Monday, July 22, 2013

Norman, Ben - sure, let's pound the dead horse some more. I'm in!

Sydney Freedberg over at BreakingDefence hit the Rolodex for a review of why LCS was, is, and seems to always be what is it; a sub-optimal Little Crappy Ship.

OK front porch, how long have we been tilting against LCS? Eight+ years? How much of the things we raised at the beginning from NLOS to manning to technology risk have we been spot on about? Did it make a difference? No.

Well, we don't need to rehash it all - if people need to review they can always click the LCS tag below. Back to the topic at hand though, what did Sydney hear from the Rolodex? A couple of the heavy guns on our side of the LCS argument who are still on line with us, dented and battered - but lances still ready for the next run - a good team to be on.
Talk about timing. As Congress gears up to grill Navy officials on the much-criticized Littoral Combat Ship program, the fleet’s first LCS suffered yet another power outage that “briefly” shut down its engines near Singapore, where the USS Freedom recently deployed for its first foreign tour. [Click here for the Navy's detailed official explanation]. Freedom had three prior electrical outages in March.

“Sydney, this is ludicrous,” fumed naval historian and LCS critic Norman Polmar. “It’s a relatively simple ship and we can’t get it right. There’s something wrong with the whole approach, the whole program, and it needs to be reviewed at a much higher level,” he said, preferably by a blue-ribbon panel of experts from outside the Navy Department: “It can’t be left in the hands of the people running the program, Navy and civilian.”

“I hate to tell you ‘we told you so’,” said Ben Freeman, who led the charge against LCS at the Project On Government Oversight, POGO. (Freeman is now the national security advisor at Third Way, a centrist Democratic thinktank). “We were talking about these problems two years ago, and we were told at the time …. all this has been dealt with, from the equipment failures to the cracking.”
Naval traditionalists, like Polmar, say that even if you can get the ship to work, the basic design is a bad idea, a vulnerable and undergunned warship that provides far less combat power per dollar than foreign designs in the same weight class. The Navy, for its part, argues that it has turned LCS’s early problems around and that the ships’ unusual designs will open bold new possibilities for naval warfare.
LCS-1 should have not deployed to WESTPAC. Good Sailor are doing the best they can with what they have been given; but she was not ready for prime-time. 

Yes, I know - if every ship was hit in the press because of a SSTG issue ... but it is more to it than that. Normen and Ben know it, I know it - and so do you.

She should be in 3rd Fleet being a test bed close to home where she can help so follow-on ships will be better and not stumble like this in front of the whole world, again. They will deploy - they will be in harm's way. Enough dog and pony shows - focus.

I continue to wait to be proven wrong about LCS so I can apologize, but I have a feeling that time will not come. LCS continues to perform as expected; as Norman, Ben, myself and other have expected.

What a waste of time, money, professional reputation, resources and talented careers. Not since the Edsel, not since the Edsel.

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