November 8, 2013

Navy: Cutbacks could have ‘debilitating’ impact on Kittery shipyard

A top admiral warns that sequestration will prompt workers to seek more secure jobs elsewhere.

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The budget cuts would also cancel or defer 34 of the 55 surface ship maintenance periods next fiscal year.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard specializes in maintaining nuclear-powered submarines. Navy officials cited the budget cuts and higher-than-anticipated costs when they announced plans to scrap, rather than repair, the USS Miami, a submarine that was severely damaged by an arsonist last year.

Looking ahead, Greenert projected that failure to address sequestration or give the military more flexibility in making the cuts would produce a Navy consisting of 255 ships by 2020 – about 30 fewer than today and 50 fewer than the Navy predicts it will need.

Other commanders made equally stark assessments.

“I believe our challenge is much greater today than it has been during my time in the Army, in terms of readiness,” Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “This is the lowest readiness levels that I have seen within our Army since I’ve been serving the last 37 years.”

Odierno and the other commanders made similar predictions at congressional hearings months ago, yet Congress is still debating whether to replace the cuts and, if so, how.

Budget negotiations between the House and Senate are due to resume next week.

Kevin Miller can be reached at 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@pressherald.com

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