From USNI News: Navy Wants Alternative Funding for Columbia SSBNs to Accelerate 355-Ship Fleet
By: Megan Eckstein
November 27, 2018 7:00 PM
CAPITOL HILL – The Navy continues to push for the upcoming Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine program to be funded outside the normal shipbuilding budget, as opportunities exist to reach a 355-ship fleet faster but the $100-billion SSBN program looms over the next 15 years of spending.
Vice Adm. Bill Merz, deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems (OPNAV N9), told USNI News today after a Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee hearing that those discussions – which have been ongoing between the Navy, the Pentagon and Congress for the past several years – are “becoming more active” as the start of construction in Fiscal Year 2021 draws closer.
“To be clear, the Columbia is the number-one program. The Columbia will be funded; it’s really the impact on the rest of the shipbuilding account that we have to negotiate with how we’re going to cover down,” he said.
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