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.


 
 

 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 
 

TSgt promotion release delayed to allow system validation

Technical sergeant promotion selection results, originally scheduled for release May 28, will be delayed to enable the Air Force to continue to validate extensive system changes to the Weighted Airman Promotion System, officials announced. The 15E6 technical sergeant promotion cycle is the first to incorporate recent changes in the enlisted evaluation and promotion system. Recent...
 

 

Freedom completes rough water trials

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom completed Seakeeping and Structural Loads Trials, commonly referred to as Rough Water Trials in late March the Navy reported May 21. The U.S. Navy must demonstrate the seaworthiness and structural integrity of each new ship class. One of the primary ways the Navy verifies these qualities is through a...
 
 

Air Force releases Strategic Master Plan

The Air Force officially released the Strategic Master Plan May 21, which is the latest in a series of strategic documents designed to guide the organizing, training and equipping of the force over the coming decades. The SMP builds on the strategic imperatives and vectors described in the capstone document, America’s Air Force: A Call...
 
 

HYT extension possible for SrA-MSgt in 35 career fields

Eligible senior airmen, staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants in 35 Air Force specialties will be able to apply for a high year of tenure extension and, if approved, will be able to extend between 12 and 24 months past their current HYT. The Air Force is introducing several personnel and manpower initiatives to...
 




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>