Naval Reserves:

The Frigate Trainer Program Should Be Canceled

NSIAD-92-114: Published: Apr 28, 1992. Publicly Released: May 5, 1992.

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Mark E. Gebicke
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Innovative Naval Reserve Concept, focusing on whether the program is still justified in light of the changes in national security.

GAO found that: (1) the Innovative Naval Reserve Concept is a program to use Knox class frigates for training Naval Reserve crews; (2) given political changes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the United States does not have a global military challenger; and (3) decommissioning all of the Knox class frigates now would save about $1.4 billion over the next 10 years. GAO believes that the Knox Class Frigate Program is no longer justified due to the absence of a current global military threat to the United States and the prospect of far greater warning times if such a threat should reemerge.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of the Navy's March 1993 posture statement states that the Reserve Frigate Trainer Program will be terminated by the end of fiscal year (FY) 1994 with the decommissioning of the 8 active training frigates and the disposal of the 35 companion FF-1052 mobilization assets held in category B (mothballs) as global war contingent forces. Subsequent Navy and Department of Defense (DOD) budget documents indicate that the program will terminate in midyear in FY 1994 (Mar. 31, 1994). Total reductions of $875 million were identified in the current 6-year budget projections through FY 1999. DOD later requested permission, granted by Congress, to lease up to 33 of the fast frigates to nine countries. Lease income would be transferred to the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts. This recommendation should be closed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should cancel the reserve frigate trainer program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD's decision to cancel the entire Knox class (FF1052) frigate trainer program includes decommissioning the eight trainer ships. Therefore, the recommendation should be closed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to decommission the eight frigate trainers.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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