Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Surface Navy boss sounds readiness alarm

Jan. 15, 2013 - 04:20PM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 15, 2013 - 04:20PM  |  
  • Filed Under

Caught between a straining operations pace and continued budget woes, the surface Navy's top boss warned Tuesday that his force of 167 ships is drifting ever closer to a readiness drop-off.

Vice Adm. Tom Copeman said the surface fleet was "pretty close" to going hollow in an answer to an audience member's question at the Surface Navy Association's annual symposium in Arlington, Va.

"When a combatant commander says a ship's supposed to leave on deployment and it doesn't leave on time for whatever reason, then we know we've probably gotten there," Copeman told an audience of hundreds of officers and industry leaders. "And there's ships right now that aren't doing it."

In a speech that centered on the challenges of shrinking budgets, Copeman warned that the surface Navy may need to sacrifice ships in the coming budget battles to ensure the ones it keeps are fully manned and equipped.

"We're not getting ships through the basic training phase as quickly and easily as we have," the head of Naval Surface Forces said. "We've got amphibs that are getting out of the yards and deploying nine weeks later after extended yard periods. We're cross-decking people like crazy to get ships on deployment, out the door. And what does that do? It allows the ships that are deployed to do their mission, but the ones back home — we can't certify them because we took the people off of that team."

The latest threat is that the surface fleet will lose all of its ship availabilities in the second half of the year — vital overhauls needed to repair ships after deployment. If that happens, Copeman cautioned that deploying ships in the first three quarters of next year may have to leave with degraded capabilities.

As all of these stresses mount on crews, the best people may decide enough's enough and the standards could again begin to slide, Copeman warned.

"It's getting harder and harder for us to look the troops in the eye and say, ‘Hey, here's what you need to do to meet the standard.'"

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Navy Times

This Week's Navy Times

Boosted bonuses
New rules raise payout ceiling to $100K

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
   Last Post: garhkal
        Apr 15, 2014 4:55 PM
   Last Post: Shaken1976
        Apr 15, 2014 5:13 PM
   Last Post: MACHINE666
        Apr 6, 2014 4:23 PM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook