PORTSMOUTH, VA: Go ahead and cut our budget across the board if you really have to. But please, then give us authority to move money around to save our top priorities — and give it to us soon. That’s the message, in a nutshell, from the Navy’s top officer. [Editorial note: Just to be clear,… Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: Even the cameras stopped clicking in a hushed Armed Services hearing room today as Rep. Jim Cooper told the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his colleagues on the biggest committee in Congress today that America’s lawmakers had failed the country. “You gentlemen make life and death decisions in the Tank almost every day,”… Keep reading →
[UPDATED]: WASHINGTON: Tomorrow is a big day for Navy submarines on Capitol Hill. A hearing of the House Armed Services seapower and projections forces subcommittee will focus on some of the knottiest issues in undersea warfare: – staying ahead of the Russians and Chinese. – getting extra funding for the Navy’s new ballistic missile submarine,… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: If “this potential operation” against Syria continues into October, when the new fiscal year begins, the Navy’s going to need more money. That, in turn, means Congress has to act. Ideally, legislators would pass a supplemental spending bill, Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert said this morning. Failing a supplemental, though, Greenert said… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: If you think the military doesn’t listen to critics or friends, then you haven’t read one of the most interesting blog posts ever from the Pentagon. It’s by the Navy admiral in charge of the nation’s submarines. The piece, by director of undersea warfare Rear. Adm. Richard Breckenridge, popped up on Navy Live, the… Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: Tracking the winners and losers of this year’s House authorization markup — the draft bill produced by the House Armed Services Committee — is one of Washington’s most exhausitng pastimes. The final bill often does not appear until 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or even later in the morning the day… Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: It’s been a rough 48 hours for the US Navy. Yesterday, the Littoral Combat Ship was battered by House appropriators and questioned by a leaked report. Today it was the Senate Armed Service seapower subcommittee’s turn to grill the Navy about its aircraft carrier and submarine programs. While the automatic 10-year budget cuts known as sequestration played a major role… Keep reading →
PENTAGON: The Navy would get the largest budget share among the three military services in the 2014 budget submitted Wednesday, but would still see a drop in total funding from what Congress provided for this year in the final version of the continuing resolution.
The $155.8 billion requested for the Navy Department in the president’s proposed defense budget of $526.6 billion is level with the president’s 2013 request but is $11.4 billion above the request for the Air Force and $26.1 billion larger than that for the Army. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Every senior civilian leader and the Navy agree that America needs replacements for the Ohio-class nuclear missile submarines if our nuclear deterrent is to remain credible. But the SSBN-X, as the program is known, is at risk from the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration, the influential head of CAPE, the Pentagon’s budget and cost estimation shop, Christine Fox, said yesterday evening.
CAPE, known formally as the office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, not only does program evaluation for the Defense Secretary but it also builds the Future Year Defense Program (FYDP), a key part of the defense budget process. I asked Fox at the end of the McAleese Associates/Credit Suisse conference what the Pentagon can do to protect new starts if sequestration remains in force and it must cut such large amounts from existing programs. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Right now, the Navy is designing the ballistic missile submarine that will provide 70 percent of the nation’s nuclear deterrent until 2080. Yet even as the service prepares to award research and development contracts this December, the submarine community is deeply worried that the rest of the military is neglecting the program — which has already had to make some painful trade-offs on schedule, numbers, and capability. And the service has not even started work on whatever nuclear missile the new sub will end up carrying for the latter half of its life.
The SSBN(X) program to replace the 1980s-vintage Ohio missile subs is a massive effort that few non-submariners talk about. “People are assuming it away,” said Rear Adm. Robert Thomas, a submarine officer who is now head of the strategic plans and policy section (J-5) on the Joint Staff. Keep reading →