US budget cuts impact naval backup

US budget cuts impact naval backup
Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:18:15

The US military budget decline has forced its Navy to decrease the number of back-up ships in the time of crisis, the Navy’s chief of staff Admiral Jonathan Greenert says.

Even the multi-billion-dollar budget reductions will not prevent the US military from keeping one aircraft carrier and one amphibious ship group in the Middle East and in the Pacific, Greenert told a news conference on Friday.

"But the issue is the backup -- that would be the surge force. We're not where we need to be in that regard," Greenert said.
The Pentagon used to have two aircraft carriers in the Middle East for about nine months of the year.

The military faces a budget reduction of $37 billion for the current fiscal year ending in September. The cut will prevent the Navy from deploying up to three aircraft carriers and three amphibious ship groups it had in reserve as reinforcement.

The Navy will lose another $14 billion through the 2014 fiscal year if US President Barack Obama and the Congress fail to reach a political agreement over the Pentagon’s spending, Greenert added.

The US Navy is the largest in the world with 286 ships, including ten aircraft carriers. About 55 new naval ships will enter the fleet in the future.

The US Defense Department has been ordered to slash its spending plans after a decade of war that saw military budgets rise dramatically, contributing to huge federal deficits.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 called for the Pentagon to cut projected defense spending by $487 billion over a decade.

It also approved an additional $500 billion in across-the-board spending cuts unless Congress and the White House could agree on an alternative package of cuts and revenues to reduce deficits.


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