Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Delayed Maintenance Threatens Navy's Ability to Meet Missions

After years of long and repeated deployments to the Middle East, the Navy's fleet of warships is behind on maintenance, possibly threatening the service's ability to meet future missions overseas.
That's according to a report released Monday by the Government Accountability Office, which found that the Navy bypassed some ship maintenance over the past 15 years to keep pace with the demands of multiple wars.
That's led to a backlog in work needed to keep the fleet going.
"These decisions have reduced the predictability of ship deployments for sailors and for the ship repair industrial base," the report said. "They have also resulted in declining ship conditions across the fleet and have increased the amount of time that ships require to complete maintenance in the shipyards."
The Navy has long been aware of the brewing problem. In 2014, it implemented a new training and maintenance cycle, starting with aircraft carriers, designed to ease the burden on its sailors and ships.
The strategy, known as the Optimized Fleet Response Plan, deploys ships less frequently -- once every 36 months instead of once every 32 months. The plan makes seven-month deployments the new standard, as opposed to six-month cruises that often stretched to eight months or longer. It also leaves more time for maintenance.
But the plan won't work if the Navy can't accurately predict how much work ships need or how long they'll need to spend in shipyards between deployments. more