A Navy Times website (1) article provided some information about the Navy’s outlook on fleet maintenance and readiness.
In testimony before Congress, the Navy provided this information about maintenance.
“The surface fleet’s readiness is reaching a tipping point with as many as 30 ships facing overhaul cancellations on top of nearly $2 billion in deferred ship maintenance that has been put off for the last decade, two admirals told lawmakers Aug. 1.”
What’s the interesting point in that quote? Is it the fact that because of sequestration and other budget cuts, the Navy will have to defer overhauls on 30 ships? Or, is it the fact that the Navy has allowed a backlog of $2B in deferred maintenance over the last decade, the majority of which included neither sequestration or budget cuts? Let’s be very clear about this: the Navy is attempting to blame maintenance issues on sequestration when the reality is that the Navy, by their own admission, has shamefully deferred maintenance to a horrifying level.
The article goes on to report the Navy’s stance on maintenance.
“We really have to get after that maintenance on our ships so that we can preserve those ships to their expected service life to maintain the fleet,” testified Rear Adm. Tom Rowden, the Navy’s director of surface warfare, before a House Armed Services subcommittee. “If we don’t get after that then we may have to look at, because of the increasing cost, having to decommission ships early.”
Oh, so now we have to “get after that maintenance”? What about the last 10 years?
We “may have to look” at decomissioning ships early? Is Adm. Rowden stupid or just totally unaware of what the Navy is doing? The Navy has retired several Ticonderoga Aegis cruisers well before their lifetime and is attempting to early retire several more. Has the Admiral not been reading the memos?
The joke continues,
“Rowden and Rear Adm. Timothy Matthews, who oversees fleet readiness for the chief of naval operations, warned that the sequester cuts coming as soon as the next fiscal year could “derail” the surface fleet’s painstaking return to full readiness after a decade of underfunding and straining operational tempo.”
Right … Sequestration is the problem rather than the Navy’s obsession with new construction at the expense of maintenance for the last decade including up through the Navy’s recent announcement that the Miami would be scrapped rather than repaired and overhauled for a fraction of the cost of new construction. Yep, the Navy is deadly serious about maintenance if only sequestration hadn’t come along to ruin their plans to fully maintain the fleet. Hey, remember that $2B deferred maintenance the Navy mentioned at the start of the post? Well, if the Navy was serious about maintenance, they could cancel one Zumwalt, a questionably useful ship to begin with, and use the $3B-$4B savings to pay for all the deferred maintenance and still have around $1B left over for, oh I don’t know, say, several new Avenger sized mine countermeasures ships.
And, finally, there is this gem.
“In addition, civilian furloughs are extending some overhauls, and could, over time, lead to longer deployments for sailors.”
Hey, here’s an idle thought: how many Admirals have been furloughed? Let’s keep the civilian workers, get the overhauls done in a timely manner, and let the Admirals bear the brunt of furloughs.
Are you as proud of the honor and integrity of our Navy’s leadership as I am?