House Armed Services Chairman
Ike Skelton, D-Mo., likewise said he
is “absolutely” concerned about
procurement accounts, but stressed
the need for a bigger Army and
Senate Budget Chairman Kent
Conrad, D-N.D., echoed Spratt’s
comments, stating that the country
must grow the Marine Corps and
Increasing both personnel and
procurement dollars could be difficult in an era of fiscal belt-tightening,
with lawmakers intent on getting the
burgeoning federal deficit under control.
However, one defense analyst
stressed that the Defense Department — whose accounts exceed
$600 billion in fiscal 2007, including wartime supplemental spending — will likely be spared making
many difficult decisions on
weapons systems, at least while the
country is at war.
“If we can’t find enough in that
budget to buy the equipment we
need, shame on them,” said Gordon
Adams, former associate director of
national security programs at the
White House’s Office of Management and Budget. “It’s like worrying
about ghosts in the attic.”
“The question is, how do we describe the role of the Navy in
an expeditionary age when there’s no compelling naval threat?”
Robert O. Work
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
On the challenges ahead for Navy leaders in developing a new national maritime
“I think the message that we are sending to everyone, not
just Iran, is that the United States is an enduring presence
in this part of the world. We have been here for a long time.
We will be here for a long time, and everybody needs to
remember that — both our friends and those who might
consider themselves our adversaries.”
Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
Speaking to reporters about whether a projected naval buildup in the Persian
Gulf was meant to discourage provocative acts by Iran
For the Navy and Marine Corps,
that would mean $247 million for
base closures this year, compared
with the $690 million requested by
the Bush administration to continue efforts to shutter and realign
bases in 2007.
“We will have to delay an estimated $382 million of BRAC (Base
Realignment and Closure) construction and $61 million in civilian personnel moves, reductions
and hiring actions, primarily for
BRAC actions in New Orleans and
Southern California, until funding
becomes available,” Navy and
Marine Corps leaders wrote to lawmakers in late December.
Aside from base closures, the
Department of the Navy also would
have to stall 44 construction projects
in 11 states and four overseas locations — the request for which totaled
$857 million — and delay numerous
housing projects around the country.
Congress must pass the continuing resolution by Feb. 15. Several
Republican senators have sponsored
legislation that would appropriate
funding for all military construction
projects authorized in the fiscal
2007 defense authorization bill.
Navy, Marines Lobby
To Save BRAC Funds
Senior Navy and Marine Corps officials are urging congressional leaders to add more than $1 billion to a
sprawling, long-term continuing
resolution to pay for time-sensitive
base closures, as well as other military construction and quality of life
projects this fiscal year.
The last Congress adjourned in
December before passing the fiscal
2007 military construction spending bill and several other appropriations measures, moving Democratic leaders to lump those bills
into a continuing resolution that
would fund those activities at last
The Coast Guard is working on a
major reorganization of the service,
according to Vice Adm. D. Brian
Peterman, Atlantic Area commander.
The service this month is expected to release a charter for the “
pre-decisional reorganization” that will
involve the creation of two three-star field positions — an operational commander and readiness
commander — as well as the elimination of the post of chief of staff.
Additionally, the vice commandant,
Vice Adm. Vivian S. Crea, will
become the chief of operations.
The service has also moved Rear
Adm. Gary T. Blore from his position as Deepwater program executive officer to a new post as acquisitions chief for the Coast Guard.
His replacement is Ronald J.
Rábago, former director of personnel management.