Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on
CAPITOL HILL: Sequestration is not the Navy’s only shipbuilding problem. In the near term, the automatic cuts to the 2013 budget are bedeviling efforts to save money by buying ships in bulk. Negotiators are racing the clock to salvage a multi-year procurement contract to buy 10 DDG-51 Aegis destroyers for the price of nine; Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told reporters today he was “optimistic.”
In the longer term, however, after the 10-year, $500 billion cut in defense spending required by sequestration, the Navy has dug a different hole for itself. The service has crafted a 30-year shipbuilding plan that requires massive increases in funding to levels that the Navy’s acquisition chief Sean Stackley admitted to Congress had not been seen since the Reagan build-up.
“Can you present… a scintilla of evidence” that the 30-year plan can be funded, an exasperated Rep. Randy Forbes, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s panel on seapower, asked during a hearing this morning.