Second New Carrier Now Seen Busting a Cost Cap by $235 Million

Anthony Capaccio

The Pentagon’s cost-assessment office now says the Navy’s second aircraft carrier in a new class will exceed a congressionally mandated cost cap by $235 million.

That’s down from an April estimate that the USS John F. Kennedy, the second warship in the new Ford class, would bust a $11.498 billion cap set by lawmakers by $370 million. The Navy maintains that it can deliver the ship within the congressional limit.

“The original figure was a draft based on preliminary information,” Navy Commander Bill Urban, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office, said in an e-mail. As better information, such as updated labor rates, became available, the office “revised its estimate to a more accurate number,” he said.

The Navy plans to spend $42.8 billion for three carriers being built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. The first, the Gerald R. Ford, has increased 22 percent since 2010 to about $12.88 billion.

The Senate-passed version of the annual defense authorization bill would direct the Government Accountability Office to review the Navy’s history of cost estimates for the ships and also would reduce the cap for the second carrier by $100 million.

The version of the annual policy bill that the House passed last week doesn’t include a tighter cap. Differences over the bill, H.R. 1735, will be resolved in legislative negotiations.

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