Pentagon to Install Sails on Aircraft Carriers Amid Looming Cuts

NORFOLK, Va. — The Pentagon announced today that it was preparing for looming sequestration-forced budget cuts by installing a series of large sails on each of the Navy’s 10 active aircraft carriers.

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta explained that while the move is estimated to save over $800 million annually in fuel costs, it was not solely a financial decision. “The United States military has been trying to go green for many years,” said Panetta. “This move allows us to reduce our carbon footprint in a way that switching out a few light bulbs could never hope to match.”

The first carrier to be retrofitted with the canvas sails will be the Nimitz-class supercarrier, USS George H. W. Bush, which arrived at the naval station in Norfolk last week and has had three of the expected 17 large, wooden masts installed on deck. “I gotta admit, I wasn’t sure about the idea at first,” said commanding officer Captain Brian E. Luther. “We displace over 100,00 tons at speeds of over 30 knots – not exactly something a couple of sheets can produce on a calm day. But they told me it was either this or we make a go at rowing. So I’m game.”

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, assured the public that switching the carrier fleet to wind power would not in any way diminish America’s ability to wage war. “Yes, our carriers will lose some speed in their new configuration,” he said. “But come on, these babies don’t exactly get tangled up in a lot of high-speed open water chases. It isn’t like Blackbeard’s going to hunt us down or anything.”

“If he did, we’d blow his ass to Kingdom Come,” he added.

Rank-and-file sailors aboard the USS George H. W. Bush have mixed feelings about the new propulsion system. “I’m not exactly sure how we’re supposed to launch an F/A-18 Hornet through all that sail,” said Petty Officer Second Class Leonard Adams Jr. “On the other hand, we’re gonna give the mullahs a heart attack when we sail into the Gulf of Oman sporting a massive skull and crossbones.”