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CNO stresses safety in the face of cuts

Feb. 22, 2013 - 05:17PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 22, 2013 - 05:17PM  |  
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FACING FURLOUGHS

About 186,000 Navy personnel face furloughs beginning March 1 if the cuts triggered by sequestration go into effect. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert praised their work in a Feb. 20 memo that was posted Feb. 21 on the CNO’s official blog.
"I have seen firsthand your dedication, pride and unwavering commitment and I appreciate your steadfastness through this challenging time," the post reads, praising the civilian workforce’s efforts as "absolutely essential to our ability to be ready to fight and win today while preparing for tomorrow’s challenges."
Greenert also directed Navy civilians to an online presentation that outlines the furlough process. It’s available at navytimes.com/links/civilian-furloughs.

As the Navy prepares for deep cuts to its training and maintenance budgets, its top officer has a message for all commanders — there's a limit to doing more with less.

"I rely on you to be bold and accountable and, when required, say ‘no' when sailors and units have reached their safe limits," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert wrote in NAVADMIN 041/13, an advanced copy of which was provided to Navy Times.

The message contrasts with what Greenert calls the "can-do" Navy tradition — a tradition which likely won't hold up against the $8.6 billion in budget cuts to Navy operations and maintenance if Congress fails to pass a fiscal 2013 budget and allows the cuts triggered by sequestration to go into effect March 1.

Those readiness cuts include canceling depot maintenance for 22 vessels and for aircraft on six bases, and a reduction in ship operations and flying hours, according to Navy plans released Feb. 15. Exercises would be reduced, deployments to South America would stop, and workups for two carrier strike groups — Ronald Reagan and Carl Vinson — would cease, according to the report.

Other cuts would come to flight training and nondeployment operations. Even midshipmen summer training programs would stop under sequestration planning. And the Navy's civilian workforce, which Greenert lauded in a separate budget-themed message as critical to the fleet's readiness efforts (see box), will face mandatory furloughs beginning March 1.

"We will only execute missions with the proper training, resources and safety measures," Greenert said in the message. "Leaders at all levels need to see the look on the face of the chief, pilot, conning officer or rig captain and intervene when we are pushing too hard."

And while the CNO said his sailors can "rise to the challenge," he asked the fleet's commanders to balance their will to press forward with the constraints imposed by fiscal forces.

"I charge each of you to use your good judgment and integrity, honed through years of experience, to preserve boundaries that will prevent the loss of life, injury, or equipment failure," the message reads.

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