GAO Report on Hypersonic Missile Defense

The following is the June Government Accountability Office report, Missile Defense: Better Oversight and Coordination Needed for Counter-Hypersonic Development. What GAO Found The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) continues to build components of the Missile Defense System (MDS), test its capabilities, and plan for countering evolving threats. In fiscal year 2021, MDA made progress, but continued […]

The following is the June Government Accountability Office report, Missile Defense: Better Oversight and Coordination Needed for Counter-Hypersonic Development.

What GAO Found

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) continues to build components of the Missile Defense System (MDS), test its capabilities, and plan for countering evolving threats. In fiscal year 2021, MDA made progress, but continued to fall short of its goals for asset deliveries and testing. For example, MDA successfully delivered many of the planned interceptors and conducted developmental and operational cybersecurity testing for MDS elements; however, MDA did not conduct any planned system-level cybersecurity tests—leaving MDA without knowledge of its systems’ vulnerabilities and contributing to programmatic delays. The shortfalls to planned system-level tests were partially attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MDA’s efforts to address hypersonic threats include the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) and Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS). These efforts represent technologies that have considerable risks, but MDA has not taken necessary steps to reduce risks and ensure appropriate oversight from the Department of Defense (DOD) or stakeholder involvement.

  • GPI is a missile designed to shoot down a hypersonic weapon in the middle
    (or glide phase) of its flight. Contrary to a DOD directive with which MDA has
    aligned its effort, at the time of our review, MDA did not plan to obtain an
    independent technological risk assessment to determine the maturity of the
    technologies before proceeding with development. In addition, MDA did not
    plan to obtain an independent cost estimate.
  • HBTSS is a concept of space-based sensors to track the unique flight path of
    a hypersonic weapon. However, MDA has not adequately coordinated the
    HBTSS effort with DOD’s Space Development Agency and Space Force.

Increased DOD oversight and involvement would reduce risk. In addition, more clearly delineated roles and responsibilities would help avoid duplication, overlap, or fragmented capabilities among MDA and other View GAO-22-105075. For more information, DOD space agencies.

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Report to Congress on U.S. Navy Ship Names

The following is the June 13, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress. Names for Navy ships traditionally have been chosen and announced by the Secretary of the Navy, under the direction of the President and in accordance with rules prescribed by Congress. Rules for giving certain types of names to […]

The following is the June 13, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, Navy Ship Names: Background for Congress.

Names for Navy ships traditionally have been chosen and announced by the Secretary of the Navy, under the direction of the President and in accordance with rules prescribed by Congress. Rules for giving certain types of names to certain types of Navy ships have evolved over time. There have been exceptions to the Navy’s ship-naming rules, particularly for the purpose of naming a ship for a person when the rule for that type of ship would have called for it to be named for something else. Some observers have perceived a breakdown in, or corruption of, the rules for naming Navy ships. Section 370 of the FY2021 NDAA (H.R. 6395/P.L. 116-283 of January 1, 2021) established a commission regarding the removal and renaming of certain assets of the Department of Defense (including ships) that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America.

For ship types now being procured for the Navy, or recently procured for the Navy, naming rules can be summarized as follows:

  • The first and second SSBN-826 class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) have been named District of Columbia and Wisconsin. The Navy has not stated the naming rule for this class of ships.
  • Until recently, Virginia (SSN-774) class attack submarines have generally been named for states, but the four most recently named Virginia-class boats have instead been named in honor of earlier U.S. Navy attack submarines.
  • Of the Navy’s 15 most recently named aircraft carriers, 10 have been named for past U.S. Presidents and 2 for Members of Congress.
  • Destroyers are being named for deceased members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, including Secretaries of the Navy.
  • The first three FFG-62 class frigates have been named Constellation, Congress, and Chesapeake, in honor of three of the first six U.S. Navy ships authorized by Congress in 1794. The Navy has not stated the naming rule for this class of ships.
  • Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) were named for regionally important U.S. cities and communities.
  • Amphibious assault ships are being named for important battles in which U.S. Marines played a prominent part and for famous earlier U.S. Navy ships that were not named for battles.
  • San Antonio (LPD-17) class amphibious ships are being named for major U.S. cities and communities and cities and communities attacked on September 11, 2001.
  • John Lewis (TAO-205) class oilers are being named for people who fought for civil rights and human rights.
  • Expeditionary Fast Transports (EPFs) are being named for small U.S. cities.
  • Expeditionary Transport Docks (ESDs) and Expeditionary Sea Bases (ESBs) are being named for famous names or places of historical significance to U.S. Marines.
  • Navajo (TATS-6) class towing, salvage, and rescue ships are being named for prominent Native Americans or Native American tribes.

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Keel Laid For Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarine District of Columbia

After inspecting the engraved plate with her welded initials, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) declared the keel laid for the future USS District of Columbia (SSBN-826). The ceremony marks the ceremonial construction start of the first in a new class of ballistic missile submarine that’s expected to commission in 2027. “Though this is not the […]

Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) approves the welding of her initials onto a metal plate at a ceremony at the General Dynamics Electric Boat Facility at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, on June 4, 2022. EB Photo

After inspecting the engraved plate with her welded initials, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) declared the keel laid for the future USS District of Columbia (SSBN-826).

The ceremony marks the ceremonial construction start of the first in a new class of ballistic missile submarine that’s expected to commission in 2027.

“Though this is not the first time a U.S. Navy vessel has been named Columbia, this is the first time that the name has been used to specifically commemorate the District of Columbia. The Columbia class will be the largest, most capable and most advanced submarine produced by our nation,” Norton said in her remarks during the ceremony.

Norton added the district is home to about 30,000 veterans now and almost 200,000 D.C. residents have served in the armed forces since World War I.

District of Columbia ship insignia

It was appropriate, “the Navy would be recognizing the people of the District of Columbia,” she said.
“It is fitting that it recognizes what will become the 51st state.”

Building the 12 boomers in the District of Columbia-class has been the Navy’s top priority for the last decade. Preliminary design work on the 520-foot long, 20,000-ton ballistic missile submarine started in 2007. The class will replace the Ohio class ballistic missile submarines as the nation’s number one strategic deterrent starting with District of Columbia’s first patrol in 2031.

The Columba class will carry “70 percent of America’s deployed nuclear arsenal,” Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said at the ceremony at Electric Boat’s Quonset Point facility in Rhode Island. He added the ballistic missile submarines are “the smartest investment we can make” to secure the American public,

The D.C.-class will bring to the Navy “unmatched stealth, advanced weapons systems” and a complex electric propulsion system, Adm. Daryl Caudle, a career submariner and commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, said

Welder Maria Betance-Pizarro welds the initials of the sponsor of the future U.S. Navy ballistic missile submarine District of Columbia, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), onto a metal plate at a ceremony at the Electric Boat facility in Quonset Point, Rhode Island, on June 4, 2022. EB Photo

Electric Boat president Kevin Graney added, District of Columbia is expected to “serve well into the 2080s” and will never have to return to a shipyard for nuclear refueling.

In March, USNI News reported the $110 billion Columbia program and the Virginia Payload Module hull module are refining modular techniques EB developed to build the early Virginia-class submarines to maximize the efficiency of assembling the complex hulls under a timeline with razor-thin margins.

Also like the Virginia-class, Electric Boat is pairing with Newport News Shipbuilding in the submarines’ construction. Jennifer Boykin, president of HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding, said the work “raised the bar on size and scope” of submarine’s modular construction. The bow and stern modules for District of Columbia will be transported by a specially-built ocean-going barge from Virginia to Electric Boat’s facility at North Kingstown, R.I.

Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) addresses at a ceremony at the General Dynamics Electric Boat Facility at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, on June 4, 2022. EB Photo

In 2016, then Navy Secretary of the Navy announced the first in the new class of boomers would be called Columbia after D.C., reported USNI News at the time.

On Friday, Del Toro announced the boat would officially add “District of” to the name in order to avoid an overlap in names with the existing USS Columbia (SSN-771). The Los Angeles class attack boat , named for cities in South Carolina, Illinois and Missouri, was also built at Electric Boat and commissioned in 1995. The current Columbia was originally set to leave the fleet before District of Columbia was to commission but is set to see a service life extension, USNI News understands.

While the name Columbia for a U.S. ships and aircraft is not new – at least eight U.S. ships, a Space Shuttle and the Apollo 11 command module have all shared the name – it will be the first time the name has been used to commemorate the U.S. capital.

“The District of Columbia is rich with naval history. The Washington Navy Yard is our oldest shore facility… Marines like Montford Point Marine Herman Darden and Brigadier General Anthony Henderson and sailors like Yeoman Charlotte Louise Berry Winters and Medal of Honor Recipient First Class Fireman John Rush were born and raised in D.C.,” Del Toro said.
“This is why I prefer to call D.C., not just our nation’s capital, but instead, our naval capital.”

VIDEO: Attack Submarine USS Oregon Commissions in Connecticut

The second Virginia-class Block IV nuclear attack submarine commissioned in Connecticut on Saturday. USS Oregon (SSN-793) ceremonially joined the fleet in a ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London after delivering to the Navy in February – five years after the keel was laid in 2017. “The passion, grit and enthusiasm of Oregon’s crew has […]

Crewmembers attached to the Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Oregon (SSN-793) man the ship during a commissioning ceremony in Groton, Conn., on May 28, 2022. US Navy Photo

The second Virginia-class Block IV nuclear attack submarine commissioned in Connecticut on Saturday.

USS Oregon (SSN-793) ceremonially joined the fleet in a ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London after delivering to the Navy in February – five years after the keel was laid in 2017.

“The passion, grit and enthusiasm of Oregon’s crew has carried the ship to sea and were vital to the completion of construction and testing,” said Cmdr. Lacy Lodmell, commanding officer of USS Oregon. “This is without a doubt the finest crew I have ever had the pleasure to serve with.”

The commissioning of Oregon is the first for a Virginia-class attack submarine since the 2020 administrative action that brought USS Vermont (SSN-792) — the first Block IV boat — into the fleet during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, USNI News reported at the time. The last Block III boat, USS Delaware (SSN-791), was commissioned underway shortly before Vermont.

“This is the first in-person commissioning ceremony of a submarine in more than three years, and that’s a long time to delay celebrations like this one,” Tommy Ross, performing the duties of Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition said during the ceremony on Saturday.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected Virginia-class sub builders General Dynamics Electric Boat and HII and delayed attack boat production at both yards.

“I think the record should be clear that despite that unprecedented disruption, you showed up for work every day and did your job,” Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) said during the ceremony.

The Block IV boats are planned to go out on 15 deployments and enter three planned availabilities. Virginia-class Block I, II and III submarines have four planned availabilities and 14 deployments across the life of the boats, according to the Navy.

The next Block IV boat, Montana (SSN-794) delivered in March and is set to commission next month in Norfolk, Va.

Report to Congress on China’s Economic and Trade Ties with Russia

The following is the Congressional Research Service In Focus report, China’s Economic and Trade Ties with Russia. From the report Two developments in February 2022—the announcement by leaders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) and the Russian Federation (Russia) of a strategic partnership that “knows no limits” and Russia’s renewed invasion of […]

The following is the Congressional Research Service In Focus report, China’s Economic and Trade Ties with Russia.

