Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller on Wednesday said there is not enough data to link a string of recent military aviation incidents to lack of defense funding, but added the military should examine the mishaps, The Hill reports.
"There's not one single thing. You can't say 'it's because of this,'" Neller said. "We need more hours, we need better part support, we need new airplanes, we've got to improve our procedures, we got to stop doing stuff on the ground that causes us to lose otherwise perfectly good airplane, and we need to train, and it's a dangerous business.”
The pair spoke with reporters at the Pentagon alongside the top officers in the Navy and Marine Corps.
Neller described 2017 as a "horrible year," and said his heart "goes out to the families that lost a . . . Marine, or in one case we had a sailor and 15 Marines on a C-130," in reference to the KC-130 plane that crashed in Savannah, Georgia, killing at least five U.S. service members. The aircraft was operated by the Puerto Rico Air National Guard.
There have been six military aviation accidents over the past three weeks, resulting in the death of 16 pilots or crew members, according to a report in the Military Times. Manned warplane accidents have spiked nearly 40 percent since 2013, according to the same report, the same year mandated budget cuts took effect.
Last month after seven U.S. service members died in four noncombat related crashes in just four days, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, said the "readiness of the military is at a crisis point.”
Spencer also said the larger budget in 2018 would allow more flight training opportunities.
"Those additives hours those people have in the cockpit or doing their jobs are only going to help, so now we have the funds to do that," Spencer said. "But that is kind of a brilliant flash of the obvious comment; I don't have data to give you a direct correlation."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.