Defense

April 17, 2013

Navy, Marine Corps leadership warn about sequester

Tags:
Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert listens to the opening remarks of the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Buck McKeon, with Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos before providing testimony on the fiscal year 2014 National Defense Authorization Budget Request from the Department of the Navy.

With members of Congress continuing to express concern about the impact of sequestration on the military, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told a congressional panel April 16 that the Navy and Marine Corps will be able to meet their current and future missions only with proper resourcing.

“The department’s ability to meet the demands of today’s operations in support of our defense strategic guidance depends on anticipating and preparing for the changing geopolitical landscape and having the proper resources ready to deploy,” Mabus told the House Armed Services Committee in prepared testimony. “The department will continue to maintain the capabilities required to ensure that the Navy and Marine Corps is the finest expeditionary force in the world; however, proper resourcing is needed to maintain our capacity for global operations.”

In light of a budget-driven, Pentagon-wide review of strategic priorities, he added, “everything will be on the table.”

Mabus testified alongside Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations, and Gen. James. F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps. All three leaders spoke of shortfalls and having to do more with less in the coming years if the hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts triggered by last month’s budget sequester remain.

“We do it to the very best we possibly can,” Amos said, but he suggested that at some point, such cuts could undercut the rationale for having the Marine Corps, which is on a path to shrink from just over 202,000 Marines to 182,100.

“The Marine Corps remains the nation’s ready hedge against unpredictable crisis, an insurance policy that buys time when hours matter,” Amos said. He cited yesterday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon and the ongoing uncertainty over North Korea’s intentions to illustrate how an unpredictable and chaotic security environment demonstrates that “the need for this highly capable and ready force is more pressing now than ever.”

Aware of the nation’s fiscal restraints, Amos said, the Corps will make hard decisions about what it needs. But he added that “with declining resources to address the emerging security challenges, neo-isolationism does not advance our nation’s national interest.”

Greenert said shortfalls this fiscal year alone, while mitigated by congressional action last month, will be compounded if sequestration continues, leading to a $23 billion shortfall in 2014. The situation already has led the Navy to recommend cancelling one ship deployment to the Pacific, two to Europe and all but one to the U.S Southern Command region.

“Overall, due to reduced training and maintenance, about two-thirds of the fleet will be less than fully mission capable and not certified for major combat operations,” he said, emphasizing that this state of readiness does not apply to Navy forces and assets supporting operations in Afghanistan. In addition, he said, discussion continues about the number of furlough days Navy civilians may be required to take between now and the Sept. 30 end of the current fiscal year.

Other issues not directly related to funding, but which remain among his top concerns, Greenert said, include:

  • A smaller fleet operating at a high tempo;
  • Shortfalls in at-sea manning;
  • Sexual assault, which he said affects about two sailors every day; and
  • Rising suicide rates.

The Navy has implemented a comprehensive strategy for countering sexual assault, the admiral noted, and has stood up a task force to prevent suicides.

The hearing follows President Barack Obama’s submission last week of a $526.6 billion defense budget request for fiscal year 2014, one largely consistent with the previous year’s, but delivered amid a budget landscape that envisions $500 billion in additional defense cuts over the next 10 years if there is no change in current law.

If Congress does not act to change that, Amos warned, the Marine Corps will have to undergo “a top-to-bottom re-examination of priorities, missions and what it will take to continue to be the nation’s expeditionary force in readiness.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines March 6, 2015

News: IG: VHA misappropriated $92.5M for claims system - The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) misappropriated more than $90 million intended for medical support and compliance programs in order to build an automated claims processing system, according to an Inspector General report released this week.   Business: Gulf arms race fuels UAE push for defense industry - Soaring...
 
 

News Briefs March 6, 2015

Man charged with theft of military documents seeks release An engineer who worked for a defense contractor who’s been charged with attempting to travel to China with stolen documents on the development of advanced titanium for U.S. military aircraft is asking a judge to free him while he awaits trial. A hearing on Yu Long’s...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

AFRL offering prize for turbine engine development

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend Discover meetings to be held in Ohio on March 24-25. The Air Force Research Laboratory is leading the first Air Force technology prize, issuing a challenge to develop a small, efficient t...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion wing line restarted

Lockheed Martin photograph From left: Peter Hillier, Karen Eilbmeier, and Michael Spurr from the Canada Department of National Defence were on hand to commemorate the reopening of the P-3 wing line at Marietta, Ga.   Lockh...
 
 
Army photograph

Army Research Laboratory lays out science and technology priorities through 2019

Army photograph Dr. Rick Beyer, propulsion science expert, aligns a sample in a Bruker Wide-angle X-ray scattering camera at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md. The laboratory recently released its technical implementa...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Dillian Bamman

‘Iron Horse’ sets off for final flight

Air Force photograph by A1C Dillian Bamman Aircraft 62-1863 ‘Iron Horse’, a HC-130P Combat King, rests before takeoff Mar. 3, 2015, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Throughout its career, Iron Horse has flown for over 27,000 ho...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>