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Navy secretary: Budget will bring ‘hard choices’

Apr. 10, 2013 - 04:21PM   |  
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Cutting from the edges is no longer enough.

In this time of tight budgets, sailors and other Navy personnel must be flexible and look for completely new ways of doing things, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Wednesday at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space symposium outside Washington, D.C.

The president’s proposed budget allows the Navy to make “informed, but hard choices” over 10 years, Mabus said. He contrasted that with sequestration, which requires across-the-board, immediate cuts that limit the Navy’s ability to prioritize.

Aside from stressing budgetary flexibility, highlights of Mabus’ speech included:

• Diverse officer corps: Mabus said he’s seen greater diversity in applications to the Naval Academy, ROTC and Officer Candidate School. He said the creation of ROTC programs at new schools has been a key part to this effort, which will give the Navy different perspectives on future challenges.

• Green energy. Exploring alternative forms of energy continues to be a priority for Mabus, who said it will “make us better war fighters.” He pointed to the service’s reliance on oil as an operational liability.

• America’s “away team.” Mabus reaffirmed the service’s plan to forward-deploy four destroyers in Spain, first announced by the secretary in February 2012.

“Forward basing these four will take the place of 10 ships if we were rotationally deploying them from the United States.,” Mabus said of the destroyer plan.

The Navy also plans to forward-deploy four littoral combat ships in Singapore.

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