Navy Shipbuilding Programs:
Nuclear Attack Submarine Requirements
T-NSIAD-95-120, Mar 16, 1995
GAO discussed the requirements for continued production of nuclear attack submarines, focusing on: (1) less costly alternatives for maintaining the required submarine force structure; and (2) the adequacy of the Department of Defense's (DOD) justification for building the SSN-23 submarine. GAO noted that: (1) there is currently no competition to build nuclear attack submarines and DOD has not clarified what it means by long-term industrial base and national security needs; (2) under one alternative, the Navy could maintain a sustained low-rate production or defer SSN construction until early in the next century; (3) the Navy could also extend the service life of 9 refueled SSN-688, which would save $17 billion in procurement costs; (4) these alternatives demonstrate that the Navy can maintain its approved force levels by acquiring fewer than 31 submarines through 2014 as currently planned; and (5) preserving the industrial base would not threaten competition because only one shipyard produces nuclear submarines.