PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) - The Navy's top submarine commander in the Pacific says budget issues won't affect his ability to deploy submarines next year.
But Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer says he's concerned cuts to the civilian workforce at the nation's naval shipyards will mean submarines won't be ready for deployment as quickly in 2015 and beyond.
He says a hiring freeze has prevented shipyards from replacing many retired workers and doing as much maintenance work. This means a submarine that might have taken seven months to repair in the past may have to spend eight or nine months in the shipyard.
Sawyer told The Associated Press in an interview at his Pearl Harbor headquarters on Monday it's important that the submarine force maintain high standards even as it faces budget pressures.
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