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McAleese & Associates: GovCon Execs Talk Impact of 2020 Sequester, Readiness of U.S. Navy

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McAleese & Associates reports Congress allowing the upcoming 2020-2021 sequester to return would be ill-advised, according to expert remarks made during the “Navy/USMC Readiness” Hearing in Washington, D.C.
Richard Spencer, secretary of the U.S. Navy, discussed the urgency of avoiding a 2020 sequester and conveyed how devastating it would be for the branch. According to the hearing’s transcript, Spencer suggested the sequester could result in a $26B loss in funding, hindering readiness and lethality heading into 2019.
Pointing to advancements in these areas, Spencer insisted strides have been made by enhancing private-public partnerships and making calculated investments in weapons platforms and munitions. According to him, the Navy’s existing fleet readiness has been improving due to an additional $1.1B in funding for ship maintenance, an increase from $8.7B to $9.8B during fiscal years 2017 to 2019.
“This additional funding enables ships to begin deployment training on time with improved material condition and modernized combat, communications and engineering systems,” said Spencer. “We have partnered with our shipyards, public and private, to improve efficiency, reducing the maintenance backlog and increasing productivity vital for future naval growth.”
Spencer argued that every dollar must generate a return of lethality and consistent funding is necessary to fix these problems. He urged that any break in funding or a significant cut resulting from the 2020 sequester would have significant consequences on the Navy’s readiness.
John Pendleton, director of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, believes the readiness problem is quite complex because the Navy can’t bring forces home to reset. Navy ships require rotational-forward presence. As a result, Pendleton argued that shipboard training standards are being waved at an alarming rate because the Navy trains ship crews before they deploy. Navy ships have been left without enough sailors to handle the workload. Due to ship and submarine depot maintenance delays, 27,000 days have been lost since 2012, added Pendleton.