C4ISR

Sequestration said to strain Navy readiness

Budget sequestration is hampering the U.S. Navy’s ability to maintain operational readiness, a senior service official said.

In an Aug. 6 announcement Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that decreasing civilian furloughs came at the expense of reducing Navy ship maintenance. If budget cuts continue into fiscal 2014,  Hagel estimated that the $2 billion already backlogged in deferred maintenance may increase, reported Federal News Radio.

In an interview with the radio network, Rear Adm. Timothy Matthews, director of fleet readiness, said readiness for many ships has already “fallen below acceptable levels to support reliable, sustained operations at sea.” If budget cuts continue, he added, some ships will not stay in service through their projected life cycles. That would reduce the Navy’s fleet size from 282 to 257 by 2020.

The Navy has responded by reallocating additional funds for maintenance, but furloughs have slowed work at civilian shipyards and made it more expensive. 

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