance of resources needed to strengthen the Navy’s Warfighting, Warfighters, and Foundation, in compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) spending caps. Should funding above the FRA caps become available, then this list informs Congress of my recommendation for additional investments to reduce risk in executing the National Defense Strategy and National Military Strategy. These unfunded items do not take priority over the FY 2025 President’s Budget and I urge Congress not to reduce the FY 2025 budget submission to support these unfunded items.



Navy Doubles Down on Submarine Industrial Base Funding in Unfunded Request​

Money to bolster the submarine industrial base is at the top of the Navy’s $2.24 billion unfunded priorities list for Fiscal Year 2025, but that item is dependent on the fate of the Biden administration’s national security supplemental request.

In a March 25 letter to Congress, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti said the FY 2024 supplemental request – which includes $3.3 billion for the submarine industrial base – is her number one unfunded item.

“Our FY 2025 President’s Budget is based on enacted appropriations for both the FY 2024 President’s Budget and National Security Supplemental,” Franchetti wrote in the letter. “The FY 2025 request for SIB investments are thus distinct from and build upon the National Security Supplemental Request. If not appropriated in FY 2024, then this is my top unfunded priority for FY 2025.”



Report to Congress on U.S. Navy Destroyer Programs​

The Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class destroyer program is one of the longest-running shipbuilding programs in Navy history. The Navy began procuring DDG-51s, also known as Aegis destroyers, in FY1985, and a total of 94 have been procured through FY2024, including two in FY2024. From FY1989 through FY2005, DDG-51s were procured in annual quantities of two to five ships per year. Since FY2010, they have been procured in annual quantities of one to three ships per year. (The Navy did not procure any DDG-51s in FY2006-FY2009. Instead, the Navy in FY2007-FY2009 procured three Zumwalt [DDG-1000] class destroyers. The Navy plans no further procurement of DDG-1000s.)

The Navy’s proposed FY2025 budget requests the procurement of two more DDG-51s in FY2025. The Navy’s FY2025 five-year (FY2025-FY2029) shipbuilding plan includes 10 DDG-51s, to be procured at a rate of two ships per year.



Welcome to the jungle – the new Cold War era of investing is upon us​

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the symbolic end of the Cold War. But it was an economic not a military victory – a realisation in the Soviet Union that communism could never bring the same economic advancement as capitalism.

The following three decades witnessed the fastest pace of globalization since the “hundred years’ peace” of 1815-1914 and the proclamation of a unipolar “new world order” led by the United States. It also began a 30-year bear market in European defense stocks.

But geopolitical events have now changed course which has significant yet underappreciated implications for investors.



SECNAV Del Toro Previews Major Amphibious Warship Buy​

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said he expects “a major announcement” in the next few weeks on a new multi-year procurement agreement to build three San Antonio-class amphibious warships and an America-class big deck amphibious warship at HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi.

The Navy has been negotiating “as low a price as possible” for the ships that the sea services view as essential to future expeditionary missions, Del Toro said at the Stimson Center on Tuesday. Two years ago the Navy and the Marine Corps agreed on the requirement for 31 LPDs and LHAs in the fleet.

Last year, the Office of the Secretary of Defense ordered a “strategic pause” in amphibious ship procurement to evaluate requirements and cost efficiencies.

Complicating matters on Capitol Hill over the size of the amphibious fleet is the Landing Ship Medium, which the Navy will build for intra-theater use by the Marine Corps. Those ships are not included in the authorized 31 LPDS and LHAs.


Even with space available in shipyards, fewer than 40 percent of Navy ships completed availability repairs on time, the Government Accountability Office’s director of defense capabilities and management told the Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee last week.

Diana Maurer told the Senate panel Wednesday her office put shipyard conditions second only to F-35 Lightning II sustainment costs as the most worrisome readiness issues facing the services.

“We see readiness increasingly strained,” she added. In the case of the yards, including the optimization money to modernize the public yards, GAO wants the Navy to develop design, schedule and sustainment costs to avoid the hundreds of millions in overruns marking dry dock work in Pearl Harbor.


Report to Congress on U.S. Navy Force Structure, Shipbuilding​

The following is the May 24, 2024, Congressional Research Service report, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report​

The current and future size and composition of the Navy, the annual rate of Navy ship procurement, the prospective affordability of the Navy’s shipbuilding plans, the capacity of the U.S. shipbuilding industry to execute the Navy’s shipbuilding plans, and Navy proposals for retiring existing ships have been oversight matters for the congressional defense committees for many years. Congressional focus on these matters has been heightened over the past decade by the increasing size and capabilities of China’s navy, and by the capacity of China’s shipbuilding industry compared with the capacity of the U.S. shipbuilding industry.

The Navy fell below 300 battle force ships (the types of ships that count toward the quoted size of the Navy) in August 2003 and has generally remained between 270 and 300 battle force ships since then. As of May 20, 2024, the Navy included 296 battle force ships.



House Approps Bill Funds Single Virginia-class Sub, Cuts Landing Ship Medium in 4 Warship Buy​

JUNE 4, 2024 3:06 PM - UPDATED: JUNE 5, 2024 12:43 PM

In a split from the House Armed Service Committee, the House defense appropriators wants to buy a single Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine in a draft of the Fiscal Year 2025 defense spending bill.

The bill, released on Tuesday, funds a $31.6 billion shipbuilding budget that includes two Flight III Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers, one San Antonio-class amphibious warship and the single Virginia-class attack boat that the Navy asked for in its budget submission. Additionally, the bill prevents the decommissioning of three ships.

The ship buy in the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee bill is $800 million below and two fewer hulls than the Navy’s initial FY 2025 request for six battle force ships. The legislation cuts funds for a Constellation-class guided-missile frigate, a cut House authorizers also made, and reduces funds for the first Navy’s medium landing ship from $268.1 million to $29.7 million.



GAO Annual Assessment of Weapon Systems​

The following is the June 17, 2024, Government Accountability Office Report to Congressional Committees: Weapon Systems Annual Assessment.

From the report

What GAO Found

While the Department of Defense (DOD) plans to invest more than $2 trillion to develop and acquire its costliest weapon programs, it continues to struggle with delivering innovative technologies quickly. Weapon systems are more complex and driven by software than ever before. Recent reforms were intended to lead to faster results, but slow, linear development approaches persist. In July 2023, GAO found that leading commercial companies deliver complex, innovative products with speed through iterative cycles of design, development, and production.



Report to Congress on Navy Large Unmanned Surface and Undersea Vehicles​

JULY 16, 2024 9:58 AM

The following is the July 15, 2024, Congressional Research Service report, Navy Large Unmanned Surface and Undersea Vehicles: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report

Among the Navy’s programs for developing and acquiring unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) of various sizes are programs for developing two large USVs—the Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle (LUSV) and Medium Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MUSV)—and a program for a large UUV called the Extra-Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV), also known as Orca. The Navy wants to develop and acquire LUSVs, MUSVs, and XLUUVs as part of an effort to shift the Navy to a more distributed fleet architecture, meaning a mix of ships that spreads the Navy’s capabilities over an increased number of platforms and avoids concentrating a large portion of the fleet’s overall capability into a relatively small number of high-value ships (i.e., a mix of ships that avoids “putting too many eggs into one basket”). The Navy’s proposed FY2025 budget requests $54.0 million in research and development (R&D) funding for the LUSV program, $101.8 million in R&D funding for the MUSV program, $92.9 million in R&D funding for LUSV/MUSV enabling capabilities, $21.5 million in R&D funding for the XLUUV program, and $68.2 million in additional R&D funding for core technologies for UUVs including but not limited to XLUUV.



Report to Congress on Virginia-class Submarine Program, AUKUS​

JULY 23, 2024 11:08 AM

The following is the July 16, 2024, Congressional Research Service report, Navy Virginia-Class Submarine Program and AUKUS Submarine (Pillar 1) Project: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report

Virginia-class submarine program. The Navy has been procuring Virginia (SSN-774) class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) since FY1998, and a total of 40 have been procured through FY2024. From FY2011 through FY2024, they have been procured at a rate of two per year. When procured at that rate, they have an estimated procurement cost of about $4.5 billion each. Although they have been procured at a rate of two boats per year, the actual production rate has fallen short of 2.0 boats per year, and since 2022 has been limited by shipyard and supplier firm workforce and supply chain challenges to about 1.2 to 1.4 boats per year, resulting in a growing backlog of boats procured but not yet built. The Navy and industry are working to increase the Virginia-class production rate to 2.0 boats per year by 2028, and subsequently to 2.33 boats per year, so as to execute the two-per-year procurement rate, replace three to five Virginiaclass boats that are to be sold to Australia under the AUKUS submarine (Pillar 1) project (see below), and reduce the accumulated Virginia-class production backlog. Congress has appropriated billions of dollars of submarine industrial-base funding to support this effort.


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