Late last week, the Naval Air Systems Command notified a number of contractors of the potential to cancel, defer or de-scope aircraft and engine depot maintenance events at Fleet Readiness Centers in Cherry Point, N.C., Jacksonville, Fla., and San Diego, Calif., from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2013.
Notifications were made to allow companies time to prepare for adjustments that may become necessary under a year-long continuing resolution and potential sequestration.
Companies were told aviation maintenance workload would be adjusted in response to budgetary decisions and Fleet priorities. Decisions regarding these maintenance events are expected to be made not later than March 4, 2013.
The Navy is absorbing significant cuts to its Operations and Maintenance, Navy account in order to preserve overseas and forward-deployed readiness to the maximum extent possible.
Starting in January, Navy commands implemented a number of actions to slow operations and maintenance spending, including: a Navy-wide civilian hiring freeze; cancellation of non-mission-essential travel, training, and conference participation; and limiting administrative expenses and supply purchases to essential consumption only.
Unfortunately, these steps are not enough to meet budget cuts that would result from a year-long CR and sequestration.
Navy FRCs are preparing to adjust manning in accordance with anticipated reductions in Fleet flying hours and the cancellation of new aircraft and engine inductions starting the first week of April. FRC commands will adjust these plans should the budget situation change.
If the CR continues for a full year and sequestration is invoked, the following impacts are anticipated:
At FRC East in Cherry Point, N.C., 118 fewer units (aircraft, engines or components of each) will be inducted, resulting in a reduction of 221,000 associated work hours.
At FRC Southwest in San Diego, Calif., 124 fewer units (aircraft or aircraft components) will be inducted, with a reduction of 478,000 associated work hours.
At FRC Southeast in Jacksonville, Fla., 969 fewer units (aircraft, engines or components of each) will be inducted with a reduction of 309,000 associated work hours.
As a result of these actions, engine readiness impacts are expected to be seen starting in May, with aircraft readiness impacts following close behind in July. Impacts will increase exponentially each month the production process is halted or significantly reduced.
These actions may be reversed if Congress passes a FY13 Defense Appropriations Bill signed by the President or Congress grants the Navy permission to reprogram funds from investment accounts to its operations and maintenance account.