What Can HR Expect From DOD in 2016? The approved FY 2016 budget maintains the status quo. There will be some changes in the force structure but not as great as in past years. ( DD, USS Barry will be moving to Japan, the 1st of 2 planned F/A 18 squadrons will be moving to Lemoore this summer). The USS Ford will be commissioned, moving to Norfolk. USS Lincoln will be finishing up re-fueling and eventually move back to the West coast. Eventually USS Washington will be moving to Newport News for re-fueling. Hopefully DOD will increase funding for ship repair and modernization.
The unknown is the FY 17 budget which should be released in early February. A recent memo from the Secretary of Defense to the Navy required changes to the Navy portion of the budget. The Navy was given explicit guidance “Build Fewer Ships, Spend more on Jet’s”. The December 14th SECDEF memo stated “I have made clear in our discussions, in my budgetary guidance, and in public remarks that our military is first and foremost a warfighting force, and while we seek to deter wars, we must also be prepared to fight and win. This means that overall, the Navy’s strategic future requires focuses more on posture, not only on presence, and more on new capabilities, not only on ship numbers.”The Navy was directed to reduce the number of LCS’s to 40 from 52 and select only one builder. (Will not impact HR, Mayport is the East coast LCS homeport.) Increase the buy number of F-35C to 31, (This could effect the timing of the East Coast EIS for the basing of the F-35C, sooner) increase the number of F/A 18E/F, procure 3 E-2Ds. Modernization of DD’s, warfare upgrade electronic warfare. (work for local repair yards). Did not indicate any increase in the number of ships or squadrons in HR.
Strong guidance—Build advanced capabilities—Close growing gaps in Naval aviation—Ensure sufficient ship capacity.
The guidance will be incorporated in the FY 17 budget. Congress will get the budget and hearings will start in March. How the budget will impact the region is an unknown, until signed hopefully in September.