The White House on Wednesday objected to a provision in the House’s FY 2020 defense authorization bill that would reduce funding for the Navy’s Large Unmanned Surface Vessel (LUSV) program by $238 million.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Statement of Administration Policy on July 9 outlining provisions it opposes in the House’s FY ’20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The DARPA Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program full-scale Sea Hunter demonstration vehicle. (Photo: DARPA)

“These vessels are critical experimentation vessels with modular payloads to reduce risk, conduct integration and testing of payloads, and develop Navy tactics and concepts of operations necessary to provide a more distributed and lethal force,” OMB said.

In March, the Navy’s FY ’20 budget request included plans to spend $372 million for two LUSVs under the research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) funding account. Over the course of the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) the Navy expects to buy two more LUSVs per year through FY ’24, totaling $2.7 billion (Defense Daily, March 13).

That same month, the Navy issued a request for information conducting market research to determine what sources exist that can satisfy the service’s anticipated LUSV program requirements (Defense Daily, March 14).

However, the House Armed Services Committee’s draft of the NDAA reduced authorized funding to $135 million. The bill report explained this combined the reductions of $29 million for LUSV design contracts earlier than needed, $79 million for LUSV government-furnished equipment earlier than needed, $43 million for a LUSV program decrease, and $86.5 million for reduction to only one LUSV.

Similarly, the House Appropriations Committee’s report for its defense appropriations bill reduced LUSV funding by $196 million. That committee’s recommendation came from reducing $96 million to limit to one LUSV, $79 million for long lead material earlier than needed, and 20 million for excess design support.