tv Senate Armed Services Subcommittee Hearing on Shipbuilding Programs CSPAN March 28, 2019 1:44am-3:45am EDT
operations and lieutenant general commandant of the marine corps general, congratulations on your nomination delighted to have you here today this is our first public meeting as the chairman i'm humbled to be leading the committee and i will do all i can to support the men and women we have the smallest army since world war ii the subcommittee will provide support for the marine corps to
meet this demand for global missions to subcommittee received a classified assessment andsa learn how to plan to opere in the face of these ever-growing threat in providing context for the next series of budget focused hearings on t the naval aviation and ground systems thank you again for your participation in reflection of the shift for a great cover competition toda today the navy stands at 289 battle force ships.
last mont month our national des $22 trillion but generally and others called it the greatest threat and i agree it's no secret that hamstrings our o military and when it the ability to plan for future missions. many factors beyond the control to secretary of the navy's comments caught my attention when he said and i quote continuing resolutions across the department roughly $4 billion since 2011 with 4 billion in th the trashcan, lighter fluid on top of the confirmed to be coburn did it. this is no way to run the government and congressrt must o
better additionally i'd like to review a number of other topics including the ongoing assessment and factors t factors to let tho conduct the assessment, greater clarity on the funding plan and the challenges related with their class submarine program and aircraft carrier includingel the proposal to inactivate be uss theodore truman as well as the plan to recapitalize the strategic and options to improve acquisition preferment the subcommittee will continue to work to build a larger more capable fleet while at the same timeme demanding the best of evy taxpayer dollar. i look forward to the a witness
today they face difficult decisions to modernize and maintain our technological advantage against the need to support ongoing operations and current readiness. right now they are using the resources but to make sure that it doesn't come at the expense rely on everyday. we had the benefit of a budget deal that included increases ine the dod topline this year we are against facing the constraint aat the cab. the attempt moved a large portion of the base budget into the overseas. i do not support such a gimmick and hope we can move quickly for fiscal year 2020.
today's hearing deals with race aspect. the programs play a critical role in them something. how we improve the acquisition, thereby ensuring we are getting good value for every ship opening bowler that we spend. two years ago the chief presented us with a new force structure assessment. the plan would have increased the size of the fleet that would womeant. but maybe witthe navy would achn 2034. they attacked more than 66 votes and would be achieved in 2048, the same as last year.
they would've achieved the goals of the largest combatants for all my one year during the 30 year period, 2024. despite the requirement of aircraft carriers. about a quarter of the planned this is a significant reduction from last yearua which had ten carriers are all of one year. some of this undoubtedly relates to the proposal to counsel.
last year it was part of the national act expanding the duties of the physicia positiono include acquisition anddi sustainment including maintenance matters. i'm very encouraged they are not ignoring a vital component of maintaining a fleet. these are essential for maintaining a ready and capable fleet. i'm encouraged the navy has. to ensure th this shipyard modernization program stays on track. thank you, mr. chairman. >> now we have for our business.
secretary, i believe you are up first. >> distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear. the deputy commandant for combat development and integration. with your permission i intend to provide remarks for the three of us in our statement in the record. i'd like to start by thinking ththankingthe subcommittee of cs asking that budget on time. with much more efficient contracting it helps to stabilize the adoption to get caught critical to success.
the point of this allowed us to continue to build theal navy and therefore an average of five are for the last 20 years by the end of the year below 296 in our battle force inventory not only are we building warships but the quality and capability continues to race with each delivery. we continue to improve the session to manage the output including. in 2020 it reflects the critical
role they played in the national defense strategy. it's on 55 within. this year the plan continues to reinforce the combination of a strong interest the base as well as initial estimates on the cost of sustaining after 40 years of progressively smaller. recognizing that effective and efficient sustainment. reports of the minute the first. it outlines the growing maintenance requirements and initiatives to improve the g on-time completion of maintenance activities. it complements the other action.
currently, the department continues to place a priorityimn fueling new technologies andy, capabilities. these include a wide range of and capabilities in the air time allowing we would've into potential for a second round. i will start off and then we will move to the secretary. following up on my opening statements today, and you referred to in yours as well regarding budget stability in a
private conversation you said this is a key i success factor. he also stated in the testimony in regards to the sequestration that could mean a 26 billion-dollar cut to the department of navy and he provided a graphic and i think in each of our places this disc affect. would you talk about the impact of the potential budget control act which is the wall of the lad were to take place one would do to have a procurement plan and also as an added chunk if you have a comment to talk about how cr.
we've done to get out of the boom and bust and have an effective program plan would all be thrown in there. and it's taken us decades to recover from gaps we had in submarine construction. so you would essentially undo everything we've done in the last couple of years to rebuild the navy. >> safe to say future acquisition costs would go up? >> and it's not just acquisition, it would be the readiness and the maintenance. on the cr impact, if i look over the last ten years by my accounting, the average is we've been about a third of the year in the cr, an average over the last ten years. that draws huge uncertainty. i can talk about it at the program level, but with that uncertainty then, i have to create multiple versions of contracts. everything we're doing on ship
maintenance to planning early gets thrown out. now you have to continually replan and we did 258,000 contracts last year in the department of navy. $110 billion worth of work. you'll now have to do that once, twice, three times. in particular, with the '20 budget, where we have increases in ship counts, those will all have to be rolled back. increases in personnel, those will all be impacted. and then new starts like our new frigate would have to go on hiatus. if you knew it was going to be for 82 days, you can play around that. you don't know when the cr is going to end, so i would ask my two teammates here to provide input. >> we have about a minute left. we'll come back to this later if we need more time. but i would like to hear from these two commanders, as well. >> yes, sir. we'll speak quickly here. i think the secretary covered
it, but it impedes virtually every area and a crushing impact on morale. we applied industry best practices as we approved our efficiency. and unfortunately, we have real data here of ten years as crs. this is not anecdotal. it cost us $5.8 billion in buying power. that's the equivalent of about three destroyers we were unable to execute. there's a report that reinforces our assessment. the impact, a loss of $2 billion in shifting funding to the accounts. $4 billion in operations and maintenance. another $6 billion in ship building we'll be unable to execute. so last year, we seen a good return to behavior. in the high productivity.
