Navy Should Reconsider Plans To Acquire New Fleet Oilers and Ocean Tugs

LCD-78-234A: Published: Aug 30, 1978. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 1978.

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As part of its replacement program for aging fleet ocean tugs, the Navy is constructing four new tugs at a cost of $54.8 million, and three additional tugs approved in fiscal year 1978 will cost about $53 million.

The need for the three fleet ocean tugs approved in 1978 is questionable. In justifying the new tugs, the Navy underestimated U.S. merchant marine capability; it did not give appropriate consideration to other Navy and friendly nation capability; it did not adequately determine wartime requirements; and it overstated peacetime requirements. By deferring procurement of the three tugs, the Navy could avoid initial costs of over $53 million and could save an estimated $3 million a year in operating costs. A review of the Navy's fleet oiler replacement program revealed that: based on wartime requirements and mission of the fleet oiler, it is questionable whether the Navy needs the number and type of oiler desired; viable lower cost alternatives to the Navy's replacement fleet oiler have not received adequate consideration; and little has been done to enhance U.S. commercial tanker capability as an effective supplement to the Navy's underway replenishment capability

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: With respect to the Navy's fleet ocean tug program, the Secretary of the Navy should: defer construction of additional fleet ocean tugs beyond the four currently being constructed; develop criteria from which more adequate peacetime and wartime requirements can be determined; maximize peacetime use of commercial assets; and in light of the anticipated wartime reliance on commercial assets, develop, coordinate, and implement a plan of action with appropriate merchant marine officials. With respect to the fleet oiler program, the Secretary of the Navy should: reevaluate the need for fully capable oilers to accomplish the primary wartime mission, reevaluate the suitability of the oiler to function as a backup station ship, identify areas in merchant marine tanker fleets that could improve national defense value and enhance overall readiness, and determine if the National Defense Reserve Fleet could play a greater role in providing auxiliary shuttle capability.

    Agency Affected:


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