This report provides background information and potential oversight issues for Congress on the Navy’s ballistic missile submarines SSBN(X) program, a program to develop and procure 12 new ballistic missile submarines as replacements for the Navy’s current force of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs. The Navy’s ballistic missile submarines form one leg of the U.S. strategic nuclear deterrent force, or “triad,” which also includes land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and land-based long-range bombers.

Decisions that Congress makes on the SSBN(X) program could substantially affect U.S.military capabilities and funding requirements, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. The Navy’s proposed FY2012 budget requests $1,067 million in research and development funding for the SSBN(X) program.