From the report

Two developments in February 2022—the announcement by leaders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) and the Russian Federation (Russia) of a strategic partnership that “knows no limits” and Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine with tacit PRC support—may raise new considerations for Congress about the deepening China-Russia ties. China’s trade, financial, and technology ties with Russia may affect the strength of U.S.-led efforts to constrain Russia, including through sanctions and export controls. China’s alignment with Russia also appears to be part of broader efforts to create alternative global systems in trade, finance, and technology that could intensify and challenge the liberal global economic order. Also see CRS In Focus IF12100, China-Russia Relations.

China’s Economic Ties to Russia 

An easing of trade tensions and mutual assurances on border disputes has deepened Russia-China ties and allowed both sides to focus on other geopolitical priorities. Since 2014, China and Russia have reached agreements in trade, energy, finance, technology, and aerospace, while increasing diplomatic and defense cooperation. Bilateral trade has expanded since 2014, but flows are asymmetric. In 2021, China accounted for 18% of Russia’s trade while Russia represented a 2% share of China’s trade. China’s share of Russia’s trade has steadily grown from 11% in 2013, largely at the expense of the European Union (EU).

Russia provides China strategic exports, including energy, fertilizer, and metals (e.g., gold, nickel, titanium, and platinum). China has been increasingly turning to Russia for crude oil, natural gas, and coal, and Russia could become a more important supplier of wheat and fertilizer as China faces shortfalls. After Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, China lifted import restrictions on Russian wheat. China exports to Russia machinery and electronics ($28.8 billion), followed by base metals ($5.7 billion), textiles and apparel ($5.4 billion), and vehicles, ships, and aircraft ($5.0 billion). The war could deepen bilateral ties if Russia’s access to global markets further deteriorates, and if China looks to Russia to address global shortages. Disruptions in Ukraine likely affect China’s access to agricultural products (e.g., corn, sunflower oil, and pork). China had turned to Ukraine to diversify away from U.S. exports and is now seeking alternative suppliers. Given its outsized role as a buyer, China could crowd out countries seeking scarce food and energy.

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Report to Congress on Iran’s Nuclear Program

The following is the May 24, 2019 Congressional Research Service report, Iran’s Nuclear Program: Tehran’s Compliance with International Obligations. From the report Several U.N. Security Council resolutions adopted between 2006 and 2010 required Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) investigation of its nuclear activities, suspend its uranium enrichment program, suspend […]

The following is the May 24, 2019 Congressional Research Service report, Iran’s Nuclear Program: Tehran’s Compliance with International Obligations.

From the report

Several U.N. Security Council resolutions adopted between 2006 and 2010 required Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) investigation of its nuclear activities, suspend its uranium enrichment program, suspend its construction of a heavy-water reactor and related projects, and ratify the Additional Protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement. Iran did not comply with most of the resolutions’ provisions. However, Tehran has implemented various restrictions on, and provided the IAEA with additional information about, the government’s nuclear program pursuant to the July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which Tehran concluded with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. On the JCPOA’s Implementation Day, which took place on January 16, 2016, all of the previous resolutions’ requirements were terminated. The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which the Council adopted on July 20, 2015, compose the current legal framework governing Iran’s nuclear program. The United States attempted in 2020 to reimpose sanctions on Iran via a mechanism provided for in Resolution 2231. However, the Security Council did not do so.

Iran and the IAEA agreed in August 2007 on a work plan to clarify outstanding questions regarding Tehran’s nuclear program. The IAEA had essentially resolved most of these issues, but for several years the agency still had questions concerning “possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.” A December 2, 2015, report to the IAEA Board of Governors from then-agency Director General Yukiya Amano contains the IAEA’s “final assessment on the resolution” of the outstanding issues. A June 2020 IAEA Board of Governors resolution calls on Iran to satisfy more recent agency requests concerning possible undeclared nuclear activities in Iran. This resolution does not contain a formal finding of noncompliance.

This report provides a brief overview of Iran’s nuclear program and describes the legal basis for the actions taken by the IAEA board and the Security Council. It will be updated as events warrant.

