The Navy Department’s fiscal year 2015 budget request reflects tough, but responsible choices, a senior Navy official said at a Pentagon news conference March 4.
The budget request is part of the $495.6 billion defense budget proposal President Barack Obama submitted to Congress.
Rear Adm. William Lescher, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget, briefed reporters about the Navy and Marine Corps portion of the budget request.
“Our budget comes during a period of increased fiscal austerity and uncertainty, and at a time when the combatant commanders’ demand for naval forces continues at very high levels,” Lescher said. “There were tough choices made in developing this budget, but it provides the resources that allow us to preserve our warfighting advantage in a thoughtful, responsible way.”
This year’s budget submission prioritizes funding for forward presence and continues to make critical investments in people and future capabilities, the admiral said.
The proposed budget sustains presence by providing money for ship steaming, flight hours, maintenance and base operations. It funds amphibious ready group and carrier strike group deployments, supports the three ballistic missile defense-capable destroyers joining the USS Donald Cook in Rota, Spain, in fiscal 2015, and provides continued support for the rebalance to the Pacific, with $46.8 billion overall in operations and maintenance.
Additional investments are proposed for retaining sailors through the Quality of Service initiative. The Navy seeks to reduce manning gaps at sea and improve the sea-to-shore flow of personnel.
The Navy has also requested $38.4 billion for ship, aircraft, weapons and other procurement for programs, including the littoral combat ship, P-8A Poseidon aircraft, Virginia-class submarines and the Mk-48 heavy weight torpedo.
Research and development priorities include the Ohio-class replacement submarine, next generation jammer and Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike, as well as developing electromagnetic spectrum and cyber capabilities.
The Navy’s fiscal 2015 budget request is a $15 billion decrease from the level forecast in last year’s budget submission and is a $38 billion reduction over the Future Year Defense Plan from the fiscal 2014 presidential budget.
“We’re confident this budget makes the right choices where needed,” Lescher said. “Within our fiscal limitations, this is the budget to continue to ensure near- and long-term wholeness, and to remain the world’s most capable Navy.”