GAO Report: Navy Shipyards Plagued By Delays Are Harming Military Readiness
According to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Navy’s four public shipyards had almost 7,500 days of maintenance delays for the vessels that had completion dates between fiscal years 2015 through 2019 – a 919% increase. “The ability of shipyards to complete this maintenance on time directly affects military readiness as maintenance delays reduce the amount of time the aircraft carriers and submarines are available for training and operations,” the report’s authors wrote. The Navy’s four shipyards were delayed for 75 percent — 38 of 51 — of maintenance periods, averaging 113 days late for aircraft carriers and 225 days late for submarines, the report said.
The service launched a Shipyard Performance to Plan initiative in fall 2018 to address some of the issues, but the report said it has made “limited progress.” It also doesn’t include any goals or a monitoring process to fully address the problem, the report said. Without fully developing an action plan, GAO said the shipyards are unlikely to address maintenance delays and will continue to face challenges.
CSIS to Department of Defense: ‘Prepare for a Drawdown Now’
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is out with an analysis of the Pentagon’s FY21 budget request, unpacking major trends and changes in force structure and acquisition programs across the military and defense agencies. The report highlights the growing financial pressures on the Pentagon, which have only been exacerbated by the historic economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The main challenges for the next presidential term of office, regardless of who wins the election, will be to support the economic recovery and reduce the federal deficit to sustainable levels — objectives that are inherently in tension with one another,” the report warns. “The future of the defense budget will depend in no small part on this tug-of-war between economic stimulus and fiscal austerity. If the balance of political favor shifts to austerity, defense is likely to be part of the calculus.”
“Given the trends in the defense budget identified in this report,” it adds, “fiscal austerity will inevitably force DoD to consider difficult strategic choices that it has largely avoided until now. DoD can preserve strategic maneuver space by beginning to prepare for a drawdown now. But the longer these preparations are delayed, the narrower the range options available will become.” Read the full report HERE.
Govini: Despite DOD Efforts to ‘Reshore,’ Chinese Suppliers Have Dramatically Increased
A new report by data firm Govini finds that the number of Chinese companies in the Pentagon’s supply base has increased dramatically since 2010. According to the report, Chinese suppliers totaled 655 in 2019, up 420% from 2010. The number of U.S. companies totaled 2,219, up 97%, according to Govini. The report said Chinese suppliers’ share of critical industries grew to 9% in 2019, up from 6% in 2010.
In an interview with Inside Defense, Govini’s Chief Executive Tara Murphy Dougherty noted that the Pentagon is increasingly focusing on reshoring parts of its supply base and looking to address vulnerabilities and argued that these efforts should be linked with addressing the COVID-19 crisis. “If the department is spending billions of dollars assisting companies that are in the industrial base and are critical suppliers to DOD, they can’t think of the reshoring effort as a parallel engagement,” she said. “My recommendation based on what the data shows would be that the department should be achieving their reshoring goals through the application of the COVID dollars.”