U.S. Second Fleet in jeopardy as DOD continues to trim budget

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WVEC.com

Posted on August 24, 2010 at 7:48 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 20 at 2:40 PM

NORFOLK -- The U.S. Second Fleet, which trains and certifies all strike groups before deployment and employs 348 active and reserve military personnel, civilian employees and contractors, is in jeopardy as the Department of Defense continues to trim its budget.

If the Second Fleet were to be shut down, hundreds of jobs could be lost in the Hampton Roads area.

Retired Navy Captain Joe Bouchard says that any potential cost savings would come at a big price.

Captain Bouchard is the former commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk and now a board member of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance.

"I'm concerned that the Department of Defense is scrambling for savings somewhere in its budget."

He says he thinks that the civilian bureaucrats in the Pentagon may not fully understand the operational impact of shutting down certain commands.

The fleet trains and certifies every ship, sailor, and air wing that heads out to sea, with responsibility over 130 ships and submarines primarily in the Atlantic Ocean.

Security, in addition to the hundreds of jobs, could be at risk.

"We don't even want to think about the degradation of the combat readiness of those forces either to deploy overseas or to carry out their homeland defense role," says Captain Bouchard.

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