Friday, February 8, 2013

Hard to Believe

This comes from the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Facebook page today.
Dear Families and Friends of TRUMAN,

As you may know, the Secretary of Defense announced yesterday afternoon his decision to delay the deployment of the Harry S. Truman Strike Group, which was scheduled for tomorrow.

At this moment, I do not know when we are set to deploy. However, as we start to receive more information and as dates start to solidify, we’ll be sure to inform your Sailors.

With our uncertain schedule, my focus is on our larger TRUMAN Team – our Sailors and their families. You have all done such a wonderful job preparing for a February deployment in an accelerated work-up cycle. From arranging long-term storage of your vehicle to changing your housing situation, I appreciate all the actions you took in order to ensure you were ready for extended time away from your loved ones.

I understand the impact this sudden change has on all of us, both logistically and emotionally. It is important to recognize the heightened stress levels we may all feel and seek healthy ways to cope with this change. We are committed to taking care of all of our Sailors and their families. For our single Sailors, we are investigating lodging opportunities ashore. Our Family Readiness Group, Ombudsmen and the Fleet and Family Support Center are always great resources available for you.

It is also significant to note that TRUMAN’s mission has not changed. We are still required to provide combat power from the sea and be ready when our nation calls us into action. Although we have been certified to deploy after successfully completing our Composite Training Unit Exercise, taking care of our Sailors and their families will always be a priority that will enable us to fulfill this mission. Additionally, we’ll continue to maintain our war fighting proficiencies through various training opportunities.
In the meantime, your Sailors have additional time off this weekend to take care of personal affairs. Whether it’s reinstating their cell phone plan or simply being with their families, it’s important to take time to decompress and make necessary adjustments.

I thank you so much for your flexibility, which I truly believe contributes to the strength of our Navy. You have certainly endured a few significant changes to our schedule. However, I have seen Team TRUMAN assemble into a well-oiled machine like no other. The nation asked us to be ready, and we are more ready now than ever. The love and support of our families have gotten us through each day, and knowing that you are by our sides provides us the motivation and fighting spirit to accomplish the mission.

I am proud of each and every one of your Sailors. Team TRUMAN is ready to overcome all obstacles, meet all challenges and give ‘em hell!

Sincerely,
Bob

CAPT S. Robert Roth, USN
Commanding Officer
USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75)
All indications are that Captain Roth found out that USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64) were not deploying on Wednesday, the same day the press broke the news to the public. This is the official DoD press release.
“The secretary of defense has delayed the deployment of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), Norfolk, Va., and the USS Gettysburg (CG-64), Mayport, Fla., which were scheduled to depart later this week for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility.

“Facing budget uncertainty -- including a continuing resolution and the looming potential for across-the-board sequestration cuts -- the U.S. Navy made this request to the secretary and he approved. This prudent decision enables the U.S. Navy to maintain these ships to deploy on short notice in the event they are needed to respond to national security contingencies. 

“The United States will continue to maintain a robust military presence in the CENTCOM region, including the current carrier presence and a mix of other assets, to fulfill enduring commitments to our partners.  The U.S. military continues to stand ready to respond to any contingency and to confront any threat in the region.”
So let me get this straight, the US Navy was who asked OSD to cancel the deployment because of the budget, which of course implies the US Navy was completely unprepared for the impact of the Truman deployment to the budget and somehow couldn't get approval until just two days before the aircraft carrier deployed? If that is true, and I am struggling to believe it is, members of Congress should be demanding the head of whatever Admiral in the Navy or individual in OSD screwed over sailors for huge amounts of money. More than 5000 sailors on those ships have each spent hundreds of dollars preparing for a deployment and the Navy, facing well known budget problems, couldn't cancel the deployment before sailors had to spend all that money?

The Navy doesn't like the budget situation, but I reject as an assumption the Navy is so completely unprepared for the budget situation that they would screw 5000 sailors intentionally by waiting to the 11th hour to cancel an aircraft carrier deployment. There must be more going on that we don't know for this to make any sense.

I find it a bit hard to believe Navy leadership was who was pushing for this. If the Navy wanted to cancel a deployment, the Navy would have made the request over a month ago and put a hard deadline in mid January, before sailors started spending their money for storage, canceled cell phone subscriptions, etc. in preparation for the deployment.

So what we are led to believe is the cancellation of the deployment has nothing to do with anything except the budget? There are other events going on though, for example, the Administration is suddenly pushing General Mattis out of CENTCOM (see here, here, and here). I also find it hard to believe that only a few days after the SECDEF nomination hearing the Navy is supposedly pushing to cancel an aircraft carrier deployment, the implication being the Navy is pushing for the Navy to be used less. It has been reported that CENTCOM has reduced the 2 carrier requirement to a 1 carrier requirement in the region, but if I remember correctly, General Mattis was who asked for the 2 carrier requirement to be met.

Based on the DoD press release the Navy is apparently so disorganized and unprepared for the budget challenges facing the Navy, and despite the whole country being aware of the tight budget situation, the Navy needed to wait until more than 5000 sailors had spent their money preparing for deployment - the last possible moment - to cancel an aircraft carrier deployment.

That doesn't really sound believable when you say it out loud. Blaming the budget looks more like a convenient distraction.

At the same time we are seeing Mattis being pushed out, CENTCOM requirements for naval presence suddenly changing, and Hagel on his way in as the new SECDEF the US Navy is supposedly advocating for less US Navy? Seriously, who believes that? Sorry, but that DoD press statement is either total bullshit and spin, or someone in the Navy needs to be fired for being completely unprepared for the budget situation.

Bottom line, if that DoD press statement is true, either OSD or the Navy is led by unprepared, incompetent fools, because that is basically what the press statement is saying if OSD and the Navy didn't react to budget problems until 2 days before an aircraft carrier with 5000 sailors was set to deploy. Yes, I realize I am repeating the same point... because if you say it a few times to yourself and think about it, the budget reasons cited don't make any sense.

Unless people whom I know to be really smart have suddenly become really incompetent, it looks to me like there is a lot more going on than what is being said.

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