Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert wrote that he supports the strategic rationale behind moving a carrier out Norfolk, Va., but that the current budget crunch will cause officials to reassess the move. (MC2 Tommy Gilligan / Navy)
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The Navy is reconsidering its plan to move an aircraft carrier from Norfolk, Va., to Mayport, Fla., according to a letter from the Navy's top officer.
The Navy is upgrading Naval Station Mayport for the expected arrival of a nuclear-powered carrier in 2019. The base has been without a carrier since 2007, when the conventionally powered John F. Kennedy was decommissioned.
But the Navy's leadership will give the move another look, according to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert, who responded Oct. 21 to a letter from Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., and signed by the rest of the Virginia congressional delegation.
Greenert wrote that he still supports the strategic rationale behind moving a carrier out of Norfolk, but that the current budget crunch will cause officials to reassess the move.
"Within the context of the ongoing Department of Defense strategic and budget reviews, the size of the fiscal adjustments compels us to take a comprehensive strategic review, examining every program element, including the funding required to homeport a CVN in Mayport," Greenert wrote in his response to Forbes' Sept. 23 letter. A copy of http://militarytimes.com/static/projects/pages/greenert-mayport-response.pdf">Greenert's letter was posted online by Forbes' office.
Forbes' letter said the cost of making Mayport a nuclear-capable home port — estimated at $500 million to $1 billion, can't be justified while the Navy struggles to keep its ships fit to fight and works toward the long-term goal of sustaining a 313-ship fleet.