Posted: January 12, 2017 4:00 PM

Naval Leaders Mull Shipbuilding Aspects of 355-Ship Navy

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy’s recent Force Structure Assessment (FSA) defining the fleet requirement of 355 ships in the battle force is giving Navy shipbuilding leaders plenty to think about regarding how to ramp up production should the fleet increase in size from the current goal of 308 ships.

Speaking Jan. 12 on a shipbuilding panel to an audience of the Surface Navy Association’s National Symposium were Vice Adm. Thomas J. Moore, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command; Rear Adm. William J. Gallinis, program executive officer (PEO)-Ships; Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, PEO-Submarines; Rear Adm. John P. Neagley, PEO-Littoral Combat Ships (LCS); Rear Adm. Douglas W. Small, PEO-Integrated Warfare Systems; and Coast Guard Rear Adm. Michael J. Haycock, director of Acquisition Programs. 

Moore recently met with President-elect Donald J. Trump along with officials from other services, and said that the incoming president was “going to expect some dramatic improvement in the price of our programs.”

Jabaley said that the current shipbuilding infrastructure had “the capacity to increase production,” but asked “at what point do you need to build more facilities?”

He noted the FSA called for 66 attack submarines, far more than the current requirement for 48, but that the future Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine still would be the top funding priority given its strategic deterrent mission.

Neagley pointed out the advantages of a block buy in shipbuilding, which has had the effect of helping to control costs in the LCS program.

Gallinis said that “anything you are able to do to drive stability in the [shipbuilding] process brings costs down.” He pointed out the cost advantages of using a common hull form for multiple classes or variants, such as with the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and its various flights, though he noted that the future Flight III would be “bumping up against the margin limit” of space and power requirements.

Haycock made the case for budget stability in affordability of shipbuilding programs, noting that continuing resolutions induce more cost in programs. 

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