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Courtney Statement on Updated CBO Submarine Maintenance Report

April 23, 2019
Press Release

Norwich, CT – Congressman Joe Courtney, Chairman of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, issued the following statement on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) updated analysis of submarine maintenance costs. The report, which was conducted in response to a request by Courtney and other House Armed Services Committee leaders last year, is an update to the CBO’s initial analysis that was first released in September 2018. 


“Once again, CBO has debunked the myth that private sector submarine maintenance availabilities cost significantly more than those conducted in the public shipyards,” Chairman Courtney said. “Instead, what the CBO now finds is that the costs of this work in the public and private sectors are essentially the same. With this analysis in hand, the Navy should have all the tools it needs to address the stubborn backlog of submarine maintenance work and delays by bringing both the public and private sectors fully to bear to get our submarines back out to sea.  


“Key to this effort is a consistent and steady approach to leveraging the private sector shipyards like Electric Boat, which will help build an experienced maintenance workforce, reduce the learning curve for future availabilities and ultimately reduce costs. I appreciate that the Navy has committed to allocate at least two availabilities to the private sector in response to my concerns about submarine idle time and maintenance backlogs – and look forward to the continued commitment by Navy leaders to using all elements of our industrial base to eliminate this backlog.


In general, CBO found that between 1993 and 2017, overhauls at private shipyards have been 31 percent less expensive than public sector availabilities. In its updated review, CBO also found that the gap in costs between public and private sector-led availabilities has narrowed in recent years since 2007.


Notably, CBO indicated that while the Navy had previously estimated that private yard availabilities cost about 20 percent more than public sector ones, “following discussions with CBO, the Navy changed its analytical approach and now finds that the costs of overhauls at public and private shipyards are nearly the same, a result that is broadly consistent with CBO’s analysis...” 


In March 2018, Courtney joined Representatives Rob Wittman (VA-01), Joe Wilson (SC-02) and Madeline Bordallo (GU) in asking the CBO to conduct a thorough comparison of the costs of submarine repair availabilities in the public and private shipyards. CBO’s report is a result of that request.