Thursday, February 23, 2017

VCNO: Navy Will Be “Flat Out Of Money” Without Supplemental Funding

By Capt Joseph R. John

The Obama administration sliced the Pentagon budget by 52% over 8 years, putting the security of the Republic and American lives at risk.  A reduced budget imposed upon the US Navy in 2009 began the decline in the US Navy’s strength.  Then the Budget Control Act of 2011 further weakened the US Navy.  The passage of Obama’s Sequestration in 2012 by Republican and Democrat leaders in Congress, gutted the US Navy.  Sequestration could never have diminished the size of Navy’s Fleet to the pre-World War I number of ships, if Republican and Democratic Leaders in Congress hadn’t cooperated very closely with Obama to retain Sequestration, each year, every year, for 5 years. 

Obama appointee holdovers in government are seriously negatively affecting the readiness of the US Navy and hampering the execution of Naval Special Operations.  Obama holdovers are still filling appointed positions in the Pentagon, hampering the Chief of Naval Operations efforts to strengthen the US Navy.  There are 160 Obama appointee holdovers on the National Security Counsel affecting military  operations.  There are a handful of Obama appointee holdovers at the CIA who were groomed to oppose President Trump by John Brennan &  Mike Morell (they both repeatedly lied about Benghazi).  There are Obama holdovers in NSA, DHS, EPA, and the FBI, including some members of the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR, ISNA, MAS, etc. who are opposing President Trump.   The 9 personnel who criminally released the content of General Mike Flynn’s telephone conversations with the Russian Ambassador to the press were Obama holdovers.

Obama’s destructive budget policy resulted in the accelerated erosion in readiness, fleet maintenance, and “Combat Effectiveness” of the US Navy’s surface, submarine, and air forces.  The below listed destructive policies, imposed on the US Armed Forces by the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullins, USN (Ret), and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus contributed to the erosion of the strength, moral, and “Combat Readiness” of the US Navy.
Admiral Mike Mullins, USN force fed the Social Experiment on Diversity into the US Navy that degraded unit moral, unit cohesion, and “Combat Effectiveness”, he withheld information from Congress that 3 rescue missions by (1) a Marine Corps Fast Team 3 hours away, (2) the USS Stennis Carrier Battle Group 6 hours & (3) two armed F-16Cs 3 hours away from Benghazi were prevented from launching to save American lives, he imposed new dangerous Rules Of Engagement on the US Navy & US Marine Corps that increased their combat casualties in Afghanistan, and he did not terminate the restriction imposed on Navy Chaplains preventing them from reading their Cardinals letters on Sundays from the pulpit to their parishioner (a violation of Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech).

The most inept Secretary of the Navy in US History, Ray Mabus, ordered the implementation of Admiral Mullin’s above listed destructive policies on the US Navy.  Mabus approved the reduction in number of ships in the Fleet, to less ships than the Navy had prior to 1913.  Mabus presided over the firing of many senior and Flag officers who were viewed as not being “Politically Correct”, and replaced them with newly selected senior and Flag Officer who met specific “Politically Correct” selection criteria; he directed newly promoted Flag Officers to drive “Politically Correct” destructive policies into the US Navy.   For the first time in 240 years, Mabus named newly commissioned US Naval ships for extremely liberal, progressive, and gay individuals with no military service, instead of naming those ships for the very famous deceased highly decorated and heroic U S military personnel the Navy had always named its ships after.  

The current Situation Report on the US Navy was presented in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, by Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William Moran, USN in the below listed article.  Admiral Moran said “Our long-term readiness continues its insidious decline”, and “the Navy will be flat out of money” without supplementary funding.   

He argued that financial constraints have eroded military readiness.  The Navy’s reduced budget was only part of the problem, the Navy’s Op Tempo for 15 years, in support of overseas conflicts, has been very hard on the wear and tear of ships, aircraft, and submarines.  Because of budget reductions, aircraft, ships, and submarines have been unable to train at sea, or obtain needed shipyard repairs, contributing negatively toward the Navy’s “Combat Effectiveness”.  

From 1981 to1988, President Ronald Reagan increased the number of ships in US Navy fleet to 566 ships, which included 15 Carrier Battlegroups, 4 Battleship Surface Action Groups, 100 Attack Submarines, 35 SSNB Ballistic Missile Submarines, and 412 other ships.

