I was thinking this weekend that I am being WAY too negative as of late. I love our Navy and as I left active duty I was so impressed with the young Sailors I worked with and Junior Officers - extremely impressed with those who will protect the future.
So, I started to look for some more positive things to put out - but what came up in my search was the exceptionally difficult position we have put those Shipmates in as they try to secure their nation's freedom over the next few decades.
We owe it to them to talk honestly - as adults - with each other about where we are, what we can do, and how we can get to where we need to be within the constraints and restraints the taxpayers and their elected representatives give us.
Behold the spawn of the lost decade.
If you looked at the U.S. Navy's recently released annual report for its longterm goals for ship construction and how its aligns with its fleet size requirements, you are probably scratching your head.
Why? Well, put simply, the Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2011 outlines a larger required fleet size - 323 ships - as opposed to 313 in the three previous years annual reports, but reduces the number of ships that it will be purchasing over the next 30 years. The numbers just don't add up. In its analysis of the Navy's Fiscal Year 2011 Shipbuilding Plan, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the non-partisan agency charged with providing Congress with factual budgetary analysis, says the Navy's 2011 plan calls for buying a total of 276 ships (198 combatants and 78 logistics and support ships) from 2011 to 2040, which would not meet its required fleet size of 323. The 2011 plan, points out the CBO, actually calls for buying 20 less vessels than the 2009 plan, which called for the construction of 238 combatants and 58 logistics and support ships between 2009 and 2038.
To make matters worse, CBO says that if the Navy receives the same amount of annual funding for ship construction in the next 30 years as it has over the past three decades- an average of $15 billion a year in 2010 dollars- it will not be able to afford all of the purchases in the 2011 plan.Yes - the rest of the world is joining the concern you have seen here and other places in the Navy milblog world for the better part of half a decade.
The above quote is from American Chronicle .... sure you can pick at some of the details .... but the facts are what they are. It is getting harder and harder to hide the place we have put ourselves. As we get closer to the "Terrible 20s" it will become more an more obvious.
Close the aperture a little more and shift focus - and you see that the ability to have the industrial capacity to do it is under pressure. The de-laminating is already starting.
Grim prospects for the Avondale shipyard outside of New Orleans and its 5,000 jobs have public officials scrambling to find a solution and warning of potentially painful damage to the regional economy.Why is there so little work? We are not buying enough hulls. Why not enough hulls?
Stephen Moret, Louisiana's Secretary of Economic Development, expressed concerns about the facility's future last week after talks with Northrop Grumman, the defense giant that owns the plant.
Moret's concerns hinge on the Navy's plans regarding its LPD-17 San Antonio-class vessels. According to Moret, the Navy has scaled back or pushed back plans to obtain those vessels, leaving Avondale -- which builds the vessels -- with too little work to continue operations.
"There's no other apparent ship program that would fit," Moret said.
The Tiffany Navy of Clark, Mullens, and Roughead. LCS, DDG-1000, LPD-17 - pick your poster child. The past-perfect of the last decade is destroying our ability to build the future good.
If we want to be able to keep our nation's enemies at bay - at a distance - then you need a Navy. If you want to be able to destroy those who wish our nation harm at a distance with little loss of American life, liberty or property - then you need a Navy. If you want to help our friends fight their own wars on the ground by helping them secure the sea and sky - and as a result move the USA killed an wounded numbers by a order of magnitude - then you need a Navy.
If we cannot get that story across to the taxpayer and give the decision makers and influencers confidence that we can effectively, and efficiently do our job - then we will have suffer a loss greater than anyone's ego or rice bowl. We will put our nation in severe strategic risk and be responsible for the unnecessary future death of thousands to millions of our fellow citizens.
This is a serious business - and we are failing - we are failing because we have lost the ability to talk clearly to ourselves and others.