Navy Budget Legislative Update
(The following legislative update regarding the US Navy budget was provide by the Camden - Kings Bay Navy League Council. Questions can be sent to author Dave Reilly, Navy League National Vice President for Council Operations and Vice President - Legislative Affairs for the Camden - Kings Bay Council)
Recently the Senate passed its National Defense Authjorization Act and it is going to conference with House-passed version. Of note is that there is still a way to go before the authorization and the ever-important appropriation actions are completed and signed into law by the president. Until then we should stay alert to action in form of letters and email that may be required by us to follow up with our senators and congressman to encourage them to get behind the right things for the sea services. A few things of note are:
- Both the senate and the house authorization bills have increased the proposed SCN accounts. Congress by about $255M to $16.8 B and the senate to $18.5B, which is significant. This is good news from the standpoint that the SCN is increased over past years but still falls short of what it takes to build the ships necessary to be at the 308 the Navy needs to meet its mission in future years. Additionally, it is not clear in the senate version where the $3.5B for the Ohio Replacement Program is. Recall the Navy League supports the Navy's approach to fund separately from the SCN account and place in a DOD operating account to be sure there is no confusion on the funding of the Navy's most important shipbuilding need-the Ohio class SSBN replacements. This will get sorted out in the near future and our expert Sara Fuentes will advise us via Don Giles of action required by Navy Leaguers to help channel this discussion toward the needs of the country and the Navy.
- Carrier replacement and refueling programs have been cut in the house version of the appropriations bill and this bears watching as well. The Navy needs11 Carriers to meet the country's forward presence requirements. The delivery of CVN 78, advance procurement for the building of the John F. Kennedy and maintaining the current schedule for refueling the Nimitz class CVN is critical to this need.
- Sequestration and continuing resolutions denigrate the work and the efforts of our programmers, planners and workers in all services and especially the Navy which must be able to plan construction schedules based on being able to properly program funds for the purchase of long-lead material to build ships. The upheaval and loss of critical talent to build ships is also unnerving in a time of decreasing shipbuilding capability. Without the material and people necessary to build ships the country needs, the number of ships will continue to decrease, This fact leads directly to the operating ships and crews having to do more to meet mission until that can no longer happen because of worn out ships and people. Efforts to utilize sequestration and continuing resolutions in the congress to avoid doing the right thing with budgets will be tracked closely by our experts at headquarters and as required we will be asked to weigh in to help convince our congressionals of the seriousness of their actions with respect to the DOD budgets.