This report discusses the Navy's plan to develop and design a class of 12 next-generation ballistic missile submarines, or SSBN(X)s, as replacements for the 14 Ohio class SSBNs currently in operation. The report explores certain related issues for Congress, including the affordability of the project and its potential impact on other Navy shipbuilding programs, alternatives to the program, and which shipyard or shipyards will build the proposed ships.
The Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) program, which is carried out by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Navy, gives Navy Aegis cruisers and destroyers a capability for conducting BMD operations. Under MDA and Navy plans, the number of BMD-capable Navy Aegis ships is scheduled to grow from 24 at the end of FY2011 to 36 at the end of FY2018. Issues for Congress for FY2013 include the reduction under the proposed FY2013 budget in the ramp-up rate for numbers of BMD-capable Aegis ships over the next few years; the U.S. economic impact of shifting four Aegis ships to Rota, Spain; U.S. vs. European naval contributions to European BMD; the lack of a target for simulating the endo-atmospheric (i.e., final) phase of flight of China's DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile; the capability of the SM-3 Block IIB Aegis BMD interceptor; and technical risk in the Aegis program.