Politics

September 15, 2013

Washington Notebook: Sequester could slow shipbuilding

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, shown speaking to workers at Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, Wis., last week, says the Navy could be forced to eliminate three dozen scheduled maintenance periods and cancel multi-year contracts on new ships if sequestration continues.

The Associated Press

"I think once you go to Congress and say I need your support on this, you are subject to negotiating with 535 members of Congress, some wanting to tweak the language in one way or another way," Cohen said

Cohen called "irresponsible" the frequent talk by some Republicans of initiating impeachment proceedings against Obama. But he suggested that those Republicans could be emboldened to pursue their plans -- claiming a violation of constitutional powers -- if Obama were to launch military strikes against Syria after Congress refused to give him authorization.

The diplomatic negotiations with Russia have essentially given Congress a pass -- at least for now -- on the Syria question. King, an independent serving his first term, said Saturday he was "very skeptical" of military strikes but suggested he might support a resolution that authorized military force if all diplomatic efforts failed.

NAVY SCHOOL IN WESTERN MAINE

And in more defense-related news, some people in western Maine were likely surprised this past week to hear their region is on the short list of possible locations for a missile defense facility.

The Pentagon is looking at five sites for an as-yet-unfunded launch facility for interceptors to protect the East Coast from intercontinental ballistic missiles. One of those sites is roughly 12,000 acres in Redington Township east of Rangeley where the U.S. Navy runs a survival training program.

In the past, more than 1,000 pilots, sailors and special operations personnel -- think Navy SEALs -- have trained at the Redington camp every year. The Navy provided a few additional details of the little-known school on Friday in response to questions from the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Based out of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the Navy's Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (or SERE) School is a 12-day course featuring classroom instruction in Kittery and field training outside of Rangeley.

"The course is designed to give students the skills necessary to survive and evade capture and if captured, resist interrogation and escape," wrote Darryl Orrell, a public affairs officer for the Navy's Center for Security Forces in Virginia Beach, Va. "It is required for personnel designated high-risk of capture due to the nature of their military duties."

The Navy occasionally opens up the facility to non-military personnel, allowing civilian search and rescue personnel to train there and -- at least in the past -- offering some school groups a chance to learn cold-weather survival skills.

Orrell said it is unknown how a missile defense facility could affect the training facility.

Kevin Miller can be contacted at (207) 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@mainetoday.com

 

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