Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sequestration: Navy Orders Cuts to Begin; Thousands to Be Fired

( Navy flag officers and top executives were told Thursday to begin cutting expenses -- laying off thousands of temporary civilian workers, reducing base operations and preparing to cancel maintenance work on more than two dozen ships and hundreds of aircraft.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, directed the reductions in a memorandum sent to senior Navy officials. The cuts are driven by uncertainty over how much a divided Congress and the White House might approve for the Pentagon's 2013 budget.

"We are making the following reductions, starting now, to ensure we can fund ongoing deployments and other mission-critical activities," the memo said. [...]

The cuts include:

-- Plans to cancel maintenance for about 30 Navy ships at private shipyards between April and September.

-- Plans to cancel depot maintenance for about 250 aircraft between April and September.

-- Terminations of temporary civilian employees and a civilian hiring freeze. This will reduce the shipyards' workforce by more than 3,000 people.

-- Reductions in base spending and plans to cancel most repairs and upgrades of piers, runways, buildings and other facilities.

Private ship-repair operators said last week they were already feeling the effects of the cutbacks, noting that new repair contracts aren't being approved.

"This is a big deal for all those yards here that have been hiring," said Craig Quigley, executive director of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance. "They have been investing.... They have been doing advance purchases. This completely pulls the rug out from under them."