Our next President must rebuild the Navy

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), Straits of Magellan, 2004, by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Elizabeth Thompson.

The Government Accountability office has reviewed the Navy’s operations, according to a requirement placed in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Well, that report is in, and it’s looking dismal.

If we want to maintain our strength, we’re going to have to rebuild the Navy.


USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), Straits of Magellan, 2004, by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Elizabeth Thompson.
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), Straits of Magellan, 2004, by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Elizabeth Thompson.

The report came out last week, but it’s hard to talk about serious issues during a Presidential election. The key points:

Maintenance is taking too long. The implementation of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP), a 2014 plan to improve our ability to get ships out to sea, didn’t fix it, either:

In summary, our analysis of Navy data for fiscal years 2011 to 2014 shows that prior to OFRP implementation the majority of maintenance availabilities completed by both the public and private shipyards took more time than scheduled, thereby reducing the time during which ships were available for training and operations. Additionally, we found that the Navy continues to experience delays on maintenance begun under the OFRP.

And worse, these problems could prevent us from employing our world-beating aircraft carriers and support ships:

In November 2014 the Navy began a multi-year process of implementing the OFRP, with the goal of maximizing ship employability while ensuring adequate time for maintenance and training and restoring operational tempo and personnel tempo rates to acceptable levels. Thus far, only a small portion of the fleet has entered an optimized cycle, and as a result it is too early to assess the OFRP’s overall effectiveness. However, the first 3 aircraft carriers to enter the optimized schedule have not completed maintenance tasks on time, a benchmark that is crucial to meeting the Navy’s employability goals. Further, of the 83 cruisers and destroyers, only 15 have completed a maintenance availability under OFRP.

The OFRP isn’t working. Our carriers, cruisers, and destroyers aren’t being kept in shape. The next President must rebuild these ships, get them at sea, and make sure the US Navy is the global force for peace and prosperity it has been for decades.