April 2, 2005

Navy cancels carrier overhaul

A release from the Chief of Naval Information says the Navy cancelled the FY95 Complex Overhaul (COH) for USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) April 1. Resulting from this decision, says the statement, the homeport shift from Mayport, Fla., to Norfolk, Va., will not occur.

Kennedy’s Complex Overhaul (COH) was estimated to take more than 15 months. Given the requirement to present a balanced program and under the current fiscal environment, continues the statement. "Navy Leadership feels the decision to cancel the COH will free resources for other priorities."

The statement says the "final decision on the ship’s decommissioning and inactivation status is still pending."

In fact, many Navy watchers think that, so far as the Administration is concerned, the decision to mothball the carrier was effectively made at least as long ago as December 23, 2004 when Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz approved an internal Department of Defense (DOD) budget-planning document, called Program Budget Decision (PBD) 753 that sets forth a number of significant adjustments to the FY2006 budget including retiring the conventionally powered Kennedy (CV-67) and thus cutting the size of the carrier force from 12 to 11.

The decision to cut the carrier force faces significant Congressional opposition. Many Congressional critics of the plan will undoubtedly see the decision to cancel the ship's overhaul as part of a series of maneuvers to retire the carrier before Congress can legislate to save it.

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