Monday, February 25, 2019

No ENS for LCS

I keep waiting to be proven wrong about LCS, I actually welcome it - hope for it. It might be humbling for me, but it would be great news for our Navy and the nation is serves. Sadly though, little is happening to convince me I've been wrong for a decade and a half.

We have 15 LCS commissioned as of earlier this month. With each passing year, this series of Little Crappy Ships become a larger and larger portion of our fleet. Well over a decade after commissioning of Hull-1, 2019 is supposed to be the big deployment year.

...and yes ... it appears the ships and even more numerous crews are ... no place yet for newly minted Ensigns from USNA?

Nice snag by Craig;
The U.S. Naval Academy’s annual Ship Selection “rite-of-passage” is enormous fun. Of course, it happened more than a month ago, so I’m a little late to the party. But, that aside, two things really struck me: the participation of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and the non-participation of the Avenger Class MCM and Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Classes.
No Mids were able to select MCMs or LCSs (apparently as of last Fall). I know that the Navy is putting an increased focus on how their youngsters are trained, but….are you telling me that there are no opportunities for learning the craft aboard an LCS? That’s….crazy.

I can somewhat understand not sending Mids to the old Avenger Class Mine Countermeasures ships. They’re old, the fleet has already dwindled to 11 and, well they’re on the way out; three more are planned to decommission in 2022.

But the LCS?

No Mids? Not even NROTC? Surely we have the space–According to the Naval Vessel Register, seventeen are commissioned into the fleet. With a blue/gold crew apiece, that’s about 3400 sailors–and many more are coming. At the current rule of thumb 10:1 crew/officer ratio, I find it realy difficult to believe that there’s no space in the LCS for some first tour SWOs.

I get the fact that the SWO community is reconstituting their training program. And I also understand that the two LCS seaframes have challenges and are tough on officers, but….regardless of problems, these new “small” ships are, I would think, places where the Navy might want youngsters to obtain some of their first sea-time.
This does deserve answers.

If we have designed - after multiple redesigns - the manning construct for LCS that means that we cannot send ENS to them ... then scrap what we are doing now.

It simply is not sustainable to have such a large portion of our fleet a no-go zone for ENS. This isn't just a flashing red light, it has a blazing klaxon going off with it.

Good googly moogly - what a dog's breakfast of a program.

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