Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Colton goes Salamander on ZUMWALT ...


Hard to be more direct than this.
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE GRAY ELEPHANT?
Bud Zumwalt, a great man, must be spinning in his grave. Senator Collins (R-GD) thinks the second and third ships are OK, but are they? Will SECNAV ever explain to the U.S. taxpayers just exactly why it has cost so much - DD-21, DD(X) and now DDG 1000 - to achieve so little? Doesn't anyone in the Navy ever give a moment's thought to cost justification? Of course, we've got a SECNAV whose shipbuilding experience is based on being on the Board of Directors of Friede Goldman Halter, one of the most incompetently managed shipbuilding companies in history. (Curiously, this is not included in his bio.) And we have an ASN (RD&A) whose greatest achievement is to have been the Navy's Program Manager for the LPD 17 program, another horrendous waste of the taxpayers' money. So what can we expect? Maybe the new SECDEF, who seems to be having a hard time finding ways to cut the budget, should look at this DDG 1000 program. How many times does it have to be said? Kill DDG 1000, build more DDG 51s.
I know ... I know ... a lot of you are saying, "But we have spent so much money on the program already!"

Folks, that is sunk cost. You need to get your mind right.

Let me see if I can help. Some say that a "business focus" is part of our problem - I disagree. The problem is too many engineers trying to pretend they are businessmen just because they took a 2-week MBA seminar at UNC-CH a few years ago .... but that was a post from ~2006 that I won't repeat again. On with the show:

The largest mistake people make is not understanding sunk cost. Sunk cost can never be regained. It can never be recovered. When a project goes bad - you have to ignore your instincts based on upper-paleolithic hunter gatherers and think like a business.

The key is future return on present investments. If you invest $100 in a bad project that is not completed - that is sunk cost. If you walk away once you figure out that it a bad project - you have lost $100. You live and learn, and move on to better projects that hold greater risk-reward payoffs.

If you focus on your "investment" (sunk cost) and decide to spend another $75 in the project to complete it. Once that project is completed, it never makes a profit (or in this case, adds net value to Fleet effectiveness).

As a result, you have at a minimum lost $175 plus any additional net loss from operations from a non-profit making enterprise. If measured from the decision point (when you realize that it is a bad project) you have $75 plus additional net loss from operations of lost "opportunity cost" on TOP of the $100 "sunk cost" noted at your decision point.

It is "opportunity cost" and not "sunk cost" that you must focus on. With the opportunity cost of moving forward with the Grey Elephants - what could we have bought that would have added value to the ability of the Navy to create global effects in support of the goals of the National Command Authority.

This is all very sad. There are some very promising technology items in DDG-1000 - but bundling them together like we have just flies in the face of everything we know about compound technology risk. The better path would have been to follow the successful outline and best practices of cruiser development in the '20-30s and the missile development of the '50-'70s. Not "transformational" enough, I guess. Sure worked.


Hat tip Lee.

38 comments:

DeltaBravo said...

Some call it "throwing good money after bad."

Byron said...

And what about LCS, Raymond? Should we keep building these polished turds? Inquiring minds and all that...

sid said...

Can't prove it...but...

I'll bet it will be a less -well less- than Level III Survivability ship.

With a deckhouse that will fall apart in short oder.

And a cantankerous -but "Transformational" turbo electric system that will be prone to burn up on the best of days.

sid said...

Here is the LCS...

Salty Gator said...

You're kidding me, right Galrahn?  On schedule and on budget?  How many revisions to the cost and schedule and requirements were made before that happened?  If I ask you for a ham sandwich on rye to be delivered to my table in 5 minutes, and two hours later you deliver me seeds, no ham and condiments still in their respective containers, have you succeeded in delivering me a ham sandwich on rye?

Re-starting DDG-51 is a joke as well.  Way to fall right back into bed with Lockheed Martin.  It is like you tried to get out of the toxic relationship that you were in, but you got drunk (on DDG 1000), over-extended, and drunk dialed your old, half decent looking ex-girlfriend.  Either way, you'll wake up with a hangover.  Chances are, you'll wake up with a pregnant ex-girlfriend too.

Way to suck, Navy.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

and they call the remedy "cut your losses".

Galrahn said...

Salty,

Requirements process is a different (and even more important IMO) issue - as far as the shipyard construction goes, DDG-1000 is on schedule and budget. I suspect there will eventually be cost growth, but I think BIW is also a good bet.