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Report to Congress on the Relationship Between China and Russia

The following is the May 2, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, China-Russia Relations. From the report The People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) and the Russian Federation (Russia) maintain a strategic and multifaceted relationship with extensive military, diplomatic, and economic connections. Although the contemporary China-Russia relationship dates back to the dissolution of the Soviet […]

The following is the May 2, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, China-Russia Relations.

From the report

The People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) and the Russian Federation (Russia) maintain a strategic and multifaceted relationship with extensive military, diplomatic, and economic connections. Although the contemporary China-Russia relationship dates back to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the two countries also share a long, tumultuous history that has included periods of security and diplomatic cooperation, fluctuations in ideological alignment, diplomatic crises, and a border war in the 1960s. Many experts trace the current dynamism of the relationship to 2014, when the reaction of some countries to Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine, including sanctions, led Moscow to seek to strengthen its ties to China and other countries.

The two countries’ apparent mutual affinity has led some U.S. policymakers and Members of Congress to express concern that Beijing and Moscow constitute a de facto alliance, and to seek ways to counter their global influence. The PRC and Russia’s bilateral relationship falls short of a mutual defense pact, more closely resembling a non-binding alignment based on shared opposition to what they describe as the U.S.-led international order. This common opposition has spurred cooperation between the two countries, but has not fully overcome their historical strategic mistrust.

Key Features of the Relationship 

Building on the foundation of the 1991 Sino-Soviet Border Agreement, the 2001 Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, among other things, noted Beijing and Moscow’s satisfaction on border issues and set broad areas of cooperation ranging from economics and trade to counterterrorism. The renewal of the treaty in 2021 reflects the overall positive trajectory of relations.

The direction of the bilateral relationship appears to reflect personal ties between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both of whom project the image of a close relationship. Since 2013, Xi and Putin have met numerous times and established regular dialogue mechanisms at lower levels. In 2019, PRC and Russian leaders announced their intention to develop a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for a New Era,” professing a “high degree of political trust” and “all-around cooperation.”

Military cooperation between the PRC and Russia is significant, encompassing exchanges and joint exercises, as well as intelligence sharing and joint development of weapons systems. In November 2021, the two sides signed a Road Map for Military Co-operation for 2021-2025 to guide collaboration in this sphere. The PRC and Russia are founding members of the Eurasia-based Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an intergovernmental group mainly focused on security affairs.

The PRC and Russia also enjoy strong commercial and financial ties and are partners in their attempts to “de-dollarize” the global economy, which they see as beholden to the United States. Both governments express opposition to the use of unilateral sanctions as tools of policy.

The PRC and Russia often cooperate and coordinate in multilateral settings, including the United Nations; the SCO; the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) grouping; and the Group of 20 (G20). The PRC and Russia have also tried to harmonize the interests of overlapping ventures, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

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Report to Congress on Hypersonic Weapons

The following is the May 5, 2022 Congressional Research Service report, Hypersonic Weapons: Background and Issues for Congress. From the report The United States has actively pursued the development of hypersonic weapons—maneuvering weapons that fly at speeds of at least Mach 5—as a part of its conventional prompt global strike program since the early 2000s. […]

The following is the May 5, 2022 Congressional Research Service report, Hypersonic Weapons: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report

The United States has actively pursued the development of hypersonic weapons—maneuvering weapons that fly at speeds of at least Mach 5—as a part of its conventional prompt global strike program since the early 2000s. In recent years, the United States has focused such efforts on developing hypersonic glide vehicles, which are launched from a rocket before gliding to a target, and hypersonic cruise missiles, which are powered by high-speed, air-breathing engines during flight. As former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Commander of U.S. Strategic Command General John Hyten has stated, these weapons could enable “responsive, long-range, strike options against distant, defended, and/or time-critical threats [such as road-mobile missiles] when other forces are unavailable, denied access, or not preferred.” Critics, on the other hand, contend that hypersonic weapons lack defined mission requirements, contribute little to U.S. military capability, and are unnecessary for deterrence.

