Heritage Foundation: Questions to Ask re: DDG-51 vs. DDG-1000
The right-wing Heritage Foundation recently published an in-depth paper that addresses the destroyer shipbuilding debate in Congress. The USA’s reconciled FY 2009 defense budget approves $2.5 billion to “fully” fund DDG-1002, but that will not end the debate. Official reports place the ship’s likely cost at up to twice that amount, and the FY 2009 bill includes a clause that could divert the $2.5 billion to fund additional DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers instead.
“Changing Course on Navy Shipbuilding: Questions Congress Should Ask Before Funding” contains a great many links to existing research. It can reasonably be characterized as leaning toward building more DDG-1000 ships, but the offers key questions to ask rather than recommendations. This is more than just a rhetorical device. The answers to those questions could tip the debate either way, and the report does point to discrepancies between recent and past Navy statements that need clarification. The think tank also offers research evidence that disputes some recent Navy statements, with an especial focus on the ships’ air defense and anti-submarine capabilities:
“The recent testimony by Admiral McCullough and Deputy Assistant Secretary Stiller has raised new questions and left other concerns unanswered. The Navy’s leadership has an obligation to provide Congress with full answers to these questions in a timely manner. Before deciding which plan to fund in 2010, Congress should demand the appropriate information to conduct its due diligence…”
# “If the DDG-1000 cannot conduct area air defense, why is it classified as a guided missile destroyer? Could the DDG-1000 be upgraded to employ the Standard Missile? What is the growth potential and cost of the DDG-1000’s Dual-Band Radar and combat management system for ballistic missile defense?… Congress should seek clarification about the Navy’s goals for [its current SM-2] missile improvement program and whether or not the Zumwalt could support the Standard Missile.”
# “What are the Marine Corps’ specific naval surface fire-support requirements? Can they be met sufficiently without the planned seven DDG-1000s?… Because the Navy and Marine Corps have often been at odds over naval surface fire-support requirements, no final decision should be made regarding DDG-1000 without first determining whether the two services are in fact in agreement on fire support.”
# “Is the Navy’s decision-making process being driven mostly by budget restraints or by changes in the threat assessment and requirements?… Congress should learn exactly how much upgrading the Zumwalt’s capabilities would cost.”
# “If China’s military capabilities are such a significant factor in the Navy’s decision-making process, why did the Navy avoid discussing China in its recent Maritime Strategy?”
# “What are the growth potentials of the Zumwalt and Arleigh Burke classes in terms of adding new systems, weapons (e.g., lasers), and combat capabilities?”
# “What are the design flaws, if any, in hull strength and/or weapons locations [on the Arleigh Burke Class]?” The Heritage report mentions past hull cracking issues, ship stability if the new SPY-1E active array radar is installed, and the ships’ vulnerability if new anti-ship missiles with optical seekers target their Mk 41 VLS missile cell clusters.
# “What are the life-cycle costs of adding new systems and combat capabilities?.. .Congress should [also] ask what the potential operating and support costs would be for a further modified DDG-51 compared to the DDG-1000.”
# “Has the projected timeline for procuring the CG(X), the next generation lead cruiser, slipped from 2011 to 2015 or even later? If so, what is the Navy’s specific plan for cruiser procurement, particularly in light of its concern about anti-ship cruise missiles and ballistic missiles?… If the CG(X) is indeed the next-generation cruiser that can meet the new and emerging anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense requirements, more clarity for Congress on the direction and timeline of the CG(X) program is warranted”
- Heritage Foundation (Oct 7/08) – Changing Course on Navy Shipbuilding: Questions Congress Should Ask Before Funding
- DID FOCUS – Dead Aim, Or Dead End? The USA’s DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Program. Some of the information in the Heritage report has been used to update DID’s coverage.
- US Congressional Budget Office (#RL32109, updated Sept 11/08) – Navy DDG-1000 and DDG-51 Destroyer Programs: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress