Navy: EB, sub base contracts facing ax unless Congress acts on budget

Groton - The Navy plans to cancel a $45 million repair job at Electric Boat and two demolition projects at the Naval Submarine Base unless Congress agrees on a new budget.

And if Congress does not act before March to avoid automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, the Navy will delay repairs to the Groton-based USS Miami and cancel several attack submarine deployments, the Navy said Friday.

Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, the chief of naval operations, released details on how each region would be impacted if the government continues to operate on a continuing resolution that funds spending at last year's levels, as well as on what the more drastic cuts would be if sequestration occurs.

The Navy faces a $4.6 billion shortfall for the year in its operation and maintenance account.

The continuing resolution expires March 27, and Congress could extend it for the rest of the fiscal year.

To save $197 million in the Northeast because of the continuing resolution, the Navy would cancel maintenance work, cut 1,121 temporary workers, implement a civilian hiring freeze and give bases 10 percent less money for upkeep and half as much to sustain their facilities, among other steps.

Thirty demolition projects would be canceled across the service, the Navy said, including two in Groton worth $13 million.

One submarine would not go to the New London area for $45 million in repairs in late 2013, the Navy said. The Navy did not identify the submarine, but the USS Providence (SSN 719) is scheduled to go to EB later this year.

The Miami (SSN 755), which was severely damaged in a fire at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, last May, is staying at the shipyard for repairs. Because the Miami is staying in Maine, the Providence, which was scheduled to be repaired at the shipyard, is now supposed to go to EB.

The Navy awarded a $94 million contract to EB in September to begin the repairs on the Miami. In the event of sequestration, the Navy said it would defer repairs to the Miami to save $294 million and to the Los Angeles-class submarine USS Montpelier and a destroyer to save an additional $166 million.

The Navy said it would stop all deployments to the Caribbean and South America, limit deployments to Europe and reduce the number of ships and planes that are deployed, if sequestration occurs.

Stateside training for the majority of ships and planes preparing to deploy would also stop, and most civilians who work for the Navy would be furloughed for up to 22 work days.

The reductions, which are reversible, are scheduled to continue until a spending bill is passed or Congress allows the Navy to reprogram money.

j.mcdermott@theday.com

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