NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The Columbia-class nuclear submarine program is on track to meet its expected deadline, but the Navy is keeping a nervous eye on budget negotiations on the Hill.
The program, which will replace the Ohio-class nuclear submarine fleet, is progressing towards the start of construction in 2021 – and patrols by 2031 – Vice Adm. David Johnson, principal military deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said at the annual Navy League Sea-Air-Space conference Tuesday.
But, he acknowledged, the current budget uncertainty could throw a wrench into that situation, particularly with the possibility that the government could spend the rest of fiscal year 2017 operating under a continuing resolution, or CR.
Under a CR, budget levels are frozen at the previous year’s figures, unless a program is given a special anomaly exception from Congress. In a past CR, the Columbia-class was given that pass by Congress, but even so, Johnson is taking nothing for granted this year – or next year.
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