When the federal government failed to stop the budget sequester enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011, Navy leaders assessed
the potential impact of a 10 percent across-the-board cut
in fiscal 2013. The fiscal year ended on Sept. 30, and the
record shows that management by the Navy’s aviation
enterprise at many levels significantly mitigated the negative effects of the sequester and enabled the naval aviation community to avoid drastic cuts in readiness.
In a Sept. 5 address to the American Enterprise
Institute in Washington, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert,
chief of naval operations (CNO), warned of the potential
effects of a continued sequestration in 2014, saying,
“We’ll probably lose about 25 aircraft [in procurement].”
He also said that with a sequestration in 2014,
“about 190 aircraft overhauls will have to be canceled.
In 2013, 90 aircraft overhauls were canceled.”
The cancellation of aircraft and engine overhauls
was, in part, because of the furlough of civilian work-
ers in the Fleet Readiness Centers.
“Based on an 11-day furlough, the impact was
expected to be significant as Fleet Readiness Centers
[FRCs] saw significantly reduced overtime, elimina-
tion of overnight shifts and reduction in contractor
support,” said Gary Younger, spokesman for com-
mander, Fleet Readiness Centers.
“This had a potentially significant
adverse impact on naval and Ma-
rine Corps aircraft, engine and
“Given the curtailment of fur-
loughs for the remainder of the fis-
cal year, FRC managers and supervi-
sors are still assessing the impact,”
he said. “Curtailing the furlough
does not automatically mean FRC
production will revert to pre-
“We’re getting a backlog that is
concerning,” Greenert said. “If we
restored the budget after ’ 14 and say, ‘OK, you’ve got
full-up operations and maintenance budget,’ it’ll still
take about five years to get that backlog in aircraft
With the sequestration cuts to federal budgets having
gone into effect March 1, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus
announced on March 2 a series of actions that included
reduced operations for carrier air wings, termination of
some ship deployments and renegotiation of contracts.
Mabus announced that the Navy would “shut
down” Carrier Air Wing (CVW) Two in April and “
initiate the preparations to gradually stand down flying in
at least three additional air wings, with two more
wings being reduced to minimum safe flying levels by
the end of the year.”
When the continuing resolution was passed in March,
“the cuts were limited in terms of sequestration” and the
need to shut down air wings was lifted, said Capt. Ryan
Scholl, force readiness officer for commander, Naval Air
Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “The ‘Air Boss’ [commander,
Naval Air Forces], inside of the CNO’s tenets of
‘Warfighting First, Operating Forward and Be Ready,’
fought for ‘tactical hard deck’ funding,” meaning funding
Naval aviation mitigates the degradation of readiness from sequestration
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
Tactical Hard Deck
The naval aviation community was able to reduce the effects of
sequestration in 2013 and meet its warfighting and forward-presence commitments.
n Shutdown of carrier air wings was avoided, with only two reduced to minimum flight hours.
n Training of air crews was sustained and simulator use maximized.
n Some aircraft and engine procurement and overhauls, however, were affected by budget cuts.