Sub base, E.B., could take multimillion dollar sequestration hit

The U.S. Navy has laid out cuts that can be expected at the Groton submarine base  — including $45 million in work on a nuclear submarine — if the congressional budget-cutting measure known as “sequestration” goes into effect.

The Navy has produced a detailed document that lays out the actions it’s already taking to rein in spending in response to the continuing budget resolution, which holds funding for the service at last year’s level.

“The bottom line is, because we aren’t funded to fiscal year ’13 levels, we are about $4.6 billion short of what we need to operate — just operate — the Navy this year,” said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy’s chief of information. “This is even without sequestration taking effect.”

If Congress cannot agree on a budget before late March, the Navy says it will cancel a $45 million repair job for one submarine. It’s also canceling maintenance work, cutting more than 1,000 temporary posts in the Northeast and trimming money for base upkeep.

If sequestration goes into effect, the overall cut to the Navy budget doubles, and that would have further effects in this region.

“We would have to defer some repairs that we had planned to make to the USS Miami. There was a significant fire aboard Miami, and that submarine requires some very significant repairs that we would not be able to do.”

That move would directly affect Electric Boat, which has been awarded a $94 million contract to begin those repairs.

Kirby says the Navy has detailed these effects not to make a political point, but to demonstrate its readiness.

“We get great support from local communities all over the country including Groton and New London, and we’re very proud of that,” he said. “And we want them to understand what these impacts are. We also want them to know that we have a plan — that we’re working our way through this.”

He also stressed that the present plans are reversible if Congress takes action that makes the future funding picture clearer.