The Navy and Marine Corps have some readiness challenges, but both services are taking steps to address them, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer and a senior Government Accountability Office official told Senators today.
Spencer and John H. Pendleton, GAO’s director of defense capabilities and management, testified at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s sea power and readiness and management support subcommittees.
In sum, Pendleton said, the readiness issues were mostly related to a high operations tempo, budgetary shortfalls in previous years and an aging and shrinking fleet of ships, submarines and aircraft. His assessment, he told the senators, is based on numerous visits his team made to naval installations and to the fleet at sea.
Spencer detailed several corrective actions, including:
— Using commercial best practices to increase efficiency and flow in maintenance facilities to return ships, subs and planes back to the fleet as quickly as possible.
— Replacing aging systems by accelerated acquisitions for several key items, including the next-generation frigate, the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueling system, Surface Navy Laser Weapons Systems and Standard Missile 6, Block 1B, while investing further in advanced tactical munitions including tactical Tomahawk missiles, long-range…