The Obama administration reduced the carrier force to 10 ships, reduced the submarine force to 58 attack submarines &14 SSNB Ballistic Missile Submarines, and reduce the remaining ships of the fleet to 192 ships.  Many of the carriers, submarines, and ships are stuck in port, because the US Navy hasn’t been able to cover the cost of repairs for ships requiring shipyard availability and because of the lack of spare parts.  The Navy hasn’t been able to purchase billions of dollars in spare parts for its aircraft, submarines, and ships making some of their operations too hazardous for Naval personnel to man and operate.

For 8 years, China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran have been involved in a massive ship building and modernizing program for their fleets; collectively they have 231 submarines and 371 combatants surface ships between them. 

The US Navy’s has less ships in the fleet today than it had in 1913, prior to WWI, and the Navy has been prevented from funding a ship building program to keep up with China, Russia, and Iran’s fleet expansions because of the reduced DOD budget.  To meet minimum requirements, 350 US Navy ships are required in the fleet.  Normally, 1/3 of the fleet is scheduled for shipyard availability, and 1/3 of the ships are scheduled for post deployment R&R and underway training, and 1/3 of the fleet are deployable.  Today’s fleet has 91 deployable ships; President Reagan’s Navy had 189 deployable ships.

For 15 years the wear and tear on the Navy-Marine Corps fighters dramatically reduced the number of operational aircraft, their numbers are in a “death spiral.”  The only long-term solution would be to acquire both F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter faster than the current procurement schedule.   Sixty percent of the Navy’s front line combat jet fighter, the F/A-18 Hornets, have been grounded and are unfit to fly because of maintenance issues and lack of spare parts.  The attrition in the number of aircraft and consumption of spare parts is outpacing procurement.  The Obama administration cancelled 175 strike fighters from procurement, that has to be turned around to meet high-end threats like SA-300/400s (advanced Russian anti-aircraft missiles), and the aircraft Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran operate.

Only 439 out of 1,065 US Marine Corps aircraft, are flyable because the aircraft are worn out, because of heavy maintenance issues, and the lack of funding for spare parts; 74 percent of the Marine Corps’ F-18/A(B, C, D) Hornets– some of the oldest in service – are overused, under-maintained; they are wearing out.   Because of lack of funding for fuel, spare parts, and maintenance, and because required monthly pilot flight training has been severely restricted, pilot flight proficiency and qualification have been degraded.

For 8 years, the US Navy hasn’t been able to afford the purchase billions of dollars in spare parts for its aircraft, submarines, and ships making their operations, in many cases, too hazardous for the life of the Naval personnel who operate them, to permit them, to continue operations.  The result has been a dramatic reduction in the number of deployable platforms available.

The Vice Chief of Naval Operations pleaded with lawmakers to repeal Sequestration legislation, because it continues to negatively affect readiness and “Combat Effectiveness” of the fleet.   Sequestration has been limiting defense spending, and has been limiting procurement, ever year, for 5 years.  Admiral Moran has been arguing that fiscal constraints over the past 8 years is crippling the Navy’s capability to effectively respond to multiple threats.

While the Navy’s strength was being hollowed out, Obama refused to let the Navy defend the nation’s right to “Freedom of Navigation”. Obama prevented US Naval warships from performing the same standard Naval mission in the South China Sea, it previously performed for 70 years.  From 2012 to 2016, while China was in the process militarized Scarborough Shoals, in the Spratly chain of reefs, in the South China Sea, US Naval warships were prevented from sailing near the Shoals.  During that 4 year period, China was constructing airfields and missile sites on land it reclaimed from the sea bottom.  China has since claimed the Scarborough Shoals as its sovereign territory in violation of International Law.    

Naval Special Warfare Operations have been compromised by Obama holdovers.  On January 29th, SEAL Team SIX led a Counterterrorist Operation, against Al Q’ieda in Yemen, in order to gather intelligence and terminate cell leaders.  SOC William “Ryan” Owens, USN (SEAL) was lost in the operation, what turned into an preplanned ambush.  Al Q’ieda received advance details and the timing of the operation; intense fire was poured into the SEALs upon landing, fire came from pre-established positions circumventing the targeted buildings. 

