Procurement Strategy for Acquiring Two Nuclear Aircraft Carriers

T-NSIAD-87-28: Published: Apr 7, 1987. Publicly Released: Apr 7, 1987.

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GAO discussed the Navy's request to begin procuring two new Nimitz-class aircraft carriers earlier than it had originally planned to. The Navy estimated that such a procurement strategy would save $3 billion. GAO noted that: (1) the Navy overestimated the savings that a multi-ship acquisition strategy would yield because the single-ship strategy that it had planned for the two carriers was inconsistent with previous procurements; (2) the Navy overestimated potential inflation savings for the same reason; (3) despite difficulties in accounting for all of the benefits of production continuity, the Navy reasonably assumed that savings would occur; and (4) the Navy only roughly estimated the savings because it might otherwise acquire more advanced technologies if it delayed procurement. GAO also noted that the Navy: (1) is planning advance procurement of nuclear propulsion units and other equipment and materials that it could use elsewhere in the fleet if Congress does not authorize the two new carriers; and (2) believes that it will save money by acquiring the new carriers and decommissioning older, maintenance-intensive carriers earlier than it otherwise would have.

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