Tuesday, December 20, 2016

McCain Blasts Navy Warships in Report on Pentagon Waste | Military.com

McCain Blasts Navy Warships in Report on Pentagon Waste | Military.com

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is blasting the Navy's expensive new warships that have been plagued by engine problems and have yet to demonstrate key warfighting functions.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a Navy fighter pilot in the Vietnam War, said the $12.4 billion spent for 26 littoral combat ships is the most egregious example of what he calls "America's Most Wasted: Indefensible," the latest in a series of reports on wasteful spending by the Pentagon.

In a report Monday, McCain calls the littoral ship program "an unfortunate and classic example" of defense acquisition gone awry." Initially expected to cost $220 million per ship and be able to counteract mines by 2008, the program's cost has more than doubled to $478 million per ship, and mine countermeasures are not expected to be operational until 2020.

As the military confronts a diverse and complex array of national security challenges, the U.S. "simply cannot afford to waste our precious defense dollars on unnecessary or poorly performing programs" such as the littoral ships, McCain said. They are designed to operate in shallow coastal — or littoral — waters.

Navy Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander of Naval Surface Forces, defended the program to the House Armed Services Committee earlier this month, saying that he is well aware of the problems surrounding the ship's development and has been leading the effort to identify solutions. He said they have come up with a number of recommendations to address the issues.