Following the raid, Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan, 3 Muslims brothers from Pakistan hired by the Obama administration at a salary of $160,000/year (one brother was only 22 years old) were abruptly fired by the Trump administration.  They were hired by members of the Muslim Brotherhood operating as a the Fifth Column in US government, to manage Top Secret IT communications for 50 Democrats Congressional House leaders and Democrat Congressmen on the House Permanent Select Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. They were accused of funneling Top Secret messages to outside servers; the 3 Awan brothers were accused of also stealing classified equipment.

The 3 Awan brothers managed IT transmission of Top Secret information on Cong Debbie Schultz (D-FL), Cong Keith Ellison (D-MN), Cong Andre Carson (D-IN) and 47 other Democrat Congressmen’s computers.  They had access to Top Secret communications for Democratic Congressional members on the Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees who receive advance details on future Top Secret Special Operations, including advance details of the January 29th Counterterrorism Operation in Yemen by SEAL Team SIX, where the SEALs were ambushed by Al Q’ieda Terrorist waiting for them.

The policy of hiring 3 Muslim brothers from Pakistan by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress, and holding them over compromised a Counterterrorist Operation, inflicted serious casualties on US Navy SEALs,  and compromised the National Security of the United States.

A more detailed testimony of Admiral  William Moran is presented in the below listed article.

Copyright by Capt Joseph R. John.  All Rights Reserved.  The material can only posted on another Web site or distributed on the Internet by giving full credit to the author.  It may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without the permission from the author.

Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62
Capt    USN(Ret)/Former FBI
Chairman, Combat Veterans For Congress PAC
2307 Fenton Parkway, Suite 107-184
San Diego, CA 92108

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
-Isaiah 6:8


VCNO Moran: Navy Will Be ‘Just Flat Out Of Money’ Without Supplemental Funding; Would Cancel Flight Hours, Ship Avails

February 7, 2017 6:56 PM •

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran delivers remarks at the 2016 Future Strategy Forum at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the re-work required on the recent USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) maintenance availability, due to source error. The ship required seven percent rework and saw a 42 percent growth in work.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Without a readiness-focused supplemental spending bill passed by lawmakers this spring, the Navy and Marine Corps would stop flying at home and ship and submarine maintenance availabilities would be canceled, the vice chief of naval operations and assistant commandant of the Marine Corps said at a hearing today.

The continuing resolution currently funding the government at last year’s spending levels is set to expire on April 28, 2017, and even if lawmakers could pass the Fiscal Year 2017 spending bill for the second half of the fiscal year, budget caps already in place mean that the Navy would receive about $5 billion less than it did in FY 2016. Having started the year, then, at a higher spending rate, dropping down to the FY 2017 budget would cause the Navy to almost immediately run out of operations and maintenance dollars in parts of its budget.

If the Navy did not receive a supplemental spending bill with additional funds for FY 2017, “within a month we are going to have to shut down air wings, we are going to have to defer maintenance on several availabilities for our surface ships and submarine maintenance facilities,” Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran told the House Armed Services Committee today at a “state of the military” hearing.
“We would be just flat out of money to be able to do that. I think everyone here knows in ’17 the Navy took a $5-billion cut in its topline, if that comes to fruition that’s $2 billion of readiness cuts we’re going to have to take, which is immediately applied to things like ship avails.”

Five attack submarines would see their maintenance availabilities canceled this year and be put at risk of being decertified if no supplemental were passed out of Congress, Moran added, in addition to similar cuts to surface ship maintenance availabilities.

Assistant Commandant Gen. Glenn Walters said “we would stop flying in about July” without a supplemental. He clarified that forward forces would continue to operate, but for units training at home, “all training would cease without a supplemental, and that includes the parts money and the flying hour money.”

Even if the supplemental – which could total between $30 and $40 billion for all the armed services – is passed in a timely manner, the Navy and Marine Corps still face massive readiness issues that money can’t immediately address. Shipyards and aircraft depots face work backlogs stemming from the 2013 start of sequestration and the hiring freezes, furloughs and funding cuts it brought.

