Monday, May 09, 2011

A JHSV by any other name ...

How do you "un-Joint" something?
The Department of Defense announced today that the departments of the Navy and Army signed a Memorandum of Agreement May 2 transferring all five of the Army's Joint High Speed Vessels to the Navy.

The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command will own and operate all 10 JHSVs, which will be designated as USNS and crewed by civil service and contract mariners.

Initially, the JHSV program was envisioned to have five of the first 10 JHSVs assigned to the Army and the remainder to the Navy. However, at the Army/Navy Warfighter Talks in December 2010, both services agreed to transfer the Army's five JHSVs upon signing of this MOA. All 10 JHSVs will now be assigned to the Navy.
This is a perfect opportunity to jump on one of my favorite hobby-horses: naming ships correctly.

The last few decades have been a parade of shame on political, fetish, and just plain stupid concepts/names when it comes to be what should be a simple subject - naming ships. From LCS to MURTHA, there aren't enough palms out there to cover the face we have lost.

Now that we have these ships by ourselves, it is both inaccurate as well as silly to call them Joint High Speed Vessels. My preference are for action descriptors (Destroyer, Cruiser, Battle, Carrier ... ), function (Combat Stores, Oiler) over concepts or talking points (Littoral Combat, Joint). The exception is Frigate of course - but that is just a cool name soaking with historical baddassedness, so I'm happy with that.

What do we do with these ships? Our buddy Lee has some good ideas he outlined to me that I'll steal and run with

JHSV refers to ship acquisition program NOT a ship type, and they are repeatedly identified as “transports”. They will normally be used for inter-theater sealift which in many cases means coastal movements.

The ships will now be assigned to MSC, so they should start with the T prefix. Once you start there, the correct path is to designate them as T-APC.

Where does that come from? True, the NVR does not even list APC, perhaps because they were originally Army ships or another silly reason? I don't know. Coastal Transports (APC)s were US Army transports transferred to the US Navy during the formation of the Military Sea Transportation Service in 1950.

Maybe there is a better idea - but this beats what we have now. Ungh, JHSV is on the NVR list under "sea basing" as you can find at the link above - so double-ungh. JHSV is so much more than to be thrown under a double-concept-buzzword naming hex. This needs to be fixed

As for their names, if we are going the MSC route, then an honorable thing to do would to name the ships after merchant mariners who have have served in combat operations with distinction, there are plenty to choose from.

Another option would be to name them after significant MSC ships from the past. Ideas?

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