Report: Naval Ships Face Growing Maintenance Delays and Costs

February 3, 2023

A report published this week from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that U.S. Navy ships are getting fewer steaming hours—the number of hours a ship is generally in an operating or training status—due to increasing maintentenance delays and costs.

The increases in operating and support, up $2.5 billion across 10 ship classes between the years 2011 and 2021, comes as the U.S. is struggling to keep pace with China’s growing Naval fleet. That expenditure included $1.2 billion in maintenance costs. 

According to the GAO, the Navy experienced an increase in maintenance delays, breakdowns and the cannibalization of parts—moving them from one ship to another—during that 10-year period.

A spokesperson for Naval Surface Forces said the goal is for 75 mission capable ships among 164 ships it’s assigned, not including aircraft carriers, sealift ships or submarines. 

“This imperative for 75 mission capable ships drives every program and action we take, and across our force, the enterprise is aligned to reach this north star,” Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, commander of Naval Surface Forces, said earlier this month.

The GAO report focused on the Navy’s surface ships and did not look at the submarine fleet. The next report will likely expand to include both surface and undersea vessels.

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