The long-awaited decision on which competitor will win the Navy’s littoral combat ship competition is expected to be revealed Wednesday afternoon, and the answer will surprise most people.Really? Really?
The winner? Both teams.
Sources said the Navy, rather than selecting one team to build 10 ships, will instead award construction contracts to both Lockheed Martin and Austal USA to build 10 of their ships, for a total of 20 new LCS hulls.
One source said the ships will continue to be built with separate combat systems, rather than go through a time-consuming effort to install a common system on all the ships.
I don't want to hear any more from these people about configuration control, systems commonality or gains from economies of scale. I don't want to hear them tell one more Commanding Officer that he needs to make hard choices.
LCS - a dog's breakfast of intellectual fail from CONOPS through production. Almost as bad as sending an XO to Court Martial for failing to implement something that doesn't exist.
If this pans out - it is only one thing; full-spectrum systemic fail.
Would someone make a d@mn decision. The right one would be to kill the entire program before it does more damage to our long-term Operational and Tactical capabilities ... but no ... punt the decision to others to deal with.
The minute someone finds out who the next Chairman and Ranking member of the HASC is going to be - please send me an email.
UPDATE: Thanks to Matt and DefenseDaily, here we go.
HASC Ranking Member Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.) is expected to assume the chairmanship of the panel. He laid out a "broad vision for national defense policy" yesterday that focuses on "investing in theNew day. Will be interesting to see where they lay down their markers.
The House Appropriations Defense subcommittee (HAC-D), meanwhile, will undergo a leadership change with the shift of power to the Republicans. While current Ranking Member C.W. "Bill" Young (R-Fla.) would be the natural pick, current term-limit rules wouldn't allow him to regain the chairmanship he previously held, according to a GOP aide. Those rules could be changed, or Young could be granted a waiver. The next-senior Republican on the HAC-D now is Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.).
Three current HAC-D members will not return next session. Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) lost to GOP challenger Steve Southerland on Tuesday. Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) lost in the Democratic primary in August. And fellow HAC-D member Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) in August lost the Republican primary race for the seat vacated by Sen. Sam Brownback (R- Kan.), which Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) won on Tuesday.
The top four HASC Democrats lost their reelection battles: Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), Vice Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.), Readiness subcommittee Chairman Solomon Ortiz (D- Texas), and Seapower subcommittee Chairman Gene Taylor (D-Miss.); Ortiz, though, may seek a recount.
The most senior HASC Democrat to be reelected is Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), though it is not clear if he would become the committee's ranking member, because he is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) would be next in line, because the more-senior Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) did not seek reelection.
ther defense-minded lawmakers to lose their reelection bids Tuesday include
HASC members Reps. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) and Glenn Nye (D-Va.). In the Senate, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), a former Navy admiral, lost his bid for the seat he took from Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) in the primary election. Sestak lost on Tuesday to Republican Pat Toomey.
UPDATE In comments, our buddy Gal thought I should make my response to his more pithy comment a post ... but what the heck, an update will do. Check out comments if you want to see what sparked it. Hey, I'm quoting me again......
I don't disagree (that) all things involving building a ship is political - but there is a cause to our present situation.
If LCS was designed and implemented properly there would be a set of facts that the Navy could point to that would make such political behavior unnecessary or at least mitigated to only 49.9% of the decision matrix. As it is, we have an ill-defined program based on an unexecutable CONOPS with NMC weapons systems and non-integrated warfighting capabilities as a primary method of tactical power projection.
This became political to the degree it is as there is no militarily arguable reason that we need this white elephant of a program.
The Jeff-boats analogy is imperfect but useful and I encourage everyone to go to InfoDis and see your very thoughtful post.
I am well past arguing the finer points of LCS like I have in the past - I won that argument and have enjoyed the free beers because of it. Nor do I feel the need to go into long discussions of the entrails-reading that is the inside the beltway programatics anymore - as it is just background noise to the basic malfunction that is LCS: it is a huge expense for little to any warfighting use. It is actually a huge negative because of the drain it is on our shipbuilding budget.
So many in our leadership have expended their reputations defending this program for reasons that are best explained by themselves - as a result, no one in a uniform can fill the decision gap that exists on where to go - no one in Congress believes them, and for good reason.
Politics will rule this until the uniformed leadership can point to a clear path that is defendable against hard questions, math, and facts. LCS cannot be and has never been defendable beyond the briefing table and the PPT slide.
I was giggl'n at myself after I pounded this out as I am getting to the point that my anger is turning to maniacal laughter as this rolling trainwreck continues forward ---- then I get quite again as I remember why I am angry. Simple.
We build ships to go to war. These ships are filled with Sailors. These Sailors are willing to put their lives on the line in order to execute the orders of the Commander in Chief in defense of their nation's interests. These Sailors have families. When we put them in harm's way, we need to make sure that they have the best systems that are not only survivable, but are able to engage in response the full spectrum of reasonably expected enemy actions that may come over the horizon, and do so in a manner that brings about positive Tactical, Operational, and Strategic Effects. If you don't build warships to do that - you intentionally throw away the lives of Sailors, destroy families, and more importantly, put your nation at Strategic Risk.
Why did we do this? For a narcissistic need to feel that we are smarter than any other generation - that we are transformational - that by the force of our own specialness we can do more with less than anyone else because we am so much better. Because we believe that personal loyalty is more critical than institutional loyalty. We will support something not because it is the right thing, but because the person who controls my career will punish me if I do not - even though every professional bone in my body tells me what they propose won't work and will be a negative impact on our future.
That is why we have reached the point that there is only one thing to do if we are serious about having an effective fleet in a decade. Kill the entire program. If we must, build enough LCS until we can license build a Nansen/Absalom type with 12-24 ship run until we can get a domestically designed multi-purpose Frigate somewhere between the size of LCS and DDG-51. Take those LCS we built and give them to the USCG as medium endurance cutters and cut our losses, accept our lessons, and make sure we don't do this again.
Anything else is vanity, or as the original Greek said; bubbles.