we got away from the bad, short-term behavior. and we just cannot go back and we expect to win. >> general berger? >> it's a bit of an oversimplification, but at the title ten level, we're going the trade modernization to pay for readiness, because that's what we must do. all the progress that they noted that we have all seen with on-time budgets goes backwards. because we will absolutely make sure the next unit tos to deplo are ready to go. at the unit level, we're -- i came from in august, just 30 seconds on that, where senator hirono and i first met. those commanders plan their whole training and education plan. there are exercises based on the budget they think they're going to get. and it's not even flow over 12 months. so if they go into sequestration
or a cr, the unpredictability that the secretary mentioned, they don't know whether they're going to thailand or australia or whether they can afford that. they have to write the contracts. we lost a lot of money when we were in the cr. buying airplanes, scheduling maintenance, laying contracts in for things that didn't happen. >> so russia and china do not face this sort of financial constraint with regard to their plan, is that correct? >> i'm not qualified to answer that. i just know the impact on us, and it's not good. >> senator hirono? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i appreciate the fact that you continue to focus on the damage done by crs, and in fact, you probably know that we are part of a joint house senate special committee to address the budget and appropriations issues, and
both of us share the concern about the continued resort to the cr. but we were not able to come to a resolution or appropriate recommendations, it just moves to show how intractable this problem is. but it's putting a large part of the budget in these funds is not the answer either. so i want to get to the public shipyard modernization issue, because that's something that has been really focused on. so i do applaud the navy for establishing a plan, because now we've been pretty much fits and starts without a comprehensive plan. does the navy fully fund the modernization plan because the -- silent on shipyard modernization. so i want to know whether it's fully funded to do -- >> yes, ma'am, it is fully
funded. we have put a lot of resources in it. and the average age of our dry docks is 62 years old. so that's just one element of where we need to modernize the shipyard. both recapitalize it and recapitalize equipment and facilities. >> yes. we know that there are major needs for modernization. so i just want to be assured that you have money to proceed with that. are you considering any changes to the plan to accelerate specific capability expansion or specific productivity enhancements in view of the ship maintenance problems that you are facing? >> yes, ma'am, we are working to look at that. the shipyard plan kind of has three major lines of activity. one is recapitalizing dry docks. the second is productivity improvements by laying out the yard. we believe that will get us 65%
more efficiency just in terms of moving workers closer to the work. and then the third is recapitalizing tools and the machinery in the shipyards themselves. all three of those are under way. additionally, we started master planning. and so at pearl harbor in particular is the first where we hired a master planner to work through the details. we're going to do that in all four of the yards to work through the detailed planning to lay out the yard to get us to the efficiency we want. my end goal is as the number of ships goes up, we get the efficiency in the public yards so that we stabilize the workforce there. we can deliver increased demand through efficiencies in the yard versus having to hire additional folks to meet that growing demand. >> you're also facing a challenge of having workers who are retiring in large numbers, and you have a lot of people in the shipyards doing this work
with less than five years of experience. so you can move the people closer to where the work is, but you have the overall concerns about where the workers are coming from. >> absolutely. so we have accelerated our hiring, so we are at the level of workforce, 36,700 that we want in all four public yards. we have achieved that a year early. as you indicated, about 57% of those right now have less than five years' experience. and so we're employing a whole host of technologies, apprentice programs, and they're taking best practices from around the world to get those -- get that workforce trained, capable, and stable so that we can -- as we improve the facilities, we'll leverage the foundation of a strong workforce that we have put in place. >> i am seeing more women getting into those programs. is that a potential source of
really good workers? are you doing any particular outreach to women to work in our shipyards? >> yes, ma'am. i'll have a follow up to give you kind of a more specific answer to that. i would say if the time here, we are looking for the best workers, and fully leveraged diversity, wherever they come from. it's a great opportunity to help the nation out. they're stable, really important jobs for us. and we're looking to actively recruit and maintain that workforce. >> i look forward to talking with you more about that. for either of you, the navy is requesting funds for three virginia class boats. i know my time is almost up, but can i finish? two planned for fiscal year '20 at this time last year, and the navy budget says the normal funds were not budgeted before
now. it will not begin construction until fiscal year '23. last year, the navy's 30-year ship building plan through 2048 did not ramp up production of three virginia class boats at all. this year, the navy's 30-year ship building plan includes that, but does not include a third boat in any other year in the 30-year plan. so it's mystifying to me. why would you ask for full funding for a boat that cannot be built in fiscal year '20? >> yes, ma'am. i'll start out and if the admiral wants to jump in. as we discussed last year in the committee, our biggest shortfall is in attack submarines. and that situation will get worse before it gets better. we're looking for any opportunity to accelerate that, versus the other fleets we have,
and while normally we would have just done the advanced procurement, since this is outside the block, and because of the criticality of adding the submarines and trying to get that left of the columbia production ramp-up, we chose to fully fund that in '20, when we had the -- we made the hard decision to fully fund that in '20 versus over a couple of years. >> okay. i may have further questions. but thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator holly? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, each of you for being here today. let me start with the 355 ship target, which i understand is a result of the force structure assessment of 2016, is that correct, mr. secretary, admiral? >> yes, sir, it is. >> there has been -- i understand based on testimony last year that the navy was currently looking again at the force structure assessment and
updating that, is that correct? >> that will be completed by the end of the year. >> i wonder if you can give us a preview -- i know a lot has changed since the last force structure assessment was finished, i'm thinking in particular of the national defense strategy, which represents a significant shift, can you give us some thinking on how it may impact the force structure update and where you are in that? >> yes, sir. i have not had a preview, but i can comment on some of the complex variables in the ongoing assessment. we typically do a force structure assessment every two to three years. and it's driven by a significant change in threat, change in guidance as the national defense strategy, which covers both. and then we work it through the commanders, campaign analysis. it's typically founded on the
capabilities we have on how we would fight with the projection into the future. it does not typically identify new capabilities we need. some of the things we have entered into the turn of this force structure assessment is the shift, i'll say shift back to maritime operations, which is very reflective of a near peer type of competition we might face. along with that, came a recognition that we'll have to change forces, the numbers on either side. a strong look at logistics on how we would support and distribute a maritime operation. we just finished the sea lift report the 18th of march. that showed that the sea lift requirements are correct and how we distribute that is under review. and that will be part of the
assessment. so all that has created quite a few moving parts for this assess montana. we were asked do we expect the number to go up or down. i don't expect it to go any longer. i would not be surprised if it goes up on several categories. >> thank you very much. let me ask you about modernization. china obviously is perhaps the major focus. we know china is in a rapid build-up, they exceed 400 ships. and as of 2017, 70% of china's navy was considered modern, outfitted with the latest technology, including ai. can you give us some visibility to make sure that our fleet is not only large and sufficient size, and also that we are incorporating the latest technologies, including ai and others to make sure that we
have -- that we are on equal footing or better than our chinese counterparts? >> yes, sir, so not surprising it will be a similar answer from the front end of our assessment are the old plan analysis by the commanders who keep a close eye on the threat. we're very impressed with china's commitment to modernization and maintenance. maybe some insight into the chairman's question, do they face the same type of budget requests. we don't know, but we know they follow our models, and in some cases are better than we are. it's just part of our recovery and recommitment. it will have an impact on the type of force that we buy. a lot of this technology is very new. but with the last force structure assessment, we have been directed to do additional
