The Navy is revisiting its decision to shift a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) from Norfolk, Va., to Naval Station Mayport, Fla., in response to the urgent need to trim defense spending.
“Within the context of the ongoing Department of Defense strategic and budget reviews, the size of the fiscal adjustments compels us to take a comprehensive strategic review, examining every program element, including the funding required to homeport a CVN in Mayport,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert told the Hampton Roads’ congressional delegation last month.
The Navy has said the move, estimated to have a one-time cost of $588 million, is needed to protect the East Coast carrier fleet from a natural disaster or terrorist attack. The Navy plans to complete the move by 2019.
At the same time, Greenert reaffirmed the justification for the move. “From a strategic standpoint, the rationale supporting the decision to disperse our East Coast carrier fleet remains sound,” he stated.
Lawmakers from Hampton Roads and Mayport differed over the letter’s significance.
“In such an age of budget austerity, the Navy would be wise to reverse its decision to build an expensive and redundant CVN homeport in Mayport,” said Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.
Florida Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R) pointed out that a reevaluation of the Navy’s decision does not indicate the Navy has changed its mind, reported the Daily Press. “No program, project or funding line should be exempt from the Navy’s annual review, especially at a time when we are asking military services to do more with less,” Crenshaw said.