Citing the Navy's internal decision to limit defense sequester actions to those deemed "reversible at a later date," Congressman Scott Rigell and a group of bi-partisan House members today requested the Navy delay its decision to cancel all third and fourth quarter surface ship maintenance availabilities. The lawmakers asked that these cancellations, which are scheduled to take place on February 15th, be delayed "in order to provide Congress with an opportunity to resolve the ongoing budget impasse."
"As members of Congress with a keen interest in Navy readiness, we understand that cancelling maintenance for Navy ships is not a reversible action. As you are aware, the schedule for maintenance, training, and deployment is set well in advance and if a maintenance period is missed, it will have a domino effect on each successive availability," wrote the House Members in a letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Navy CNO Admiral Jonathan Greenert.
The letter was signed by Reps. Scott Rigell (VA-2), Ander Crenshaw (FL-4), Bobby Scott (VA-3), Duncan Hunter (CA-50), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-1), Susan Davis (CA-53), Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Michael Michaud (ME-2), and Scott Peters (CA-52).
The letter points out that last month Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in a Memorandum entitled "Handling Budgetary Uncertainty in Fiscal Year 2013" stated that "to the extent possible, any actions taken must be reversible at a later date" in order to "minimize harmful effects on our people and on operations and unit readiness." The actions being proposed by the Navy do not meet this goal.
The members further point out that these actions would be counter-productive from a cost saving standpoint and would bring significant risks that could only be mitigated at greatly increased expense to the U.S. taxpayer.
To read the letter in its entirety, click here.