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Surface Navy 2021: US Navy tables possible Aegis Ashore transition to another entity, for now

The US Navy (USN) has postponed a decision to possibly transfer Aegis Ashore operations to another military entity during recent budget discussions but discussions continue about making such a move, said Rear Admiral Paul Schlise, director, USN Surface Warfare Division.

“For the purposes of this past budget cycle, it was just tabled,” Rear Adm Schlise said on 12 January during a panel discussion at the virtual Surface Navy Association 2021 National Symposium, which began on 11 January. “We’ll have to see where the discussion goes.”

From the USN’s point of view, continuing Aegis Ashore operations with sailors takes those personnel off ships and does not contribute to the main naval missions.

“This is not a core navy mission,” Rear Adm Schlise said. “Sailors really belong at sea serving in ships. We’ve got a good number of highly qualified folks serving in those sites. Things that don’t advance our sea control capabilities and our power projection capacity – we’re trying to shed some of those.”

The USN has been talking with Pentagon and other military officials about possibly transferring Aegis Ashore missions outside the navy, he said.

“There has been some discussion with the army,” he noted. “The army has some missile-defence capabilities. They don’t have any experience with that [Aegis Ashore] system. As always, it’s about money. If that were to be considered and approved to transition [Aegis Ashore operations] to another service, who’s going to pay [for the systems and their operations] would be part of the discussion.”

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