The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps may not be in such a bad position amidst the Defense Department’s looming $487 billion budget reduction over the next ten years, the Navy’s undersecretary said Wednesday.
Robert Work told the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference attendees he views the cuts more in a glass half-full light, according to Federal News Radio.
Work said that reviews the Budget Control Act led to helped prepare the Navy for a bright future if sequestration is not in play.
According to Work, there has not been such an extensive review of the forces since 1954, when President Eisenhower induced efforts to bring national security parties into balance.
This round of force reduction is relatively mild in this respect and marks the fourth such reduction since World War II, Work said.
The Navy’s spending cuts were not split into three equal parts. Work said budget priorities are to shift the Navy’s military focus to the Asia Pacific region.
Work said the Marine and Navy forces are at the center of the national security strategy and that he aims to shape the forces to meet those area-specific demands.
The Pentagon predicts the Navy’s active and reserve units will drop 3.9 percent in size by 2017.
The Marines will shrink by 8.3 percent in that same time, likely as a result of the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, said the budget validates the mission of the Marines and outlines the need for forward deployed forces and crisis response capabilities.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) recently explained that although the Navy is shifting its forces, it is also reducing the number of ships and aircraft it has.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan is on track to reach 300 ships by 2019.
Work said that the ships in use today are much more advanced and are not comparable to ships of previous years.
Work said the Navy has 40 ships currently under contract and believes the branch will be in just as many places, with the same capabilities of previous fleets with 600 ships.