Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DDG-1000: making the puzzler puzzle

Galrahn does a great job with a thorough and detailed dissection over the conflicting reasons, unbelievable myopic admissions, and otherwise illogic of all that is DDG-1000. You need to read it all, but here is the nut for me.
The obvious answer for truncating the DDG-1000 was the concerns over cost, but under oath in a question asked by Rep Joe Sestak, VADM McCullough outright denies cost as a consideration, and has repeated this in news articles since. The reason testified is threat, but the example he gives is ridiculous by any standard. VADM McCullough suggests that no one saw the truck mounted anti-ship missile attack by Hezbollah coming, and the threat of an anti-ship missile in the littoral is a great threat that makes the DDG-1000 the wrong investment. The implication of such a suggestion is that while developing a littoral battleship since 1994, not a single time did anyone in the Navy raise the possibility of a truck mounted anti-ship missile in the threat assessment environment the ship might operate in? That is outright impossible to believe, because it would also undermine the Navy's own argument since it would imply the same threat assessment folks are now claiming BMD, ASMs, and ASW in blue water is the primary threat.

The argument the DDG-1000 can't support the Standard missile has also since been discredited. Ronald O'Rourke noted in his Congressional Research Service report Navy DDG-1000 and DDG-51 Destroyer Programs: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options (PDF) for Congress that the Navy contending that the DDG-1000 could not launch the SM-2 missile "came as a surprise to observers who have believed for years that the DDG-1000 could employ the SM-2 and perform area-defense AAW [antiair warfare]." The recent Heritage Foundation report notes the history of this subject, and notes inconsistency in previous testimony and briefings by the Navy regarding the capabilities of the DDG-1000 when compared to the statements made on July 31.

In Geoff Fein's September 17, 2008 Defense Daily article DDG-1000 Lacks Ability To 'Talk' With SM-2, Can't Do Air Defense Mission, Official Says notes that VADM McCullough has changed his tune a bit, noting "as currently configured, DDG-1000 cannot perform area air defense.", and "Additional Research and Development investment through 2013 would be required for DDG-1000 to have these capabilities."

These comments make almost no sense at all, because of course a ship under development wouldn't have the capability to do a mission today, and if R&D continued through 2013 the capability to perform these missions would exist before the DDG-1000 was completed. In other words, the Navy's argument that tarnishes the capability of the DDG-1000 is akin to saying a house under construction doesn't have running water, which makes sense only because the house is still under construction and the plumbing isn't completed.

The answers the Navy offers Congress under oath simply doesn't stand up scrutiny, has not been justified with any sort of analysis, and leaves important questions unanswered:
Why the change in SCN plan, after more than $11B in research since 1994, full
support by 5 CNOs. What changed here?

Where is the analysis that supports the need to change? Congress asked this on July 31, 2008, and there is no record of an answer.

Where is the analysis that supports the changed direction? Congress asked this on July 31, 2008, and there is no record of an answer.
My readers know I have had my puzzler puzzl'n for years as DDG-1000 moved towards its train wreck. I have moved away from the discussion over the last few months frankly out of exhaustion of the issue and resigned with the sad fact that saying "I told you so..." just made my sad about what Senior Leadership over the last decade+ has done to this nation's shipbuilding industry.

In some emails back in forth with Galrahn on the subject over the weekend, I kind of summed up my feelings towards the unbalanced answers coming out of the Potomac Flotilla as such.
I could bang out 3,000 words, but there is drinking to be done and, frankly, I have grown weary of climbing to the top of my Ark and yelling at the idol worshipers.

Remember John Carpenters 1982 remake of the 1951 classic "The Thing?" The scene near the beginning where the alien has managed to turn itself into one of the sled dogs. It is put in the kennel and the other dogs (that is you and me) start to figure out that something just isn't right with the dog and start to raise all hell. The alien starts to freak out. The people come to the noise they hear, and find the alien has not quite finished transforming itself, realized that it is cornered and found and freaks out? Here is the scene I am talking about.

Note the panic, the chaos, the whole madness of the scene where everything is going everywhere without reason?

We are the dogs that saw the problem first. Congress, the mainstream media and the taxpayers are the people coming to figure out what is going on. Navy senior leadership is the alien. There are so many other parallels in the clip, I could go on and on - but watch it and you can connect a real person to about every character. I just want to know who is going to play the parts of Childs & RJ. We don't have a flamethrower - all we can do is growl and run away if the alien gets too close.

I think there is a quote from the movie that sums up things quite well.
"I don't know what the hell's in there, but it's weird and pissed off whatever it is."
That is about right. That is where we are.
Ace of Spades readers - if you are looking for info on the Little Crappy Ship (AKA LCS), click here after you stay and snoop around for awhile.

No comments: