Preserving a piece of US Maritime History - invaluable

The USS Olympia is a cruiser that fought in the Spanish American War in 1898 and has been preserved in Philadelphia. She's a one of a kind ship, a national historic monument, and in danger. She needs approximately $10-15 million in repairs to keep her a viable museum for years to come. If you have the resources, or connections to those resources, please consider helping. (full disclosure - there is no financial benefit to me to ask the question - we need to save this ship for posterity). Please contact me at 612-599-1935 or if you have additional questions.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

From Information Dissemination

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ray Mabus on FY2011 Budget

Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Ray Mabus, gave testimony this morning in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding the FY 2012 budget. His opening remarks began with a discussion of the yet-to-pass FY 2011 budget, and is I believe critical to highlight in full. From here (PDF).
But today we are very concerned about the absence of a Defense Appropriations Bill for FY 2011 and the negative effects of operating under a continuing resolution for the remainder of the year. We are equally concerned about passage of a bill that reduces the topline from the level requested in the FY 2011 President’s budget. Either course of action significantly impacts the resources available to grow the fleet and jeopardizes recent efforts to restore and maintain readiness levels commensurate with the standards expected of the Navy and Marine Corps.

Without legislative action, limiting FY 2011 procurement accounts to FY 2010 levels will:
  • Prevent start of construction of one VIRGINIA-class submarine to be built in Groton and Newport News which will break the existing Multi-year Contract.
  • Prevent start of construction of one Mobile Landing Platform to be built in San Diego.
  • Prevent start of construction of one or possibly both programmed ARLEIGH BURKE-class destroyers to be built in Bath and Pascagoula due to DDG 1000/DDG 51 swap language that prevents award of either ship unless both are authorized and appropriated.
  • Preclude fourth and final increment of full funding for construction of CVN 78 (USS GERALD FORD) and advance procurement for CVN 79.
  • Prevent procurement of two nuclear reactor cores for refueling of one aircraft carrier and one ballistic missile submarine, as well as delay increased funding for research and development of the OHIO-class replacement and replacement of two Moored Training Ships that provide half of the force’s nuclear training capability.
  • Prevent completion of one ARLEIGH BURKE-class modernization.
  • Reduce Marine Corps procurement by $563 million. This would add to equipment shortfalls generated by 9 years of conflict and prevent equipment replacement or purchase of 4 H-1 helicopters, numerous LAVs, MTVRs, LVSRs; tech upgrades to counter IED jammers; communication and intelligence equipment; tactical fuel systems to power our vehicles and generators; engineering equipment to move ammo, gear and supplies; air conditioners and heaters to take care of Marines and sensitive gear; and EOD improvements to protect them.
Reductions to expected procurement levels will create additional stress on the force, as units in service pick up additional commitments to cover the seams created by fewer available platforms.

Likewise, fixing FY 2011 operations to FY 2010 levels has created a $4.6 billion shortfall in Navy and Marine Corps operations, maintenance, and training accounts. Faced with this prospect, the Department began efforts in January to mitigate the impacts of operating under the continuing resolution, which over the course of the Fiscal Year will cause us to:
  • Reduce aircraft flight hours and ship steaming days, including a reduction of four non-deployed air wings’ flight hours to minimal flight-safety levels.
  • Cancel up to 29 of 85 Surface Ship availabilities.
  • Defer maintenance on 70 aircraft and 290 aircraft engines, bringing the combined backlog of aviation maintenance close to one-year redlines.
  • Defer 41 facilities maintenance projects and 89 new construction projects in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, and Guam. These cuts equal an approximate 50 percent reduction and will eliminate, among many projects, dry dock certifications, bachelor quarters maintenance projects, repairs to Explosive Handling Wharves (EHW) at Bangor and Kings Bay that support ballistic missile operations, and modernization projects to support introduction of new training aircraft.
  • The combined effects of the continuing resolution will directly impact the strength of the industrial base and over 10,000 private sector jobs at shipyards, factories, and Navy and Marine Corps facilities across the country. The degradation or loss of perishable skillsets within our workforce, including many nuclear workers, and the disruption to both our fleet and shore maintenance and modernization schedules will take three years to recover based on rotational schedules alone – and only at significantly greater cost than requested in the FY 2011 President’s Budget.
Finally, there is almost a $600 million shortfall in Navy and Marine Corps manpower accounts. As a result of this shortfall, the Services must raid other accounts in order to meet payroll for the duration of the year. We are currently living within funding constraints by limiting or conducting short-notice permanent change of station moves; however, this tactic places significant hardship on our military families and is not sustainable over the entire fiscal year.

We strongly request Congressional action to address the implications of the Continuing Resolution on our forces and our people by taking action to enact the FY 2011 President’s Budget.
Nothing in FY12 means a thing until FY11 budget passes, because the cost of damage for a late FY11 budget will have further impacts in FY12. How do we claim we are a nation at war when elected officials will make the defense budget a pawn for political games? Perhaps that fact alone reflects just how desensitized the US has become towards the very serious business of war.

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