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Wed Dec 5, 2012, 09:06 AM

Is the Fleet Steaming Forward…Or Backward?


Is the Fleet Steaming Forward…Or Backward?
By Winslow WheelerDec. 05, 2012


The Balisle Report was a brutal assessment: ship maintenance went underfunded for years; one-fifth of the fleet cannot pass inspections; aircraft and ships had junk as equipment and/or insufficient spare parts; fewer than one half of deployed combat aircraft are fully mission-capable at any given time; training throughout the surface fleet has been inadequate; ships are undermanned, and returning ships are cannibalized for parts to keep others running.

The fleet was in substantially worse shape than it was in 2001. A less-comprehensive report from GAO also identified some of these problems and trends.

The prospects of finding the money to address these shortfalls are bleak: the Navy plans to put its budget emphasis on new hardware, not maintenance, and is not even certain that the limited funds it does seek for maintenance will be available.

In 2012 the Navy claimed it had made progress in addressing the deficiencies. But one of its biggest defenders in Congress, Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., retorted that “the readiness trends for full-mission capability rates suggest less-than-satisfactory performance.” Vice Admiral William Burke admitted as much, saying, “I am concerned that we will not properly fund maintenance in the future.” Such worries will only be exacerbated as maintenance and training are further stressed with continued expanded deployments in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea and increased operations in the Pacific.

Part I of the series: http://nation.time.com/2012/12/03/if-more-money-buys-a-smaller-fleet-what-will-less-money-buy/
Part II of the series: http://nation.time.com/2012/12/04/more-than-the-navys-numbers-could-be-sinking/

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Reply Is the Fleet Steaming Forward…Or Backward? (Original post)
unhappycamper Dec 2012 OP
JayhawkSD Dec 2012 #1
Angleae Dec 2012 #2

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:58 AM

1. Nothing new here

Fifty years ago when I served on diesel submarines maintenance was farcial. Everything was about building the new nuclear boats and we made do with what we could beg, borrow or (as often as not) steal. Our standing joke was that our most critical piece of equipment was the bilge pump because our ship leaked so badly that if the bilge pump failed we would sink in eight hours.

USS Thresher sank because of a new shortcut routine for "yard availability" which was a period in the yard for annual maintenance. The Navy experimented with reducing the time allocated for that process to save money. Needless to say, that also reduced the amount of work that was performed as well as requiring work to be performed more hastily, and Thresher was on her first dive following such a period, with two of the yard workers still aboard, when she went down.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 05:22 PM

2. It's only going to get worse unless congress or POTUS takes a direct hand.

As the military budget gets cut, these are the things that get cut first (personnel, training, maintenance).

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