Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A picture brings a question

Here is something that I like to bring up every now and then.

110315-N-3185H-405 PACIFIC OCEAN (March 15, 2011) The Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Pecos (T-AO 197) pulls alongside the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) to conduct a replenishment at sea. Blue Ridge is en route to Japan to support earthquake and tsunami relief efforts as part of Operation Tomodachi. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cale Hatch/Released)
The BLUE RIDGE is 41 years old as she provided exceptional service after the Japanese nuclear incident. Her sister ship, the 6th Fleet Flag Ship USS MOUNT WHITNEY (LCC-20) is 40 and is proving her worth in the Libyan operations.

Those who like the concept of "Sea Basing" understand the function and need of Command Ships. Those who understand the difficulty and danger of land-based Operational HQs in most scenarios understand. Those who can look at a map understand the utility.

Navy leadership and their shipbuilding plan? Nosomuch. How can we put "Transformational" on something that is big, slow, and has people in funny looking uniforms running about? Even making it "Joint" can't jazz it up .... no shock, as everything is "Joint" now.

Few ships are more unsexy than Command Ships - so of course their replacement continues to be ignored. Thought about
now and then - or strangled in the crib.

I don't care if you are a hard-power, soft-power - forward presence or home-based-global-reach proponent. Having good, survivable and robust Command Ships should be on your short list.

Yet - we are waiting until the last minute, if at all. Unsexy and critical - but sadly forgotten in the battle for money.

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