Though the Navy has tried to hire thousands of people to conduct maintenance on aircraft carriers and submarines at its four public shipyards, the yards are still unable to keep up with the workload the fleet gives them.

Moran described the cycle of effects the fleet sees from this workforce challenge, using aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush’s (CVN-77) 13-month maintenance availability – which was scheduled to last eight months – as an example.

Bush was late for a lot of reasons. One was the junior nature of the workforce,” the VCNO explained.

“We had upwards of 7 percent of rework on Bush throughout that 13-month maintenance period. So until that workforce gains that experience, we’re going to continue to see rework issues. There are some training issues involved. We are starting to see some nice turnaround in the public yards, but again, until we see that workforce mature,” performance and on-time completion of availabilities will continue to suffer.”

Additionally, USNI News understands, the ship saw 42 percent growth in work compared to the original plans for the maintenance package.
With attack submarines being considered a lowest priority at the public yards, carrier overruns cause a chain reaction: USS Albany (SSN-753) spent 48 months in the repair yard due to repeated delays as the workforce focused its attention on CVNs and SSBNs, meaning an entire crew missed out on going on deployment. And USS Boise (SSN-764) wasn’t even put into the shipyard because the workload is so far over workforce capacity, so the boat is currently sitting in Norfolk and is not certified to dive anymore while it awaits maintenance. That attack submarine will eventually be sent to a private repair yard for maintenance, but USNI News understands that won’t be able to happen until at least FY 2019 and will cost much more than putting the ship into a public yard.

Moran said putting submarines in private yards is sometimes an option when the public yards are stuck on carriers or ballistic missile subs – USS Montpelier (SSN-765) is at General Dynamics Electric Boat currently for this exact reason – but the private yards are not guaranteed to have capacity to take on extra repair work, and in a cost-constrained environment, spending the extra operations and maintenance dollars can be a hard choice to make.
“The very late determination that we no longer have the capacity at the public yards, when we turn to the private yards at that moment it becomes a very expensive proposition,” he said.
“So the degree to which we can … try to drive down cost, it makes it easier for us to have to surge the private yards when (at the public yards) the work exceeds the capacity because of delays.”

These shipyard workforce challenges do more than just affect ship repairs lower on the totem pole, House Armed Services Seapower and projection forces subcommittee ranking member Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) noted at the hearing. The Navy already faces a looming attack sub shortfall, and sidelining these SSNs for no reason other than lack of workforce capacity makes little sense in an increasingly dangerous world.

“We’ve heard from Adm. (Harry) Harris, [U.S. Pacific Command Commander], Gen. (Curtis) Scaparrotti, [U.S. European Command Commander], that they need more submarines now,” Courtney said.
“We’re not going to build a Virginia-class now because it takes five years, but if we could get the Albany, the Boise and those others out and underway, then we can respond to those combatant commanders.”

The sea services also face aviation readiness challenges that go beyond what supplemental funding can immediately fix. Moran said during the hearing that the legacy F/A-18A-D Hornets today take twice as many man hours as originally planned for repairs and maintenance, which only exacerbates the challenges at aviation depots. He said that “on a typical day in the Navy about 25 to 30 percent of our jets and our airplanes are in some kind of depot maintenance,” and overall just over half are unavailable for operations today.

“We can and we do put ready airplanes and ready aircrews forward” but “there’s no depth on the bench behind them if we had to surge forces,” the vice chief said. If a crisis broke out somewhere in the world, “we will be late to get there, if we want to have full-up equipment to get to the fight.”

On the Marine Corps side, Walters said the service requires 589 ready basic aircraft to train, workup for deployment and operate forward. The Marines have only 439 today, which is still 50 more than it had two years ago. He said readiness numbers are moving in the right direction – most pilots are now receiving between 12 and 14 hours of flight time a month, which is still short of the 16 to 18 minimum requirement but much better than at the height of the recent aviation readiness crisis. However, even reaching these ready basic aircraft and flight hour goals would put the Marines at the minimum requirement to stay current on their certifications, and still falls short of helping the pilots become proficient, or “the A-team” as Walters said. The Assistant Commandant said there was no correlation between the flight hours and fatal crashes that have occurred in recent years, but he said that an inability to build proficiency would hurt the service in a high-end fight.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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