WASHINGTON - Rebuilding readiness for the Navy and Marine Corps will take time and dedication according to testimony by a government watchdog before lawmakers last month.
Since 2015, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office has made 45 recommendations to improve readiness in the Navy and Marine Corps.
Three areas are of particular concern to readiness in the testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Service subcommittees on Seapower and Readiness and Management Support.
The first area is shortfalls in manpower and gaps in experience leading to higher workloads for Sailors. The GAO found these shortfalls are likely to continue through at least fiscal year 2021.
Also concerning are maintenance delays that have kept ships and submarines from operating as normal. Since FY2012, only 30% of ship maintenance has been completed on time, leading to thousands of days of ships being unavailable for training or missions.
The third area the GAO has highlighted is limited aircraft availability for both the Navy and the Marine Corps. That includes the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that has not met availability goals in part due to shortages of parts.
The GAO found that the Navy and Marine Corps have taken the first steps to rebuild readiness, but the challenges ahead will require "sustained attention" for many more years.