assessment and have identified the new technologies that we have to pursue, which includes machine learning, artificial intelligence. all of these factors are coming together for our re-evaluation of this might look. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> if i could just add, we are absolutely i would say on the acquisition technology side, really focused on how to stream new capabilities into both our existing fleet and future fleet. really exciting stuff on architecture, digital plains and what not. so we are really -- i would say the navy is on the front end of bringing new capabilities into ships much more quickly. and probably give you some examples of that. >> i would appreciate that. thank you, mr. chairman. >> by virtue of my service on
several other committees, i want to share something that i think is a rising problem that i think could be very important. and that is cyber attacks through subs of major contractors. we're seeing that in the utility field, also in military. and i hope it's something that you can really have some urgency on. you can have a five-person engineering head hunting firm that gets into the system of their general contractor and thereby can steal intellectual property. i think it's something we're now seeing more of. and i hope you can put the fear of god into some of these people and not just rely on the big guys, having good security. but the subs that have access into their system, that's just a point i wanted to mention. i'm a little worried about the timing of the columbia class. tell me about how that's coming. i understand it's getting
tighter. there have been some problems, and the schedule is shrinking. >> yes, sir. so columbia's schedule has not changed. as you know, we were fairly proactive in looking at critical technologies, demonstrating and prototyping those to the left of when we would traditionally do the program. or we had technical challenges that drove delivery of that. but the area that has probably gotten the most kind of visibility and is actually showed us we have work to do is on the missile tubes. large complex welds, understanding how we inspect those for quality. we had some of those issues pop up last year. that's eroded some of the margin, but not impacted the schedule. >> you're still within the -- >> yes, sir. we have 11 months' margin. so we're going to continue our prototyping activities to beat down any of the areas where we see risks in terms of
construction and in terms of the program overall. we are going to have a higher design drawing completion on that ship than any submarine we have ever produced before. so everything we're trying to do is to maintain margin, beat out the risk as early as we can. and then position that program for success. because as you know, we do not have a lot of scheduled margin on the back end of that program to get it into the fleet to continue that. >> there's a potential gap on the other end with retirement. >> there's not a gap yet -- >> potential gap. >> we don't have a lot of margin on the back end. so columbia is our number one program. we are doing everything we know how to, to deliver that on schedule. >> good, thank you. admiral, how are we doing with the integrate of the flight 3-dgs, is that going smoothly? is it going to be a smooth
transition? >> yes, sir. we're on schedule. the first one delivers in fy-'23. the last hurdle really for the phased integration of the capability that we need was the final test of the radar. and that was just recently completed and the radar did fine. >> so that's ready? >> yes, sir. >> maintenance plan, you talked about maintenance. i think i heard you say more aggressive work on maintenance. they're scheduling shorter periods. because if we can do a better job on payment nanmaintenance, e ships at sea. >> yes, sir. i would say my largest focus over the next six months, we're doing -- we have some issues with some of the new construction. we are not delivering yet to the degree i would want to the fleet and maintenance. my end goal is ships come in and go out on time.
>> do you have data on seaworthiness of each ship? are they 82%, 62%, 90%? >> yes, sir, we can pull that data. >> for the record, i would like to see that. >> where i'm focused, we touched on the public yard of things. i'm also focused on the private yard maintenance where we do all of our non-nuclear surface maintenance. we are really taking a hard look putting commercial best practices on inspections that the government does. we have reduced those on our latest availability by 30%. my target is 50% to operate as efficiency as we can. >> that equals more ships. >> yels. we have to get them out on time. if we don't, that ripples all the way through the forest. the second piece is relooking at our contact strategy. we attend to award ships one at
a time without a lot of planning window. so right now, we're moving our war dates 90 days before the availability. my goal is to get those to 180. the third is reduce -- we were doing a lot of higher headquarters contract changes. we've put those in so that changes under $25,000 negotiated on the spot. that's also driving a lot of efficiency. >> thank you. >> gentlemen, thank you for being here today. senator holly, thank you for bringing up ai and those capabilities. earlier this month, i held a subcommittee hearing for the emerging threats and capabilities. and we did talk about ai. so we have the development of the ai systems in our own formations, but keeping an eye on what russia and china are developing. and at what point do you assess
that artificial intelligence will be making a critical difference in the way russia and china deploy their forces? do you see that as an imminent action or further down the line? >> yes, ma'am. my sense is that it's on a continuum. so i think the way the department of the navy, and again, both of my colleagueks join in, ai can apply to large and small things. how to increase the speed we can train, as well as some of the big data analytics, decision making tools. ity all of those are in varying states of maturity. we're looking to accelerate that into the force now. that's kind of my sense of it right now. >> would you say that we are on an even playing field with some
of our adversaries and where we are with ai? >> i would say we're ahead. but i would say that is a -- we've got some things that are catching up to us. in the department of the navy, we are focused on it so we don't lose our competitive advantage here. >> so are there other recommendations? you mentioned maintenance. that's always a great way to use ai through any of our blanches of service. are there things specific to our naval forces that you think could benefit by using ai? >> yes, ma'am. again, i'll maybe ask the folks to jump in here. training is another one. how to speed up training and get really kind of personalized training. so we have a large workforce. on the shipyard we're trying to train. we have complex systems we're putting in the field with a growing junior force. and so understanding how to
fully leverage that will be critical. at the higher levels, how we do decision making. >> this is a high interest item for the navy. i would be happy to get with you in a classified setting on comparative capabilities. really i think this is not just for war fighting but peacetime operations. we are still considered the largest, most capable navy in the world. but when you spread us out of the globe, we are not the largest, and depending on how much time we have to respond. we see this as a critical enabler for both what we call man in the loop discussions, and we're pursuing all that. as a matter of fact, it's a very rich area where we are working with industry. we were hoping to adopt a
solution and we're discovering the industry is struggling with this, and we have found a lot of middle ground to work together. >> i do appreciate that. i just think there's a lot more that we can do with ai. not only administrative and maintenance tasks, but also as ai applies to autonomous vehicles and so forth. we may not be quite there yet, but at some point we will start to see more autonomous vehicles out there. autonomous boats perhaps. you're very personnel heavy. >> yes, ma'am. in this year's budget, we have over $400 million in '20 and $be billion on autonomous ships. ai and machine learning, that combination to get the -- that capability we want out of those autonomous ships is absolutely critical. and something we're already applying to the autonomous vehicles we have.
another area that's very rich. >> very good. my team is about to expire. so gentlemen, thank you. and admiral, i may take you up on that offer. thank you. >> senator cain? >> thank you, mr. chair. thanks for the good work that you're all doing. i wanted to talk about the "harry s. truman." in the president's budget request, there's a suggestion it not be refueled at its mid point. the committee hears a lot about the continuing need for the aircraft carrier platform in terms of the capacity that it provides and in terms of the flexibility. it can be here and there as problems crop up in different parts of the world. the military has made a commitment to do a two-carrier buy. but i think a lot of us were puzzled about a suggestion that you would squander an asset at its mid point when it might have
another 25 to 30 years of active life post refueling. so this is the first opportunity we've had to ask what is the thinking behind that? i know there's a study how to get to 355 and what the mixture is. but if you can talk about the thinking? >> yes, sir. first i would say we're all in on the two carrier deal. we see that as the acting secretary said yesterday, we need carriers now and in the future. so this is not a survivability issue or the navy walking away from carriers by any regard. but we are looking at how to be competitive in the future and what is the force mix that gives us the most competitive advantage in the conflicts we see going forward. that necessitated some bold moves and some tradeoffs quite frankly.
