The Pentagon office that reviews information to determine whether it’s classified has blocked publication of potentially embarrassing data on cost overruns for the first two vessels bought under the Navy’s primary Littoral Combat Ship contracts, according to a new congressional audit.
In a report examining Navy shipbuilding contracts, the U.S. Government Accountability Office deleted overrun information on two of the Littoral Combat Ships launched in late 2014 -- the USS Milwaukee built by Lockheed Martin Corp. and the USS Jackson built by Austal Ltd. -- at the request of the Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review.
The GAO said the Defense Department “deemed the cost growth” on both vessels “to be sensitive but unclassified information, which is excluded from this public report. However, the percent difference” in cost for each ship “was above target cost.” Other types of ships were listed with specific data on cost increases that ranged from 4 percent to 45 percent.
“This seems to be an overly broad reading of competition-sensitive information,” said Mandy Smithberger, a director for the Project On Government Oversight’s military reform initiative. “Taxpayers are footing the bill for these overruns. They deserve to know the costs.” (end of excerpt)
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