National Security

Less Than Half Of Navy Aircraft Are Ready To Fly, Says Top Navy Officer

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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A lack of federal funding has effectively grounded more than half of the Navy’s aircraft, Adm. William Moran warned Congress Monday.

Moran, the vice chief of naval operations, testified to the House Committee on Armed Services during a hearing on military readiness. He was joined by the vice chiefs of staff from the Marine Corps, Air Force and Army. Federal defense spending caps resulting from former President Barack Obama’s Budget Control Act of 2011 were found to be a major reason all the services were suffering from a severe lack of readiness.

Moran told the committee a majority of Navy aircraft are grounded awaiting maintenance and spare parts. The Navy’s F/A-18 fighter jets, a mainstay of the fleet, are grounded at an even higher rate.

The problem is leading to a lack of readiness that could put U.S. interests at risk.

“For a variety of reasons, our shipyards and aviation depots are struggling to get our ships and airplanes through maintenance periods on time,” said Moran in his statement. “In turn, these delays directly impact the time sailors have to train and hone their skills prior to deployment.”

Moran noted that he sees a “tale of two navies,” one which is deployed and ready to fight, and another back home which is unable to properly prepare itself.

A lack of deployable F/A-18s is particularly worriesome, considering these fighters have been consistently deployed for years in various operations, including the ongoing operation against Islamic State.

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