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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs