Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Oversight Issues and Options for Congress [Updated May 23, 2008] [open pdf - 195KB]
From the Summary: "The Navy is procuring a new type of surface combatant called the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The Navy substantially restructured the LCS program in 2007 in response to significant cost growth and schedule delays in the program. The Navy's proposed FY2009 budget requests $920 million in procurement funding for the procurement of two LCSs, which would be the fourth and fifth ships in the restructured LCS program. The LCS is a small, fast, relatively inexpensive combat ship that is to be equipped with modular 'plug-and-fight' mission packages, including unmanned vehicles (UVs). The basic version of the LCS, without any mission packages, is referred to as the LCS sea frame. The Navy wants to procure a total of 55 LCSs. […] The House and Senate Armed Services Committees, in their reports (H.Rept. 110-652 of May 16, 2008 and S.Rept. 110-335 of May 12, 2008, respectively) on the FY2009 defense authorization bill (H.R. 5658/S. 3001), approved the procurement of two LCSs in FY2009 but reduced the Navy's FY2009 ship procurement funding request for the LCS program by $80 million and $123 million, respectively. The issue for Congress for FY2009 is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy's restructured LCS program. The LCS program raises potential oversight issues for Congress relating to cost growth, total program acquisition cost, the procurement cost cap, technical risk, operational evaluation and competition for production, a proposed common combat system, and coordination of sea frames and mission packages. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33741