The next decade is going to see massive cuts to the defense budget – and that’s not neccesarily a bad thing. We’ve had record high budgets due to fighting multiple wars, and it probably makes sense for the budget to go down accordingly.
When cuts are planned poorly, the guys on the pointy end (and their families at home) are the first to feel the pinch, as the Sailors and Marines of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group just discovered. They returned home this week after 323 days away from home – the longest deployment in nearly 40 years. Navy deployments have been getting longer and longer for the last few years, and are showing no signs of stopping – unfortunately, the drawdown in land-wars can actually mean an increase in demand for Navy ships.
The supply of Navy ships is relatively inelastic – which means when demand goes up, the existing ships get stretched to fill the gap. That means less time for maintenance and training and more time away from home.