so the department looked at getting that as the carrier of the future that allows us to put the air wing of the future on, and trade for that, particularly in -- for some of these unmanned systems and cost-imposing systems that we think we need to complement the carrier of the future. so that was the thought process. it was a tough challenge and somewhat of a bold move. we want to have that discussion early enough to have the robust debate it deserves. bill? >> thank you for the question. this is obviously a very big deal to us, as well. very important decision that took a lot of thought. our commitment to our carrier
requirement is to the ford class. but that evolves over time. it is 12 carriers, and we're committed to getting to 12 carriers. this is a war fighting investment decision. we have done a whole series of studies, including several directed by the defense communities. and they all push us in the direction of a more distributed force, autonomous vehicles, directed energy, rail guns, and all these things are investments that we decide now is the time to move out on. we know the security complex, security environment is getting more complex. so having this more distributed we think will complement the battle force is not intended to replace the battle force. this would be realized in 2027, 2 2029. so we'll continue to experiment and validate this approach.
yes, this is a reversible decision, but we would like not to reverse it at the expense of these other capabilities. >> can i ask you this? you say the gap would show in 2027, when it would come out. i think the refueling is supposed to start in 2024? >> yes. that would have restarted regardless. >> let me ask you this, there is still an ongoing study, this is under some analysis. in that analysis, are you taking into account the effect of not doing the refuelling? what we heard from industrial based partners that work on the refuelings is they worry they're in a fragile spot in removing thatry fueling beginning in 2024 would jeopardize them. is that one of the areas you're analyzing?
>> yes, sir. >> if i could, mr. chair. >> yes, sir. anything in ship building is all about the industrial base. while there is some fungibility in terms of the skill set needed to do this overall, there is a lot of specialized skill, as well. so i think we'll make some adjustments in the budget looking forward, should the refueling continue to be off of our plan, where we move the inactivations, and work closely with the shipyard. there is a gap that we see it would cost. we have a lot of inactivation work to do. but we'll have to work that closely with the shipyard to understand. because we are going to have to preserve that workforce capability. so i don't want to terroririvia that.
we looked at it at the top level as we made the decisions, but it's something we'll have to continue to work with the shipyards on. >> senator cotton? >> thank you. let's keep probing that line of questioning from senator cain. so the decision has been in the news a lot lately. so trim is still good to go until 2024? >> yes, sir. >> when was it scheduled to come out of the maintenance cycle? >> 2027, 2028. >> so the decision is being taken now will not have a real world impact until about 2027, 2028? >> yes, sir. but the decision is only reversible for about at year. >> what does that impact in 2027, 2028, just in layman's
terming. that's a little bit of foreseeing threat vector analysis. so with the way we approach it is, what capabilities might we need to predict where we think it's coming -- >> in simpler in terms, on your carrier flight, what is the practical impact if the "truman" doesn't undergo that refueling. >> it will be a reduction until she would have retired in 2048. >> how much money do you save by not undergoing that mid cycle refueling? >> about $4 billion to not do the overall, and a savings of about $1 billion a year in operating costs. >> you're proposing to put that where? >> in a whole spectrum of capabilities to complement the force.
>> did congress resolve this by putting more money into the ship building program and into the future? >> yes, sir. so you'll start in terms of pras practicalness, and. in 2024, you start the labor portion of that. and so as we balance the top line, we made that decision. you could trade within the top line or add to the top line. those impacts, the dollars in 20s are negligible. if we don't make the hard decision by not doing it, we will have made the decision. >> got it. the simple answer is, we can solve some problems for you if we give you more money, right? >> yes, sir. >> let's talk about carriers and the role they play, specifically
the vulnerability to them. we hear a lot about the asymmetric threat. a really expensive boat versus a cheap missile. we're talking about china here. we're talking about china and its anti-ship ballistic missile feet. these carriers respect just sitting ducks on the water, are they? how easy is it for china to hit one of our carriers? >> this is a question i really look forward to answering. i can give you more details in a classified setting. this is nonsurvivability decision about the carriers. we feel strongly than the carriers are more survivable now than the last 70 years. >> how fast is a carrier?
>> it's a little bit of a sensitive number. fast? >> it's real fast, right? >> yes, sir. >> has lots of defenses? >> yes, sir. >> i knew some lieutenants in iraq who were somewhat cavalier about incoming mortar fire on their bases. they used to say, big base, little bullet. the ocean is even bigger than a base in iraq. so big ocean, little bullet. >> yes, it's the only runway with 700 miles -- >> i would like to clarify. that's not our defense. >> i understand. >> that's an element of the operations. >> final question. so there is that threat, though, of the anti-ship ballistic missiles against carriers and any surface ship. is that one of the main advantages that that we have inr undersea capabilities? like attack submarines? they're not susceptible to that kind of anti-ship? >> yes, sir, our whole approach
to warfare is using cross-domain capabilities to affect whatever capability we need. the undersea capabilities for us we think is our no. 1 advantage over anyone else in the world. >> as china's missile threat does, in fact, potentially force this a little further away from the first item chain, those submembers can loiter a lot closer. and that's one reason why it's so vital that we maintain the ship-building pace for those submarines in the medium and long-term and don't, as secretary shanahan said the other day, the capability of passing. >> exactly right. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for being here. secretary gurts, i was r pleased to hear you say that you
reaffirmed the commitment to the ship yard optimization plan. as you point out, the average age of our drydocks is 60 years old. and as senator king pointed out, and we all understand, the better job we do on maintenance means that we can have more ships at sea. so i was really surprised blap , because i know you were at the portsmouth ship yard last fall. you were briefed on the project which is directly relate to our ability to expand the dry dock capacity there and allow us to,
at the ship yard to be able to do maintenance on more ships. can you explain what the thinking is here? why would we take money from those projects that would backup our ability to address our backlog and attack submarine maintenance? >> yes, ma'am. so the list that we generated we generated just based on those projects that met a certain set of criteria. that was not the lista,s i understand it, of projects that were not to be funded. that will be a secondary process that the secretary of defense will work through. were not to be funded. that will be a secondary process that the secretary of defense will work through. so the list itself was just a list to a certain set of criteria. particularly those that have not been funded yet in 19, as i understand it. but that is not a list of projects that
were to be defunded, as i understand it. >> but you would acknowledge that there's some uncertainty about that. and i can tell you, having visited last fr that there's a great deal of uncertainty at the ship yard among the people who work there about what this means for their future. and i would argue that if we want to send a clear message about the importance of our attack submarines and our navy and what is really critical to our national security, that we would not put those projects that are critical to maintaining our attack submarine fleet on that list of projects to be considered for defunding. so can you tell me what the navy's response was when you were asked to list projects? >> yes, ma'am. again that list was created to a certain set of criteria, not the value or importance of each one of those projects. it was a set of have
they been obligated yet? it was not a value judgment of the project. it was just a ge formula to a set of criteria the secretary of defense had put together. i will afirm the absolute criticality of maintaining our optimization plan. the navy intends to put $21 billion toward that over the next 20 years. a lot of these near-term projects are absolutely critical. particularly the portsmuthdry docks. >> i think it sends a very mixed message that is not a good message for the navy, for the people who are so committed to ensuring is that we have the ships that we need in the fleet. and for the country. about what is important if we're gonna
maintain our national security. i would like to pick up on the question about our industrial-based partners next. one of the things that i've heard is that there's a lack of virginia class parts available in the national stock system. and the public shipyards are taking extraordinary measures to get parts from that, often resulting in delays. can you comment on that, and what's the problem there and and what we need to do to address it. >> yes, ma'am. so as we've gone to virginia ship for year, wait as well as had more virginia submarines in the fleet, we have added some parts that failed at different rates than we expected when we put the original supply shms in there. supply system in there. congress has been very helpful to fund our integrated plan. particularly parts common across our submarines and carriers to allow us the suppliers, it get those suppliers up at rates. that's not only critical for today's operation but as we add columbia
on top of it. we're continuing to work on that very closely. appreciate the great support. >> and so is that what it's gonna take to make sure that we have the additional parts? more funding or what? >> no, ma'am. it's continued focus on it. continue looking at it. the other thing we're working at closely with a supply base is allowing them to see the composite need between current construction, future construction, repair, and maintenance. that way they can size and understand the demand we'll be placing on them and make smart investments so they're gonna be ready as we continue to place more demand.
