What GAO Found
In 2009, the Secretary of the Navy set goals to reduce fuel consumption and, 2 years later, initiated a program to install Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) systems on its fleet of Arleigh Burke class (DDG 51 Flight IIA) destroyers. The HED system draws surplus power from the ship’s electric system and uses it to propel the ship. This allows the crew to turn off the propulsion engines and save fuel.
Since 2011, Navy officials told us that they have spent over $100 million on the development, purchase, and upgrade of six HED systems. In October 2018, the Navy completed installation of one of the systems on the USS Truxtun (DDG 103). However, the Navy has yet to install the remaining five HED systems and now plans to use them to support another research effort.
The Navy issued a January 2020 report to Congress on the HED system installed on the USS Truxtun, but did not include some requested information. For example, while the report included performance information from operations on board the USS Truxtun, it did not include sufficient information to determine the overall performance of the HED system. A comprehensive test and evaluation could have assessed the system’s performance, reliability, and cyber survivability to inform program decision-making. Further, the report did not include a summary of planned investment that includes:
- an assessment of the costs and benefits of the HED system, or
- a projection of the funding needed to execute the program.
The Navy stated that it did not include a summary of the planned investments in the report because the HED program was not included in the President’s fiscal year 2020 budget and also due to the need for additional HED data. However, Congress appropriated $35 million in funding for the HED program in 2020, which was available to support ship installation of the five previously purchased HEDs. The Navy stated that it can only use a small portion of this funding before it expires in September 2022 since the systems cannot be upgraded and incorporated into a ship’s maintenance schedule in the next 3 years.
In summer 2020, Navy requirements officials informed GAO and Congress that they plan to suspend the HED program and send the five surplus HED systems to support research into a new electric motor, known as Propulsion Derived Ship Service (PDSS).
Navy requirements officials identified several reasons for suspending the HED program, but these reasons differ from information GAO obtained during the course of this review. For example:
- Navy officials stated that it is expensive to maintain the HED system. However, the commanding officer and crew of the USS Truxtun and senior Navy engineers stated that the system requires little maintenance.
- Navy officials also stated that the HED is not used very often in operations. According to the Navy’s January 2020 report, the system was designed for low-speed operations (speed up to 11 knots), which comprise more than one-third of a typical DDGs operating profile.
GAO did not assess the Navy’s decision to use the HED systems for PDSS research because the Navy did not have documentation regarding the requirements, testing, schedule, or costs of the PDSS effort. GAO could not determine the merits of suspending the HED program and using the other five HED systems for the PDSS effort because the Navy has yet to complete analysis that determines the costs, benefits, and performance necessary to support such a decision. If the Navy completes a further assessment—which has been requested by Congress—it could provide the information necessary to inform future decisions about the HED program.
Why GAO Did This Study
This report assesses the Navy’s HED program. Senate Report 115-262 accompanying the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 asked the Navy to submit a report on the HED system installed on the USS Truxtun. GAO was asked to review the Navy’s report and the Navy’s recent decision to suspend the HED program to pursue the PDSS research project. This report (1) examines the extent to which the Navy’s report on the USS Truxtun included information regarding the assessment areas as requested by Congress; and (2) describes the Navy’s decision to suspend the HED program and use the HED systems for the PDSS research effort.
To conduct this work, GAO reviewed the Navy’s 2020 report on the HED system, analyzed data and documentation the Navy used to guide investments, and assessed HED performance information. GAO also interviewed relevant Navy officials, such as the commanding officer and other senior crew of the USS Truxtun, and Navy engineers.
What GAO Recommends
GAO is not making any recommendations.
