It was in many respects a year of sailing dangerously for the U.S. Navy. Or perhaps “just muddling through” is more apt. Doing more with less, realizing that the impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011 might indeed be real, reducing funding in a flurry of activity come January 2013, while waiting for the other shoe—the sequester—to drop. In short, the Navy was doing the nation’s business while waiting for America’s political leaders to do theirs.
The Navy was buffeted throughout the last year by unremitting global commitments that have increased the operational tempo across the Fleet, while at the same time dealing with dramatically less funding arising from Congress’ inability to pass appropriations bills. The impact of these intersecting issues was evident in the unprecedented decision to postpone deployment of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf. The Navy’s leadership, with Department of Defense approval, determined that accepting some short-term operational risk was better than breaking the overall health of the Fleet.