Thursday, August 12, 2010

Not since the days of coal ...


From IBD. Something to discuss with the CNO when you get a chance.

Words. Actions. Results. You know, stuff you can graph.

41 comments:

The Usual Suspect said...

So, we"ve got 280 ships in the "Global Force for Good".  That's all fine and dandy until we run up against the Global Forces for Bad (see graph circa 1940's).  Back in the day we had shipyards up and down the coasts - not so anymore.  I remember Patton had a quote about wonder weapons (read DDG-1000).  You can't wrap a pipe or stuff a mattress in a hole with fancy electronics.  I would like to see the graph comparing the rise in spending on Diversity to the graph showing the number of ships.  Another interesting graph would be the historical number of sea billets vs shore billets over time.  It may be one of the CNO's goals to eventually have an entirely shore based navy, so they are always a vailable for diversity indoctrination, er uh, training.

Stu said...

Lack of ships, silly uniforms and a fetish for diversity.

We suck.

Vigilis said...

The active naval ships chart shows an immense decline in active warships after WW2, relatively minor second thoughts during the eras of Korea and Nam and except for Reagan's marked, but barely significant blip a gradual decline ever since.  

In effect, there has been bipartisan consensus among chief defense strategists and planners that except for submarines for special ops and strategic deterrence, and carrier task forces for diplomacy, force projection, humanitarian relief, and the occasional invasion, a slow-moving surface navy is no longer relevant in to combat in our modern world.   

The bet is the U.S. will never again be stuck with the major naval shipbuilding needed after Pearl Harbor.  No enemy would allow us the time to mount such an effort anyway.

Commotion over naval cuts distracts from what larger issues conveniently pushed to the back burner --- what, if anything, besides hopeful diplomacy will take the place militarily of our naval forces?  Will our sovereignty and constitutional way of life threatened be threatened by military myopia?  Will we unilaterally disarm? Will lawyers decimate military recruiting and morale with an onslaught of litigation on politically correct, but contrary to good order and discipline issues? Will brigades of civilian defense forces become the arm of America's version of internal security, intelligence, and secret police (KGB)? And last, but not least, will the bottomless economic downspiral we currently confront assure we are no longer a capitalist world power?

Please consider carefully before voting for another lawyer of any party.

ewok40k said...

can anyone make a similar graphs for Russia and China?

宋張建宇瑞正 said...

耐心是一株很苦的植物,但果實卻很甜美。..................................................

Tom Goering said...

We are almost to one ship per flag officer with the 218 Flag billets projected for 2011.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

For Vigilis below, the graph would look entirely different if we took the period 1948-2010 as the plotted data.  Once the WWII vessels headed to mothballs or the breakers are factored out, the surges for Korea and Vietnam, and somewhat for the Reagan era, are more than a bit significant. 

To ewok,

Yes, we can plot for Russia and China.  And the trends are all in the wrong direction.

Vigilis said...

UltimaRatioRegisUltimaRatioRegis

You are correct, about WWII distortion of the chart.  Ever wonder why mobilizations since 1945 have not required reversion to WWII naval force levels, however? Seems we fly the bulk of our troops in nowadays.

Perhaps planners and strategists had that realization even back then. Eisenhower was pretty dour about the military-industrial complex, which has been far less of a threat to our nation than the attorney-political complex has now become. 

bc said...

Sal:  so I clicked on "Post Comments (Atom)" instead of "Comments" by mistake.  Saw the Chinese posting, and thought, "boy, I bet he gets LOTS of these", but saw they don't promote up or otherwise end up as Posts. (for lots of good reasons, I'm sure).

But, because I'm an inquisitive bassturd, I ran it through Google Translate (a wonderful piece of work).  Result is:  "<span><span><span>Patience is a bitter plant, but the fruit is very sweet"</span></span></span>
<span><span><span></span></span></span>
<span><span><span>So that totally cracks me up; I can only wonder if the context is the famous General's quote about the "long war" or not.  And then I envision a team of PLA/PLAN cyberwarriors scanning the web as part of their daily duties, reviewing the posts at Sal's Place and gathering intel.</span></span></span>
<span><span></span></span>
<span><span></span></span>
<span><span>Some things probably don't get rost in transration.  </span></span>

Redeye80 said...