Funding for hypersonic weapons has been relatively restrained in the past; however, both the Pentagon and Congress have shown a growing interest in pursuing the development and near-term deployment of hypersonic systems. This is due, in part, to the advances in these technologies in Russia and China, both of which have a number of hypersonic weapons programs and have likely fielded operational hypersonic glide vehicles—potentially armed with nuclear warheads. Most U.S. hypersonic weapons, in contrast to those in Russia and China, are not being designed for use with a nuclear warhead. As a result, U.S. hypersonic weapons will likely require greater accuracy and will be more technically challenging to develop than nuclear-armed Chinese and Russian systems.

The Pentagon’s FY2023 budget request for hypersonic research is $4.7 billion—up from $3.8 billion in the FY2022 request. The Missile Defense Agency additionally requested $225.5 million for hypersonic defense. At present, the Department of Defense (DOD) has not established any programs of record for hypersonic weapons, suggesting that it may not have approved either mission requirements for the systems or long-term funding plans. Indeed, as Principal Director for Hypersonics (Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering) Mike White has stated, DOD has not yet made a decision to acquire hypersonic weapons and is instead developing prototypes to assist in the evaluation of potential weapon system concepts and mission sets.

As Congress reviews the Pentagon’s plans for U.S. hypersonic weapons programs, it might consider questions about the rationale for hypersonic weapons, their expected costs, and their implications for strategic stability and arms control. Potential questions include the following:

  • What mission(s) will hypersonic weapons be used for? Are hypersonic weapons the most cost-effective means of executing these potential missions? How will they be incorporated into joint operational doctrine and concepts?
  • Given the lack of defined mission requirements for hypersonic weapons, how should Congress evaluate funding requests for hypersonic weapons programs or the balance of funding requests for hypersonic weapons programs, enabling technologies, and supporting test infrastructure? Is an acceleration of research on hypersonic weapons, enabling technologies, or hypersonic missile defense options both necessary and technologically feasible?
  • How, if at all, will the fielding of hypersonic weapons affect strategic stability?
  • Is there a need for risk-mitigation measures, such as expanding New START, negotiating new multilateral arms control agreements, or undertaking transparency and confidence-building activities?

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Report to Congress on the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

The following is the May 2, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program. From the report The largest procurement program in the Department of Defense (DOD), the F-35 Lightning II is a strike fighter aircraft being procured in different versions for the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. Current DOD […]

The following is the May 2, 2022, Congressional Research Service report, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program.

From the report

The largest procurement program in the Department of Defense (DOD), the F-35 Lightning II is a strike fighter aircraft being procured in different versions for the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. Current DOD plans call for acquiring a total of 2,456 F-35s. Allies are expected to purchase hundreds of additional F-35s, and eight nations are cost-sharing partners in the program with the United States.

The F-35 promises significant advances in military capability. Like many high-technology programs before it, reaching that capability has put the program above its original budget and behind the planned schedule.

The Administration’s proposed FY2022 defense budget requested about $9.4 billion in procurement funding for the F-35 program. This would fund the procurement of 48 F-35As for the Air Force, 17 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, 20 F-35Cs for the Navy and Marines, advance procurement for future aircraft, and continuing modifications. The proposed budget also requested about $2.1 billion for F-35 research and development.

FY2022 defense authorization act: The FY2022 defense authorization bill funded F-35 procurement at $8.7 billion for 85 aircraft (48 F-35As, 17 F-35Bs, and 20 F-35Cs, the numbers requested by the Administration.) The joint explanatory statement accompanying the bill included language

  • limiting the number of F-35s that could be procured based on the cost of operating and maintaining them;
  • transferring responsibility for the F-35 program from the joint program office under DOD to the military services;
  • requiring the Secretary of Defense to investigate, assess, and implement corrective actions for the F-35 breathing system;
  • requiring the Air Force and Navy to submit acquisition strategies for advanced F-35 engines; and
  • directing the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct an annual review of F-35 sustainment efforts.

