Report to Congress on LPD-17 II, LHA Amphibious Warship Programs

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The following is the September 28, 2021 report, Congressional Research Service, Navy LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Amphibious Ship Programs: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report

This report discusses two types of amphibious ships purchased for the Navy: LPD-17 Flight II class amphibious ships and LHA type amphibious assault ships. Both types are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries / Ingalls Shipbuilding (HII / Ingalls) of Pascagoula, MS. Section 124 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 (HR 6395 / PL 116-283 of January 1, 2021) authorizes the Navy to use a pooled purchase contract for the purchase of three LPD-17 class ships and one LHA. -type amphibious assault ship.

One question for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s FY2022 supply funding requests for the LPD-17 Flight II and LHA programs. The Navy’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2022 requests $ 60.6 million in procurement funding to supplement the cost of purchasing the second LPD-17 Flight II class ship, LPD-31, and $ 68.6 million Supply funding dollars to help fund the cost of purchasing the LHA-9 amphibious assault ship.

Another issue for Congress concerns the Navy’s force level targets for amphibious ships and the effect these targets might have on future purchases of LPD-17 Flight II and LHA-type ships.

Another question for Congress is whether the Navy intends to use the bulk procurement contracting authority provided by section 124 of the NDAA for fiscal year 2021, and if not, what should the Navy do? Congress in response.

Another issue for Congress relates to the treatment of the LHA-9 supply date in the Navy’s budget submission for fiscal year 2022. The Navy’s budget submission for fiscal year 2021 featured the second class amphibious vessel. LPD-17 Flight II, the LPD-31, as a ship requested for supply during fiscal year 2021, and the upcoming amphibious assault ship, LHA-9, as a ship whose supply was scheduled for fiscal year 2023. Consistent with Congressional action on the Navy’s FY2020 and FY2021 budgets, this CRS report treats the LPD-31 and LHA-9 as ships that Congress has purchased (i.e. – say authorized and provided purchases – not advance purchases – funding for) during FY2020 and FY2021, respectively. The decision of the Department of Defense (DOD) to present the LPD-31 and LHA-9 in its budget submission for fiscal year 2021 as vessels requested for purchase in fiscal year 2021 and the fiscal year 2023, respectively, although Congress purchased the vessels in fiscal year 2020 and fiscal year 2021, respectively, posed an institutional issue for Congress regarding the preservation and use of the power of the stock market of Congress under section 1 of the Constitution, and for the maintenance of Congress as a co-equal branch of government with respect to the executive branch. Article 126 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2021 (HR 6395 / PL 116-283 of January 1, 2021) states:

SECOND. 126. TREATMENT IN THE PRESIDENT’S FUTURE BUDGETS OF SYSTEMS ADDED BY THE CONGRESS.

In the event that the quantity of supply for a system authorized by Congress in a National Defense Authorization Act for a fiscal year, and for which the funds for such quantity of supply are allocated by Congress in the Navy’s account for shipbuilding and conversion for that fiscal year, exceeds the quantity of supply specified in the President’s budget, as submitted to Congress under Section 1105 of Title 31, United States Code. United, for this fiscal year, this excess supply quantity should not be specified as a new supply quantity in a President’s budget, as presented, for any fiscal year following that fiscal year.

The Navy’s budget submission for fiscal year 2022, like its fiscal submission for fiscal year 2021, treats the LHA-9 as a vessel to be purchased in fiscal year 2023. A question for Congress is whether this is NDAA section 126 compliant for fiscal year 2021, and if not, what, if anything, should Congress do in response.

Download the document here.

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