USS Cape St. George (CG-71) approaches Naval Base San Diego. US Navy Photo
“Money is better spent on buying back the life of younger ships” with 25 to 30 years left, than putting it into seven cruisers the Navy wants to retire in 2015, the deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems told a key House subcommittee on 26 April.
Vice Adm. William Burke said, “We have to balance our books” and the way the Navy chose to do that a year ago was retiring the cruisers and two landing ship docks (LSDs) early. “I would prefer to put money into destroyers,” he said, adding that “we have enough” cruisers, all nine of which the Navy intends to operate normally until they are decommissioned. Read More
The future of certain Navy and Marine Corps programs remain in doubt while a temporary legislative funding measure takes effect on Monday. A little over a week ago, Congress approved a six-month spending package that will give the House and Senate until March of 2013 to decide how to meet the nation’s financial obligations, including funding for the Department of Defense (DoD).
The so-called Continuing Resolutions (CR), allow the government to remain open and operating but they also prevent DoD from starting any new programs and require funding levels for current programs to remain essentially the same. For the DoD overall, the funding continuation means a half-percent increase in the topline, but restrictions in the bill hit the Navy and Marine Corps especially hard. Shipbuilding programs could stall and multi-year buys of fighter and vertical lift aircraft could be put off, driving up costs and impacting readiness.
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) departs Naval Station Norfolk and begins a towing operation to Northrop Grumman Newport News Ship Building for a Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) in 2009. U.S. Navy Photo.
But the Navy’s two biggest issues in the CR were funding for a pair of aircraft carrier midlife maintenance projects called RCOHs or Refueling and Complex Overhaul. USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is scheduled to finish its three-year, $2.5 billion rebuild in June 2013, but the CR funded only half of the expected costs. USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) is scheduled to start its downtime next year as well, but new programs are specifically prohibited under the CR.