110315-N-3185H-405 PACIFIC OCEAN (March 15, 2011) The Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Pecos (T-AO 197) pulls alongside the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) to conduct a replenishment at sea. Blue Ridge is en route to Japan to support earthquake and tsunami relief efforts as part of Operation Tomodachi. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cale Hatch/Released)The BLUE RIDGE is 41 years old as she provided exceptional service after the Japanese nuclear incident. Her sister ship, the 6th Fleet Flag Ship USS MOUNT WHITNEY (LCC-20) is 40 and is proving her worth in the Libyan operations.
Few ships are more unsexy than Command Ships - so of course their replacement continues to be ignored. Thought about now and then - or strangled in the crib.
I don't care if you are a hard-power, soft-power - forward presence or home-based-global-reach proponent. Having good, survivable and robust Command Ships should be on your short list.
Yet - we are waiting until the last minute, if at all. Unsexy and critical - but sadly forgotten in the battle for money.