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US Navy realigns budget to find funding for readiness, lethality

20 February 2020
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The US Navy had planned for an early decommissioning of the USS (CVN 75). Now the service intends to refuel the aircraft carrier. Source: US Navy

The US Navy's (USN's) proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget request shifts away funding from less capable platforms in order to free up additional money for use on readiness capabilities and more lethal programmes.

The shift is part of a continued effort to reform USN spending as the service tries to fund its proposed larger fleet in the coming decades. However, USN officials note, the navy will need to find further savings to meet fleet goals.

"For FY (20)21, reform efforts included areas such as the divestiture of less capable legacy platforms," Rear Admiral Randy Crites, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget, said on 10 February during a media briefing following the release of the FY 2021 budget proposal.

Those reform efforts also included realignment and improvements in contracting, improved systems, policy and processes, he noted.

"For the Department of the Navy in ((FY) 20)21 alone, we realigned USD15 billion," he pointed out. "This was a reprioritisation within and across various programs. We captured USD1.4 billion worth of FY (20)21 reform savings, which was realigned to readiness and lethality."

The less-capable platforms being retired early as part of the realignment include four Littoral Combat Ships and a Dock Landing Ship. The US Marine Corps (USMC) is also reducing "systems and programmes no longer supporting future modernisation," such as Air Defense Radar, the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle and Amphibious Assault Vehicles."

The USN has reported about USD166 billion in "reform savings" going back to 2012.

This has helped create increases in the FY 2021 budget request of about 2% for ship maintenance and about 3.6% for ship operations, increasing the amount of time the ships can be under way.

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