Navy's Plan to Acquire Additional Strategic Sealift

NSIAD-92-224: Published: Jul 30, 1992. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 1992.

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Mark E. Gebicke
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's Mobility Requirements Study, focusing on the Navy's planned acquisition of 20 strategic sealift ships.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy has eliminated two of four options for acquiring the needed ships due to unfeasibility; (2) in September 1991, the Navy awarded nine 90-day initial design contracts for two ships, has since selected a 950-foot ship as the best design, and is anticipating awarding engineering design contracts after approval; (3) at the same time, the Navy solicited shipyards' and commercial ship operators' comments for conversions of existing ships to meet its requirements, and is drafting a circular of requirements for such conversions and planning to proceed with some conversions; (4) a preliminary data review suggests that conversions may save time and money in comparison with new construction; (5) the 24-knot speed capability requirement for all the new ships has not been justified, since similar existing sealift ships have speeds ranging from 16 to 27 knots; and (6) slightly lower-speed ships would still be able to deliver the required cargo within the required time period, and would provide more candidates for conversion.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: Because it would increase the universe of potential conversion candidates, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to consider converting a few ships with speeds slightly lower than 24 knots.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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