Saturday, April 13, 2013

Navy ships at New York's Fleet Week are latest casualties of budget cuts

Seth Wenig / AP file

The USS Iwo Jima passes the Statue of Liberty during Fleet Week in New York on May 25, 2011.

By Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube, NBC News

The annual Fleet Week in New York City may not be canceled this year, but a?U.S. Navy official says?it will be scaled back significantly from recent years because of sequestration.

"It's not going to look like anything we've seen in the past," the official said, adding that the Navy "is not going to be able to support it like we have in the past."


Department of Defense policy about spending during sequestration states that no branch of the armed forces may participate in community relations or outreach events that incur additional cost to the government or that rely on anything other than local assets and personnel.

"DoD policy is clear," the official said, adding that, "we will follow that direction, to include participation in Fleet Weeks."

The official stressed that the Navy will strive to see how it can participate in events with local assets and lower costs. "We're still looking to see what parts of the larger celebrations we can salvage."

Also as part of the cuts, this week the Navy officially canceled remaining performances in 2013 by the Blue Angels precision flying team. The Defense Department has said the budget cuts would force the military to slash ship and aircraft maintenance, curtail training, and give up to 14 days' unpaid leave to most of its 800,000 civilian employees.

Fleet Week is run by the city of New York, not the Navy. It is scheduled to begin May 22.?Last year, 21 ships from the U.S. and its allies participated, but it's unclear how many would appear this time.?

The official said that city officials are disappointed, but understand the constraints.

"We are working with them to see what we can provide," the official said, adding, "but it will not be the five, six, seven big decks (aircraft carriers) and ships that we've had in the past." contributed to this report.


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