I think the requirements process for DDG-1000, LPD-17, LCS, CVN-21, CG(X), etc... has pretty much proven beyond all doubt to be broken. Hopefully the recently announced GAO investigation will address the broken requirements process in detail.

Agree with you on DDG-51, but I am hearing DDG-51 Flight III is a complete internal redesign, and not really a DDG-51 except on the exterior look.

Galrahn said...

Sid, good point. Is it even possible to make a ship capable of meeting <span>Level III Survivability standards when the entire deckhouse is made of composites? Doesn't pass the smell test.
</span>

Byron said...

Raymond: bullshit. When the bombs and the rockets and the bullets start flying, LCS will be all by her lonesome, standing inshore while her guardian angels are miles and miles away and unable to be there in time to keep the LCS and up to 80 men from dying and/or captivity. I'm sure everyone in the fleet will be able to see the crime since all the ships are networked. Maybe the family left at home waiting on notification teams to show up will get to see how their loved ones bought the farm, but I kinda doubt it.

Tell me this: How much money has LCS-2 cost the taxpayer so far? I'm including all the time she spent tied to Bravo pier here at Mayport (nearly 8 months!), but what's the dollar figure above the contracted amount?

cdrsalamander said...

Gal,
RE DDG-51.

I agree.  They should really call DDG-51 FLT III a different class of warship.  Not unheard of - i.e. Cruiser Development (again) from the '30s.  Very similiar hulls were different classes due to significant design changes.  It would help the conversation a lot methinks.

Former FC said...

Got a recent source for that bit about SPY-4?

ewok40k said...

In a Navy sunken cost is a really baaad pun... because in a real war it usually is sunken for real.

bistromathematician said...

Any time he can quote an admiral he is warshipping at his alter of make believe on ship design and construction. Loves the LCS and the new LPD and of course the Gen X cruiser.

and yes, I proofread that. It says what I meant it to say.

Scott Brim, USAF Partisan said...

Galrahn, suppose that back in the summer of 2008, the Navy leadership had come totally clean and had stated the actual reasons as to why they were proposing cancellation of DDG-1000:

--> Too much technical risk, too much programmatic risk, and too much cost & schedule risk had been loaded into the program.

--> The initial cost and schedule estimates from earlier in the decade were completely delusional.

--> There were significant doubts as to the practical workability of the ship while it is at sea -- seakeeping ability,  physical danger to sailors while performing work on deck, etc. etc.

--> There were significant doubts as to whether the low-manning automation features would be effective in fulfilling the ship's combat survivability requirements.

--> There were significant doubts as to whether the ship's radar signature reduction features would be effective over the ship's full operational lifetime in the face of probable future improvements in anti-stealth countermeasures.

In 2008, had the Navy's senior leadership come totally clean, and had they stated the actual reasons as to why they were proposing cancellation of the program, then the Politics of Navy Shipbuilding Interminable (PONSI) would have exacted its own retribution.  Those admirals would have been put into stocks on the Capitol Building steps and would have been flogged to within an inch of their very lives by Congressional PONSI-ists wearing black hoods.

Rod said...

The DDG -1000 is supposed to be a “destroyer” at 14,798 tons?  Seems to me we would have a much better ship by dusting off the plans for the Graf Spee (14,890 tons, 11 inch guns, 30 knots, Range 10,200 miles) and updating them with modern systems and a few missiles. If we're going to build pocket battaleships why not call them pocket battelships!

Rod said...

...as in Battleships!

Byron said...

Nudge Steel Jaw Scribe...he tends to specialize in radars and such...

Grandpa Bluewater said...

...and they would have had it coming.

FormerFC said...

I did some checking.  SPY-4 was canexed and is being replaced by AMDR.

leesea said...

Sal FIRST having served under Adm Zumwalt, PLEASE stop using his name with this fiasco!!!
Rant off, now my comments:
I look at DDG-1000 from a systems acquisition viewpoint.  It sucked.  They changed base system rqmts.  They as you said added multiple immature technologies into one hull.  The original ship concept grew out of all proportions from SC-21 because naval officers could not get a grip on all the bells and whistles they wanted to put in a destroyer hull.  Did they program officers never discuss the ships with the intended users?  Did the issue of cost never get reviewed?  Senior leadership let them do that.  

And then the naval warfare needs changed and instead of stopping and starting with another ship approach altogether, they just modified and modified.

I see the DDG-1000 as hyper-expensive technology demonstrators with the Navy only being able to use some of the technologies because as I commented “Any system which takes more than 10 years to bring into service will by definition be using out of date technologies because things change”.

