Head of the Navy visits Kings Bay

Secretary Ray Mabus discusses budget cuts in military, its effects on Navy

By Scott Johnson - Reporter , Jason Mealey - Producer/assignment editor

KINGS BAY, Ga. - Navy Secretary Ray Mabus visited Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay on Friday to talk about budget cuts in the military and its effects on the Navy.

Mabus said the military has grown as much as it can and now they need to start scaling down. Adding more personnel would simply be too costly.

"The changes aren't big, pretty modest. But if we don't do it, the choices get worse and worse the longer time goes," said Mabus.

Channel 4 also spoke with him about the effects of budget cuts on local bases. At Mayport for instance he says despite everything that may go on with cutting the amount of littoral command ships which Mayport was supposed to get. By 2020 there will be more ships here than there are now.

"We're still going to have small service combatants going forward and Mayport is going to continue to be the hub. For the lCS and whatever comes next whether it's lCS or something else," said Mabus.

Channel 4 also asked Mabus about the delay for a nuclear carrier coming to Mayport. He pointed out even if everything was on schedule it wouldn't have been here until 2019; and he adds the new amphibious ready group of three ships coming to Mayport may be better for Jacksonville.

"A lot of the work will not be done by people in Mayport. People flown in to do it. The amphibious ready group that's there now will be done by people in the Jacksonville area," said Mabus.

Mabus really hit home the point that the budget for the military while there are draw downs in adding new people there are no plans to cut current Navy personnel. 

"People are the edge we have," said Mabus, "and we're trying to do things for sailors and Marines, like increasing sea pay."

While at the base, Mabus also visited tje Marine Corps Security Force Battalion Kings Bay and toured USS West Virginia, the Trident Refit Facility and Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic.

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