Under Secretary Work Comments on His Own Memo Via Aviation Week and Space Technology
The following email was posted recently by the Marine Corps Aviation Association:
All: In this budget environment, we are looking at every single program to figure out how to maintain an affordable and balanced Navy-Marine Corps Team. If we weren’t doing so, everyone would rightly take us to task for lack of strategic sense and thorough planning.
On the other side of the coin, every time word gets out that we are doing what if drills on a particular program, people for and against the program take the opportunity to argue their extreme positions, or to read into the process much more than is there.
So, in the hopes of tamping down breathless charges about “sell outs” or worries about us jettisoning or keeping programs based on parochial positions, let me state for the record:
1) The future for the Department of the Navy is bright, dimmed only by the challenging fiscal environment we face.
2) With more and more of our combat power located in CONUS or on US territory, the stock of the Navy-Marine Corps Team will inevitably and inexorably rise.
3) To fully implement the QDR strategy post-Afghanistan, we need a Navy of 323 ships and a Marine Corps of 186,800 Marines, organized into three MEFs.
4) DoD is now in the process of conducting a Comprehensive Review to determine how to best implement the QDR strategy while accommodating our DoD deficit reduction target of about $460 billion over 10 years. This will require some strategic choices and tradeoffs. Needless to say, given the reduced topline, holding to 323/186,8000 will be exceedingly hard (same is true for the Army and Air Force).
5) If we have any chance of holding to these numbers or keeping as close to them as possible, we must wring savings out of every single program in the DoN…consequently, we are reviewing every research and development line; every MDAP; every non-MDAP program. We are looking hard at our overhead. We are exploring new ways of doing business. If we don’t do so, we will have to cut ships and aircraft and Marines…something no one wants to do.
6) If you re-read Bill Sweetman’s article, and not the headlines, you will see…how shocking!!…that we are reviewing the DoN TACAIR portfolio. Why? Because it consumes a lot of money, and we have a lot less of it than originally planned. The goal of the exercise is simple: “to determine the best-value [TACAIR] alternative, factoring in both cost and capability.”
7) The process is being led by VAdm Arch Architzel (NAVAIR), VAdm Al Myers (Chief of Naval Air Forces), LtGen Guts Robling (Deputy Commandant for Aviation); RAdm Pink Floyd (N88). They report through ASN RDA and DASN Air to me, VCNO, and the ACMC, and ultimately to SecNav, CNO, and CMC.
8) The working group will recommend the mix of F/A-18E/F/Gs, F-35Bs, and F-35Cs that meets warfighter requirements at best cost. The mix will be thoroughly debated within the Department. Navy and Marine equities will be considered and protected. Senior leadership will be intimately involved. A decision will be reached. Life will go on.
9) The only guarantee is this: when all is said and done, the Navy and Marine Corps may look a little different than we projected after the 2010 QDR, but we will still have the best Navy and best Marine Corps in the world.
10) Between now and next February, there will be many reports of what-if drills. I would simply caution everyone that until we submit the PB-13 budget, don’t jump to conclusions. We have a long way to go before we even know what our final budget topline will be. This is going to be a Fall Review like few others. These are challenging but exciting times. In the end, I’m betting that the Navy and Marine Corps team–and both Navy and Marine Corps aviation–will do just fine.
Robert O. Work
Under Secretary of the Navy
I wish to thank you for putting up this post, I saw the link on another site and it adds much needed balance to what is being written