NORFOLK, VA – Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus went on a tour of the USS San Antonio today to promote his new initiative to separate all enlisted sailors and replace them with civilian contractors.
"This is a great way to save the Navy money," Mabus said as he explained the reasoning behind the pending decision. "Every sailor costs the Navy roughly $300,000 a year, so we decided to give them all generous separation packages and rehire them as contractors at double their enlisted salary. It won’t cost a thing to recruit or train them."
Many observers noted that Mabus has ignored the fact that they were previously recruited and trained by the military.
“The San Antonio is a great example of what a new civilian operated Navy can do,” Mabus said. “She’s six years old, a billion dollars over budget, and hasn’t been seaworthy since we bought her. She is a shining example of what the Navy can accomplish without sailors.”
"Do you see this? This is efficiency," Mabus said as he crossed the quarterdeck, pointing to a line of workers waiting to clock out. "An hour before their shift is over and they’re already lining up, motivated and ready to go. They must have finished their work early.”
Mabus toured the ship, stopping by four contractors trying to bolt a manhole cover into the deck. "In the old days a sailor with a wrench would do this in twenty minutes. Now it'll take three hours and only cost $20,000."
Mabus stopped by a closed hatch and tapped it. “See this? If this broke, we would have to recruit and hire someone to fix it, and we’d end up having to pay them for twenty years. Now we can just hire someone to fix it if it breaks.”
“Wouldn’t a sailor fix more than one hatch in twenty years?” reporter Nathan Wall asked. The response was terse from Mabus' assistant.
“Don’t question the SecNav,” Lieutenant Commander Stephen Rogers responded.
"Let's see what's inside this fan room," Mabus said, stepping inside and waking a contractor from his nap. "Sorry, sorry," Mabus said, stepping back outside and shutting the door. "Go back to sleep."
Mabus said touring the engines was the highlight of his trip. "Look at this weld" Mabus said, pointing to a cracked weld that was leaking oil. "A chief would never allow such shoddy workmanship. Good thing we fired them all."
Mabus had intended to visit USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) but was unable to after cost overruns on construction of LCS 1 and 2 had placed the contract for all future LCS ships on hold and sparked Congressional inquiry. Mabus said the inquiry was unnecessary and that “there is nothing wrong with the LCS platforms apart from the leaking hulls.”