News Column

'Sequestration' Questions Expected to Follow Navy Secretary

Feb 6, 2013

Ed Friedrich

Navy

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus visits Bremerton on Wednesday to speak with sailors and shipyard workers about issues affecting today's Navy. Wonder what's on their minds.

He is sure to address budget problems coming to a head next month. On March 1, across-the-board cuts called sequestration will take affect if Congress doesn't agree on the federal budget deficit. It would cost the Navy $9.6 billion the following seven months, including $90 million for Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

A second major deadline is March 27, when a continuing resolution capping government spending at 2012 levels lapses. Congress needs to either pass a 2013 budget or extend the resolution to the end of the year. Projects could be canceled and pay lost to furloughs.

But Mabus won't be consumed by the impending financial situation, according to his office. He'll celebrate achievements of local sailors, Marines and civilian Department of Defense workers, participate in re-enlistments and take part in a ship-naming ceremony while he's in the Northwest.

"He does quite a bit of traveling around the world because he thinks it's important to have face-to-face conversations with sailors and Marines and civilians, hearing what's on their minds," said Capt. Pamela Kunze, Mabus' spokeswoman. "I think we all recognize the budget's what's on people's minds right now, but to say the trip's only about the budget is not accurate."

Mabus, who last visited the area in April 2010, will host an all-hands call Wednesday at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton gym. He'll jump over to the shipyard to visit sailors on the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Then he'll be off to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island for similar activities in the afternoon.

On Thursday, Mabus will join Gov. Jay Inslee at a ship-naming event on the Seattle waterfront. In April, Mabus announced in April the naming of five Virgina-class fast attack submarines after states, including Washington. The ceremony will take place now, though the boat won't be delivered until 2016. Washington hasn't had a state bear its name since World War II, Kunze said.

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Distributed by MCT Information Services



Source: (c) 2013 the Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, Wash.)


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