The Navy is now and will continue to be faced with huge political obstacles about this ship class.  That of course is NOT the Navy’s fault, but is the mentality of most congressional types now especially those with backyard shipyards.

I will take a great naval leader to change course and stand up to Congress while doing that.

leesea said...

GAL speaking as someone who actaully had to meet time and cost criteria, I would say being good at completing a project whose total cost is out of sight, and whose programmatic history goes by more than two DECADES is not something that I would be proud of.

There were less costly and more timely approaches to getting some of those then-new technologies into the the fleet (than dumping them ALL in ONE hull design).

I think Tim's point is NOT to build anymore of this class and to dispurse the technologies into other more affordable ships?

cdrsalamander said...

.... and they would have been sued for using Salamander from two years earlier without attribution. ;)

Surfcaster said...

Is it too much to hope that this one isn't as screwed up as the other programs out there LCS, LPD17 ? Or will it occupy a middleground: CVNx ?

In unrelated news from Hollywood:

In the upcoming epic Vern and Mike's Most Bogus Journey, they have challenged Congress to a game of DD(X):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkZeUa53Jyg

'Cept we all lost.

Retired Now said...

Article in NAVY TIMES dated 4 June 2010. By Chris Cavas. LM did not deliver SPY-4 radar to Northrop Grumman Gulfport so that it could be built into the deckhouse. AMDR program is going to LM some sort of excuse on this failure to meet it's contract to build SPY-4, which was bid back in 2003. Can't anyone inNAVSEA ever just tell the truth to the American taxpayers, just once ? Fact LM failed to meet her 2003 spec for this key piece of DDG 1000. PERIOD. AMDR spec and hardware is a different program.

James said...

Again shows what happens when instead of trying to develope each peaice of the picture seperatly you just throw them together and hope for the best.

Salty Gator said...

I'm going to challenge you a bit, Lee.  The US Navy had, up until DDG 1000, not built a new hull in over 20 years.  TWENTY YEARS!  We used to build new hulls every two years.  Each new hull incorporated no more than 2 new technologies / systems.  DDG 1000 incorporates 10.  They tried to compensate for this with Engineering Design Models (EDM).  It was an ineffective risk reduction effort.  The result:  de-scoping requirements, and a largely ineffective ship that suffers terminal identity crisis.

leesea said...

right you are!

Retired Now said...

15,000 + tons for a destroyer.   Well, to push that much weight thru the water fast,  20 to 30 knots,  with much of the hull beneath the surface of the water, is going to require a lot of horsepower.

Hence, expect DDG-1000 to be a thirsty ship.    So, we save $$$$$ on smaller crew...   while  expending more money to propell the ship.   USS NEWPORT NEWS, an attack boat homeported in Norfolk, just returned home from a 7 month deployment.  They steamed ( not gas turbined, not diesel-ed) over 40,000 miles which is more than twice around the globe, except they only cruised around the North Atlantic, North Sea, etc.    We can only image just how much fuel USS ZUMWALT will consume to cruise (on electric mains) for a 40,000 mile deployment.     

Net savings over the life of a ship ?  Well, the initial cost is astronomical $6,000,000,000 to build it.   But it has a small crew to run into the ground.   Then it will drink an extraordinary amount of fuel since it weighs in over 15,000 tons with a new hull form that has much of the hull below water, unlike a traditional TICO or BURKE.

Not sure this all makes sense, but it time for TAPS and LIGHTS OUT now.   

pk said...

back in the day usn built battleships with "turboelectic drives" they had relatively small steam turbine generators sprinkled around the center of the ship with quite large electric motors directly bolted to the propellor shafts. the reason for this design was that no company in the united states had gear cutting machinery to manufacture bull gears large enough for the horse power that they wanted to use. (96" herringbone type bull gears and the mating pinions).

as soon as general electric, westinghouse and delaval acquired the equipment to provide the gear sets usn dropped the turbo drive like a hot rock.

i believe that they infact converted a couple of the ships to what we call standard steam turbine double reduction gear drive during construction as the new gear sets became available.  

conventional wisdom is that the double reduction gear and shafting setup was so much more efficient over the turbo electric drive (claims of 96% machine efficiency were made) that it was no contest.

there was a class of fleet tug built with turbo drive (Quapa was one of them) but they suffered from a chronic flaw in that the motor sat in a pit in the motor room and any water that got loose headed right for the main motor pit and then they would have to go through many and varied evoloutions getting the grounds out of the motor.

