That's an understatement. I hope the Admiral that said that does not expect anyone who has been on a Navy ship to be surprised. I have written about this issue for a long time. We have cut the funding for ship maintenance. Ship's have missed availabilities. Work has been delayed or even canceled. The ship modernization program has suffered badly from budget cuts. All of these are facts. But this time is no different than the time after the end of the Viet Nam war, World War II, or other major wars throughout history. But there is one difference today. The Sailor! We have stopped training our sailors to do basic and advanced maintenance. We closed, but now have reopened, the Ship's Intermediate Maintenance Activities (SIMA). This was a training ground for sailors to expand their technical knowledge. The same with the Mobile Technical Training Units (MOTU) and the military billets at the NSSA commands. (Formerly known as NAVSEACENLANT/PC, FTSC, RMC) Another loss to the maintenance community is the loss of the Destroyer and Submarine Tenders. These mobile repair facilities provided deployable intermediate maintenance support and another training ground for the sailor. Just LOOK at all of the lost maintenance training and capability.
Today's sailor receives little or no hands on maintenance training in "A" or "C" school. The Class "B" schools have been gone for decades, and the "Fleet Training Center" Maintenance schools are all but gone. All of these schools served to equip the fleet sailor with the skills to maintain his/her equipment at a standard much higher than the PMS specs. I was a young GMG3 when PMS was first implemented, it was designed to be the MINIMUM level of maintenance. Now it is the only maintenance being done by the sailor. If the equipment degrades below the PMS level, the ship almost always calls for a tech assist!!
If we are going to continue down the budget cut path, we must equip our fleet sailors with the ability to be as self-sufficient as they can be. If we do not, we will face ships unable to deploy or operate and a fleet unable to meet it's commitment.