True, we fly most of our troop movements but the bulk of the heavy lifting is done by sealift.  Most of that lift is not gray hulls, BTW.

As long as we "hope" we don't have to do a forced entry and the associated combat power to support it, we can live with the small force we have.  Once we start losing ships it become another game.  We have no reserve/back up force. 

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Redeye,

I would wager that we "fly in" most of our troops today because we haven't fought a true theater-sized action since Korea.  The ability to project meaningful power starts and ends with sealift.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

The troops get there by air (5%) of the lift.  Everything the troops need after 3 days in theatre has to come by ship.

Everything flown in by max effort airlift for Desert Storm was doubled when the first ship docked.  Ammo and fuel in any meaningful quantity must come by sea. Must.

Aubrey said...

Sure, we can fly troops in...but after they run out of bullets and beans on day three, we're gonna need a boat or two to supply them.  And if we don't escort those two boats, then we are gonna need to send out four for every one that arrives.

In other words soldiers/marines/airmen=cargo ships and cargo ships=escorts, and escorts !=LCSs. 

Also, if we want to be able to establish any form of sea control then we are going to need carriers. And carriers = more escorts.  You get the picture.

Aubrey said...

That last was in response to Vigilis, not URR

Vigilis said...

Aubrey, your points are valid and well made.  Moreover, I could definitely sleep better at night if we had a commitment to maintain naval force superiority.  Due to what currently occupies the White House and congress, however, I have not been sleeping very well anyway.  Please let me make my main point again:

Eisenhower was pretty dour about the military-industrial complex, which has been far less of a threat to our nation than the attorney-political complex has now become. 

Southern Air Pirate said...

I don't know why anyone is worrying. I mean since the Soviet Union collapsed there has been peace at hand. Which really the Soviets weren't that bad of a peoples they were just mis-understood. That minor flair up in Iraq, pah, nothing! The Korean thing, pah! Nothing. THe fact that Putin was flying renewed Bear Box missions, just the Russians trying to flex thier muscle after a while. Then with our latest president bringing peace to the world, why do we even need the military anymore? Oh and the piracy thing, they are just impoverised voters who haven't registered yet for elections. Just relax and understand that all you militant, knuckle-dragging, little mind, war-worshipping peoples need to line up for re-education at your local state run college. If you won't go, well we will find you and help you be re-educated.  

PS: Tonuge is thorughly planted in cheek for the above if anyone is wondering.

Eric Palmer said...

Yeah, but the diversity program is going like gang busters. No enemy or future enemy can match the attention we spend on the diversity program.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the threads on moving cargo into theater.  I heard a brief one day from a senior TRANSCOM officer who laid a fact on the table I've never forgotten.  One of the big MSC RO-RO ships delivers as much cargo as 400 C-17's.

DM05 said...

OK, so maybe a reconditioned latvian WWII destroyer, but does that sad graph look a bit like a ship silhouette itself? Just sayin.

Southern Air Pirate said...

The better table I would love to see contrasted with the level of the US Navy is the level of US Flag merchant shipping. I would also love to see the current capabilitys of the reserve merchant ships sitting around idiling. I have been out to some of the ghost fleets in places like James River and in the Puget Sound. Most of these ships there not only are then antiques, but most ports are incapable of handling them for delieverying both wet or dry cargo. There are ships that belong to RRF that are sitting around in the ghost fleets which still use the old and ineffecient cargo netting/cargo hatch method of delievering cargo. Even by the early 1980's that method had been removed from over 90% of NATO friendly ports.  I remember there was a minor scandal that came up during Desert Storm when it came out that ships where were supposed to be in a <90 day activation capabilities from the RRF were actually more like >364 day cause of maintenance issues, manning issues, and who was supposed to pay for them (ie the USN, MSC, or US Martime Admin).

