Jimmy Carter photo

Navy Shipbuilding Programs Letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate Reporting on the Programs.

March 14, 1980

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

This letter is to comply with section 810 of the Department of Defense Appropriation Authorization Act, 1979. That section requires me to provide the Congress with my conclusions on the survivability, cost effectiveness, and combat effectiveness of any new combatant ship requested, and my recommendation on whether the ship should be nuclear or conventionally powered. This letter covers requested authorizations for fiscal years 1981 and 1982 for the ships listed in the attachment. Other ships of the major combatant classes have been authorized in the past.

I consider all of these ships to be combat effective in terms of their ability to accomplish their designated mission. Because ships last 25 to 30 years or more, their effectiveness will be enhanced in the future as new equipment is added. In all cases, these ships provide more capability than the comparable ships they will replace.

The cost effectiveness of a ship program is difficult to determine without establishing the measure of effectiveness of a specific mission, the intended level of effectiveness, its alternatives, and the proration of total costs among all the various missions of a particular ship type. The continuing programs requested in FY 1981 and 1982 are cost effective because the ships can accomplish their primary missions and because nonrecurring costs have been incurred and production is underway. Studies are in progress of possible future alternatives to the TRIDENT Submarine and the SSN-688 Class Nuclear Attack Submarine. Conventional power is planned for the AEGIS Cruiser (CG-47) and the Fleet Guided Missile Frigate (FFG) because it provides adequate propulsion for these ships to accomplish their missions and has lower procurement costs. The designs for the Landing Ship Dock (LSD-41) and the Mine Countermeasures ship (MCM) will also accomplish their missions in the most cost effective manner.

Class for class, the ships in this authorization request are more survivable than ships now in the fleet. The term survivability refers to the ability of each ship to defend itself and to withstand hits from existing and projected threats.

I propose nuclear power for the two types of submarines in the requested authorizations. In view of its higher cost, nuclear power should be limited to ships that clearly benefit from its use. Submarine missions provide a much greater opportunity than surface missions to capitalize on nuclear power. Also, it would not be cost effective to alter either the TRIDENT or attack submarine designs for conventional power. I therefore recommend that these ships be nuclear powered and that the others be conventionally powered.

The Navy will address each of these conclusions and recommendations in greater detail.





1981 1982

LSD-41 Landing Ship Dock 1

TRIDENT Submarine 1 1

SSN-688 Class Nuclear Attack Submarine 1 1

CG-47 Class AEGIS Cruiser 1 2 3

FFG-7 Fleet Guided Missile Frigate 4 4

LSD-41 Landing Ship Dock 1

MCM Mine Countermeasures Ship 1

1 Redesignation of the DDG-47 Class AEGIS Destroyer.

Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Waiter F. Mondale, President of the Senate.

Jimmy Carter, Navy Shipbuilding Programs Letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate Reporting on the Programs. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250036

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives