Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert released his 'Navigation Plan' on Tuesday. It will serve as a guide to Greenert's budget priorities for the next four years. (MC2 Martin L. Carey / Navy)
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More time forward and more chances to serve in the Pacific and in the Middle East; that’s the course the Navy’s top officer is setting in his annual “Navigation Plan” released Tuesday.
The plan laid out by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert aims to grow the fleet’s forward presence from about 97 ships at any given time this year to 120 ships by 2020. To do this, Greenert plans to grow the Asia-Pacific presence from 50 to 65 ships by 2019, and to boost the Middle East presence from 30 to 40 ships, including the four littoral combat ships to be stationed in Bahrain by 2019.
The document covers fiscal years 2015 through 2019 and serves as a guide to Greenert’s budget priorities; it makes no mention of end strength increases or reductions in the coming years.
Greenert’s plan calls for “quality of service” investments, such as more access to spare parts and tools, more money for schools and travel, and improvements to infrastructure such as barracks and training buildings.
Greenert is also seeking to fund the “eSailor Initiative,” aimed at getting sailors access to smart technology such as tablets and apps for training and career management, a movement championed by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens.
Among the priorities in fiscal 2015:
■ Accept delivery of the carrier Ford and the destroyer Zumwalt, the first of the DDG-1000 class.
■ Expand the role of small surface combatants to take the pressure off the larger combatants and amphibious ships in smaller-scale training, interdiction and presence missions.
■ Accept delivery of four new LCS vessels, two joint high speed vessels and the first mobile landing platform, the Lewis B. Puller.
■ Expand the Navy’s undersea capabilities by accepting delivery of the twelfth Virginia-class submarine, the John Warner, and 13 new P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft.
The plan also strikes a pessimistic note on the chances of avoiding the heavy budget cuts, known as sequestration, in 2016. It calls those cuts likely, but said the Navy would do its part to “put its fiscal house in order.”