As a minor amature historian I would also contrast the state of the Navy and the State of the Union with the state of the other major world power prior to our star rising. That is the United Kingdom. Even by the start of World War 2 the Royal Navy was seeing its own self be reduced, while seeing the civil side of the government struggle to pay just for its own basic services. After the war that internal fight only got worst, so that by the early 1980's most anyone thought the RN could do was power project just with in the North and Irish seas and that was only under the protective umbrella of the RAF or US air power. That was one of the reasons for the Argentines making the grab against the Falklands. I would hate to see what happens if we get our own self into a trick like that.

Anonymous said...

Sir,

Every single one of the powerful ships of WWII was KILLED dead by air power or submarines in WWII.  That was over 60 years ago.  Got a whole bunch of people thinking Pearl and Subic and Singapore and Prince of Wales and, well, you get the picture, Al Khibber, those Italian losses, French losses, Tirpitz, whossname counterpart.  Oh, yeah, Bismark.

Were you sly lot thinking that NAVSEA and PEO SHIPS was building better warships than those PEO and NAVAIR were building better shipkilling missiles or those submarine types were building better 98k yard torpedos?  (I'm allowed to make up any all numbers for torpedos since I happen to know damned all about them.  600K yard sound good to me.  Wake followers.  Pop up cruise missiles. Long range TLAM or Harpoon shipkilling things.

You do know guys, don't you?  If they found you?  They can target you.  If they target you with modern weapons not the lesser debris dropped in Falkland sound, ships die.  A lot.  Pathetic little non warships we make today. DOA.  DDG51 is cool, but you got to radiate.  Passive ASW sounds good for somebody like me who sharpened a tooth on it for a while but it's over.  Active is to die trying.

I'm sorry guys.  I don't get it.  The warships you want can no longer live in that sphere.  Subs will do well enough.  Sort of the German approach to WWII but we do way better at playing that game.   Let us instead focus on sea denial.

No warship in the world will survive in the current environment from a Power. If the ASCM don't get him, the submarines and air will.  Radiate and pontificate.  Just think about it.  We had Home on Jam and Anti-Radiation missiles 50 year ago!!!  Radiate on that Aegis. WWII bombs from 30 year old fighters and modern 40 year old ASCM more than decimated Corporate Task Force.  What kind of exact idiot ignores that?

I do think it's time for an updated threat analysis, the kind best taken by someone like JFCOM or private contractor of yesteryear.  Oh hell, they were the USAF and DOD lead contractor for this line of thing.  We won't be seeing their like again [RAND].   All those ICD and CONOPS used to flow through a JOINT review.   You know, the kind of JOINT review where some AF blunt of an 06 could say, "uh, wouldn't last 3 seconds against a B2 strike dude" and get disregarded for the service envy that was in it.

They were the D-Dodgers in sunny Italy.

Curtis said...

URR,

Read more.  We flew way way way more troops into Iraq and Kuwait and Saudi and Af.    I think most of the ones in the KTO arrived by sea initially, the last 3 million arrived by air.  They went into OSAN and K19 and Incheon and Pusan and the one outside Seoul with a name that escapes me. [KIMPO]  Outside the SEALIFT home after WWII was the last major movement of the Army by sealift.  Marines still debarked BLT's and in Korea they debarked MEBs.

Curtis said...

Our host is a mighty hoof on dissent here.

Nevertheless,  I will try again.

When it comes to sweeping all the seas clear what form of weapon system/family of weapon systems would you use?

HINT  submarines and aircraft?

I can't pay for a $5billion dollar cruiser and neither can my uncle.

cdrsalamander said...

There is a difference between dissent and insult.  You're fine.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Curtis,

Try being a bit more condescending, that will probably work better.  Let's review.  Iraq, even at its height of conventional combat, never rose to the level of a Major Regional Conflict.  Barely more than a secondary operation of a secondary campaign in a secondary theater (New Guinea) in 1944.  Yet, even with that, USG scrambled for a long time to find contract sea lift to provide theater logistics. 

In Korea, while a great many personnel came in by air, the entire 1st Marine Division came on the water, as did virtually ALL of the fuel, food, vehicles, ammunition, and other supplies that are the acoutrements of modern war.  And they still will. 

Meaningful power projection starts and ends with sea lift.  Until aircraft can carry the quantities and weight a hull carries, this will remain so.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Aubrey:  Nelson had a phrase for it. "You will find this want of frigates graven upon my heart".
Admittedly the context has changed, but the words are true, and prophetic.

