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Rising personnel, O&M costs addressed in Navy-Marine Corps budget
By Lisa Burgess, Washington bureau
Pacific edition, Monday, February 4, 2002

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy-Marine Corps budget would grow from $98.8 billion in
2002 to $108.3 billion in 2003, a $9.5 billion increase largely eaten up by rising
personnel costs and operations and maintenance.

Like all the services, the largest increase to the Navy-Marine Corps budget in 2003 is
for personnel. Items such as health care costs increases, an across-the-board 4.1 percent
pay raise, and retirement fund payouts will cost the sea services $4.1 billion more in

The second largest Navy-Marine Corps jump called for in the 2003 budget is in
operations and maintenance (O&M) programs, which would gain $3.36 billion over 2002
funding levels in 2003.

Increases include $117 million more for flying O&M; $824 million for ship O&M;
an added $407 million for Marine Corps operations; $294 million more for combat weapons
support; $611 million more for logistics; and $444 million more for base support.

The sea services plan to spend less on shipbuilding in 2003, moving from $9.5 billion
in 2002 to $8.2 billion.

Funds will purchase five new ships: an SSN-774 Virginia-class New Attack Submarine
(Centurion); an LPD 17 amphibious transport dock ship; a T-AKE auxiliary dry cargo
carrier; and two DDG 51 Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers.

The Navy originally intended to buy two new LPD 17s in 2003, but one was cut from the
budget, saving $1.1 billion.

The 2003 budget proposal includes $961 million funds for the DD(X), which the official
called a "test bed" for engineers to develop new technologies and shipbuilding
approaches for future surface combat ships.

Though the DD(X) is "in [research and development], with no constructions on the
horizon," the department is seeking bids and contracts are "coming in
April," an official said.

Plans call for six destroyers, an aircraft carrier, a landing dock ship, an amphibious
tank landing ship, an ammunition ship and a mine countermeasures ship (the USS Inchon) to
be decommissioned, bringing the total Navy fleet from 315 ships in 2002 to 308 ships in

Together the sea services will buy 83 new aircraft in 2003, down from 90 aircraft in
2002 and moving ever further from the service goal of buying 180 to 210 new aircraft each
year. Meanwhile, 24 F-14 Tomcats are slated for retirement, as are 12 S-3 Viking sub

Navy officials called aircraft purchasing "our biggest challenge," saying
that the aging air fleet is costing disproportionately more each year to maintain and

The Marine Corps’ V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor program, which according to earlier plans
should be nearing procurement, has been scaled back and restructured.

The Osprey is the Marine Corps’ choice as a combat troop insertion platform to
replace current helicopters. But 23 Marines died in two separate crashes of test aircraft,
and critics have called for the V-22 to be scrapped.

So late last year, senior Pentagon officials decided to put the Osprey into an
intensive flight testing program that will begin in April.

As it is with the Army, replenishing munitions expended in the war against terrorism
will be a major issue in 2003, Navy officials said.

The 2003 purchases including $363 million for new Joint Stand-off Attack Weapons, an
expenditure that didn’t exist in 2002.

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