Thursday, December 06, 2012

Time Magazine Goes Salamander

As many of you in the front porch have sent me this week, Time Magazine has a Salamanderesque three-part series on the challenges we have in the Navy.

It really does cover the issues we have been discussing over the years here.  Nice work by Winslow Wheeler; Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 (even though not one link to 'ole Sal and the front porch).

Read them all, but here are some of the meaty bits. 

Does he get everything right? No, but he gets a solid B. That is something for me, as you know I am not a fan of the Center for Defense Information (my argument with them goes back to the Cold War) - now it seems a subsidiary of POGO. The only thing that tempers my suspucion is that he has published a book at USNIPress, Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages U.S. Security It is hard for a critic to make a living (goodness know I'm lucky this is just a hobby), so I'll cut him some slack for where he gets his paycheck.

 In any event, front porch regulars, check for recording devices under their rocking chairs please.
Recent analysis from the Congressional Budget Office shows that the prospects for the Navy’s growing in the future are quite dim. CBO estimates that to implement the Navy’s current 30-year shipbuilding plan (to increase the fleet from 284 to the projected 310 to 316 warships) will require average annual spending of $22 billion, not the $17 billion the Navy estimates. However, even the Navy’s unrealistically-low projection is well above the $11 billion for shipbuilding in the Navy’s 2013 budget, or the $12 billion it plans to seek, on average, for the next five years.

It is completely unrealistic to anticipate even the Navy’s low-ball future spending levels: No one is anticipating the kind of Pentagon spending increases these higher shipbuilding figures will require, and for naval shipbuilding even to retain its current level of spending, let alone increase, will require it to “eat” spending elsewhere in the Navy’s budget, or in one of the other military services’ budgets.

threats from these missiles, sea mines and diesel-electric submarines have all been real and existing for decades. They have also been without an effective response from the Navy, which seems more interested in high-profile, high-cost, show-the-flag forces that are best usable against enemies like Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq – nations that have little, if any, weapons to use against us.

Our contemporary wars have amounted to little more than “clubbing baby seals” at sea. We have been lucky in the past, and escaped with only a few ship casualties.

Can we expect our luck to continue? ... Worse appears to be the case for the Littoral Combat Ship. It clearly offers diminished capability compared to some other navies’ frigates, corvettes and even fast-attack boats, and it may be a step backward from the U.S. Navy’s own FFG-7 frigates.

Multiple news articles present a depressing picture of what the LCS is, and is not. The Pentagon’s own director of operational test and evaluation repeatedly termed the LCS and its systems “deficient” in his most recent assessment. He added: “LCS is not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment.”


Stephen Fleming said...

Great content, but eyestraining! Have you tried reading this blog on an iPhone? If you don't have one handy, check out this screenshot:

I love monospace, but if you add 'Monaco' in front if 'Courier' in your CSS stack, it'll make things much more legible for iDevice readers...

FormerFC said...

Winslow Wheeler... Bleh. I didn't bother going any further after seeing he was the author.

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