SAP: MARAD maintains a number of RO-RO hulls in layup with a caretaker crew  on 3-5 day breakout, and does no notice periodic breakouts for verification. These come often enough that the Union training facilities and USMMA run continuing education courses which are required for assignment from the union halls to the jobs resulting; the courses are well attended because it's a few days' work and  a nice windfall, while waiting "on the board" for your name to work its way to the top of the dispatch list for a 3-4 month "normal" voyage. Cadre crew is a plum job, highly sought, decent hours, good pay, steady work and go home most nights. RO-RO with a container deck cargo  and container ships are the standard for pre-po and RRF ships.  Prepo are fully crewed, forward, and tagged for conplans. They go first, then breakout ships which sail to a embarkation port and load the gear for the soldiers flying.  What the Brits call ships taken up from trade (STUFT) are pretty much the blue water merchant marine, since the subsidy for being available and meeting standards for military cargo lets them compete with other flags.

Once the force is deployed, all the above deadhead back and start loading to keep the chain of ships functioning as a pipeline for the rest of the campaign.

ALL of the above nominally requires escort and convoy.  The USN doesn't have what it needs to provide it against a serious antishipping campaign by an opponent of naval significance. The LCS could probably function as a rescue ship pulling survivors out of the water.  In something as small as the Falklands dustup they would evaporate like snow on an Arizona hilltop on a spring day by the 3rd incoming squadron sized air attack.

Current planning is the same as the Royal Navy in 1923, "No naval campaign for at least 10 years (meaning in the foreseeable future) and no naval construction program to speak of.  Or, to be terse, dry rot and decay.

Aubrey said...

Kudos for the that last paragraph. I had been looking at today's navy through the lens of the early 30's USN but the comparison to the RN is spot on.

Aubrey said...

I think Sal nailed the best response to this in a comment a couple of days ago - there is always a "navy killer" and an "instant ship killer" out there (starting with the Whitehead torpedo and running straight through to today), and yet navies are still around and still necessary.

Aubrey said...

And if you want to deploy those planes away from shore, you need a carrier. The other guys sees your carrier and needs a sub. Now you need escorts for the carriers, or a whole LOT of CVNs.

See the trend?  I got a couple of copies of Mahan and Corbet sitting around I can lend you...

Southern Air Pirate said...

Yep. That must be why I can stand on the USS Missouri looking over at the USS Arizionia. Or walk on the decks of the USS Intrepid looking at aircraft history and learn the history of the ship. I mean if every major powerful ship in WW2 was killed in World War 2 by air power or submarine power. If VADM Dan Gallery was still alive I would ask him about the dangers of the German U-boats.

As to the comment about ASCM. Again to site just the Falklands. The Argentines produced more kills with thier A-4Q's (which were modified A-4B's from US stocks) dropping thier bombs then the Super Entendards did with thier Exocets. I also think the crew of the USS Stark has something to say about the ship killer capabilities of an ASCM.

OTH targeting is important on both sides other wise the bad guys are stumbling with in range of the good guys weapons or just completely miss the bad guys.

Every time the US Navy has gone to a sea denial plan, we have ended up in a conflict that basically hand us our butts. See early USN history from start in 1775 till just around the turn of the 20th century. At which point the President at the time decided that we needed to be able to project power. Since then we have tried to build a fleet that could open access in a sea denial situtation and then project power into that region.

Southern Air Pirate said...

GB,

I don't doubt what you say is true with regards to the MPS style ships in places like NIT, Oakland, Long Beach, and Seattle International Terminals, etc. All of which are awaiting usage or do get used from time to time. The ones that I am thinking of are from the ships that I have seen near a couple of places I was stationed. That is the RRF fleets in Olympia,WA and up James River in Virginia. Some of those ships there are supposed to be able to be mobilized and used in cause of a "major conflict" (from most of what I have read is the equivalent of a NATO/PACT conflict or renewal of the Korean Conflict or were mobilized during Vietnam) to start convoy ops. From looking at those ships while going to fishing holes, they all have the appearance of ships from the late 40's and early 50's; from before the world had standardized containerized shipping. I also know that the MARAD and the MSC have asked congress to disposed of those ships and replace them only to see fights break out from congressional critters about who was supposed to pay for the scrapping and who was to pay for the replacements.

