Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has canceled the upcoming deployments of an attack submarine and guided missile frigate due to sequestration, Navy officials say.
The USS Jefferson City and the USS Rentz had been scheduled to deploy in April, according to a statement released Friday by the Navy’s Pacific Fleet. For now, they will remain in their homeport of San Diego.
Hagel also approved the decision to cut short the current deployment of another guided missile frigate, the USS Thach, which is currently operating in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility but will return to its homeport of San Diego in April.
“While the final decision to cancel these deployments was deferred until the last possible moment, these commands had been previously directed to prepare for cancellation,” the statement said. “Each respective chain of command has begun to notify the affected sailors of these cancellations.”
Hagel has directed the Pacific Fleet to prioritize resources to support forward-deployed forces and the units being trained to replace them, the statement said. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has said previously this could include the canceling of deployments come April.
Sequestration kicked in on March 1 after Congress failed to pass deficit-reducing legislation. Under the plan, the Defense Department is required to slash $46 billion from its budget for the rest of the fiscal year.
In a speech March 12, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said the cuts could reduce the operations of Navy ships and aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region by as much as one-third and leave gaps in the availability of Marine Amphibious Ready Groups. Cuts are being applied across the branches of service and in each theater of operations.