News / USA

US Navy Says Funding Cuts Would Undercut Submarine Readiness

Crewmen work on the U.S. submarine USS Olympia which is docked at Subic Freeport, a former U.S. naval base, west of Manila, Philippines on a routine port call Oct. 8, 2012.
Crewmen work on the U.S. submarine USS Olympia which is docked at Subic Freeport, a former U.S. naval base, west of Manila, Philippines on a routine port call Oct. 8, 2012.
Reuters
Top U.S. Navy officials warned Congress that any further delays or cuts in funding would undercut the readiness of the declining U.S. submarine fleet, which is already slated to drop by nearly 30 percent to 52 from 73 ships before rebounding in the 2030s.
 
The drop in the size of the fleet would result in a 40 percent reduction in the deployment of the Navy's attack and guided missile submarines over the next 15 years, at a time when missile threats were growing, the officials told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee's seapower subcommittee on Thursday.
 
Rear Admiral Richard Breckenridge, director of undersea warfare, and Rear Admiral David Johnson, program executive officer for submarines, said they were taking steps to respond by building new submarines faster, increasing deployment times, and extending the service lives of existing ships.
 
They said those measures could increase the deployment of Navy submarines, but would not give the Navy more assets to surge with if needed for a conflict. At the same time, the undersea domain is becoming increasingly important given underwater pipelines, telecommunications cables, increased shipping, oil drilling, and the shrinking Arctic ice cap.
 
"We face significant challenges to maintaining our undersea dominance, but we understand the challenges and are executing a realistic and economically feasible plan to address them,'' the admirals told lawmakers, according to the text of their prepared testimony.
 
The Navy and other military services are struggling to implement $500 billion in mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts that are due to take effect over the next decade - on top of $487 billion in cuts that had already been planned. 
 
The Navy faces billions of dollars in costs to develop a new ballistic missile submarine in coming years at a time when it must also replace aging surface warships and fund purchases of new warplanes for its carriers. 
 
General Dynamics Corp and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc, which build the Navy's new Virginia-class submarines, have cut costs sharply in recent years, but executives warn that delaying orders or slowing the pace of production will send costs higher again. 
 
Breckenridge and Johnson said the mandatory budget cuts were adding to pressures already facing the Navy after big reductions in the 1990s that led to the loss of nearly 12 attack submarines and cut the Navy's strike capability by half. 
 
They said the Navy expected to sign a new multiyear agreement for more Virginia-class submarines in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, which begins on Oct. 1, lauding faster production and the improved readiness of new vessels.
 
The new Block IV construction contract for the submarines will further reduce the lifetime cost of operating the new submarines, and scale back the required maintenance periods to three from four now, they said.
 
They said it was crucial to continue work on a replacement for the current Ohio-class of ballistic missile submarines that carry nuclear weapons, whose deployment has already been delayed until 2031, 20 years later than expected.
 
The Navy has already delayed the Ohio-class replacement program by two years, accepting some moderate risk, but the officials told lawmakers no further delays were acceptable.
 
"Further delays would produce a gap in at-sea strategic requirements, as there is no additional margin to further extend the life of the Ohio SSBNs nor is it possible to accelerate the already aggressive lead ship construction schedule,'' they said, vowing to continue driving down the cost of the new program.  

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs