Mike Rounds

Budget cuts strain force amid ship crashes, Navy chief says

Budget cuts strain force amid ship crashes, Navy chief says

As grieving family members watched, top Navy leaders and lawmakers on Tuesday said frequent extended deployments, delayed maintenance and nearly a decade of budget constraints have strained the U.S. Navy, possibly contributing to two ship collisions that killed 17 sailors.

The Navy's top officer said he can't yet draw a direct link between those problems and the ship crashes, and instead said commanders are ultimately responsible for ensuring their forces are combat ready and operating safely and effectively.

"I am accountable for the safe and effective operations of our Navy, and we will fix this. I own this problem," Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations,...

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