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.


 
 

 

Headlines September 19, 2014

News: McKeon on broader military authorization: Anything can ‘fail or pass’ - Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said if Congress returns after the midterm elections to weigh a broader military authorization for the battle against Islamic State, it might not pass. Defense contractor gets 7 years for giving secrets...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,203 As of Sept. 16, 2014, at least 2,203 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,823 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 

Pratt & Whitney, U.S. Air Force complete qualification for F135 engine testing

Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. , together with its U.S. Air Force partner at the F135 Heavy Maintenance Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., celebrated another significant milestone qualification for F135 engine testing at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. OC-ALC which in addition to engine testing is also qualified to perform...
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 




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>