Pentagon reprograms $208 million to National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund

By Justin Katz / March 16, 2020 at 10:18 AM

The Navy this month reprogrammed $208 million from the shipbuilding account to the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund, according to a Defense Department document.

The March 11 reprogramming action was signed by acting Pentagon Comptroller Elaine McCusker, whose nomination to permanently fill that position has been withdrawn, Inside Defense reported.

The Pentagon regularly reprograms shipbuilding funds intended for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine to the NSBDF, a unique account that provides special contracting authorities.

The Navy this year is preparing to purchase the first Columbia-class submarine in October. Given the submarine's importance combined with a flattened defense topline, the service's warnings about the program taking a toll on the shipbuilding account are starting to come to fruition.

At the same time, military brass are preparing for future continuing resolutions that could derail the program's already tight schedule.

"We will likely be coming in with a legislative proposal that gives us . . . the flexibility to spend money in case there's a CR," Adm. Michael Gilday last week told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.

"So that in a program where we have to stay on schedule to get that [Columbia-class submarine] on patrol in 2030 . . . we make [the] best use of the money that we have," he continued.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper also told lawmakers in February the Pentagon was considering a legislative proposal that allows the Navy to reprogram its expired funds to the shipbuilding account.