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US Government Fiscal Year 2013 Budget

The USS Independence (LCS-2) underway in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. (Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo by Trevor Welsh, mass communications specialist 2nd-class

While the U.S. economy limps along to a slow recovery and has successfully dodged a possible double dip recession, the federal government still faces concerns over a growing deficit, which is on track to pass the $1 trillion mark for the fourth year in a row after hitting $198.2 billion in March, an all-time high for the month.

Neither Congress nor the Senate seem likely to agree on what policies for the fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget request will best reduce the deficit, especially during an election year, leading many in Washington, D.C., to expect more stalling in the process and potentially additional continuing resolutions from Congress later this year.

The following article outlines the White House's proposed FY 2013 budget, released in February, with a specific focus on ocean-related government programs.

Navy Budget
The U.S. Navy's FY 2013 budget is $155.9 billion, which is a $1.4 billion decrease from FY 2012, as well as $9.5 billion below the planned FY 2013 total included in the FY 2012 budget.

The budget allots $49.9 billion for operations and maintenance, $42.5 billion for procurement, $16.9 billion for research and development, $2.4 billion for infrastructure, $14.2 billion for overseas contingency operations and $44.2 billion for military personnel. Military basic pay in general would increase by 1.7 percent.

The future years defense plan (FYDP) would undergo $58 billion in cuts. The Navy's fleet size would decrease to 280 ships by the end of the FYDP. Deployable battle vessels would be reduced to 284 ships, including 11 aircraft carriers, 31 large amphibious ships, four guided-missile submarines and 55 nuclear-powered attack submarines. Seven Ticonderoga-class cruisers would be decommissioned over FY 2013 and FY 2014 to lower fleet operating costs, and procurement and installation of combat systems.

In his testimony for a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing in March, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said, 'Despite fiscal challenges and having to decommission seven ships, our shipbuilding plan will enable us to maintain the same size fleet at the end of the five-year budget cycle that we have today, and before the end of the decade, we will once again reach a 300-ship fleet.'

Procurement funds would allow for 10 new-construction ships in FY 2013: one CVN, two attack submarines (SSNs), two DDG 51s, one joint high-speed vessel (JHSV) and four littoral combat (LCS) ships. The budget would fund 41 ships across the FYDP. Virginia-class procurement would be reduced from 10 to nine SSNs. Development funding would also be cut for the Ohio-class replacement program.

The budget would continue to fund the development of sea-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems and other maritime capabilities, such as Fire Scout, small tactical unmanned air system (STUAS) and broad area maritime surveillance (BAMS).

Aircraft procurement would be funded for 192 airframes in FY 2013 and 765 airframes across the FYDP. There would be decreased aviation quantities for F-35 B/C, C-40A, KC-130J, P-8A, MV-22B, MH-60R and E-2D aircraft.

The budget would lay the foundation for increased Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) in various locations, most notably in Rota, Spain. Resources would be alloted to forward station LCS in Singapore and patrol craft in Bahrain.

Fuel costs are another concern for the Navy. Mabus argued during the March Senate hearing that shifting toward renewable energy sources would reduce expenses. 'This is not about choosing either ships or alternative fuels, this is about building ships and using alternative fuels.'

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