Navy to see shrinking budgets but no shortage of crises

Navy to see shrinking budgets but no shortage of crises

Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, told a crowd of surface naval officers and defense industry executives at the Surface Navy Association’s annual conference that the Navy faces further crises beyond sequestration, the shrinking budget and the war in Afghanistan.

“There is going to be uncertainty,” he told the gathering. “We’re going to sail to crises because that’s what we’ve done since we were founded. And if you look at the dynamics around the world there are lots of crises – business is going to be good.”

The reason for that is because 30 to 35 percent of the Navy and the Marine Corps are already forward deployed into or near areas of conflict or potential conflict, according to Gortney. And in a crisis situation they can establish a strong presence and provide a range of options to the U.S. –- “to help settle a crisis or go to the next level” and employ combat assets.

“We’re the enabler. We can open the battle space we can hold the battle space,” he said, “and that’s why this next decade is really going to be critical for us.”

Challenges facing the U.S. including ongoing tumult in the Middle East and the rise of China as a global power. The Navy is also poised to make a so-called “pivot” to Asia – beefing up the American presence and power in the region.

“There is a need to recognize there are challenges out there in the Pacific,” he said. “You just have to look at the dynamics of the Pacific, and the nations that all share the same waters” to see that.

Gortney also made it clear that the Navy and Marine Corps would be conducting operations and missions over the next decade without the pile of money that has been routinely thrown their way over the past decade.

For the Navy, as for all the services, the decade since 9/11 has been one of bumper crop budgets year after year, as money poured in for people, gear and weapons systems as the country fought high-profile wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and low-profile conflicts or operations elsewhere.

But the days of growing budgets are over.

“The hardest part of the next decade is confronting such a change from the last decade,” he said. “For the last 10 years the Department of Defense has been flush with cash … We had plenty of money.”

As always happens after a war, however, the military budgets will go down. A roughly 10 percent cut, the result of budget control legislation, means about $487 billion less for the Pentagon over the next 10 years. But that’s probably not the last cut the military will see.

There will be more significant reductions, according to Gortney, it remains to be seen how they will be done.

“They could be in another Budget Control Act, could come as sequestration or come as little ‘ankle bites’ every single year,” he said. He called “ankle bites” the worst scenario because it eliminates funding predictability; that makes it harder for the Navy and industry manufacturers to make plans and act over the long term.

With that in mind, he said, the navy already has to start challenging the fiscal assumptions it has been basing decisions on for the past 10 years.

“Because what happens if your assumptions fall short? Your plan falls apart,” he said.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Ray Mabus on Jan. 11 signaled the new fiscal reality when he issued a memo directing commanders to adopt a series of “belt-tightening” measures aimed at getting through what could be another period of operating under continuing resolution funding rather than an actual annual budget.

Among the measures: Delay decommissionings; cut back on travel; reduce information technology and admin budgets; halt remaining facility restoration and modernization projects; cut facility sustainment programs except when they are safety related; cut spending on base operating support; cancel already planned facility demolitions; put a freeze on civilian hiring and terminate temporary workers unless they’re supporting mission-critical programs.

“These steps will not solve the problem completely,” Mabus wrote. “We will only be able to sustain current fleet operations.  We will not be able to sufficiently maintain and reset our forces for future operations.”

Join the Conversation

Cancel the F-35C and LCS and free up some funds!

With the roughly $169 billion we would free up from cancelling those two projects we could make some new destroyers and cruisers, buy the parts we need for the ships we already have, buy a whole new air wing of Super Hornets to solve the fighter gap, and increase the quality of training and living for our sailors that would make more of them want to stay. These are all much higher priorities than getting new platforms.

Sadly the government doesn’t have good enough businessmen and decision makers as you…

They need to get smart with their money, but with politics and cronyism in the way, I don’t see that happening unless someone puts a metaphorical gun to their heads. At any rate, the first and biggest cuts should go to the *Pentagon,* not the fleet.

we can have a stronger military for less money. Cancel LCS and F-35 in favor of more subs and more long range strike platforms including the new bomber and the P-8. We don’t need the 80 ton army GCV. Buy missiles from allies such Python missiles from Israel which are cheaper and better than the expensive AIM120D. It is all doable. Maybe Sec Def will have the will to demand more bang for the buck.

Under current tensions with Israel I doubt we get new missiles from them

Hate to say this all sides are to blame The DoD wasted alot of money on useless land projects over th last decade and congress failed to control the DoD. takes two to tango.

Fire the defense contractors and put the Navy back in charge of designing their own ships! How long are we going to continue to allow these jerks to screw this nation?

Where did all the money go?

Cut CNIC Staffing by 50% or 75% & let the shoreline bases make cuts that want impact the war fighter, reduce paperwork & cut out redundant work process. Money is being wasted on accreditation programs let the bases focus on the job & taking care of the sailors! If you ask the employees they will tell you the best cuts without impacting the mission while producing a good product.

yes, i agree with you… for now that there is a gaping hole, or what the navy calls as “fighter gap” freeing the amount of $169 Billion will more than enough cover the gap. $169 billion is a lot of money…it could buy additional virginia class submarines, arleigh burke destroyers, new air wing of super hornets, or buy several updated F15 Silent Eagle. The ‘fighter gap” I believe would free several billions of dollars” and such “filled fighter gap” would not be punctured by any country within the ten year period. Ten or more years wold be more than sufficient enough for our economy to recover

It pains me to see this happen. Continuing War doesn’t help any, but Congress would cut budget anyways. Balance needs to be reach, the US Navy going kill itself just try keep their expensive weapon systems maintained but loose capacities to employ them when we really need them.

The Navy is in on the design process from day 1. No design moves forward without the Navy saying yes in a design review. So they are in charge. Many times the costs go up due to scope creep on the Navy side. Not saying the defense contractors are not guilty but you make it sound like they tell the Navy, “Here is what we will build, now sit down and shut up and you have no say.” Doesn’t happen like that at all.

We probably need to r separate and reinvent our military economics and that of the country.

The Navy pays a defense contractor a minimum of $1.10 for every $1.00 they spend designing the Navy’s next ship. So which do you think a contract like that encourages? A) It encourages the contractor to try to do the best design job possible for the least amount of money. B) It encourages the contractor to do the worst job possible with the greatest amount of money.

If you’re having a hard time with this test, here’s a hint for you. You cannot get a contract like that anywhere in the free market economy.


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