How Navy budget cuts will hit home in Jacksonville
By Tiffany Griffith
Jacksonville, FL —
Even with the threat of sequestration on the horizon, we're learning about major cuts the Navy is already making to their budget. And projects at Jacksonville bases are on the chopping block.
"So, U.S.S. Farragut, one of our destroyers, was due to have some maintenance done there in Mayport, to the tune of about $4-Million," says Navy Communications Chief John Kirby.
That, along with $135-Million in aircraft maintenance and 10% of personnel at NAS Jax and Naval Station Mayport, are among the $4.6-Billion in cuts the Navy has to make as it operates under their continuing resolution. The hiring of civilians has been frozen, they're curtailing travel, training, and cancelling conferences. They're also limiting administrative expenses. Kirby says all of those funds are replaceable, if they see an appropriations bill by Spring.
But, if sequestration hits in March, Kirby says it would add another $4-Billion in cuts to the Navy. Once in effect, the Navy plans to:
Stop all deployments to the Caribbean and South America, where even recently a Jacksonville special helicopter assisted in an operation that stopped over $400-Million worth of cocaine from entering the United States.
The Navy would also limit European deployments to only those supporting ballistic missile defense missions.
They also plan to reduce the number of ships and aircraft deployed. Reduce days at sea and flying hours across the entire force.
Cease stateside training, flying, steaming and other operations for the majority of ships and aircraft preparing to deploy, unless funded by Fleet Commander's proposed offsets.
Finally, they'll consider the possibility of civilian furloughs of up to 22 days in Fiscal Year 2013 consistent with direction from the Obama Administration.
Kirby stresses that military benefits and health care will not be impacted by budget cuts.