Panetta lays out five-year defense budget cut details
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
Fleet Size in Question
billion in reductions required over
the next decade.
The current force level of 11 air-
craft carriers and 10 carrier air wings
will be sustained under the plan,
Panetta said, noting that the Navy
must “retain the most flexible, versa-
tile and technologically advanced
platforms needed for the future.”
No cuts would be made in the cur-
rent level of nine large-deck amphibi-
ous assault ships, the type that
launched strikes last year against
According to the “Defense Budget Priorities and
Choices January 2012” document that was released at
Panetta’s briefing, the next-generation ballistic-missile
submarine, the Ohio Replacement SSBN, will be delayed
two years “without undermining our partnership with
the [United Kingdom]. While this delay will create chal-
lenges in maintaining current at-sea presence require-
ments in the 2030s, we believe the risk can be managed.”
In other delays, the procurement of one Virginia-
class attack submarine (SSN), two Littoral Combat
Ships (LCSs) and eight Joint High Speed Vessels
(JHSVs) will slide to beyond the FYDP.
The slide of the Virginia SSN could complicate the
Navy’s hard-won cost-reduction achievement that
enabled the annual production rate of the subs to
increase to two. Recognizing the importance of maintaining critical maritime access in vital regions of the
world, Panetta said the Navy “will invest in a design
that will allow new Virginia-class submarines to be
modified to carry more cruise missiles and develop an
undersea conventional prompt-strike option.”
The Department of Defense announced forthcoming five-year
budget cuts in advance of the fiscal 2013 budget roll-out.
; Seven cruisers, two amphibs are to be decommissioned early.
; Procurement of several ships will be delayed.
; The Marine Corps will downsize by 20,000 Marines, but remain
above its pre-9/11 level.
Some U.S. Navy and Marine Corps acquisition programs will be affected by slowdowns in procurement during the next five years and
the fleet and the Corps will be downsized, but budget
plans reflect the standing of the services in the new
defense strategy rolled out earlier in January by
President Barack Obama.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta put forth his
budget priorities and offered some detail of the spending cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011
in advance of the Feb. 13 roll-out of details of the fiscal
2013 budget request.
The 2013 Defense Department budget proposes $525.4
billion in spending, plus $88.5 billion in Overseas
Contingency Operations (OCO) spending. The portion of
the base budget for the Department of the Navy (DoN) is
$155.9 billion, $900 million less than appropriated for
2012. The DoN’s OCO request is $14.2 billion, compared
with $15.7 billion allocated for 2012.
The Navy will be reduced by 6,200 Sailors over the
next five years to a level of 319,500 personnel, according to budget documents.
In a briefing to reporters Jan. 26 at the Pentagon,
Panetta described some of the program terminations,
cuts and delays that are designed to meet the target of
$259 billion in defense spending reductions required
in the next five years, the first installment of the $487