A group of House members in coastal states are asking that the Navy move ahead with all third and fourth quarter surface ship maintenance despite omnipresent budget fears at the Defense Department.
The Pentagon had cited sequestration and the continuing resolution as a double whammy that would not only cut funds but hamstring how allocated monies can be used. Operations and maintenance have been expected to feel the worst effects.
Lawmakers argued that with the passage of the FY13 Department of Defense Appropriations as part of the continuing resolution — including the greater spending flexibility the Pentagon sought — maintenance should move forward, for the good of their districts.
“These availabilities are crucial to the long term health and sustainability of the Navy surface fleet and the industry that supports it. We understand the fiscal pressures facing the Navy under sequestration and are looking for clarification of the Navy’s plans now that Congress has passed H.R. 933,” wrote the House Members in a letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Navy CNO Admiral Jonathan Greenert.
“It is our understanding that by alleviating the restrictive nature of a continuing resolution, we would see restoration of the maintenance availabilities that were potentially subject to cancellation.”
Fleet commanders had been directed to notify contractors of the “potential for cancellation, deferral, or de-scoping of the FY13 3rd and 4th quarter surface ship maintenance availabilities.”
“We are concerned the Navy may choose to use some of its transfer latitude granted under the FY13 Department of Defense Appropriations to hedge future consequences of sequestration by going forward with cancellation in whole or part of 3rd and 4th quarter ship maintenance availabilities,” the lawmakers wrote. “This is not an acceptable solution for us or the taxpayers.”
The letter was signed by Reps. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Michael Michaud (D-Maine), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), and Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.).