As we've recently reported, the Navy is inactivating four air wings and reducing two others to "sustainment" levels. That leads one to wonder how much money will this save?
An air wing consists of planes, pilots, mechanics, and all their gear. Think about that for a minute. The planes and gear are already paid for - no savings there. The pilots require several years of training and are far too big an investment to lose. In other words, the pilots aren't going to be laid off because you can't simply go out and hire new ones, ready to go, when the budget issues resume their normal levels. So, the pilots are going to be retained which means they're still going to be paid - no savings there. The mechanics, like the pilots, represent a talent pool not easily replaced. Possibly a few could be separated from service but, most likely, they won't be separated and will still have to be paid - again, no savings.
What, then, is saved by inactivating an air wing? Well, the cost of fuel, I guess, along with miscellaneous consumables like grease or parts that are routinely replaced. That hardly seems sufficient savings to justify idling an entire air wing. I'm left to conclude that air wing inactivations are a political ploy by the Navy to try to pressure Congress into rescinding the sequestration cuts.
Does anyone see anything I'm missing, here?