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EXCLUSIVE: A Navy advocacy organization sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro urging the leaders to fill major holes in U.S. Navy leadership and address other issues facing the force.
"Sadly, the Navy in recent years has struggled in the face of what can only be called a policy neglect that has spanned several administrations and is incompatible with a country that boasts the strongest fleet on Earth," the Association of the United States Navy said in a letter obtained by Fox News on Monday.
The AUSN represents Navy veterans and active duty sailors.
The organization noted that although the problems in the Navy have been "well-known," the current administration has still not moved to fill "key positions in the Navy" that are instead "still being held by acting officials, not Senate-confirmed officials, which will further delay efforts to turn around this proud military institution."
The letter noted that the roles of undersecretary of the Navy, assistant secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, and assistant secretary for Research, Development, and Acquisition are all being held by "acting officials," not Senate-confirmed leaders.
"As worrisome as this problem is, we are even more troubled by the lack of any nominations for these positions," the letter said.
"We urge you to immediately prioritize the filling of these positions with nominees who are ready to make the case for a strong, well-organized Navy that is prepared to overcome the problems of the last few years and take on the large and growing number of missions we all know are critical to the defense of this nation," the letter continued.
The organization pointed to problems that have plagued the Navy recently, including the recent crash of a training jet in Texas and the deaths of five sailors in a helicopter crash that took place off the coast of California.
The letter argued that the lack of commitment to growing the Navy and gaps in training will make it harder for the U.S. to "meet challenges around the world, including a need to deter China in the Indo-Pacific."
"We at the Association of the United States Navy are prepared to meet with you as needed to discuss how to identify the best candidates for these positions and stand ready to support the nomination process," the letter concluded.
The Navy could not immediately be reached for comment.