- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) - Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is visiting one of the Navy’s newest ships during the Rim of the Pacific naval exercises off Hawaii.

Mabus is flying out to the USS Independence on Thursday. It’s a littoral combat ship capable of operating in relatively shallow water.

The Navy designed the littoral combat ships to have smaller crews and lower costs than other surface ships.

But a Government Accountability Office report earlier this month said the vessels cost nearly as much or more to operate than other surface ships.

The Navy also has a slightly different model of littoral combat ship in its fleet. The first of these is the USS Freedom. It went to Singapore last year in the first of what are expected to become rotational deployments.