Streamlined Navy Threatened by Further Cuts
The U.S. Navy faces an uncertain future if coming defense cuts strike at its shipbuilding budget. The sea service already is underfunded for its shipbuilding program, so cuts in that area could have severe ramifications in its mission-oriented capabilities. Ronald O'Rourke, a specialist in national defense with the Congressional Research Service, told a panel audience at West 2011 that the Navy did not have procurements that it can cut. The Navy did not use supplemental defense funding to procure new platforms, so it does not have programs that it can cut. "Some of the lower-hanging fruit in terms of efficiencies already have been picked," O'Rourke said. Nor will efficiencies alone be able to make up budget requirements. While the Navy likely will be able to find future efficiencies, if the decline is more than a certain amount then efficiencies etc will not be enough to make ends meet, O'Rourke said. Without its needed capabilities, the Navy could cut back on ocean deployments by limiting them to specific areas. It also could rely more on unmanned aerial systems and extend the operational lives of older ships and submarines.