NAVY SUB­MA­RINE WOES

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Congress’ Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice found that the Navy has been un­able to be­gin or com­plete most of its at­tack sub­ma­rine main­te­nance in a timely fash­ion, re­sult­ing in op­er­a­tional delays and ex­ces­sive costs.

“GAO’s anal­y­sis of Navy main­te­nance data shows that be­tween fis­cal year 2008 and 2018, at­tack sub­marines have in­curred 10,363 days of idle time and main­te­nance delays as a re­sult of delays in get­ting into and out of the ship­yards,” a re­port made pub­lic last month states.

One ex­am­ple was the USS Boise, which was sched­uled for ex­tended main­te­nance in 2013. The work was held back by ship­yard delays. In 2016, the Boise was un­able to con­duct nor­mal op­er­a­tions and re­mained idle at pier­side for over two years wait­ing for ac­cess to a ship­yard.

GAO es­ti­mates that since fis­cal 2008, the Navy has spent $1.5 bil­lion to sup­port at­tack sub­marines that “pro­vide no op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­ity — those sit­ting idle while wait­ing to en­ter the ship­yards, and those de­layed in com­plet­ing their main­te­nance at the ship­yards.”

The re­port fo­cused on the Navy’s 51 at­tack sub­marines — 33 Los An­ge­les-class, 3 Sea­wolf-class and 15 Vir­ginia-class sub­marines. The ves­sels are en­gaged clan­des­tine in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing, at­tack­ing en­emy tar­gets, and trans­port­ing spe­cial op­er­a­tions forces. The ca­pa­bil­i­ties make the sub­ma­rine among the most re­quested as­sets for global mil­i­tary com­man­ders.

The GAO said the Navy has be­gun ad­dress­ing the problems at ship­yards. How­ever, the ser­vice has “not ef­fec­tively al­lo­cated main­te­nance pe­ri­ods among pub­lic ship­yards and pri­vate ship­yards that may also be avail­able to help min­i­mize at­tack sub­ma­rine idle time,” the re­port said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors dis­cov­ered that as pub­lic ship­yards are work­ing over­time over the past sev­eral years, “at­tack sub­ma­rine main­te­nance delays are get­ting longer and idle time is in­creas­ing.”

“With­out ad­dress­ing this chal­lenge, the Navy risks con­tin­ued ex­pen­di­ture of op­er­at­ing and sup­port fund­ing to crew, main­tain, and sup­port at­tack sub­marines that pro­vide no op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­ity be­cause they are de­layed in get­ting into and out of main­te­nance,” the re­port said.

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