Why does the Navy hate small ships? It says it needs them — in glossy report after glossy report, the top leaders of the fleet say the Navy needs to operate in shallow water, close to shore, yadda yadda yadda. But what does it do? Decommissions an entire class of coastal minehunters; marginalizes the surviving mine countermeasures ships; and, most recently, discovers that it must sideline its coastal patrol ships because, all of a sudden, they’re old and worn out.Via email, one of my spies has an idea ... and I think he is real close to the answer.
I think it's because Big Surface Navy does not get excited about at-sea commands for O-3s and O-4s. It messes with the conveyor belt promotion path mentality. If a guy gets a command as an O-3 should he even be considered for one as a junior O-5? Is it fair to the O-5s who didn't get an O-3 command? Personally I don’t think those questions are worthy of "professional black shoes". Maybe a few minor screw-ups as an O-3 skipper will inoculate against big screw-ups as and O-5 skipper.Yep. After all, earlier the last decade as LCS started taking shape I blurted out, "Sub-100 Sailor ship? Wow, what a great opportunity for more LT and LCDR commands!"
With a tilted head and furrowed brow - the Millington-DC Mafia harumphed back to me, "Are you nuts? We need those to be CDR commands so we can make more CAPT."
And so it goes. LCS: the gift that keeps on giving. Wait until 2030 when this "worn out" problem hits what LCS we do have in the fleet ... if not sooner.
.... and yes, I know. LCS isn't a small ship. It is the size of a WWII destroyer (with 1/3 the crew and 1/10 the firepower) ... but the language has changed.