Navy Bases Falling behind Growing Maintenance Workload Senior Officials Say

first_imgNavy installations are experiencing a growing backlog of maintenance needs as budget constraints over the past several years have forced the service to allocate funding to higher priorities, officials told the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee on Friday.Critical requirements are being funded, but other jobs are being deferred, Vice Adm. Dixon Smith, commander of Navy Installations Command, told the panel.“Where we are today is holding,” Smith said, reported the Daily Press.Capt. Louis Schager, commanding officer at Naval Air Station Oceana, described a litany of deferred maintenance tasks at the Navy’s East Coast master jet base in Virginia Beach, Va.All hangars “have issues and challenges,” he said. “A lot of roofs are leaking. We have some fire protection challenges.”Ten of the installation’s 13 barracks are rated as substandard, but the Navy only has funding approved to renovate five barracks. A newly constructed barracks, however, is scheduled to be completed in March.An aging building at the base’s Dam Neck Annex has interfered with training for information specialists, due to a combination of leaks, odors and sensor problems that have resulted in an average of one call a week to the fire department during the past fiscal year.“Each time that call goes out, you have to have all these students leave the building,” Schager said. “It’s disrupting their training.”Officials have approved spending a couple of hundred thousand dollars on a temporary fix. “But it’s a $12 million unfunded project to really, truly fix the problem,” he said.Schager thanked Congress, however, for freeing up $100 million to replace a 1950s-era lighting system for the base’s airfield.The two officers stressed the need for an assured and sustainable funding stream to address long-term maintenance needs so that installations can avoid playing catch-up with their repairs. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img

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