Panel: Budget priorities prompted navy to downsize to prevent fleet digging

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The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG-105), front, and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) transit the Pacific Ocean on June 13, 2021. Photo of the US Navy

As the Marine Corps shifts away from legacy systems to invest in modernization, the Navy has had to make cuts to maintain its current strength, the admiral who oversees the Navy’s budget said today.

Rear Admiral John Gumbleton, Assistant Under Secretary for Navy Budget, detailed the Navy Department’s approach to the FY2022 budget request, which cut an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

“We built the [Fiscal Year 20]22 budget, you know, noting a change in administration and turnover 23 that the Ministry of the Navy, the DoN, or the Ministry of the 24 Navy, budgeted with four things in mind. . A . . . nuclear deterrence, number one priority – pay for the Columbia class. Number two, for the Navy and Marine Corps, the number one priority for the DoN was ready to fight for tonight – this non-nuclear deterrent ready to go tonight, ”Gumbleton said in a virtual appearance at the conference. WEST 2021, co-organized by the United States Naval Institute and AFCEA.

“Our preparation accounts had to be prepaid and prepaid. The third priority is to find high-leverage investments that will meet our number one competitor: China, ”he said in response to a question from the panel’s moderator, former chief of naval operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert. “How can we prepare for this eventuality? And then the fourth priority was to increase the size of the Department of the Navy. Obviously, the Marine Corps is divesting itself in order to invest. The Navy is actually downsizing to maintain what we have, so we don’t have a hollow force. “

Lawmakers criticized the Navy’s recent budget submission, which only sought one destroyer as opposed to the two provided for in the service’s current multi-year supply contract with General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Ingalls Shipbuilding. The service would face a penalty of $ 33 million if it purchased just one destroyer, USNI News reported.

Service officials described cutting destroyers as a tough choice the Navy had to make in this budget cycle because of the cost. The ship was at the top of the Navy’s annual list of unfunded priorities.

“Long story short, this is the fifth and final year of the multi-year fiscal year, we looked at the turnover of the Navy, the investments we wanted to make under these four priorities, as stated, the penalty multi-year, as reported, was a $ 33 million loss if we didn’t buy this ship, ”Gumbleton said today.“ And then the Navy looked at the investments in Colombia, paying the combat readiness bills tonight the highly leveraged investments in the future, and we took that $ 1.8 billion for a destroyer and spread it out for today’s readiness, modernization for tomorrow, and investments for the future.”

Explaining the reason the Navy cut the second destroyer, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday spoke to Congress last week about the importance of preparation.

“No sir, that wasn’t playing with the numbers,” Gilday told Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) When asked if the Navy no longer needs the second destroyer. “So I come back to the thesis of our budget proposal, which is to deploy the best, most capable, deadliest fleet possible – and that’s 296 ships – and make it the best possible, including a plan. modernization that gives us increased capabilities and then the growth of the Navy at an affordable rate. And so it was a balance between those three areas, sir.

“Based on examples like the crashes of 2017, we don’t want – at least my best advice, sir – is to continue to prioritize training and preparation as our top priority,” continued Gilday.

For its modernization efforts, the Marine Corps has emphasized that its approach is to downsize existing systems to invest in new equipment and strategies on the basis of stable or shrinking budgets. During today’s conference, Lt. Gen. John Jansen, the Marine Corps deputy commander for programs and resources, said the Marines had divested about $ 8 billion in the service over the three latest budget cycles.

“If you look [Program Objective Memorandum] ’20, POM ’21 and POM ’22, the Marine Corps divested itself of the force structure and final force equipment for an amount of $ 8 billion, half of which was a force structure. So $ 4 billion in military personnel, approaching 12,000 Marines in final strength, not only to generate resources, but it really looks at the size of those formations, the number of formations, and so on, ”Jansen said, referring to Marine Corps Commander, General David Berger.

Congress should largely fund and authorize the second destroyer. The House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee in its defense spending bill unveiled on Tuesday included funding for two destroyers.



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