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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More