16:17 GMT +319 May 2019
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    US Navy Says It Faces Rough Waters If 2020 Defense Budget Stalls

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    A document submitted to a recent Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee hearing suggests the US Navy may be heading for rough waters in the near future if lawmakers are unable to agree on a defense budget by January 2020.

    The document, which was handed to lawmakers on December 12 and cited by US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer at a recent hearing, indicates that the scheduled maintenance of various ships and aircrafts would be placed on hold in an effort to save funds if they end up slashed by politicians.

    According to Defense News, cuts also mean hiring freezes at shipyards, furloughs, and cutbacks on weapons and aircraft procurements. Although the document failed to give exact details on the matter, it did also indicate that the US Navy's show pilot team, the Blue Angels, would see their 2020 season axed.

    "If we were forced back to a sequestration level, it would be more than just the Blue Angels not doing air shows," US Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said at a recent hearing, the defense site reported.

    "It would be units getting ready to deploy later, it would cause us to look at our force structure, have to make ourselves a smaller force."

    Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran, along with Spencer, also remarked at the hearing that budget cuts would cause setbacks that would ultimately take roughly five years for the force to recover from.

    "The component of time is time you can't get back," Moran said. "So we lose proficiency, we lose expertise, and we have to recover that by skipping generations of people who miss the opportunity during the time when we didn't have the resources available."

    But the doom and gloom isn't set in stone just yet, folks. Without giving out specifics, Lt. Lauren Chatmas, spokesperson for the US Navy, told Defense News that the document outlined cuts that "are just options as we strive to find the best balance to support the defense strategy while also being responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars."

    "This is what the [Program Objective Memorandum-20] process is for — to review all accounts in determining the best balance of investments," Chatmas explained.

    The US Congress has until January 15, 2020 to finalize a budget deal. All military branches have been tasked by the Office of the Secretary of Defense to outline a 2020 budget.

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