US Navy says no 'sacred cows' in budget cut reviews

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said all Navy and Marine Corps weapons programmes were being examined for possible cuts or cancellation if mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts remained on the books in coming years.

"Everything's got to be on the table. There are no sacred cows," Mabus told military officers at the National Defence University in Washington.

Mabus urged lawmakers to give the Pentagon the flexibility to make choices about implementing US$500 billion (S$634 billion) in cuts over the next decade, but said some weapons programmes could still face cuts, even if the department was granted that flexibility.

He said the Navy was taking particular aim at service contracts, which account for about US$40 billion of its annual spending of US$160 billion.

Lockheed Martin Corp, maker of the F-35 fighter jet and one of the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship designs, General Dynamics Corp, Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc, and Australia's Austal are anxiously awaiting news about how the Navy would achieve the required savings in its fiscal 2105 budget plan now being prepared.