NORFOLK --The budget impasse is affecting America's war on drugs.
The USS Kauffman may or may not be going on deployment later this year.
The Navy says the Norfolk-based guided missile frigate is one of six ships which might not deploy as originally scheduled because of sequestration and the debate in Congress over the continuing resolution for fiscal year 2012 funding.
However, the Navy told 13News Wednesday that no final decision about the Kauffman has been made and Navy leaders remain hopeful that lawmakers can resolve the funding issues. So, for now, Kauffman’s crew has been ordered to continue training and preparing as if it is going to deploy.
The Kauffman is scheduled to participate in Operation Martillo, the international counter-narcotics mission in the Caribbean Sea, and in the waters off Central and South America. According to U.S. Southern Command, Operation Martillo in 2011 was successful in the disruption of 119 metric tons of cocaine with a wholesale value of $2.35 billion.
In a statement to 13News, Naval Surface Force Atlantic Public Affairs Officer CDR Bill urban said, "As the Secretary of the Navy stated, we are preparing to cancel or defer up to six surface ship deployments due to budget limitations imposed by sequestration and a full year continuing resolution. USS Kauffman's deployment is one those deployments that could be cancelled. However, a final decision has not been made. All such decisions will be made in an operationally timely manner, and are designed to be reversible where possible. At present time, USS Kauffman is still scheduled to deploy, and the crew is making preparations for that end.”