By Rear Adm. William Lescher
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget
Today the Department of the Navy submitted our FY17 budget request of $165 billion to Congress. Here’s what it means for the Navy and Marine Corps.
In a challenging fiscal environment, this budget provides the investment required to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations at sea; protect America from attack; and preserve America’s strategic influence in key regions of the world.
The FY17 budget request sustains our ability to be forward deployed and continues the rebalance to the Pacific. The budget funds 58 underway days per quarter when deployed, and 24 underway days when not deployed. Ships deployed to the Pacific will increase from 52 today to 65 in 2020.
Included in this budget is a 1.6 percent pay raise and added billets for base security and officer manning. We invest in Sailor 2025, improving how the Navy matches Sailors with jobs in the fleet, and in key quality of life improvements including extended Child Development Center and base gym hours to ensure the Navy attracts, trains, develops and inspires the very best Sailors.
The FY17 budget submission supports the purchase of seven ships in FY17, including two Arleigh Burke class destroyers, two Virginia-class submarines, two Littoral Combat Ships, and one America-class amphibious assault ship. The budget fully funds the Ohio Class Replacement SSBN and grows the Fleet to 308 ships in FY21.
We buy 94 aircraft in FY17. F-35 FYDP production increases by 13 aircraft from the PB16 acquisition plan, accelerating 5th Generation Fighter transition. In combination with the five additional F-18’s in FY16, two in FY17, and 14 in FY18, these investments help to mitigate the strike fighter shortage. The P-8 Poseidon profile reflects our plan to accelerate procurement of one additional P-8 in FY16, and maintains the production plan to complete the buy in FY19. Additionally, this budget increases Tomahawk and SM-6 production and starts procurement of Joint Air to Ground Missile, Long Range Anti-Ship Missile and Longbow Hellfire for the Littoral Combat Ship surface to surface missile module.
In addition to procurement, the FY17 budget targets critical investments in shipyard and aviation depots to reduce maintenance backlogs. We will focus on properly maintaining ships and aircraft to reach their expected service lives, and on supporting a sustainable operational tempo.
In the area of Cyber Resiliency and Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare, the FY17 budget increases funding to continue to overmatch adversaries with targeted investments in both the Consolidated Afloat Network & Enterprise Services program and Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program.
This fiscal environment requires each Service to make hard choices in prioritizing their budget, examining every account to maximize the use of resources. In the FY17 budget, the department is seeking approval from Congress to re-phase the CG modernization plan to extend the service life of these vital Navy assets into the 2040’s.
The Department continues to pressurize military construction in order to meet fiscal constraints, limiting projects to the Department’s most critical needs, and funds facility sustainment at 70 percent Navy and 74 percent Marine Corps.
Innovation and Reform
We are investing to increase the velocity of learning across the fleet through the Ready Relevant Learning initiative, which creates a new way of training our Sailors through mobile, modularized learning and re-engineered content that includes gaming technology and simulated environments. Broader innovation efforts include the OFRP; this budget builds on this year’s work and the first Carrier and Expeditionary Strike Groups to deploy using OFRP.
In unmanned systems, the Navy is fielding systems in all domains to include restructuring the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike program to bring high demand fixed wing capabilities to the Carrier Air Wing in the mid-20’s. This system will provide intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance; limited strike; and tanking. Additionally the Navy is developing both surface and subsurface unmanned systems in this FYDP.
To maintain a focus on developing technology at a pace that will keep us ahead of our adversaries this budget invests in rapid prototyping. This initiative provides a single, streamlined approach to prototyping emerging technologies and engineering innovations to rapidly respond to Fleet needs and priorities. And in FY17, continued focus on improving accountability and auditability ensures every appropriated dollar is tracked from cradle to grave.
Overall, this budget provides the investment required for the Navy and Marine Corps to execute the Department’s Mission Guidance. In a challenging fiscal context, it reflects the best balance of investments across people, presence, readiness and capability. Across the full scope of the request, we emphasized innovation and reform to sustain advantage, accelerate learning and strengthen our team. In making hard choices and allocating risk, the request fields a larger Fleet, a more sustainable deployed Navy and Marine Corps presence, and improved capability.
For more information on the FY17 DON Presidential Budget submission, see at http://www.secnav.navy.mil/fmc/fmb/Pages/Fiscal-Year-2017.aspx.