Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Terrible 20s is About More Than Money

We've defined the Terrible 20s here for years, that horrible mix of debt bombs, recapitalizing our SSBN fleet, and the need to replace and modernize legacy aircraft, ships and the concepts that designed them.

Sydney Freedberg Jr. over at BreakingDefense has a great overview of the challenges all services will face in the next decade, but to make our point, let's pull up the DON Air and Surface/Sub-Surface charts. Here you will see the other part of the Terrible 20's I don't think we have talked about much - the gaping intellectual shortfall.

Where are our designs to replace DDG-51? We cannot build them until the second coming. What about the replacement for the F-18 (no, the F-35 will not be that). I see the line for FA-XX and a little chat here and there, but where is the debate (we need the debate to fight the transformationalists who seem to have sold SECNAV on unmanned systems as the Unicorn of Purity)? That is just the top two, there are other's that are in dire need of new designs too.

These need to be making shadows on the ramp and displacing water in a decade ... we are late. Please don't tell me we are going to have a last minute too big to fail no plan-b train wreck again ... but it looks like we are. I have seen no evidence that we are going to change the horrible acquisition system we have that gave birth to the F-35, LCS, and DDG-1000. We will keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. 

I pray the next administration will have the luck and wisdom to bring people in with the wisdom and power to do more than be a food-trough caretaker. Sigh.

I know these things are being worked on, but we need to drag them out of the shadows. Time and money are not going to be our friends here; we have already wasted too much of both.

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