McCain Calls Out $13 Billion Wasted On Ships That Don’t Work

(U.S. Navy photo/Released)

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Arizona Sen. John McCain goes after wasteful and ridiculous spending within the Department of Defense, particularly a troubled ship program, in his latest report on government waste.

The report decries money spent on frivolous programs, funds abused through fraud, and the viability whole programs, like the 26 littoral combat ships (LCS) that cost taxpayers $12 billion, yet have “demonstrated next-to-no combat capability.”

The report “exposes just a few examples of the wasteful spending at the Pentagon that is so detrimental to our national defense,” McCain said of his “America’s Most Wastedreport released Monday, the sequel to former Sen. Tom Coburn’s annual “Wastebook.”

As “an unfortunate and classic example of acquisition gone awry,” McCain says the Navy must reconcile “their aspirations for the LCS with the program’s troubled reality” in order to curb ballooning defense costs.

Each LCS costs around $478 million initially. But as repairs cost increase, the total amount for the 26 ships already delivered to the fleet amounts to $12.4 billion. Should the Navy continue to purchase the LCS to bring the total number to 40, the cost will be closer $29 billion for ships that have failed to live up to capabilities promised, and continually breakdown. (RELATED: The Navy’s $29 Billion Ships Broke Down A LOT This Year)

When Congress returns in 2017, lawmakers will have to decide whether it’s best to try to fix the LCS program and continue buying ships, or look for better ways build the Navy. The U.S. needs to buy more than 70 new ships in order to reach President-elect Donald Trump’s goal of a 350-ship Navy fleet.

The LCS “continues to experience new problems, but it is not a new program,” McCain said. Whether the Navy continues with the program or not, “the nation still needs a capable small surface combatant that addresses the LCS’s critical shortfalls,” McCain said in the report.

With more than $19 trillion in federal debt, “It has never been more important to eliminate unnecessary defense spending and mismanagement so that we can reinvest savings into improving the training and equipment our warfighters need,” McCain said.

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Thomas Phippen