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. Divine Cox

Kunsan AB hosts Exercise Max Thunder 14-2

Air Force photograph by SrA. Divine Cox A South Korean air force F-15 Strike Eagle lands Nov. 17, 2014, during Max Thunder 14-2 at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy personnel and aircraft...
 
 

Three bases identified as F-16 aggressor candidate bases

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford Jr. A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron lands at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 6 during RED FLAG-Alaska 15-1. RF-A is a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. and partner nation...
 
 
Air Force photograph

Arc-heated facilities at AEDC offer unique test capabilities for hypersonic programs

Air Force photograph This photo shows the arc heater H3 being test fired prior to the installation of a model injection system. The AEDC High Temperature Materials Characterization and Evaluation is unique in capability and is ...
 

 
Navy photograph

U.S. Navy commemorates C-2 Greyhound’s 50th anniversary of first flight

Navy photograph Nov. 18 marked the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Navy’s C-2A Greyhound. The “workhorse” of the fleet took to the skies Nov. 18, 1964, from Bethpage, N.Y.   For nearly 50 years, the C-2A ...
 
 

Air Force announces criteria for KC-46A Reserve basing

After extensive internal review, the Air Force on Nov. 9, released the basing criteria that will be used to select candidate bases for the first Reserve-led KC-46A main operating base. The KC-46As will begin arriving at the first Air Force Reserve-led global mobility wing in fiscal year 2019. The basing criteria under consideration include mission...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin R. Babis

The footprint of the Jolly Green Giant

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin R. Babis Airmen from the 56th Rescue Squadron tackle Capt. Robert Smith, 56th Rescue Squadron executive officer, after his fini-flight, or final flight, at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, N...
 




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>