if you take your eyes off it, it's really, really hard to get that back. particular he when you want to add new capability. >> thank you. thank you player, chairman. >> mr. blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to, first of all, ask about the submarine program. you're convinced that the program is a prunlt and cost, money-saving way to plan can going forward for this year.
dent and cost, money-saving way to plan can going forward for this year. >> yes, sir. particularly as we look at that gap coming up. it will not, as we're going to fund it all in one year. it will not deliver as if it was a 20- ship. a lot of details to work through to make sure we've got it feathered in on the line. but i think we would not have put it in the budget if i didn't believe we couldn't execute it. >> let me ask you what do you think that the training and manpower education programs are commensurate with the demands we're going to have at that yard and others that will be involved. obviously thousands of new workers are gonna have to be hired. i visited the apprenticeship, and training programs at electric boat and elsewhere, connecticut.. and my own view is we're gonna have to be making a
much greater investment in those training and education programs. >> yes, sir. both, i would say, both the submarine yards have been putting a lot of energy into that. it's a critical factor in terms of how well we can actually execute the programs that we have had. as we see on some of the virginias, as we try to accelerate them, we've done a great job getting the 60-month centers. we've seen some challenges in having a sufficient trained workforce. i think the programs are in place. what i would say is we're gonna have to solve it before columbia. so to the degree this continues to help put us on a smooth growth path, for the large number of workforce we're gonna have to bring in for columbia, that will benefit us. >> the funding for many of these programs, for example electricity boat is gonna go from 20 in its design, apprenticeship program, up to i think more than 300. comes from
the department of labor. not from department of defense. the department of labor's budget in the president's budget will be cut, i believe by around 30% for training and education programs of exactly the type that are necessary for this purpose. are you concerned? >> absolutely, sir. and i'd be happy to follow up with you in some more detail. we have had contact with the department of labor. and i would be happy to go over there personally. i know the secretary of navy is also had interest in this. and i'm sure they understand the criticality and the priority of that to support the navy. >> youir and totally in agreement on the criticality of that funding. but if the president's budget is adopted, it simply won't be there in the department of labor.
it's it's not in the jurisdiction of this committee. but i think it is important to our national defense. would you agree? >> absolutely, sir. >> thank you. maybe i can ask you whether in your view there is likely to be a loss of faith among the general public when they see a carrier like the truman, which has another 30 years of life, forgive me, scrapped. to put resources into other programs that may be worthwhile. and yet we are building more carriers. i have trouble explaining that s in connecticut who say we drive our cars until we can't use them
anymore. and we don't just trade them in because we like the looks of another car, another ship. basically when we're spending billions of dollars, what would you say to those folks? >> yes, sir. so the new carrier does provide additional survivability, capability, flexibility for the 50 years going. >> assuming it's not survivable. is that the message? >> no, sir. i would say that the image class are absolutely awesome carriers that are doing a great job. what i would say though is we are committed to the four class carrier and over time replacing the fleet with that newer class carrier. that's true. we made a hard decision in terms of trading off additional 25 years and the cost that goes with that to some of the other capabilities. so it wasn't a trade of a ford versus a truman. it was a broader perspective of
we need carriers, we need them for the future. they're in every scheme we have. we also need some other capabilities. and given the budget limits we had, we had to make some hard tradeoffs. >> right. >> so i wouldn't say the trumans have no value and we don't assess any value to the truman. >> i would like to stop because my time is expired. but just in terms of conveying the explanation to our constituents in terms they can understand, i think it's important to be armed with those facts and arguments. and i want to conclude by congratulating lieutenant general berger on your nomination. this may be the last hearing you go without getting tough questions, sir. but we look forward to working with you and congratulations. >> thank you. >> second round, if you guys have other questions.
i have one i'd like to probe. secretary, director of operational evaluations, the fiscal report talked about significant rents of the ford class. there are four systems that are the most problematic right now. the late launching system. dual radar, and advanced weapons elevators. these technical issues have caused delays obviously. and also when we talk about the demonstrated reliability, the question was also brought up in the report about the directing gear, the elevators and radar. would you give us an update on those four systems? and also talk about the maintenance period that we're in right now. i think there was an eight-month delay. now it look like a 15-month delay. can you talk about those very monitor issues relative to the ford class? >> yeah, absolutely.
those are kind of the four new technologies we put into the new carrier design. and we hundred done a new carrier in 40 years. i would say on the first three, on the electronic launch, the resting gear, and the radar, we're in good shape there. is there is gonna be reliability we're gonna have to test and we won't be able to do that until we go to sea. we've done 750 traps and launches with the system. i would say we have to get it to sea and put it through its paces. so i'm really confident there. elevators, we have 11 of them. two of them have been delivered. they have been operating. cruise force has full control of those. they have been prabl reliably, and the feedback from the crew is very positive. we have nine more we've gotta work our way through. i haven't seen anything in the elevators that shows me
it's something we can't solve. >> sorry to interrupt. the boat was supposed to be delivered in 15. as i understand, it was delivered in 17? so it's four years in and the elevators are still an issue. this is a learning experience as we go forward in terms of new technologies? >> absolutely. and happy to kind of talked lessons learned. we're putting them into all of our new lead ship designs. i was not there at the time so i have the benefit of looking backward. we did not fill the ground infrastructure for these new technologies to prove them on the ground, proving it the first time for the elvartds on the ship has not been the right path to go forward. the other thing i would say is i am commissioning, i talked to you, i think, in november. i'm gonna commission an independent review team for the technology. not as much for the lead ship but making sure we have all the support, all the
technical support, spares, tech management, everything we need to do as these systems go to sea to ensure we've got everything, all the infrastructure in place to support the ship. >> in terms of getting out of the availability right now, we've got three things, three causal factors causing a delay of getting out of the yard. i never. to clfr something late to the flee. so i view that as a failure on my part, getting that ship out on the schedule we had. we intended it in july. right now, my best estimate is october.
