U.S. Navy Sets Budget-cutting Plans in Motion
Moving ahead with plans to execute further budget-cutting actions — but stopping short of enacting major cuts — the U.S. Navy on Saturday issued orders to plan and prepare to cancel and shut down a variety of operations and procurement efforts.
The moves are in response to a presidential directive signed Friday evening by President Obama to begin the forced federal spending cuts known as sequestration.
The Navy, which has been the most aggressive military service warning of dire consequences both of sequestration and the prospect of a year-long continuing resolution funding scheme, didn’t actually set in motion the biggest of the moves, but set in motion the planning to execute the actions — most of which are expected to take place within weeks if Congress doesn’t act.
“We have time between now and when many of these actions begin,” a Navy official in Washington said Saturday night. “We haven’t tied our hands yet.
“These actions aren’t final yet, but we’ve begun the process for them to take place,” the official added. “We’re still holding out hope that sequestration will be fixed, or that Congress will pass a defense appropriations bill.”
In a fleet-wide message issued Saturday, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the Navy Department “intends to commence some reductions immediately.”
Key elements are plans to:
Shut down Carrier Air Wing Two in April, with moves to gradually stand down or reduce flying time in five more air wings by the end of the year;
Defer the humanitarian cruise this year of the hospital ship Comfort to Central and Latin America;
Cancel or defer deployments of up to six ships in April; n Lay up four Pacific Command support ships starting in April;
Return the deployed destroyer Shoup and frigate Thach to their homeports.
Mabus, in the message, also said the service would begin negotiating contract modifications with contractors to “de-obligate” work to buy Virginia-class submarines, reactor power units and one joint high speed vessel.
Actions announced earlier, Mabus added, will continue, including the deferral of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln’s refueling overhaul; major repairs to the submarine Miami and destroyer Porter; the deployments of the carrier Harry S. Truman and cruiser Gettysburg; the civilian hiring freeze; planning for civilian furloughs; and the reduction of most units in the U.S.
Source: By Christopher P. Cavas in Intercepts News - 2 March 2013
Photo: The U.S. Navy USS Thach (FFG 43) Frigate, seen deploying from San Diego on Jan. 8, could be called home to pay for sequester budget cuts (Photo by Christopher P. Cavas / blogs.defensenews.com)