Apparently not where they are supposed to be since the DC circus can’t get its act together and pass an actual budget. In this day and age of entitlements nobody wants their pet projects to suffer. The reality of the situation is we all need to adapt to less support from the nanny or when we really need the Lincoln her lights will be out.
A carrier with a dead reactor is a mission kill for the bad guys. They don’t have to put a missile in her, we’ve done it for them.
And the punch line? Delaying the refueling will cost us more once the the games are over. Government must shrink and that means Defense will suffer its share of cuts but it is not the place to begin. If we leave the gate open and unguarded it won’t be long before evil wanders in.
There are people who are watching as we cut our carrier presence in the Indian Ocean from two down to one and then fail to renew the reactor in another. These are defensive stand-downs that cannot be quickly reversed should world events suddenly call for a rapid deployment. Those watching these moves are waiting for an opportunity and if we muck around long enough they may find one.
Such lessons are often costly.