Thursday, March 12, 2015

Let's Check in with the Fruits of Transformation Age

Never before has so much been spent for so long on so few in order to gain so little.

Yes, I will take two lumps of schadenfreude with my cup of gloat.

Oh, and please order a cup as well for the Old School members of the Front Porch a decade ago who warned everyone this is where these horribly executed programs would wind up; Byron, Sid, Mr. T's Haircut and others who in comments helped flesh out the opposition to these transformatinalist Edsels.

Let's start with the poster child for technology risk; DDG-1000.
Problems with the complex technology being installed in the new destroyers of the Zumwalt class have forced the Navy and shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works to delay delivery of the first two ships, the US Navy said Monday night.

The Zumwalt (DDG 1000) had been scheduled to be delivered to the Navy this summer, but that has dropped back to November. Delivery of the second ship, Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), production of which is about a year behind Zumwalt, has also been pushed back a few months in 2016, to November of that year.
"The schedule delay is due primarily to the challenges encountered with completing installation, integration and testing of the highly unique, leading edge technology designed into this first-of-class warship," Cmdr. Thurraya Kent, spokeswoman for the Navy's acquisition directorate, said in a statement.
The only thing that gives me hope that this three ship technology demonstration project will produce something of value is that they are being built by BIW. If anyone can make it happen, they can.

While we're enjoying our sad little Cassandraistic joy, let's see who is having fun kicking around the Little Crappy Ship;
“Without a clear capabilities-based assessment, it is not clear what operational requirements the upgraded LCS is designed to meet,” McCain said. “The Navy must demonstrate what problem the upgraded LCS is trying to solve. We must not make this mistake again.”
Senator McCain with a bone in his teeth; nice.

Of course we know what the LCS-to-FF is all about; (1) Keeping some production going in order to keep ship numbers up; (2) Keep #1 going in order to keep enough CDR Commands to fluff SWO numbers at the CAPT boards; (3) Keep jobs; (4) Fill the frigate gap with a non-frigate because the story we told for a decade about not needing a frigate was wrong. Something built here is better and nothing built at all because our egos and politics won't let us take better EUROFRIGATE designs and build them here.
O’Rourke takes issue not with the Small Surface Combatant Task Force itself, but with then-Secretary Chuck Hagel’s February 2014 memorandum that rebooted LCS in the first place.

“[There are] two formal, rigorous analyses that do not appear to have been conducted prior to the announcement of the program’s restructuring,” O’Rourke writes. Before you commit taxpayer dollars to a weapons program, you traditionally take three steps, he writes: “ identify capability gaps and mission needs; compare potential general approaches for filling those capability gaps or mission needs…and refine the approach selected as the best or most promising.” In short, you figure out what problem you’re trying to solve, then how to solve it, then how best to implement that solution. The upgraded LCS skipped the first two steps.

Specifically, the Small Surface Ship Combatant Task Force did Step No. 3. The SSCTF was created to examine existing, all-new, and modified designs for “a more lethal and survivable small surface combatant, with capabilities generally consistent with those of a frigate.” After extensive analysis, the task force came up with the ship that met those criteria best. But it was Hagel’s memo that set those criteria. It did so with no evident analysis of what specific problem the frigate was supposed to solve. Nor was there analysis of whether a frigate was the best solution, as opposed to some other kind of ship or something else altogether — for example a larger ship, an aircraft, or new tactics.

“Having refined the design concept for [the upgraded LCS], the Navy will now define and seek approval for the operational requirements for the ship,” O’Rourke writes. “Skeptics might argue that definition and approval of operational requirements should come first, and conceptual design should follow, not the other way around.”
This is where I find my inner Tim. I'm not sure if that is Laz or Galrahn playing King Arthur ... I'll let you ID Sir Robin.

The bold faced lessons from the age of transformation; poorly concepts followed by spotty program managements pushed by personality will not trump centuries of lessons of the compounding impact of technology risk, program risk, and the limits of the human body

Present and future leaders of our Navy; see what was done with these two programs and - don't do that.

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