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Navy's shipyards refurbishment will cost billions more than expected, says GAO

Christian Fernsby |
A plan to refurbish the Navy's government-run shipyards could cost billions of dollars more than expected, a recent report from the Government Accountability Office concluded.

Topics: NAVY    SHIPYARD   

Navy experts say the results show how some important public infrastructure projects have been neglected for decades, increasing the long-term cost of maintaining them.

The Navy's 20-year Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan is meant to rebuild and modernize government-run shipyards at four U.S.

ports where nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers are repaired and maintained: Norfolk, Virginia; Kittery, Maine; Puget Sound in Washington state; and Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The cost of the project was initially estimated at $21 billion.

But researchers at GAO concluded the Navy's estimate underestimated the costs and risks associated with the shipyard recapitalization plan, something that could leave the Navy with inadequate resources to carry out the plan.

The issue is likely to come up at a Wednesday hearing before the Senate Armed Services committee, when top Navy officials will take questions on fleet maintenance issues.

"The Navy's initial cost estimate for the plan did not use certain best practices in developing the estimate, such as documenting key assumptions, accounting for inflation, and addressing risks that together could add billions to the ultimate cost," the GAO wrote in its report.

The GAO said poorly defined cost estimates threaten to lead the project astray.

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