Stars and Stripes
by Matthew M. Burke
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan -- For the second time in seven months, mechanical or maintenance issues have prevented the USS Essex from meeting a commitment at sea, Navy officials said Wednesday.
The scrapped mission is the latest in a series of problems for Navy ships. More than one-fifth of Navy ships fell short of combat readiness in the past two years, and fewer than half of the service’s deployed combat aircraft are ready for their missions at any given time, according to congressional testimony.
With an ascendant China on the high seas and deep Defense Department budget cuts over the next decade, the Navy is facing “glaring deficiencies that are nothing short of alarming,” U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., chairman of the House Readiness Subcommittee said in July.
“When you have these additional deployments, you sometimes impact the maintenance, or you impact the training, which will impact the maintenance,” he said. “So what we have is one event cascading into another, so we don’t get either of them quite right.”