As President Donald Trump heats up our international relations with his uncompromising rhetoric, a new report shows that much of our fighting capability has been put into storage. At the center of the report is the Navy’s F-18.
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CNN detailed the potential calamity. They found that many of the planes in the Navy’s arsenal are physically unable to fly, mainly due to lack of maintenance.
There’s currently no money on the table to remedy the situation, either.
“For a variety of reasons, our shipyards and aviation depots are struggling to get our ships and airplanes through maintenance periods on time,” Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran informed the House Armed Services Committee last week.
He admitted that the number of grounded Hornets was “double where we should be.” He put specific numbers on the problem. 62% of the Navy’s F/A 18s and 53% of all Naval aircraft are sitting firmly on the ground.
While many of the critics of our deepening readiness crisis are pointing fingers at Trump’s predecessor, others see this as an ongoing issue.
CNN spoke with Peter Singer, a strategist for the Washington-based New America Foundation. “The readiness problems are a culmination of a series of decisions to keep kicking the can down the road,” Singer said, “from Congress’s budget issues to the Pentagon assuming there would be a new replacement jet by now.”
Democratic Rep. Adam Smith of Washington blames decades of war. “The budget caps imposed on military and nonmilitary spending in the Budget Control Act have degraded our military readiness,” Smith said. This reduced spending is “compounded by over a decade of war.”
Is there hope for a rapid turnaround? Trump’s supporters believe so. And the appointment of a universally acknowledged military mastermind to the position of Secretary of Defense has many breathing easy.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis has promised to address this issue. He plans on increasing personnel, spending, and combat readiness across the board.