The Navy will not begin the planned refueling and complex overhaul of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in Newport News next week due to budget constraints, according to Congressmen Randy Forbes and Bobby Scott
The delay in the ship’s midlife Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) will have a ripple effect on the rest of the carriers in the fleet.
The Lincoln moved from Washington State to Norfolk in August to prepare for the multi-year RCOH.
Congressman Scott blasted the harm the impending budget sequestration is already doing to the Hampton Roads economy: “… It is beyond absurd that we were able to find $3.9 trillion to permanently extend most of the Bush-era tax cuts in the fiscal cliff deal without also finding $1 trillion to turn off the sequester. The men and women who serve our nation in uniform deserve better than this. The men and women at Newport News Shipbuilding, who build, repair, and maintain the most advanced naval fleet in the world, deserve better than this.”
Congressman Forbes released the following statement on the Navy’s announcement:
“Today’s announcement that the Navy will not begin the RCOH of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) is yet another example of how these reckless and irresponsible defense cuts in Washington will have a long-term impact on the Navy’s ability to perform its missions. Not only will the Lincoln be delayed in returning to the fleet, but this decision will also affect the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) defueling, the USS George Washington (CVN 73) RCOH, and future carrier readiness. This administration has cut our budgets to the bone and this announcement underscores that when we come to a bump in the road, like this current budget delay, or encounter a crisis on another part of the globe, our military now lacks the reserve capacity to meet our National Security requirements.
Furthermore, this reduction would significantly impact thousands of skilled shipyard workers, who have labored to develop their skills and will represent a blow to the future capabilities of Newport News to deliver timely and cost effective ships to the fleet.
For the past two years, I have warned about these very effects of further defense cuts and I will continue to work to find solutions to these unacceptable degradations of America’s military power. The world will be a more dangerous place with a United States military unable to support U.S. interests.”