that's driven by three causal factors. one is repairs. and changes made to the nuclear propulsion plant based on lessons we learned. the second piece is just the balance of all the things we had intended to do and the availability of the kind of scope of work. and the third is finishing up those remaining elevators and getting those to the point where the crews got access and can use all of them. >> yes, sir, thank you. >> thank you of the >> this is a follow-up to the request for three virginia class boats. >> this is a follow-up to the request for three virginia class boats. >> so what does this performance say about the ability to ramp up production for an extra attack boat, the
third boat, or the advisability of ramping up production with no plan for building three boats per year during any other year in the 30 years of building plans? >> yes, ma'am. so i would say strategically, one of the things we tried to do on the 30-year ship-building plan, and one of the, i think, real benefits of this year's plan versus last is you saw it smooth out that growth, production, and profile. i would say the better we can smooth that out, the better it helps training and manpower and all the other pieces. on virginia specifically, we started with an 80-month span. we've gotten those ships down to six months. our goal was to try to drive them to 60 month span time. we're struggling to get down to 60 months. so adding the third one in, we're gonna have
to work that. it's a little bit challenging. from the perspective of it would look different because we don't have the advanced procurement. we've done it all in one year. but we've also got a block by five-year program to kind of feather that ship in. so i worry, very much, about ensuring that we grow that submarine enterprise. we can do it smartly, sustainability, competitively. and we were already somewhat challenged. this will be a good opportunity to continue to pressurize that system and work out where do we have weak spots and friction points as we get ready for columbia? the size, workforce and capability there. so i think to some degree, there'll be some benefits to moving in there but something we're gonna have to watch for closely. >> you're gonna need to watch that very closely because i recognize that our submarines
are gonna provi advantage in warfare because you're being very aggressive in terms of the production of our submarines. we're gonna make sure that you are totally on top of that. going back to the report. >> it's also a great example of what happened when you walk away from a ship building line for a decade like we did in the '90s. and we get to the point where there's only so much you can do to recover. all that to get the third submarine in the 1920s. to your specific comment, the next multiyear plan does include options for a third submarine for fy22 and fy23. >> uh-huh, all right. so we'll be getting that assessment. >> yes, that's dated in the ship building plan. that was directed by the defense commit tow include that in the next negotiation.
tee to include that in the next negotiation. >> aircraft carriers are a particularly large part of our presence. you explain this is a particularly hard tradeoff because of budget considerations. so senator cotton said that if we were to give you more money, you'd keep the fruman in place, wouldn't you? >> yes, ma'am. >> would that be your druthers? >> our druthers were to not surrender a carry they're has 60% of its life remaining. >> yeah. >> but we would like to not do that to the extent of movingute on other these tech, moving out on other these technologies. >> yes, basically to consider giving you more money. >> yes, ma'am. >> so you can can not only save the truman but you can do the other, provide opportunities that you say, which is investing in advanced distributing
systems. to expand our competitive advantage. essentially, you said that regard to the refueling of the truman, i know there are ail, it probably affects thousands of workers when you don't refuel the truman. so you mentioned that you need to preserve the workforce. so for a number of reasons, everything does become a budget kind of consideration. but it is hard to explain to people why you would basically have thousands of people who would otherwise be working on the refueling, not to mention we're not getting the full life of this boat. kind of hard to explain why we're not doing that if there's other ways that we provide funding for that to occur. >> yes, ma'am. it won't be as large a job if we inactivate that shi i will carry some of the workforce between its
refueling and the next one down. but we are gonna have to watch very closely the skill sets and that refueling, and work closely with the ship yard to balance all of that out because we do not want to lose that critical skill set. >> and the shipyards that were intending to do this work, it's not as though they don't have some fixed process in the way they dot work or not. >> thank you. all this talk about aircraft carriers. i was fortunate enough to spend a couple days on the george washington at sea. and the captain greeted me and said you're gonna be staying in the admiral's quarters. and i was feeling pretty cool until i found out it's right under the cat put. and they were doing night landing. so maybe the electromagnetic cat put will be
less noisy. i don't know. apult will be less noisy. i don't know. >> yes, sir. i'll start with the timing piece. and then the admiral can talk capability. right now it's the first one, 25. >> delivery in 25? >> no, sir. >> n. >> money in the budget to do the development, prototyping. so as we understand, working closely with the admiral on the requirement and with industry on the state of technology, our intent is looking at prototyping, high-risk areas where we need to prototype some
of that technology so that we don't have some of the repeat lessons of some of our previous ship where is we went right into lead ship. so that'll be an activity we're gonna mature over the years. so similar to what we've done on that, we're gonna have a conversation with industry and our technical holders. >> we're at very beginning of that process. >> we're at the beginning of that process, yes, sir. >> finalizing requirements. >> yes, sir. we learned a lot about the freedom program. discussing that was possible in the requirements. >> and looking at existing designs too. >> existing designs are gonna be part of the cabinet review as well. the aperture is wider on
the larger ship. it will probably affect the number of large service combatants we need. that'll be part of the structure as we're coming through that. with the lessons learned from the mt-25 unmanned tanker, the frigate effort, we are going to work with industry this year to see if the art of possible looks at accelerating that ship to fy23, fy24. analysis studies include the frigate, the large service combatant, and this whole family of unmanned systems that the secretary commented on with a massive investment this year in the budget. >> general, you've been the forgotten man this morning. what about sea lift? i'm worried that
we're focusing on the combatants. >> two parts of it. one, the strategic sea lift comes across, and the other one, the more operational to tactical levels. sea lifted. all of which the navy and marine corps are working hard to resolve. and there's three different approaches. but in the end, we have to be able to move the forces we need to. we know that figure. and it's pretty thin, the size of the force. but the speed at which we need to move them, and the reliability of their systems, is what we gotta attack. >> yes, sir. i think just from
the current force, requirement is pretty constant for heavy lift. we just need to go recapitalize that. so we've got kinda three lines of attack. >> we're on a schedule where we don't have a gap in capacity. >> we're on a schedule where we don't have a gap in capacity but those are aging pretty quickly. so we're really looking hard at that current kind of heavy lift fleet. we were gonna do some service life extensions. we'll continue to do business case to see if that makes sense and come back to the commit fethere's opportunities to accelerate that. maybe buy some used ships as opposed to keeping the old ones around. >> the requirement work we've done in the offseason is at the 41 of how we shifted our whole model of shipping operations. which is really a return to a
potential pier. part of that is logistic support, strategic lift coming over, getting into the safe area. then now what, what do you do with it to distribute it? and do you distribute it into a contested environment? that is an evolving requirement. it is reflected in some of the work we're trying to do on the existing ship lines and our own priority list as we look at logistic, repairs, hospital ships. wean the two hospital ships are not enough to support us in a distributed maritime operating environment. so all this, we're expecting requirements to continue to grow. we know the capabilities we need, the capacity is still under review. that will be set into the force structure assessment. lighter, faster ships, carrying a lot of gear for the marine corps quickly and efficiently. >> i just want to be sure we're talking about all these exciting attack ships, we don't forget that workhorse.
