Navy Ships:

Lessons of Prior Programs May Reduce New Attack Submarine Cost Increases and Delays

NSIAD-95-4: Published: Oct 20, 1994. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 1994.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's plans to incorporate lessons learned from prior submarine programs into the design and construction of the NSSN, a new class of nuclear-powered attack submarine.

GAO found that: (1) by incorporating management lessons from prior submarine construction programs, the Navy could reduce its costs and avoid the schedule delays that it has experienced in the Seawolf SSN-21 program; (2) the NSSN project manager intends to incorporate lessons learned from the Seawolf SSN-21 program into the NSSN program acquisition strategy, but the extent to which these lessons will be applied cannot be assessed until the Department of Defense (DOD) approves the strategy and makes it available to the public for evaluation; (3) the Navy estimates that NSSN cost savings could range from $90 million to $100 million; and (4) the DOD acquisition strategy should explicitly address how the Navy will avoid repeating the problems of prior construction programs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The thrust of the GAO findings is being incorporated into the New Attack Submarine program.

    Recommendation: To allow an assessment of how the Navy will avoid a repetition of past problems, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that the formal NSSN acquisition strategy explicitly documents how the Navy is to address and incorporate the management and technical lessons from prior submarine programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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