Navy warships built in Wisconsin draw federal scrutiny

A federal watchdog agency is questioning the U.S. Navy’s $40 billion littoral combat ship program, which supports more than 1,200 jobs in Wisconsin and pumps millions of dollars into the state’s economy.

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report says the Government Accountability Office is questioning whether the warships perform as expected. Two key lawmakers are also raising questions.

Marinette Marine, based in Marinette, has already built two ships and four others are under construction.

They’re designed for quick modification. For example, a ship’s anti-submarine package could be quickly swapped out for a mine-warfare package. But the GAO says the completed ships aren’t performing as expected.

The Navy says it’s not relinquishing the program. It wants 52 of the high-speed warships over 15 years, at a cost of over $40 billion.