When the next war begins, America might not be ready or have to sit on the sidelines and watch on as allies are attacked — if not America itself.
Experts warn of U.S. inability to respond in Persian Gulf, Asian Pacific
The U.S. Navy is suffering from an inability to deploy ships to key international conflict zones due to rising maintenance issues on an aging fleet, that is increasingly being sidelined for lengthy repairs, according to military experts and a new government investigation.
Heavy demand on the Navy’s fleet during the past decade has compromised the operational conditions of many ships, forcing military leaders to sideline these vessels for lengthy repairs that experts say will severely limit the Navy’s ability to respond to emerging threats in the Persian Gulf and Asia-Pacific regions.
Critical maintenance was completed on time on just 11 percent of the Navy’s aircraft carriers in 2015, causing these vessels to lose around 181 deployment days, according to the latest projections by the Government Accountability Office.
The situation is worse for surface combatant ships. Maintenance on these vessels was completed on time in just 28 percent of cases, causing the fleet to lose around 391 total deployment days, according to the GAO latest report.
Military experts told the Washington Free Beacon that the “Navy crunch” is not expected to end anytime soon, raising questions about the United States’ ability to respond on multiple fronts in key conflict zones.
“Adm. Michelle Howard testified this year that only one of the three required Carrier Strike Groups are ready to deploy within a month,” Mackenzie Eaglen, a longtime defense adviser and expert in military readiness, told the Free Beacon.
“In an effort to eventually shorten tour lengths and address a growing maintenance backlog, Navy leaders have chosen to take risks in their ability to respond to events immediately in either the Persian Gulf or the Western Pacific—likely the latter given the fight against ISIS,” said Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute’s Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies.
The report further determined that “the public and private shipyards involved in Navy ship maintenance face a number of challenges in completing maintenance on time, including unanticipated work requirements, workforce inexperience, and workload fluctuations,” according to the report.
Additionally, “the Navy has been struggling to accurately define ship maintenance requirements, a step that is key to completing maintenance on time,” the report states.
Full article: Navy Faces Deployment Crisis as Aging Ships Get Sidelined (Washington Free Beacon)