A little more than a week before the first wave of looming federal budget cuts would take effect, the Navy today released an updated list of cost savings, including cancelling the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group deployment set for early next year, buying four fewer F-35 fighter jets and almost halving training programs for midshipmen, flight officers and new pilots.
The proposed spending cuts are tied to a potential shortfall totaling more than $8.6 billion, a consequence of Congress not passing a new budget and across-the-board reductions demanded by sequestration. Congress has until March 1 to avert the latter.
In a planning document released this afternoon, the service also revised previously announced cuts to ship maintenance. In Norfolk, one additional ship, a patrol craft, was added to the list of 10 that would no longer be heading to shipyards during the third and fourth quarters. Eight San Diego-based ships will not undergo scheduled critical maintenance, instead of the 10 originally included in the cuts, while maintenance on two ships in Japan – one fully and one partially – and one in Bahrain will now be cancelled.
Construction of a destroyer would be cancelled as well as the procurement of at least 271 weapons, while the Navy identified that maintenance cuts will affect up to 327 planes and 1,208 aircraft engines.
Other reductions include shutting down four of the Navy’s nine carrier air wings, ending most naval operations in South America and Europe, keeping several submarines in port and canceling air shows and Fleet Week celebrations.
The new guideline spells out how the reductions would impact the fleet, noting that having fewer deployed ships would hinder the Navy’s ability to respond to crises, and the cancellation of maintenance would reduce the condition of ships and aircraft while shortening their expected service lives.