The chief of U.S. Navy operations has directed top officers to begin implementing budget cuts, including laying off thousands of temporary employees, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
Adm. Jonathan Greenert told flag officers and top executives the cuts should include reducing base operations and “preparing to cancel” maintenance work on about 30 ships and 250 aircraft, the paper reported. The Navy has also instituted a hiring freeze for civilian employees. Most building and facility repairs and upgrades have been canceled.
Greenert said in a memo the reductions are necessary “to ensure we can fund ongoing deployments and other mission-critical activities,” the Pilot reported.
The cuts come as the Pentagon’s 2013 budget remains mired in uncertainty, with the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration set to kick in on March 1 and the continuing resolution currently funding government set to expire March 27.
The Pilot reported, however, the cuts are in addition to whatever would be necessary should sequestration take hold.
“These reductions are intended to be reversible," Greenert said, stating the cuts could be avoided if Congress provides the Navy with more funds or permits it to shift existing funds.
On Jan. 11, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter issued a memo authorizing all Defense components to release temporary employees and other budget-cutting measures.