(Alexandria, VA) -- Recent Congressional efforts to contain costs and bring accountability to the defense appropriations process are a positive development, according to the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU). The citizen group today applauded the House Projection Forces Subcommittee and Chairman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) for taking the initiative to explore whether tax dollars are being used as efficiently and effectively as possible to secure our nation.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), recently passed in the House by a vote of 396-31, includes several measures intended to curb runaway shipbuilding costs lurking in the Navy's 313-ship plan. NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan said, "The spiraling costs of programs like the CVN-21 aircraft carrier threaten to sink the federal budget deeper into red ink and scuttle potentially more urgent military projects. Provisions inserted into the NDAA by Chairman Bartlett to hold the Navy to their cost estimates on several shipbuilding ventures constitute a good first step toward shielding taxpayers from potential waste and mismanagement."
A perfect example of that waste can be found in the DD(X) destroyer program, introduced in November 2001 to implement still-unrealized technological advances to fight conflicts within the sea-to-shore littoral range, all at a reduced personnel cost. Yet, Moylan noted that these promises for a leaner and meaner fighting ship are growing more tenuous as costs have skyrocketed to over three times their initial estimates.
"The capabilities envisioned for DD(X) are undoubtedly remarkable; however, building the ship as requested by the Navy could render it a technological footnote prior to the debut of the next-generation CG(X) cruiser," said Moylan. "The Projection Forces Subcommittee was wise to limit the program to two vessels in the near term."
NTU's interest in the Subcommittee's work is part of an ongoing commitment to ensure that defense dollars are properly prioritized in order to serve taxpayers and people in uniform. Along these lines, the group urged Congress to continue evaluating Navy and other armed services projects, including the submarine force.
"The House took positive steps by insisting on more fiscal discipline from Navy projects and protecting funds from wasteful practices," Moylan concluded. "NTU commends Chairman Bartlett and wholeheartedly supports further efforts to keep costs down. The Pentagon shouldn't just protect taxpayers' lives, it should also protect taxpayers' wallets."
NTU is a non-partisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes and smaller government. For more information, visit www.ntu.org.