GAO reviewed the Navy's Seawolf (SSN-21) Class Nuclear-Powered
Attack Submarine construction program, focusing on: (1) the change
in the status of the class design and SSN-21 construction since
December 1991; (2) the effectiveness of technical and management
actions to resolve lead submarine welding problems and guard
against a recurrence of a similar problem in the future; and (3)
Navy efforts to control schedule delays. GAO found that: (1) SSN-21
construction has fallen at least 5 months behind schedule; (2)
factors contributing to construction delays include late drawings
and other design data, insufficient staff and problems preparing
and releasing the instructions and materials needed for
construction, and a smaller-than-expected SSN-21 construction work
force; (3) 5 percent of the work packages scheduled for completion
and 9 percent of the completed work packages scheduled for release
to construction workers were delinquent; (4) the incompatibility
between the design and construction schedules could further delay
SSN-21 delivery; (5) it will cost $683 million to design the SSN-21
class, which is 125 percent over the original contract cost
estimate; (6) cost increases are primarily due to changes in
specifications, reductions in the number of submarines to be
constructed, and the re-estimation of construction elements; and
(7) the contractor has corrected the welding problems and
instituted new welding procedures to prevent any recurrence of
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