The Navy is still working through its future Navy and Marine Corps force structure plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but sees potential future impacts to readiness in the FY 2021 planning and how to properly use computer modeling.
When asked during a press briefing Thursday about pandemic impacts on the Navy and Marine Corps’ force structure plans and future fleet studies, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said those are still underway.
Modly confirmed the Navy is still working on the six-month Blue-Ribbon Future Carrier 2030 Task Force he initiated this month to examine the future of aircraft carriers and carrier-based naval aviation (Defense Daily, March 10) as well as the 30-year 355-plus shipbuilding plan.
“We’ve been pretty aggressive at trying to look at this over the last several months,” Modly said.
He also noted Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist is now leading an effort to look at the overall military force structure as part of the review of the Integrated Navy and Marine Corps Force Structure Assessment (INFSA).
“All that work is continuing and actually a lot of that work sort of lends itself to not having to be in the same place. So I think that’s fine,” Modly continued.
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger agreed and said the Marine Corps work on its force design and participation in INFSA has had “no impact to that planning that I know of, it’s just a little harder to do electronically.”
Modly said he was more concerned by pandemic’s impact on the Navy’s budget development process.
“We do that well in advance and I think we’re still trying to get our arms around what the impacts of this virus are going to be in terms of readiness that we’re going to have to make up. So I think that’s the only thing.”
“But we’re working this all in real time and no one’s stopped,” Modly added.
However, Modly admitted the heavy computerized modeling and simulations done at Defense Department computer lab facilities for this planning may be impacted and they are working through how to do it in this situation.
“That’s going to be the bigger part of the challenge, I think. We’re integrating with the [Naval] War College on this as well. They’ve basically all gone virtual now as well so we’re going to have to think through how we do all that.”