For more information, contact Shelby S. Oakley at (202) 512-4841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- NASA’s Deep Space Station in Australia Is Getting an UpgradeBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020Used for communicating [Read More…]
- Statement of Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. RosenBy Sam NewsJanuary 7, 2021“Yesterday, our Nation watched in disbelief as a mob breached the Capitol Building and required federal and local law enforcement to help restore order. The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack on our Government and the rule of law face the full consequences of their actions under the law. Our criminal prosecutors have been working throughout the night with special agents and investigators from the U.S. Capitol Police, FBI, ATF, Metropolitan Police Department and the public to gather the evidence, identify perpetrators, and charge federal crimes where warranted. Some participants in yesterday’s violence will be charged today, and we will continue to methodically assess evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure that those responsible are held accountable under the law.”[Read More…]
- The United States Applauds the Interim Government’s “People’s Vote”By Sam NewsDecember 8, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- Houston Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Offshore Tax Evasion SchemeBy Sam NewsAugust 6, 2020A Houston, Texas attorney was sentenced to 24 months in prison today for conspiring to defraud the United States and tax evasion, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick for the Southern District of Texas.[Read More…]
- International Statement: End-To-End Encryption and Public SafetyBy Sam NewsOctober 11, 2020We, the undersigned, [Read More…]
- Cayman Islands Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020Reconsider travel to the [Read More…]
- On the Death of Colombian Defense Minister TrujilloBy Sam NewsJanuary 27, 2021
- Attacks on Yemeni Officials in AdenBy Sam NewsDecember 31, 2020Cale Brown, Principal [Read More…]
- Oil Trader Indicted in International Bribery and Money Laundering Conspiracy Involving Corrupt Payments to Ecuadorian OfficialsBy Sam NewsSeptember 22, 2020A federal grand jury in [Read More…]
- Statement from Attorney General William P. Barr on the Arrest of Kansas City Man Charged with the Murder of Four-Year-Old LeGend TaliferroBy Sam NewsAugust 13, 2020Attorney General William P. Barr issued the following statement in response to the arrest of a Kansas City man accused of murdering four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, after whom the Department of Justice’s Operation Legend is named.[Read More…]
- Department of State Offers Reward for Information to Bring Mexican Transnational Criminal to JusticeBy Sam NewsOctober 13, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau Before Their MeetingBy Sam NewsFebruary 26, 2021
- DRL FY2020: Guaranteeing Constitutional Rights in TunisiaBy Sam NewsNovember 29, 2020Bureau of Democracy, [Read More…]
- Defense Science and Technology: Opportunities to Better Integrate Industry Independent Research and Development into DOD PlanningBy Sam NewsSeptember 3, 2020Why This Matters Research and development (R&D) projects in high-tech areas like cybersecurity and biotechnology can help the U.S. military reassert its technological edge. Contractors decide what independent R&D projects to conduct and the Department of Defense (DOD) reimburses them about $4 billion-$5 billion annually. More information about those projects could help DOD guide its own R&D investments. Key Takeaways DOD does not know how contractors’ independent R&D projects fit into the department’s technology goals. As a result, DOD risks making decisions about its multi-billion dollar science and tech investments that could duplicate work or miss opportunities to fill in gaps that the contributions of private industry do not cover. DOD has a database of independent R&D projects, but it is not very useful for informing investment decisions because DOD does not obtain information in these and other areas: Priority. Contractors do not identify whether a project aligns with any of 10 modernization priorities. The department uses those priorities to make decisions about R&D investments. Cost. The database does not capture a project’s complete cost, which could help DOD understand cost implications of future related work. Innovation. The database does not include whether a project is a lower-risk, incremental development or a more innovative “disruptive” technology. Disruptive projects carry higher risk of failure but offer possible significant rewards in the long term. While DOD is not required to review independent R&D projects to understand how they support DOD’s priorities, GAO analysis showed 38 percent of industry projects aligned with DOD’s priorities. To help DOD better understand the scope and nature of independent projects, we recommend DOD determine whether to require additional information in the project database and review projects annually as part of its strategic planning process. DOD agreed with both recommendations. How GAO Did This Study We categorized a sample of completed projects from 2014–2018 by innovation type and analyzed projects completed in 2018 for alignment with DOD's modernization priorities. We also reviewed DOD policies on independent R&D and interviewed representatives from 10 defense contractors. For more information, contact Timothy J. DiNapoli at (202) 512-4841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.[Read More…]
- Namibia Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020Do not travel to Namibia [Read More…]
- NASA’s ASTER Sees Arizona’s Bighorn Fire Burn Scar From SpaceBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020From the vantage point [Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Izumi Oguri of Nippon TVBy Sam NewsMarch 17, 2021