C

pk said...

what a terrible choice to put on a skipper.

we have xxx power, do we use all of it for speed, and none for guns and missiles and the whizbang stuff or 1/2 for speed, 1/2 for guns and 1/2 for whizbang, or 1/10 for speed (with 8" shell splashes in the wake) and 90% to be "transitional" with whizbang, when the bad guys are using mark I mod 0 eyeballs to lay their guns.........

C

Retired Now said...

well, whatever the selections, doubt if they will run the DBR (which is now a Single Band Radar) at it spec'ed full power 24.7.

And probably won't run SPY-4 at any power at all !!    ( since it will never be onboard DDG-1000 and probably will be cancelled before DDG-1001.)


Dual Band Radar (DBR) = all in a single band.   Can we ask LM to return all the money they have received since 2003 for SPY-4 ??  What till USS FORD realizes that DBR will not be able to replace all those SPN-43, and long range 2-D and 3-D air radars !    Then,  someone might get angry about all this waste.... when a CVN cannot perform air marshalling and control the air space around itself. 

Anonymous said...

THE cause for the Nunn-McCurdy review was taking the spread costs for seven ships and paying for them with three.  The program was recertified by DOD, which is as you say, passing a test.  One that is essentially a Milestone "B" re-evaluation with a whole potfull of more data.

Naval_Historian said...

DDG-1000 seems to be an answer in search of a problem. The Burke DDGs seem to work well, and the Ticos are getting long in the tooth. A lot of talk here about Engineering, but Combat Systems (the heart and soul of a man of war) has been under-represented. My .02: Cut the losses and start working on a *real* Cruiser. Triple mount 8" 55 forward, maybe a 6" gun amidships, VLS aft and helo hangar about the fantail. Full ASW suite (plenty of space in a CA hull with only one gun mount and VLS)and embark 2 SH-60Bs and you can do all sorts of stuff. All this talk about stealth is good and stuff, but what are you going to do *when* they find you? I would think the notion of un-armored ships with light guns would have become obsolete about the time of the USS Cole incident. Simple, affordable SURVIVABLE systems. Power projection; a gun cruiser can do that for a fraction of the cost of a carrier.

Anonymous said...

You have to think of it differently.

In these days of CPI/SPI being on schedule means that a X-work-hour task takes X-work hours.  The slope of that curve vs. the calender depends on the expenditure rate of the customer.  If the customer gives you money at half the rate anticpated, you are still on schedule if the work takes twice as long, so far as you don't expend more than X-work hours (the work force is half as big).  The DDG-1000 spend rates have changed VERY often.  Every time they do, the calander dates move.  But as long as the Navy isn't paying for X+ work hours, the schedule is held, or said very succintly, SPI=1.0

UltimaRatioRegis said...

<span>NH,  
 
The OLDEST of the Ticos is only 25, and should still be viable for another decade and a half, at least.  They were also built to take an 8" gun forward and aft, which would be damned handy.   
 
We modified several gun cruisers in the 1950s and 60s, and got another two decades of service out of them.  The Ticos should be considered for same.</span>

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I wonder how much it would have cost to make a REAL LCS?  One based on say, an LCU, and bristling with guns?  I bet we have plenty of 5"/54s from decommed SPRUANCES that could be used.

Instead of a yacht or ferry painted Haze Gray.

I know someone here is working on just such a vessel.

pk said...

sir: the thought of a triple mount of 8"55s is refreshing, however they shouldn't be concentrated in one mount. two forward (superimposed oneabove the other) with a third aft would be better as they could engage three seperate targets at once and a lucky hit on the roller path would not "freeze" the entire batch. also those automatic guns can run out an awful lot of ammunition when they are working and storing that all in one place for a triple mount would give the survivability types real heartburn.

C

Naval_Historian said...

In the modern threat environment, Guns onboard ship are NGFS (Naval Gunfire Support). Having guns forward isolates them from the helos aft. I posit a hull about the size of USS NEWPORT NEWS; 20K tons, roughly 720 ft long. Could probably be crewed by 500 or so; VLS is nowhere nearly as manpower intensive. Triple mount simplifies firing solutions and maximizes HE on target. My CAGN (Nuke Gun cruiser w/guided missiles)-1000 could put more HE on target than a whole section of 155s. What CAG-1000 provides is Force Projection *and* protection. Not much short of special weapons could cause significant damage, and one reactor simplifies UNREP. A terrorist with an RPG would only cause a world-class cussing fit from the Seamen in First Division that would have to go over the side and repaint.