Defense

September 11, 2013

Future Navy ops like Syria at risk by budget cuts

Lolita C. Baldor
Associated Press

American warships in the eastern Mediterranean Sea remain ready to strike Syria if ordered, but impending cuts in the defense budget will make that kind of operation far more difficult in the years to come, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Sept. 11.

Mabus said that even now fewer ships are going to sea, fewer Navy pilots are flying and fewer Marines are training because of the automatic, across-the-board cuts that would slash more than $50 billion from the 2014 defense budget and $500 billion over 10 years. And he warned that if those reductions continue, the military response could be compromised in future crises like Syria.

Whatever course of action our nation decides to take on Syria, I do know this: The maritime options are flexible and they are significant and they are swift and they are sovereign,î Mabus told an audience at the National Defense University. ìBut unless we act to address the damage of continuing resolutions and sequestration, they are options which may be limited or just not available in the future.

His comments came on the heels of President Barack Obamaís order Tuesday that the military must maintain its presence in the Mediterranean to keep pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad and to be ready to strike if needed. The military decision is in conjunction with efforts to forge a diplomatic solution that includes putting Syriaís chemical weapons under international control.

The two-pronged U.S. strategy is aimed at deterring Syriaís use of chemical weapons on its own people. The administration says that a chemical weapons attack launched by the Assad regime in the suburbs of Damascus last month killed more than 1,400 civilians, including at least 400 children.

The Navy presence currently includes four warships armed with dozens of Tomahawk missiles, a Navy amphibious assault ship carrying Marines and two aircraft carrier strike groups ó numbering as many as 10 ships ó in the broader region.

While the Navy has routinely kept warships in the Mediterranean, including as part of an effort to provide missile defense for allies and U.S. interests in the area. But, budget restrictions have already forced the military to cut the number of aircraft carriers permanently in the region to one. The second one is only there temporarily because of the tensions in Syria.

Mabus said Wednesday that the persistent Navy presence in the Mediterranean gave Obama the flexibility to have forces ready quickly to launch strikes without having to move troops and ships in from distant bases. That flexibility, he said, ìwill almost certainly be compromised and diminishedî as the budget cuts continue.




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


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Betty R. Chevalier

New interrogation system installed on AWACS, more in pipeline

Air Force photograph by SrA. Betty R. Chevalier An E-3 Sentry AWACS from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., prepares to land May 16, 2015. AWACS have the capability to detect enemy as well as friendly aircraft at great distances usi...
 
 
Army photograph by SFC Walter E. van Ochten

U.S., Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria train together at Rapid Trident 2015

Army photograph by SFC Walter E. van Ochten U.S. soldiers, of the 3rd Platoon, 615th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, react as they conduct reacting to contact training as part of their situational trai...
 
 
Army photograph by Sgt. Juana M. Nesbitt

Estonian, US forces receive new jump wings

Army photograph by Sgt. Juana M. Nesbitt Pvt. Kalmer Simohov, of Parnu, a volunteer with the Estonian Defense League, receives his U.S. Army Airborne wings following the joint airborne operations exercise at a drop zone in Nurm...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Thomas Spangler

Red Flag offers B-52 crews training that ‘can’t be beat’

Air Force photograph by A1 Class Rachel Loftis A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 69th Bomb Squadon, Minot Air Force Base, N.D., taxis for take off during Red Flag 15-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 15. The B-52 is a ...
 
 
navy-decommission3

Final West Coast frigate, USS Gary, decommissioned

Navy photograph by POCS Donnie W. Ryanl The guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) arrives at Naval Base San Diego after completing its final deployment before decomissioning. During the seven-month deployment Gary operated i...
 
 
Air Force photographby A1C Mikaley Towle

‘Thunder’ rolls at Fort Irwin

Air Force photographby A1C Mikaley Towle An Airman assigned to the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., observes as an A-10 Thunderbolt II circle before landing in support of Green Flag West 15-08.5 o...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>