Showdown Brewing between SecNav and Pentagon SecDef
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was told by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to chop $17 Billion from his budget. His answer? NO.
Secretary Mabus expects Trump to change the landscape of the military, so he’s not willing to sabotage that by placing $17 Billion on the chopping block, especially in regards to the shipbuilding program.
The Navy Times reported,
The Navy is digging in its heels and rejecting billions in cuts from its 2018 budget as infighting has hit a boiling point at the Pentagon.
The Navy has refused to submit a budget that incorporates $17 billion in cuts over the next five years that Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered. It’s a standoff that has been brewing for months since Carter told the Navy to begin cutting major shipbuilding programs and invest in weapons systems and aircraft, according to half a dozen defense officials who spoke to Navy Times.
At issue is Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’s insistence that budget cuts not be directed at the shipbuilding program, which he has long fought to shield from cuts as he attempts to rebuild the fleet to his goal of 308 ships.
Reportedly, Trump has said he wants a fleet of 350 ships. Mabus feels that sending a budget to him that cuts shipbuilding is foolish.
“Whatever budget the Navy submits will have the half-life of a mayfly at noon on January 20th. So to some degree Secretary Mabus has tried to make that point over the past several weeks.” Senior Defense official
But the other issue is that the budget they have been working on tends to cut from operations and maintenance, which are also critical programs, and are deemed intolerable.
According to the article, this battle has been ongoing between Mabus and Carter for a while now. Carter wants weapons and missile systems for the current fleet, Mabus wants a bigger fleet. Letters have been exchanged and the only thing they haven’t done is duke it out in an alley somewhere.
The deadline for the budgets was Thursday. The Navy will not submit their cuts, so the bean counters will do it for them, which could prove disastrous.
“Operational demands continue to grow while the fleet remains the same size or shrinks. Ships and their crews don’t have time to train and maintain their ships, and they are increasingly reliant on supplemental funding which cannot be planned for in advance.” Bryan Clark, retired submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
The Trump administration is expected submit a new defense budget in the Spring.