- The Washington Times
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A group of retired Navy admirals and Marine Corps generals have sent Congress a letter warning of “unsustainable” extended deployments for the Navy if if the nation does not make a significant investment in ships, aircraft, equipment and personnel soon.

Navy Now acquired the signatures of 95 retired officers for a letter sent to Congress, which warns that the Navy is underfunded for the global security missions it is tasked to perform.

The group seeks a fiscal 2017 budget for the Navy of $170 billion. The Department of the Navy proposed budget for fiscal 2015 was $148 billion.

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“We are concerned that if the Department of the Navy is required to continue to respond to crisis after crisis without the funding needed to build new ships, repair old equipment and provide routine maintenance to existing equipment, the nation risks permanent damage to our national defense and negative impacts on the domestic and international economies that rely on the safety and security that U.S. sea power provides,” Navy Now’s Nov. 12 letter to Congress reads.

The officers say that the Navy is “underfunded and overextended, placing our national defense, our Sailors and Marines, and the stability of the global economy at risk.”

The officers cite recent deployments by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and its accompanying strike group as an example of the Navy’s overextended forces. The ship completed two back-to-back deployments with only a two-month break in between.

The USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, also completed its second deployment in 18 months.

“Ships, crews and equipment cannot continue the current pace of operations, and the retention of trained personnel will suffer, ultimately leading to reduced readiness for combat and other missions,” the officers write.

The average deployment length for a Carrier Strike Group is currently more than eight months. During the Cold War similar deployments were six months.

The retired officers add that further indicators of a “resource-strategy” mismatch would be to compare the Navy’s budget with recent requests by the U.S. government to:

• Launch the first combat strikes that halted the advancement of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL);

• demonstrate U.S. support for partner nations around the Black Sea to promote peace and stability;

• deliver disaster relief to victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines;

• combat pirates off the coast of Africa;

• provide support to our forces in Afghanistan

• pressure Bashar al Assad into giving up Syria’s chemical weapons supply; and

• fly crisis response forces for long distance rescue operations in Sudan and Iraqs

Navy Now bills itself as a “broad and diverse coalition of businesses, non-governmental organizations, shipbuilders, [and] aircraft manufactures.”

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