… the Navy is looking at having to cancel as many as 14 ship maintenance availabilities and shutting down carrier air wings and expeditionary squadrons not heading into a deployment despite the relatively healthy budget the service would have under a full-year CR. (1)
The Navy is threatening to cancel 14 ship maintenance availabilities. However, the CR would give the Navy $9.758B for ship depot maintenance (the amount it received in FY 2019) instead of the $10.426B it requested. The difference is $688M which is a 6.4% reduction. So, according to the Navy, a 6.4% reduction necessitates cancelling 14 ship maintenance availabilities. There is no possible way that a 6.4% reduction requires the cancellation of 14 maintenance availabilities. That’s attempted blackmail/extortion of Congress, pure and simple.
Wait, it gets worse.
Under a CR, the Navy would receive $5.712B for flight hours versus the $5.682B it requested. That’s an INCREASE of $30M !!!!!! Despite the increase, the Navy claims it would need to shut down all non-deploying air wings. They get more money for flight hours and claim that means they have to shut down air wings????? That’s blackmail/extortion but it’s not even competent blackmail/extortion. That’s just stupid.
I would ask where the Secretary of the Navy is while this is happening but he has already demonstrated his utter and total lack of integrity when he told the President to fire him if the Ford sailed without its elevators fixed and then he failed to resign when it happened. He further demonstrated his disdain and disregard for Congress when he blamed Congress for asking questions about the Ford. So, it’s no mystery why the Navy seeks to blackmail/extort Congress. The rot starts at the top.
Of course, if the Navy really needed money they could simply cut a handful of Admirals and their staffs to help make up the funding shortages. Well, to be fair, I’m not sure that’s technically doable under CR rules – something about not being able to reprogram budgetary line items? Still, it’s emblematic of the Navy’s failure to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money and preference to cut maintenance rather than bloated bureaucracy.
(1)USNI News website, “Continuing Resolution Forcing Navy to Delay Ship Maintenance, Curtail Training”, Megan Eckstein, 15-Nov-2019,https://news.usni.org/2019/11/15/continuing-resolution-forcing-navy-to-delay-ship-maintenance-curtail-training