Letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate Requesting Fiscal Year 1983 and 1984 Authorization for Ship Procurement

April 21, 1982

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

This letter is submitted in compliance with Section 810 of the Department of Defense Appropriation Authorization Act, 1979. That section requires me to provide the Congress with my conclusions with respect to the survivability, cost effectiveness, and combat effectiveness of any new ship requested for the combatant forces; a recommendation whether the ship should be nuclear or conventionally powered; and the reasons for my conclusions and recommendations. Authorization is being requested for fiscal years 1983 and 1984 for the ships listed in the attachment to this letter. With the exception of a new class of amphibious assault ship, the LHD - 1 Class, ships of these combatant classes have been authorized in the past. All of these ships are considered to be combat effective. Because ships last 25 to 30 years or more, their effectiveness will be enhanced in the future as new equipment is added. Combat effectiveness is judged in terms of the ability of each ship to accomplish the mission for which it was designed. In all cases, these ships provide more capability than the ships of comparable type or class that are scheduled to be retired as the new ones are delivered.

The ships are considered to be cost effective in relation to the various missions they are to perform. In determining cost effectiveness, consideration is given to several factors, including alternative power systems and alternative weapons systems that may be used to accomplish the missions of the ship and the fact that it is difficult to prorate the total cost of a ship among all of the missions it is designed to perform. Cost effectiveness is considered acceptable for the continuing programs requested for fiscal years 1983 and 1984 because the ships can accomplish their primary missions and because nonrecurring costs have been incurred and production is underway. The Amphibious Assault (LHD - 1) Class ship will be based on the LHA - 1 Class hull design, of which five are in the Fleet. Conventionally powered propulsion systems are planned for the AEGIS Cruiser (CG - 47), the Fleet Guided Missile Frigate (FFG), the LSD - 41, and the LHD - 1 Class ships since these systems are adequate for these ships to accomplish their missions and have lower procurement costs.

Compared to the ships now in the Fleet, class for class, the ships in this authorization request are more survivable. Survivability in this sense is measured by the ability of each ship to defend itself as well as the ability to withstand hits when confronted with existing and projected threats.

Nuclear power is proposed for three of the ship types for which authorization is requested. They are the submarines and the aircraft carriers. In view of sizing requirements and the higher investment cost of nuclear powered ships, I believe that nuclear power should be limited to those ships for which clear benefits are derived. Hence, I 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.

Sincerely,

(TABLE START)

Ronald Reagan

AUTHORIZATION REQUESTED FOR COMBATANT SHIPS @h1 @h1Fiscal year@h21983@h21984

TRIDENT Class Nuclear Submarine .... 2 .... 1

CVN - 68 Class Nuclear Aircraft Carrier .... 2 .... 0

SSN - 688 Class Nuclear Attack Submarine .... 2 .... 3

CG - 47 Class AEGIS Cruiser .... 3 .... 3

LSD - 41 Class Landing Ship Dock .... 1 .... 1

LHD - 1 Class Amphibious Assault Ship .... .... 1

FFG - 7 Class Guided Missile Frigate .... 2 .... 2

(TABLE END)

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