In October 2008, the U.S. Navy will begin construction of the first of two lead DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers--at an expected cost of $6.3 billion. Given the history of cost growth on shipbuilding programs, as well as the Navy's request for approval of a third ship, GAO was asked to assess the progress of the program. GAO examined (1) whether key systems can be delivered on time and work as intended (2) design maturity (3) shipyard readiness and (4) whether lead and follow-on DDG 1000 ships can be built within budget. To accomplish this, our work included analysis of schedules, ship progress reviews and cost estimates; interviews with Navy and other officials; and our own past work.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|To provide insight into the potential for cost growth as the program progresses, the Congress may wish to consider requiring the Navy to report on (1) the current production and testing schedule for systems necessary to meet ship light-off, ship delivery, and combat system activation; (2) any changes to this schedule, particularly with the dual band radar and the total ship computing environment; and (3) the cost impact of these changes if the schedule is maintained and if the schedule is stretched out.||This recommendation is being closed as it has been overtaken by events. A report to Congress was triggered by section 2433a of title 10 (Nunn-McCurdy cost breach). The report covers changes in schedule, testing requirements and a decision to remove the volume search radar (a part of the dual band radar) from the ship due to cost concerns. A report was sent to Congress on June 1, 2010.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. The Secretary of Defense should require the Navy to complete product modeling of the ship's design to the level currently planned before the start of construction.|
|Department of Defense||2. The Secretary of Defense should defer contract award for follow-on ships until the Navy has completed a substantial amount of construction on the lead ships.|
|Department of Defense||3. The Secretary of Defense should hold the Milestone C review in advance of awarding a contract for the third ship.|