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Highlights

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 requires that any budget request for construction of a new class of major combatant vessels will be for one with an integrated nuclear power system, unless the Secretary of Defense submits notification to Congress that it is not in the national interest to do so. The Navy's Next Generation Cruiser--CG(X)--is subject to this legislation. In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's analysis of options for CG(X), including cost estimates related to building nuclear and conventional cruisers. GAO examined (1) the design concepts included in the CG(X) Analysis of Alternatives, (2) how each ship design concept addresses threats that cause capability gaps for maritime air and missile defense, and (3) how the Navy's methodology and assumptions affect its estimates of the relative costs for conventional and nuclear cruisers. To accomplish this, GAO analyzed CG(X) program documents, interviewed Navy and Department of Defense officials, and assessed the effect of alternative methodologies and assumptions on cost estimates. This letter is an unclassified summary of the classified report.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should require that the Navy, before finalizing Phase 2 of the Maritime Air and Missile Defense of Joint Forces Analysis of Alternatives, include present value analysis, alternative fuel scenarios, and analysis on the effect that a less efficient conventional propulsion system has on the cost estimates.
Closed - Not Implemented
This recommendation has been overcome by events. After this report was released, the Department of the Navy decided to restart the DDG 51 production line rather than pursue a new platform, CG(X). The Navy has never finalized Phase 2 of the Maritime Air and Missile Defense of Joint Forces Analysis of Alternatives and there are no Navy plans to finalize it so that OSD can complete its sufficiency review since the CG(X) program was cancelled.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should require that the Navy include present value analysis and alternative fuel scenarios in any future analyses of the trade-off between conventional and nuclear propulsion.
Closed - Not Implemented
This recommendation has been overcome by events. As documented in the Navy's Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2011, the Navy is not pursuing any new platforms during the FYDP time period that would require an analysis of the trade-off between conventional and nuclear propulsion.

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