Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Report: Readiness slipping on overseas-based Navy ships

Report: Readiness slipping on overseas-based Navy ships: The fleet's most ready ships are showing signs of wear and tear, a new watchdog report has concluded.

A Government Accountability Office report concluded that higher operating costs for forward-based ships, combined with a drop in training readiness and a rise in broken equipment, are proof that these ships are increasingly overworked and undermaintained.

The report, "Navy Force Structure: Sustainable Plan and Comprehensive Assessment Needed to Mitigate Long-Term Risks to Ships Assigned to Overseas Homeports," published May 29, details a troubling culture of pushing off maintenance for forward-deployed naval force ships, whose frequent patrols typically make them among the fleet's highest op tempo ships year after year.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert has made the 37 forward-based ships a central tenet of his strategy to increase presence in the world's most unstable regions while facing constrained budgets and a fleet whose size has stagnated in the past decade. Forward-basing, proponents say, allows the Navy to have warships ready to respond around the world without the lengthy transit times for stateside ships, noting that a force without these ready-duty vessels would need to deploy more ships for longer cruises, yielding more wear and tear.