NORFOLK -- The fallout continues from concern over defense cuts.
Tuesday, the Navy released a list of dozens of “potential actions” it would take, if Congress fails to reach a deal on debt, and the dreaded sequestration process kicks in on March first. Click here to read the Navy's list of possible cuts.
Among the many changes: cancellation of the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group deployment in 2014, cancellation of the Blue Angels’ performances in the third and fourth quarters of this year, including the shows scheduled for this September at N.A.S. Oceana, and deferring repairs to the guided missile destroyers USS Porter, which was badly damaged last year in a collision with a freighter in the Persian Gulf.
Other possible changes include general reductions on ship operations and flight hours, cutting back of the Naval Academy’s midshipmen training program, and cutting Navy civilian employees’ pay by 20 percent via furloughs.
Already, the Navy had announced the cancellation of scheduled maintenance contracts to eleven other warships, imperiling those ships’ material conditions, and job security for the 40,000 people who work for the 250 companies which make up the Virginia Ship Repair Association.
One of those ships, the USS Abraham Lincoln was scheduled to move this week to Newport News Shipbuilding for its scheduled mid-lie overhaul and nuclear refueling. That move got put on hold while haggling continues in Washington over the continuing resolution for the 2013 defense budget.
Consequently, the president of the shipyard’s parent corporation, Huntington Ingalls Industries, said “On March 27th, if there’s not a resolution that allows that ship to start in fiscal year 2013, then I think I will affect our workforce.”
Newport News Shipbuilding is Virginia’s largest industrial employer, with a work force in excess of 21,000 employees. The sequester cuts would sharply reduce military spending further and have big consequences for the region.
A recent Old Dominion University study project Hampton Roads could lose 28,700 over the next three years, if sequestration went forward.
The sequester cuts, totaling $1.2 trillion over the course of a decade, were agreed to in the summer of 2011 in a deal to raise the debt ceiling and were intended to be so unpalatable that the White House and Congress would find a way to avert them by developing an alternate long-term deficit reduction plan.
Half the cuts would be to non-combat military spending while the other half would be to domestic discretionary spending.