Navy Modernizes Amid Budget Limitations

February 17, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Advanced capabilities are making their way to the fleet despite constraints.

The U.S. Navy can expect to receive from 87 percent to 94 percent of its funding every year through 2021, according to the deputy chief of naval operations (CNO) for integration of capabilities and resources. However, this also means the sea service will not receive full funding, and it must make do with carefully selected priorities.

Vice Adm. Joseph P. Mulloy, USN, described the budget conundrum during his keynote luncheon address at West 2016, being held in San Diego February 17-19. The Budget Control Act will inhibit funding until 2021, which comes amid a time of challenges.

“The world we live in is the most challenging and turbulent since World War II,” Adm. Mulloy stated. Paraphrasing a line from the Blues Brothers motion picture, he added, “A guy named Putin is putting the band back together.”

The Navy has been able to modernize by incorporating economically efficient capabilities, but much remains to be done. The sea service is making significant investments in aviation, he noted, but it needs the RAQ-25 unmanned aerial vehicle quickly. Other critical capabilities include the SM-6, the LRASM, the HVP and maritime TACTOM.

Adm. Mulloy cited an old saying about Navy chiefs squeezing nickels “until the buffalo squeaks,” advising chiefs today to watch their spares closely. One drawback is the Budget Control Act is not indexed to inflation, so costs might be greater as years pass until 2021.

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