It’s no secret that Navy leaders want to build a fleet much bigger than the current 274 ships to sustain operations around the globe.
But maintenance backlogs and deferments that sideline operations ships and keep sailors from deploying are creating a crisis of their own, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Bill Moran said.
Speaking this week the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium near Washington, D.C., Moran said Navy leaders have already told President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team that they want any additional funding that comes available within this fiscal year to go to maintenance first.
In addition to asking for funding to replenish maintenance accounts and clear backlogs, Moran said it was crucial that the Navy reduce its operational tempo and limit the length of deployments, which have been frequently extended at sea in recent years, in order to keep to planned maintenance and reset schedules. To that end, Moran said, the service has been setting limits on deployments, even when it means accepting operational risk.