Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert answers questions during an all-hands call aboard the destroyer USS Halsey in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Tuesday. Greenert's 'navigation plan' for the 2014-2018 budget cycle includes multiple references to adjustments that could be triggered by budget cuts. (MCC Julianne F. Metzger / Navy)
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The Navy’s top officer released his “navigation plan” Aug. 16, which links the Navy’s 2014-2018 budget proposal to its goals for the near future — and stresses the uncertainty brought about by a budget in flux.
Fiscal uncertainty “will challenge our ability to sustain some of the warfighting investments, forward presence and readiness described below,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert wrote in the three-page document. The Navy’s plans could change, Greenert said, if Congress passes a continuing resolution instead of a budget, or if mandated across-the-board cuts triggered by sequestration continue.
Still, the Navy “will continue to operate forward with ready forces, where it matters, when it matters,” he wrote.
Among the highlights:
■ A commitment to keeping a carrier strike group and an amphibious ready group in both the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, regardless of sequestration.
■ Increased forward deployment overall, including a buildup to a 60-ship presence in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020.
■ Support of the Marine Corps’ expanded footprint in Australia “by establishing a fifth Amphibious Ready Group in the Pacific by FY2018.”
■ Keep acquisition plans on track, including the delivery of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford by 2015, the modernization of carrier air wings, the fielding of 20 more E/A-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft and the construction of 10 attack submarines.
■ Hire 900 sailors and 1,600 civilian workers over the next few years to improve readiness and “enhance our public shipyard capacity,” respectively.
The document also mentions the fleet’s “premium on readiness” in the face of budget concerns, but says “to reduce costs, we will explore options to adjust the readiness of non-deployed forces."