The U.S. Navy announced Friday it will delay refueling the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln due to military budget cuts and the “uncertain fiscal environment due to the ongoing legislative struggle.”
The U.S. Naval Institute News quoted the Navy as saying the Lincoln was to begin a “4-year refueling and complex overhaul” but had to delay the work “due to uncertainty in the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations bill, both in the timing and funding level available for the first full year of the contract.”
U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, the chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower subcommittee, issued a statement saying the delay was “another example of how these reckless and irresponsible defense cuts in Washington will have a long-term impact on the Navy’s ability to perform its missions. Not only will the Lincoln be delayed in returning to the Fleet, but this decision will also affect the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) defueling, the USS George Washington (CVN-73) RCOH, and future carrier readiness.”
“Canceling and deferring maintenance creates a significant backlog of deferred maintenance and affects future year schedules and cost, as well as future readiness,” Navy spokesman Lt. Courtney Hillson told the institute news service. “The fiscal uncertainty created by not having an appropriations bill — and the measures we are forced to take as a result, place significant stress on an already strained force and undermines the stability of a fragile industrial base.”
According to the article, Navy documents showed that “under the current Continuing Resolution (CR), the Navy is $1.5 billion short on its accounts. Combined with coming sequestration in March the number grows to $9 billon for [Fiscal Year] 2013.”
For now, the Navy said, the Lincoln “will remain at Norfolk Naval Base where the ships force personnel will continue to conduct routine maintenance until sufficient funding is received for the initial execution of the [refueling and complex overhaul].”
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