>> it's on our radar, sir. >> could i ask one more? chairman. sorry. yesterday we had the army budget hearing. and there's a term that i've been learning called oco for base. does your budget include oco for base? >> yes, sir. >> what percentage is it? in the army it was 34% of their budget was oco. >> our oco request last year was about doll five billion. our request this year is about $30
billion. >> it's $62 million. >> it's $27.7 billion. >> these examples were not on the leadership of the marineser the navy currently. but i want to see what you're doing now to address the lessons, hopefully, presumably learned by these. a tonight of $8 billion more than required to construct these ships. and they had a cost growth average of about 10%. but included three lead ships that exceeded their initial budget by 80% or more. and the fleet was six months late with at least five of these
lead ships. and we talked about the four being overbudget 20 months late and still not operational today. you got into it a little earlier. and i wanted to come back to your response to that. can you be more specific about what we're doing now in this budget going forward? >> yes, sir. and i wasn't there, so i won't pretend to second-guess the decision-making back then. >> that's fair. >> we're trying not to relearn old lessons without attacking it. i would say a challenge in ship building is your lead ship is your development ship. that provides something a little different nuance than in an airplane program or some of the
other things. it's not better or worse. it's just a fact, we go at it. so you tend to get a lot of learning in that first ship. no matter what you do prototyping-wise, you still have to get it into platform, into operations. and so there's some unique rems to it. having said all that, we have not priced the ships in a lead ship round the way we wanted to and got them out to the fleet at the speed with all the capability we wanted to. so i would say there's four basic things we're doing to get after it. the first is my teammate here in terms of requirements. much better integrating acquisitio requirements. so it's not a transactional exchange. it's an integrated exchange. and you've seen us employ that on frigate. with industry's involvement, a much better informed requirement setting activity. we don't have the requirement right, we'll chase that through the whole
ship. the second piece is really improved subsystem prototyping. wyke lief done on columbia. try to get everything prototyped as soon as we can. learn some lessons on ford by not having land-based prototypes for all the subsystems. we're chasing that right now. we went from 700ish naval engineers down to 200. we are now back to 600 there. and so remaining the government talent, and making sure that talent's got the skill for the work going. i look across the entire naval enterprise in terms ever talent. we don't have the talent completely matched to the new needs. so we're working our way through that process. and then the last, i would say, as i've gotten an independent team right now, reviewing the entire naval research enter to, make sure we
are investing in technology, to make sure we have the right talent. so that we're feeding into the right technologies the right experience, so we can make smart decisions. when my teammate asks for a capability, what are the technologies that would best fit that capability? those i would say are the four things we're doing now to address that very important question. >> that's very helpful. it seems to me from looking at this with a fresh set of eyes, innovation and quality and quantity are needed right now in dealing with these peer adsears out there. we have lost our ability to go fast, i don't totally accept that. but we've got to win it. i think it's a combination of great innovation but time limits in delivery too. >> yes, sir. and the other thing i would say is we're really differentiating the work.
so the time to get a lead ship that we're gonna keep for 50 years is different than a new algorithm or sensor into that ship. so on the flip side, what we've been able to do in the submarine force, that's really helping us speed new capability onto the ships more quickly. then there's a speed to get new technology, capability, innovation, whatever. so we want to have a predictable and high-competence lead ship approach. and a high-speed, high-iteration turn time approach for new capable where we can get them in the fleet. get them in the hands of war fighters. let these guys experiment with them. and then we can figure out which we want to keep. >> that's fair. thank you. >> just a few more questions. mr. secretary, you and i talked about a recent article that was quite critical of the navy
accepting ships before they're ready with all kinds of problems. so some of the discussion that you've been having with the chairman goes to the kind of oversight of changes. including hiring people, your own engineers who can help you assess the kind of ships that we're accepting. all of that. and working on updating the structure assessment before the end of this year. how will you be incorporating the shift in asia pacific as you consider expanding the fleet to deploy the number of ships you need? >> yes, ma'am. the structure assessment starts with the work fighting requirement. as the asia pacific. so first and foremost, that drives the assessment. can't ignore the other areas. but it helps to
have a driving one. i think we're very much closely tracking russia technology developments. the pacing threat is the asia pacific threat. >> yes. so we need to make sure that we have the appropriate resources. with the cancellation of the harry truman, who are the implications what the new work force structure assessment will be in the asia pacific area? >> the force structure assessment does not start with any preconceived force level. it will do a model, specifically the model is unconstrained upfront. it usually comes up with a very large number of all ship classes. and then we apply operating guidance on where we might take risk. deployment
models. and we work the number down to where we think is about the right level. and from there, it comes up with a number for each ship class. and when we add all those up, the current one adds up to 365. where the other one goes, i don't expect maybe a smaller number. but what each one of those ships contributes to, that we'll have to change it to some degree. >> so are those decisions that are ultimately to be disclosed in a classified study? >> the analysis is a classified discussion on how we got there. but once we end up similar to the 355 and the components that make that up, that would be an unclassified number. >> your testimony on page 5 indicates that operations in a contested environment means that the logistics will need to include smaller, more efficient transportation, correct? >> yes, ma'am. >> i do not see specifics on a program to shift in this direction in the navy budget. could you give us a sense of what the navy is doing and plans to do to shift the smaller
multimission transports? and general, how will this contested environment affect the marine corps's ability to conduct amphibious assault operations? yes, ma'am. he's working through the required logicistics and contested environment right now. as we work with him on acquisition solutions to go there. i think in the good news category, that will be a lot of smaller, faster routes. where i think we've got plenty of industrial capacity that we can leverage. we have had great success over the last year with a lot of small businesses delivering ships to the navy. and i have not seen all the requirements output yet. but i think there's a rich industrial base, an opportunity to bring in additional capabilities for those shipyards to solve that requirement. we'll look at that in the 21 budget.
that's probably where you'll start to see that show up. >> general berger? >> we did logistics 40 years ago of offloading everything that's on the ship and build a giant pilot beach that you could fight inland from. they're gone. that's never gonna be able to survive. like the secretary pointed out, the concepts that we're working on now are driving us toward the ability to be much more dispersed, much more distributed, and therefore the logistics will be much more distributed. we cannot have an iron mountain on a beach. and no one is planning on that. but the ability to move troops, equipment, and supplies, laterally through an arch i, not
great big haulers that dump it on the beach. but more of that, faster, lower signature, all of that. yes, ma'am. >> and those ships will help our industrial pace. one last question, if i can. there have been some problems with the keckor program. that transfer of equipment of supplies, sure. you have not chosen to request any production for the program. will this gap in funding harm the program or cause a break in the production? >> yes, ma'am. i'll describe that, and if general berger from a war time perspective give his thoughts on it. but the zero in this year's budget should in no way signal the lack of importance of that program or lack of commitment to it. what
it shows is some of the technical challenges we have had delivering that first capability. and a little bit of the production backlog we have had over the last couple of years. from my perspective, there's plenty of production waiting, completion of that trial. that's cuing up. that will allow us to continue to sustain that activity. as we get the boat through its final acceptance trials, we get the initial ones, that is another excellent candidate where we should look at block buying or multiyears.. because we'll want to get them into the fleet as fast as we can as soon as they're ready.
