US Navy Has No Carrier Dry Docks as Tensions Mount

US Navy Has No Carrier Dry Docks as Tensions Mount

( – As tensions only rise between China, Russia, and the rest of the world, the US government is double-checking its military readiness, especially in terms of its Navy. Part of this involves a major influx of money into the Navy’s shipbuilding budget this fiscal year, although this won’t quickly fix all the issues the branch is facing.

On Thursday, January 26, US military officials told US Naval Institute News that the service must overhaul four dry docks at the Puget Sound Naval base in Bremerton, Washington. The maintenance facility stations are at risk for earthquake damage. Such an event would leave sailors, engineers, maintenance workers, and even the local public vulnerable.

The dry docks will be closed for an estimated 18 to 24 months, but there will be no reduction of the 14,000 staff currently stationed there during this time. This cost corresponds with a $4 billion additional influx of funds into the Navy’s shipbuilding program for the 2023 fiscal year, totaling $31.5 billion. However, according to Defense News, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday emphasized the ship construction industry needs to “pick up the pace” in order to get the ships the military has ordered completed and out to sea.

Right now, multiple companies are working on different ship classes. General Dynamics is building destroyers, followed by oilers after those are completed. Fincantieri Marinette Marine is completing a combat ship program and will then move on to building frigates. Despite all this work, Gilday noted the Navy is “not necessarily getting what we’re paying for.” Money is not the issue, the industry simply cannot produce ships as fast as the government pays for them.

Right now, the Navy tries to purchase two attack submarines a year, but only an average of 1.2 get delivered. Similarly, Congress allowed the branch to order three destroyers, but shipbuilders are only delivering around 1.8 per year. With this slow pace, and the dry docks being out of commission, the Navy is concerned that should a war break out, various naval vessels could be out of commission and unable to be repaired, leaving the fleet without replacements to fill the void.

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