BigNews.Biz - Apr 29,2010 - WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Committee on the Armed Services, made the following comments today regarding the release of a Congressional Budget Office report detailing the role fuel consumption plays in overall lifecycle costs of naval vessels:
“Based on the information released today, it is apparent to me that the Navy’s calculation of lifecycle costs for the Littoral Combat Ship significantly undervalues the cost of fuel over the operating life of the vessel. This is a fundamental error in the Navy’s evaluation criteria, and a failure to correct it could call into question the Navy’s final selection in this important procurement program.
“Despite the Department of Defense’s assurances that the fully burdened cost of fuel would be taken into account when evaluating the competing LCS ships, the Navy has failed to provide satisfactory answers regarding the methodology behind its calculations. At our request, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has conducted an analysis of the fuel consumption of existing Navy vessels. Its report reveals that fuel costs represent between eight to 18 percent of the overall lifecycle costs of Navy ships. The exact weight given to fuel costs in the Navy’s Request for Proposals for LCS is unclear, but it is thought to be much lower than CBO’s estimates.
“A failure to properly weigh fuel consumption in this manner would disadvantage the more fuel-efficient ship, an unacceptable mistake given the impact that fuel consumption has on military operations, and the Navy’s repeated call for energy efficient vessels. This is a critical point because the USS Independence is expected to have far superior fuel efficiency compared to the other LCS design.
“Given that the LCS program will make up nearly 20 percent of the Navy’s fleet over the next 25 years, even small savings in fuel should be valued. The report released by CBO today confirms my concerns regarding this RFP, which I have consistently raised to the Navy’s leadership. I want to ensure that the best capable ship is delivered to the war fighter at the lowest cost to the taxpayer.”