>> last week, ma'am, i had a chance to go down to huntington. i think everybody on this side of the table would echo your concerns. we have 72 nondisplacement lcats right now. most of them have undergone a service life extension already. and some of them may need to go through a post extension program. they were fine when they came out in the early '80s. they could go pretty fast and cover a lot of beaches. the ship to shore connector 74 times faster, more reliable. it's what we must have. so the risk you point out, ma'am, we're gonna keep the older ones longer, pour money into them to maintain them. and they will not be as capable as the ship to shore connector. they know what they need. they know the technical challenge they're facing.
they have the right workforce and the right leadership in place. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. okay. i'm delighted to follow up on some questions. i want to make sure i understand. there will be a new force structure assessment, taking into consideration the requirement guided by the national defense strategy. but you do not expect a smaller number than 355 ships? that was your testimony. >> no, sir, i do not expect a smaller number. >> okay. and it would be hard to imagine, considering the threat that we have, it would be hard to imagine that your statement
>> we have a budget proposal from the administration. and the administration budgets come and go. but we've also got the responsibility of actually providing the authorization and the funding here. we take that very seriously. with regard to amphibious ship procurement, i see the budget prefers an lpd procurement and lha, procurement till 2024. we'll see about that. let me ask about the need at the marine corps. do we still need 38 amphibious ships? >> that requirement is valid today, sir. but as mentioned earlier, the 2019 force structure assessment, we'll see what comes out of that.
>> okay, but that's still valid, 38? how many amphibious ships do we have today? >> 32, senator. >> 38 as compared to a requirement, 32 as compared to a requirement of 38? do you foresee the marine corps mission eliminating amphibious operations at any point in the near future? >> no, sir, i do not. >> all right. that's very helpful. and let me ask you then, mr. secretary, congress appropriated $350 million in fy19 to begin procurement of an lha and lpd. however, amphibious ship prokurm was removed in the fy20 budget proposal, as you know. they have deferred protournament to 2021 and 2024. this move has the potential to
disrupt amphibious warship industrial base. curement to 2021 and 2024. this move has the potential to disrupt amphibious warship industrial base. could the navy apply incremental funding? is it more advantageous than deferring procurement? if congress approves incremental funding in fy20 for the lha and lpd, would it allow the navy to accelerate how it spends the $350 million appropriated in fy19? >> yes, sir. you would have to give us that authority. we have used that authority previously. on lha's, occasionally with bpd's. with that authority, we could begin moving out on that long lead material. i would say for the oha in particular, i think we're concerned with it in
2024. from an affordability standpoint. we're gonna look hard in 21's budget as potential moving that to the left. as funding allows. because i'm also concerned with the seven-year break in that shipment. i don want to lose, do not want to lose the excellent workforce we have cranking out lha's right now. that is something we're all motivated to do from a workforce standpoint as well as its contention with columbia as it starts ramping up in 24. incremental authority on both those ships would allow us to get at that faster. >> mr. chairman, i hope we can help them get these done in a more timely fashion
of wartime transportation requirement. developed a recapitalization strategy for our area vessels to maintain capacity at an acceptable level of risk. would you comment about that? briefly describe for the committee who the ready reserve lead capitalization plan looks like? and what measures the navy will take to make sure the already reserved vessels have their lives extended in a reliable fashion? >> yes, sir. i'll make a couple requirements, perspective remarks.
we evaluated the 15 million square foot requirement for the specific part of the lift. the challenge is recapitalizing it. so we're looking at creative and aggressive ways to recapitalize that fleet. building new would be preferred for the long-term health of the fleet. there have been some commercial ship building challenges with that. we're hoping to partner with congress to help resolve it. buying domestic, used ships, foreign-built used ships. you throw that into a pile, we're trying to come up with the right balance to get after this. then we have the capital side of our
logistics train. and i think the cost as well. >> i think again, both line was operation are there. as we look at the commercial market, and what's available on the commercial market for some of the fairly generic ships, we think there's good opportunity to continue to look hard at that and perhaps relook at the business case and purchase some rapidly off the commercial market. accelerate that to get rid of our older ships. and then we'll continue to look at new buildings, particularly new buildings for unique ships which have unique migs that aren't necessarily found on the commercial market. >> so finally, and i appreciate the indulgence of the chair.
i was glad on the truman, secretary, this ship needs to be refuelled. and if it is refuelled, it's got a lot more life in it. is that correct? >> yes, sir. okay. and we've got a year or two to reconsider this. >> yes, sir. we'll have to start ordering some of the advanced materials in 21. >> 21? okay. >> so we've kind of got this year. then decisions become less and less possible to reverse. so we made this decision now, it's an important decision, it requires full debate. we wanted to make it at a time when we wouldn't have to completely
rewrite the budget. there are some capabilities we believe that are required in the navy which we have funded. at the expense of, that that was a bold move, a difficult decision for us. as we look at that and make decisions, i think it's incredibly important for us to really keep an eye on those capabilities and make sure we can do whatever we can to preserve the opportunity to continue to explore and bring those complementary capabilities into the naval fleet. >> sir, i'd like to just add a clarifying point. the 21 decision means a 21 decision. so we have this year to reevaluate that. >> i think that's an important point to make. thank you very
much, gentlemen. and congratulations. thank you mr. chairman for your indulgence. >> i just have one remaining question. before i do that, would you clarify? i just want to make sure i understood that right for the record. that we could expect this force structure rep calendar year? >> by the end of 2019, we will have that. >> thank you. russian submarine development in the last decade has been pretty impressive. talk about how that development, in addition to china, how that affected this particular budget and your strategy going forward? >> yes, sir. i would say taking
it up a level. our strategy from last year is really focusing us kind of at that global, competitive level. each competitor brings some unique attribute. and risk dwlars we watch closely. our job is to figure out how to take that whole picture and create a force structure that can both be effective and allow us to compete. and from my perspective, efficient and provides value for every dollar the taxpayer puts to this. both of those are what we're focused on. i think russia is a different problem set. they have capabilities that we gotta keep an eye on, and we are doing so. their capabilities drive some specific pieces. global capabilities kind of drive the overall force.
>> yes, sir, the ability to intercept specific tret. threats. there's a locke standing respect between the u.s. and russia on maritime capability. the capabilities we pursue in both quality and quantity. >> did you have anything else? that concludes the hearing today. i want to thank you for your personal investment today in all the information. it's been a very good hearing. more importantly, as leaders of your services, please take back to the sailors and marines out there that we're dead serious about trying to meet the needs of their mission to protect our country. we don't take this lightly. it's a financial issue, it's eye planning issue.