April 22, 2009:
The U.S. Navy has been busy this year, too busy. Anti-piracy patrols, Iraq, Afghanistan and counter-terror operations have all demanded more from the navy than was anticipated. The navy has over a hundred ships at sea, and they are burning more fuel and using up more supplies, parts and services than planned for. So in order to get to the end of fiscal year (September 30), without running out of cash, cuts will have to be made.
So aircraft and ships that are not overseas, are now cutting back on everything, especially fuel consumption. Pilots will use simulators more, to maintain their skills. Short training cruises will be shorter, and more training will be conducted while the ship is tied up in port. There, ships can run simulation software to help sailors train realistically. Some sailors scheduled for transfer to another base, will wait until October (the next fiscal year) to make the move. Maintenance and repairs are being deferred, although this work will eventually have to be done, and some ships may become unfit for sea in the meantime. Meanwhile, the admirals will go to Congress, seeking some extra cash. Given the current economic climate, the admirals are not too optimistic. So plans for belt tightening are going forward.