In the letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, McCain and Reed also said they were "concerned that Navy leaders are overstating the current state of the program and the challenging path to achieving the promised capability."Bingo. All this self inflicted woe, so avoidable, so predictable, so unnecessary - but like a stubborn drunk, perhaps we just need to hit rock bottom first.
"We expect Navy leaders to acknowledge and close the chasm between aspirations and reality for the LCS," they wrote.
The senators contrasted comments made by Mabus in January about the ship and its "robust" capabilities -- "now that's a success story," he said in a speech -- with a more critical assessment this month from the Pentagon's chief weapons tester that disclosed new questions about the LCS's combat effectiveness and reliability.
"We seldom hear from Navy leaders about these challenges," wrote McCain of Arizona and Reed of Rhode Island.
What have we warned our Navy about for a decade here? In all the ongoing happy-talk about LCS, our Navy is still betting what little professional capital it has on The Hill for a sub-optimal platform we have forced on ourselves. Even in the face of clear programmatic implosion, while some acknowledge shortcomings, we still have high profile personnel speak and act as if the PPT has been made flesh.
When even career politicians hold your word in contempt and cynical scorn - perhaps it is time to re-evaluate our well worn habits of not acting like customers of the military-industrial complex, but their Baghdad Bobs.
Then again, as Congress continues to avoid the Salamander Bill on post-retirement employment of General Officers and Flag Officers. One has little reason to wonder why. It has been well over a decade, let me review for you;
GOFO shall not work for a publicly or privately held company that has business with the Department of Defense for a period not less than five years following their effective date of retirement.Well I digress. Back to beating the Little Crappy Ship about the scuppers.
Here is what it is making us do. None of these statements are even remotely supported by an objective review of facts;
Asked about the letter, Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler, the Navy's chief spokeswoman, said, "We will continue to refine how we maintain, operate and deploy LCS based on what we learn in operational tests, maintenance and deployments."In the name of all that his holy SECNAV, with what? What fleet? With what weapon? Sure, we can take out the Icelandic cod fishing fleet, maybe ... but good googly moogly. And RDML Cutler, I know you're uber-PAO CHINFO and all, but please in the name of sweet Neptune, define "successful deployment?"
"The first two deployments of LCS have been successful, but we still have work to do in order to better execute the mission for which this platform was designed," she said in an email.
In his Jan. 14 speech to the Surface Navy Association, a Navy industry support group, Mabus said that "a group of small surface ships like the LCS is still capable of putting the enemy fleet at the bottom of the ocean."
I would really like to go a week without beating up this sad and pathetic smear on the honor of our Navy, but it just won't let me. Just won't.
What could be this year's Pink Flamingo? Just as I hope that LCS will with enough money, luck, and Sailor's sweat be made something useful - what if it is actually even worse than I have thought all these years? What if by the election it is found so bad that we put in a "stop work" order on it?
Please, prove us wrong ... but alas, alas, that great surface force, that mighty navy! For in one hour is thy judgment come.