Monday, June 15, 2015

Your Weekly LCS Update: Still an Embarrassment

Most people responsible for the birth and midwifing of the LCS program have long since retired. Everyone working now in the program are really blameless - they are just good people in hard jobs trying the best to build monuments of brick without straw.

Unfortunately, that excuse does work for many in senior leadership now. The self-fulfilling prophecy that was the Small Surface Combatant program hard-wired some upgraded LCS platform. Once all now in power move on, there will be plenty of professionally researched program management post-mortem that will outline what we already know: for reasons best known to those who made them, the US Navy hobbled its future capabilities by doubling down on a bad idea. Instead of moving on from a mistake, they figured if they just used enough imaginations, all would work out well in the end.

That doesn't work well for relationships, it doesn't work well in program management either.

All this came back this weekend with a well timed tweet by our friend Phil Ewing;

Phil is, as usual, spot on. I'll pass on the horrible name choice as that horse was beaten and buried awhile ago for the class in general and LCS-10 in particular, let's stick to the topic. We've raised the point before, but let's do it again.

LCS-1 of the FREEDOM class was commissioned in NOV '08. (I like commission dates vice christening, so let's go with that). LCS-2 of the INDEPENDENCE class followed 2-yrs later in DEC 10. That class has the even numbers. Only LCS-4 has been commissioned, LCS-6, 8, and 10 are all "fitting out." Unlike the LCS-1 class that has at least shown the flag in WESTPAC, in over 5-years not a single INDEPENDENCE class has even done that.

For reference; five years after the commissioning of FFG-7, 26 of that class had been commissioned with many full-on deployments. DD-963? Well, 30 of the 31.

Keep pondering that. And remember, we have done better and can do better - as long as how we did business with LCS is not seen as the new normal. What we did with LCS was, is, and will be the example of how not to run a program. Don't forget, don't stop mentioning that - our Sailors deserve better ships to go to sea in.

Decisions of convenience now have repercussions for decades.

How will the class, both LCS and FF perform through its service life? About the same as a brick building made of bricks without straw. Sure, you can build one and it will look nice ... for awhile ...

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