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The Navy Must Sustain Its Force for the Long Term

May 10, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Ships and submarines being built by the U.S. Navy today will be in service 40 to 50 years from now, according to the commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Adm. John T. Harvey, USN, explained that the Navy cannot afford to re-procure its fleet, so it must ensure that its platforms last for several decades. "The years of plenty are over," Adm. Harvey said. "We can expect less resources in the future, more fiscal uncertainty." Speaking at Joint Warfighting Conference 2011 in Virginia Beach, the admiral warned that the sea service has been operating at too high a tempo to sustain forces that it cannot replace easily. Since 2006, Navy ships and submarines have been operating at a major combat operations demand. This is running up a price that must be paid, he declared. "The piper will be paid in his time. We pay a severe penalty in delayed maintenance-it can cost up to 300 percent." he added.

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