Official: Budget Request Keeps Navy, Marines ‘Expeditionary’

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2012 — The Navy and Marine Corps will be lean­er and small­er, but still rapid­ly deploy­able under the fis­cal 2013 bud­get request Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma sent to Con­gress today, the Navy’s bud­get chief said.

Rear Adm. Joseph P. Mul­loy, the Navy’s deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary for bud­get, told Pen­ta­gon reporters today the sea ser­vice, which also admin­is­ters the Marine Corps’ bud­get, will trim spend­ing by $58.1 bil­lion by the end of fis­cal 2017. The Navy’s pro­posed fis­cal 2013 bud­get is down $9.5 bil­lion from fis­cal 2012.

“We think all of our invest­ments here are aligned to the strate­gic pri­or­i­ties and goals as set out by the pres­i­dent,” the admi­ral said.

As required by the Bud­get Con­trol Act, the Defense Depart­ment bud­get request includes $487 bil­lion in spend­ing cuts for fis­cal years 2013 to 2017.

The bud­get request sets Navy active and reserve end strength for fis­cal 2013 at 385,200 — 1.7 per­cent less than fis­cal 2012. In fis­cal 2017, the end strength will be 376,600, a 3.9 per­cent reduc­tion from fis­cal 2012.

Marine Corps active and reserve end strength in fis­cal 2013 is 236,900 under the pro­pos­al — 2 per­cent less than fis­cal 2012. In fis­cal 2017 the end strength will be 221,700, an 8.3 per­cent reduc­tion from fis­cal 2012.

“The Navy has come down almost 6,000 peo­ple over the last 10 years,” the admi­ral not­ed. Marine Corps end-state reduc­tions, like the Army’s, are in line with planned troop reduc­tions in Afghanistan, he added.

Mul­loy not­ed sailors and Marines will lose “not a dol­lar” under the bud­get request, though pay increas­es will slow after 2014.

In force struc­ture changes through fis­cal 2017, the Navy will elim­i­nate sev­en cruis­ers and two dock land­ing ships. Next fis­cal year, the ser­vice is slat­ed to add sev­en and drop 11 from its list of com­bat-capa­ble ships.

The Navy will gain a nuclear attack sub­ma­rine, a trans­port dock, a dry-car­go ammu­ni­tion ship, a lit­toral com­bat ship, two joint high-speed ves­sels and one mobile land­ing plat­form. The ser­vice will retire one air­craft car­ri­er, six frigates and four cruis­ers.

Mul­loy not­ed Navy offi­cials don’t expect the fleet size to change much over time, though the num­ber of ships will drop slight­ly for a few years.

“We’re fore­cast­ing that in 2017 we’ll have the same num­ber of ships that we have now,” he said.

“We have 37 ships under con­struc­tion … and nine more ships to award this year,” the admi­ral added.

The Marine Corps will elim­i­nate an infantry reg­i­ment head­quar­ters, five infantry bat­tal­ions — four active and one reserve), an artillery bat­tal­ion, four tac­ti­cal air squadrons — three active and one reserve), and a com­bat logis­tics bat­tal­ion.

Mul­loy acknowl­edged the bud­get request call for delay­ing sev­er­al Navy and Marine Corps pro­grams and post­pon­ing some pur­chas­es. Oper­a­tions and main­te­nance are essen­tial, he said, and too-deep force cuts car­ry unac­cept­able risk, so “where do you take the cuts?”

Navy plan­ners and lead­ers looked at long-term pro­grams as the best source of cost reduc­tion, he said, adding “The real dri­ver here was, ‘What do we need to have?’ ”

The pro­pos­al delays for two years the planned “SSBN-X” bal­lis­tic mis­sile sub­ma­rine pro­gram, which will devel­op a replace­ment for the Ohio-class sub­marines.

The Ohio-class subs will begin to reach the end of their ser­vice life in 2027, accord­ing to Navy offi­cials. A two-year delay in devel­op­ing the multi­bil­lion-dol­lar replace­ment, which will form part of the nation’s nuclear tri­ad, rep­re­sents an “accept­able risk,” offi­cials said.

The Navy also pro­pos­es reduc­ing pro­cure­ment of joint high-speed ves­sels from 18 ships to 10, and a sched­uled MV-22 Osprey pur­chase by 24 air­craft through 2017.

The Navy will also slow buys of two joint strike fight­er vari­ants, defer­ring until after 2017 pur­chase of 69 of the air­craft. The ser­vice will ter­mi­nate its Medi­um-Range Mar­itime Unmanned Aer­i­al Sys­tem, as Navy offi­cials said oth­er unmanned sys­tems show demon­strat­ed capa­bil­i­ty.

Spend­ing for Navy and Marine Corps green ener­gy ini­tia­tives will remain fair­ly steady, Mul­loy said, call­ing them a key com­po­nent for the depart­ment for “tremen­dous tac­ti­cal rea­sons.”

For Marines on the ground and ships and planes afloat, min­i­miz­ing fuel trans­port and fuel­ing oper­a­tions means reduc­ing risk, he not­ed.

“Every­thing you can do to [reduce] ener­gy use and dri­ve the same tac­ti­cal out­put … is impor­tant,” the admi­ral said.

The Navy and Marine Corps’ empha­sis on renew­able ener­gy ensures more “safe­ty for per­son­nel and effi­cien­cy for our forces,” Mul­loy added.

The bud­get pro­pos­al will mean “a lean­er, small­er force, but we’re still rapid­ly deploy­able and expe­di­tionary, and we’re manned and led with the high­est qual­i­ty of indi­vid­u­als,” he said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)