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The Navy’s New Nuclear Submarine Is Likely to Cost Way More than $128 Billion

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The U.S. Navy underplayed the development risks posed by key technologies for its new $128 billion Columbia-class nuclear-powered submarine, the Government Accountability Office said.

If the risks materialize, they are likely to result in increased costs and schedule delays for a program that already appears to be underfunded, the watchdog agency said in a report released Thursday on the Navy’s top acquisition program.

General Dynamics Corp. is the prime contractor for the submarine, which is designed to carry intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“The Navy underrepresented the program’s technology risks” in a key Pentagon assessment in 2015 when it failed to “identify these technologies as ‘critical,’” according to the report issued by Shelby Oakley, the GAO’s director of acquisition management. “Not identifying these technologies as critical means Congress may not have had the full picture of the technology risks and their potential effect on cost, schedule, and performance goals as increasing financial commitments were made.”

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