Thursday, June 01, 2006

Tactical ignorance - Strategic stupidity

Finally getting around to an April Navy Times article about the Navy returning to its vomit: it is going to starve and neglect Mine Warfare .... again. Anyone here remember what happened to the USS Princeton and USS Tripoli?
While sweeping further toward shore, the task group was targeted by Iraqi fire control radars associated with Silkworm missile sites inside Kuwait. Task force ships moved out of Silkworm range and worked to locate the radar site. During those maneuvers on 18 February, Iraqi mines found their mark. Within three hours of each other, Tripoli and USS Princeton (CG 59) were rocked by exploding mines. As damage control teams successfully overcame flres and flooding aboard Tripoli and Princeton, Impervious, Leader and Avenger searched for additional mines in the area. Adroit led the salvage tug USS Beaufort (ATS 2) toward Princeton to tow her to safety.
I guess not. Well, I am not going to go through the moving from TX to CA - what I want to focus on is this little tidbit:
Yet of 19 Navy ships damaged or sunk by adversaries since 1945, 15 were victims of mines.
... and every ignorant SOB of a country out there has them. Don't think you can rely on your "allies" to bring theirs either. Here is the stupid part.
All 12 of the Navy’s small MHC coastal minehunters would be decommissioned by 2008.
All of these ships of the Osprey class were commissioned from 1993 to 1999. Great LCDR commands that build great leaders. Gone again. Just stupid. And they are going to combine ASW and MIW "Centers of Excellence." Sure....why not put AAW and EW together? Here are two men smarter then me on the subject.
“When you say ‘center of excellence,’ you’re focusing in on a specific mission. When you start to blend two missions under one mission under a center of excellence, you can very easily dilute the effort,” said Al Konetzni, a retired vice admiral, who at the time was deputy commander of Fleet Forces Command.

Konetzni, a submariner, noted mine and anti-submarine warfare shared “some similarity in the water column,” but otherwise, “they’re completely different. ASW is very dynamic. Mine warfare is very static.”

Many said the command would be better placed under surface forces, where expeditionary and littoral warfare concerns are greatest.

“We don’t do minesweeping in areas where submarines operate,” said naval analyst Norman Polmar. “It would have made a lot more sense to combine the mine forces with the surface forces. They work with the surface forces and not with the submarine forces.”
There is a "White Paper" out on this that I don't have (email it if you have it, please). It is unsigned (they really should have started a blog) and moving in circles that I am not part of. The Naval Enquirer got a copy though:
“We believe the Navy’s plan to reorganize and merge Mine Warfare and Anti-Submarine Warfare is not well conceived and is focused on cost-savings and organizational/enterprise efficiencies rather than any enhanced [mine warfare] capabilities that might result,” the paper said.

“Cost-savings at the expense of required warfighting competencies is not a desirable outcome. Efficiency is not the same as effectiveness.
That is just about perfect. More ignorance from "Big Navy" here.
The proposal to split up the community’s ships and helicopters also is drawing concern.
Sigh. My thoughts? Well, right in line with 'ole Norman.
The mine community also fears the merger will strip it of its only flag officer, further diluting its influence in a Navy where few officers have much mine experience.

“There are very few mine warfare specialists,” the retired senior officer said. “They understand ships, aircraft. They don’t understand the integrated mine warfare picture using ships, helicopters, vehicles and explosive ordnance teams.”

He said no commander of a mine squadron has ever been promoted to admiral.

Polmar is equally pessimistic.

“They will keep [the flag officer] initially and then it will disappear as we further downgrade mine warfare,” he said. “And that will continue until the next time a U.S. ship runs into a mine.”
The cost of peacetime leadership in wartime will be the bodies of Sailors consumed by Hagfish. 'Nuff said.

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