Nuclear Carrier Homeporting
NSIAD-95-146R: Published: Apr 21, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 1995.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the possible homeporting of three nuclear aircraft carriers at two California naval shipyards. GAO noted that: (1) the Navy plans to concentrate a major portion of its Pacific fleet in San Diego and close the Long Beach Naval Air Station as a homeport; (2) although the Navy plans to have carriers at their homeports at least 50 percent of the time, changing a carrier's homeport during extended maintenance periods defeats the objective of keeping sailors with their families as much as possible; (3) the Navy has not included Long Beach in the San Diego homeport area because of the 2-hour commute between the cities; (4) the Navy estimates that it would cost the least to homeport all three nuclear carriers at San Diego, but some of its assumptions are questionable; (5) San Diego's homeporting advantages include its status as a megaport, maintenance facilities, and quality of life considerations, while its disadvantages include the lack of a carrier-size drydock and a long waiting list for government housing; (6) Long Beach's advantages include its access to open ocean, maintenance infrastructure for nuclear carriers, and a large drydock, while its disadvantages include the need to reverse several base closure decisions, the need for temporary homeporting elsewhere until certain maintenance facilities are ready, and poor quality of life conditions; (7) the Navy's environmental impact statement appears to comply with environmental requirements; and (8) the Navy has rejected the option of placing a carrier-size drydock in San Diego due to high costs and the availability of other drydocks.