You are totally right with regards to the escorts. If the fleet gets decimated just to open up access then who is going to escort the merchants into the region and escort the empties back out so the guys on the ground can make the war happen.

Again this has come very much from the idea that the US doesn't need a large fleet cause we haven't had a major naval power to worry about since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Just cause it hasn't happened in the recent years doesn't mean it won't happen any time soon.

ewok40k said...

Ahem, if RN has gone with selling/scrapping carriers before Falklands or Argentinians waited year or 2, there would be no Falkland expedition at all. Without air cover by fighters it  would be suicide, Yamato style.
This aside, Russia is rapidly heading towards 100 ship navy, with present force of 1 carrier, 19 destroyers/cruisers, 6 frigates, 64 corvettes and 28 nuke and 19 conventional subs. Heed me well, unles US improves its economy this is the direction of the USN.
Note that Chinese rise in numbers, contrasting with Russia.
BTW, Pakistani just ordered 4 Chinese frigates, 200kk$ a piece, 3 for each LCS US procure...
each with 76 mm gun and 8 ASM (C-802), and surprise, 202 crew...
Maybe its a heresy to many but would it be good to buy some for USN? (just joking...)

Grandpa Bluewater said...

SAP: The James River fleet,  Suisun Bay, and Olympia are/were mothball fleets, Figure six months to get to sea, best.  Many are indeed "stick ships" or crane ships and would require conversion (booms and cranes go, doors and ramps arrive). Some are (or used to be naval auxiliaries, LKA's,  AO's, AD, AE, AS. Their rig more or less fits their mission.  The electronics, engineering plants and communications equip sleeps where it was the day the ship went into mothballs.

They are gap fillers, something you can get to sea in less time than new construction, somewhat picked over for repair parts over the years. Desperation option supplies. The only reason they remain is they are hard to break up (pollution and asbestos regs, etc).

As to finished, ready to build plans for mass construction of cargo hulls for war emergency service (the same niche as the Liberty and Victory ships), dunno.  They might exist, but I have little faith in it.

Southern Air Pirate said...

I concede the point. You sound like the SME. I am willing to learn more about the merchant side, I just know the basics of which is probably dangerous.

Byron said...

Grandpa, to successfully build merchant hulls at a fast pace requires the following:

1) Rock solid drawings
2) Engineers who are out of the picture when the first piece of steel is cut
3) Engineers and management that understand that the best is the enemy of good enough
4 Excellent middle and lower management that can give good direction and are willing to work 100% with quality assurance to insure adherence to design specifications.
5) A payroll ratio that is extremely low on the upper management end and extremely high on the "shooter" end.

I know this can work; My people assembled 21 modules into a total weight of 1800 tons in 9 1/2 days with 120 total people between two shifts working 10 hour shifts. Each module fit exactly into it's neighbor with under 2mm deviation (and that is the max, most were zero). It can be accomplished. It's not a secret nor does it require super-human effort.

Andrewdb said...

Byron - your points 1-5 sound like pretty much everything current Navy shipbuilding is not reputed to be.

Andrewdb said...

Which is one of the problems with our efforts in the 'stan at the moment.

Erowmer said...

Who needs war-capabile tonnage when all four Sailors Of The Year were females? Misplaced priorities, shipmates, badly misplaced priorities. And no wonder when the Recruiter's school counselors's calendar looks lika an ad for the peace corps.---old retired CPO.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

War?

Why, that isn't what the Navy is for!!!!  Diversity uber alles! 

Jeff Weimer said...

Although Quantity has a quality all it's own, the USN is currently fully 50% of Naval tonnage world wide, a feat never seen before. Yes, everyone else has dropped, but they have dropped more.  We've fallen from the numbers we had when I joined, but we're still the biggest player in the game

ewok40k said...

With LCS getting a major share of this tonnage I would not bet on winning anything even against smaller force...