USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

In coming days, the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and its carrier strike group will deploy to the Middle East to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State — and they’ll do it with the help of parts stripped off of other operational ships.

This was one of the revelations Thursday from Navy operational commanders who testified to lawmakers about the readiness straits service ships and aircraft find themselves in amid maintenance funding shortfalls and the aftermath of sequestration budget cuts.

The commanders testified days after a congressional delegation made a fact-finding trip to Norfolk to speak with officers aboard the Eisenhower and tour other Navy units.

Capt. Scott Robertson, commander of the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy, told members of the readiness and seapower and projection forces subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee that 13 mission-essential parts had been cannibalized from the Normandy while it underwent maintenance to support the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group’s upcoming deployment.

"One of the parts I had to give up was a cable harness from my spy radar, obviously a very critical function for an air defense ship," he said. "Even if I wasn’t in a maintenance phase, I could not possibly surge right now."

Other captains who spoke to the lawmakers testified that cannibalization of parts from operations ships and aircraft was both…

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