"The effects of sequestration on naval construction will have a significant impact on fleet readiness," said Rear Adm. Raymond Alexander. If this happens, "are we ready to fight a war?" he asked.
Adm Alexander was the guest speaker for the quarterly meeting of the Chattanooga Area Council of the Navy League, which met Tuesday for dinner at the Choo-Choo. Now retired, the Admiral emphasized that his remarks are his own and he is not speaking for the Navy. He speaks, however, from a vast knowledge of naval construction.
During 28 years of Naval service, he held every leadership and command billet within the Naval Construction Force. He served on flag staffs as well as on two joint commands as the deputy engineer. During his 33 year career he made employments to many foreign countries and during the Gulf War was assigned as the forward engineer for the First Marine Expeditionary Force and led Seabee detachments during the ground assault with the First and Second Marine Divisions to liberate Kuwait City.
In Iraq he commanded the First Marine Expeditionary Engineer Group. He retired in 2008. Currently he serves as the executive vice president for engineering and physical security for Professional Project Services in Oak Ridge, Tn.
Sequestration, the result of the 2011 Budget Control Act, mandates a 10% cut across the board for defense and non-defense and for the department of defense means an actual 50% cut or $960 billion over the next nine years.
What this means in cuts for the Navy means all kinds of ships will not be built. For example, there have long been two carriers in the Persian Gulf. This cut will mean there will only be one ship, maintenance will be deferred and all shore facilities for maintenance and repair will be cut by 50 percent. Civilian employees will be laid off or deferred for 22 days a year.
"Dollars and cents cuts are coming," Adm. Alexander said, "and nothing can be done about it. We will have to live with it unless Congress changes and that doesn’t seem likely."