FY2022 defense appropriations bill: The version of the FY2022 Department of Defense appropriations bill introduced in the House (H.R. 4432) funded F-35 procurement at $8.5 billion, plus $745 million in advance procurement for 85 aircraft (48 F-35As, 17 F-35Bs, and 20 F-35Cs), the requested numbers of aircraft and $.2 billion below the Administration’s request. The advance procurement amount represented a decrease of $73 million from the request. The report accompanying the bill (H.Rept. 117-88) included language providing for modification of two F-35s per variant to a test configuration.

The version reported to the Senate by the Senate Appropriations Committee (S. 3023) also funded 85 aircraft in the quantities requested, for $8.4 billion, plus $818 million in advance procurement, the requested amount.

The explanatory statement accompanying the bill (available at https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/download/defrept_final) included language criticizing the F-–35 Continuous Capability Development and Delivery program, denying the requested increases except for C2D2 test and evaluation. Further, the committee directs that with submission of the FY2023 budget request, the C2D2 program be reported as a separate Major Defense Acquisition Program.

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Report to Congress on U.S. Navy Destroyer Programs

The following is the May 2, 2022 Congressional Research Service report, Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress. From the report The Navy began procuring Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class destroyers, also known as Aegis destroyers, in FY1985, and a total of 89 have been procured through FY2022, including two in FY2022. […]

The following is the May 2, 2022 Congressional Research Service report, Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report

The Navy began procuring Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class destroyers, also known as Aegis destroyers, in FY1985, and a total of 89 have been procured through FY2022, including two in FY2022. From FY1989 through FY2005, DDG-51s were procured in annual quantities of two to five ships per year. Since FY2010, they have been procured in annual quantities of one to three ships per year. (The Navy did not procure any DDG-51s in FY2006-FY2009.)

The first DDG-51 entered service in 1991, and a total of 70 have been delivered as of February 2022. The DDG-51 design has been updated multiple times over the years; the version currently being procured, called the Flight III DDG-51 design, incorporates a new and more capable radar called the SPY-6 radar.

DDG-51s were procured in FY2018-FY2022 under a multiyear procurement (MYP) contract that Congress approved as part of its action on the Navy’s FY2018 budget. Three previous MYP contracts for the DDG-51 program covered DDG-51s procured in FY1998-FY2001, FY2002-FY2005, and FY2013-FY2017. As part of its FY2023 budget submission, the Navy is requesting a new MYP contract for DDG-51s scheduled for procurement in FY2023-FY2027.

The Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget requests the procurement of two DDG-51s in FY2023. The budget estimates the combined procurement cost of the two ships at $4,417.5 million (i.e., about $4.4 billion). The two ships have received $41.0 million in prior-year Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) funding, which is a kind of advance procurement funding that can occur under an MYP contract. The Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget requests the remaining $4,376.5 million needed to complete the two ships’ estimated combined procurement cost. The Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget also requests $618.4 million in EOQ funding for DDG-51s to be procured under the proposed FY2023-FY2027 MYP contract, and $228.6 million in cost-to-complete funding to cover cost growth on DDG-51s procured in prior fiscal years.

The Navy’s FY2023 five-year (FY2023-FY2027) shipbuilding plan includes 10 DDG-51s, to be procured at a rate of two ships per year. Although the Navy’s FY2023-FY2027 shipbuilding plan includes 10 DDG-51s, the Navy’s proposed FY2023-FY2027 MYP contract for the DDG-51 program includes nine (rather than 10) firm ships, plus an option for a 10th ship, as well as additional annual options that could expand the contract to include more than 10 ships. The Navy’s proposal for the FY2023-FY2027 MYP contract to include nine rather than 10 firm ships is a potential oversight issue for Congress in its consideration of the Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget.

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