Final FY-13 Bill Funds Many More Ships, Aircraft than Navy Requested
Grants $42B for O&M
The Navy will have money to buy 11 more F/A-18E/F Hornets than planned, one more Arleigh Burke-class destroyer than planned, start advance procurement for an additional Virginia-class submarine and an amphibious transport dock and more during the remainder of the fiscal year, thanks to the continuing resolution bill Congress passed last week that provided new spending levels for the Defense Department.
The Navy, though still hit with across-the-board sequestration cuts, came out a winner in the CR bill. The sea service received almost $42 billion for operations and maintenance, $44 billion for procurement and almost $17 billion for research, development, test and evaluation — all slightly higher than what was requested in the president’s fiscal year 2013 budget.
Among the big gains are $1billion dollars to procure a second destroyer in FY-13, which Navy officials testified to Congress last year would essentially be paid for by the savings generated by signing a multiyear contract with the shipbuilders and allowing industry to continue building at a two-a-year pace. For similar reasons, more than $777 million was added for advance procurement of an additional Virginia-class attack submarine, which will also bring that program to a build plan of two a year. Both the submarine and destroyer programs are about to enter into multiyear contracts, and this spending bill allows them to include 10 boats each.
The Navy also gained $263 million for advance procurement for an additional LPD-17-class amphib beyond what the service had planned on buying.
Congress added about $38 million to push two more Landing Craft Air Cushion surface connectors through a service life extension program this fiscal year, along with $150 million to the ship depot maintenance account to pay for repairs on the submarine Miami (SSN-755), which was badly damaged by an arsonist last year. Congress took out $12 million in the ship activations and deactivations account to keep cruisers in the fleet that were set for early decommissioning in an attempt to save money the Navy says is needed to fund maintenance on other surface combatants. Congressmen involved in Navy shipbuilding said on March 21, just before the vote to pass the CR bill, that they fared much better than other industries did as a result of all the recent budget conflicts that led to the CR.
“I think we’ve survived a lot more of the cuts than a lot of other caucuses that are meeting around the next couple days,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), whose district includes the Newport News Shipbuilding yard, said during a Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus breakfast. “Sequestration is, again, not something we’re out of the woods yet with the CR passage today, but nonetheless, if you look at the challenges the Navy faced, it really was the lack of a [spending bill] this year,” Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) said at the same event. “I’m really pleased, whether it was DDG progress we made or the Virginia class, the fact is it’s quite extraordinary in terms of what we’re going to be voting on this morning.” The bill the House passed that same morning, which the Senate passed on March 20, also includes gains for Navy aviation. Congress added $130 million to buy two additional KC-130J aerial refueling and cargo planes, as well as $605 million for 11 additional F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jets in the multiyear contract and $45 million for advance procurement for 15 additional EA-18G Growler electronic warfare planes. And lawmakers added $71 million to replace a V-22 Osprey lost in operations and about $80 million to replace UH-1Y/AH-1Z helicopters lost in operations. $79 million was added for one C-40 cargo and passenger jet to mitigate a shortfall in the Navy Reserve.
Congress granted about $39 million less than requested for fleet air training due to “inadequate budget justification,” and it added $65 million to the Marine Corps’ operational forces funding to address a shortfall in unit deployment program funding.
The Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services received more than $20 million.