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Military Capabilities

US Navy faces headwinds as it struggles to maintain its fleet

17 December 2018

The US Navy (USN) is struggling to properly maintain its fleet because of a shortage of space in its shipyards, the spectre of a possible sequester, and the likely future effects of climate change, USN and government watchdog officials have told US lawmakers.

"Completing maintenance on time has proven to be a wicked problem," John Pendleton, director of defence capabilities and management in the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), testified on 12 December before a joint hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee's seapower and readiness subcommittees.

"Since 2012 the navy's lost more than 27,000 days of ship and submarine availability due to delays getting in and out of maintenance," he testified, adding that 2018 "was particularly challenging, with the equivalent of 17 ships and subs not available because they were waiting to get into or out of maintenance".

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