The US Naval Institute is reporting that the sequestration cuts to DoD budget will cause a delay in the refueling and long-term overhaul of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), which was scheduled to go into a 4-year complex overhaul/refueling (RCOH) later this year:
Lincoln was scheduled to be moved to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipyard later this month to begin the 4-year refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) of the ship.
“This delay is due to uncertainty in the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations bill, both in the timing and funding level available for the first full year of the contract,” the message said.
“CVN-72 will remain at Norfolk Naval Base where the ships force personnel will continue to conduct routine maintenance until sufficient funding is received for the initial execution of the RCOH.”
Apparently, only the local Congressman, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) seems to be displaying any level of concern regarding this issue, but as bad as this looks at first glance, it’s even worse:
Forbes called the delay, “another example of how these reckless and irresponsible defense cuts in Washington will have a long-term impact on the Navy’s ability to perform its missions. Not only will the Lincoln be delayed in returning to the Fleet, but this decision will also affect the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) defueling, the USS George Washington (CVN-73) RCOH, and future carrier readiness.”
The move by the navy is the second this week involving funding for carriers. On Wednesday it announced it would delay the deployment of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) to the Middle East do to the ongoing budget strife bringing the total number of carriers in U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) to one until funding normalizes.
As anyone who has ever served in a maintenance-intensive MOS/NEC knows, especially one like nuclear power where constant “oversight” or “help” is a way of life, deferring or postponing maintenance is NEVER a good thing. As with most critical issues in life both in and out of the military, it’s a question of, “Pay me now, or pay LOTS more later.” We’re not paying now so that people can create the illusion we’re fiscally responsible, at the very real cost of readiness and national security.
This is, as we all can easily deduce, a sham. Here we have a government which has no interest in paying for items which fall under Constitutional mandate under Article I, Section 8, but is hell-bent on spending trillions of dollars per year over and above what it takes in to provide “fairness” for things like SS Disability for adult babies, welfare and food stamps for (some) professional deadbeats, and checking out how well shrimp perform on treadmills, none of which the Founding Fathers ever envisioned the government being the benefactor of such largesse. We’re not paying now for what we should. Unfortunately, the prices we pay down the road will be measured in more than dollars.
This administration, and specifically this president, said in front of veterans that they had no intent of balancing the budget on the backs of veterans. Of course they didn’t…then again, they had no intention of balancing the budget, period.
But we’ve been down this road before. Welcome to the hollow force, circa 2013.