Thursday, March 29, 2012

The 30-yr Shipbuilding Fudge

Thanks to all for sending me the DoN Long Range Shipbuilding Plan Report - especially Galrahn who was first past the post.

Hopefully a lot of discussion will take place over the coming days, as there is a lot here to digest. For now, I am going to focus on just one part. As I used to spend and entire afternoon teaching the subject - let's go straight to page 6 and the planning assumptions.

Really, all you need to know is here. Before I start, the last line needs to be repeated for emphasis.
If any of these assumptions prove to be faulty, future shipbuilding plans will include fewer ships and battle force inventory will change, inevitably dropping below 300 ships.
Go to page 5 - the plan doesn't even reach 300 (exactly 300 for 1 year) until 2019 and then dips below it until touching it again in 2023. Child please. I feel cheap just reading it.

Let's stoplight the Five Planning Assumptions:

PA-1: Yellow. There will be changes, there always are.
PA-2: Red. You are expecting an increase in shipbuilding funds ... in real dollars based on commodity and labor price inflation? Really? What budget of what nation are you looking at? This PA is invalid on its face.
PA-3: Red. Before our Navy cowardly decided to hide INSURV, we saw the I&W of what so many years of poor maintenance and manning theories have done to our ships. We first saw it with the SPRUANCE class a decade+ ago and are seeing in in spades in their TICO sisters. To make that work will take money ... a lot of money. See PA-2.
PA-4: Red. Where has our Navy proved its ability to control costs? So, what you are saying is that no allowance is being made for even EXPECTED cost increase? Really?
PA-5: Red. See our track record in these areas in the face of the budget issues outlined in PA-2.

Fine; we have one yellow and four reds. We'll call that the worst case scenario.

Let's assume that I am too pessimistic about the Planning Assumptions. That would be a fair critique. I'll take a deep breath and move PA-1 to green and PA-4 + PA-5 to yellow. I am sorry, I cannot move PA-2 + PA-3 to anything but red. Let's call this the most likely scenario.

What does that leave us with - two reds. We'll throw PA-3 to the Green to be nice. I will give you all that - which leaves us with one red.

Who here can, with a straight face, tell me that we will be at 300 in 2019 and will then drop in to the 290s for a few years before climbing back up over 300 in 2023 because all our Planning Assumptions will be valid?

Please, prove me wrong. If you do that though, I'll just point to the LCS and giggle. Numbers aren't everything.

We are not going to be a 300-ship Navy. We should accept that and plan accordingly. We'll be fine at 275 and should have risk-mitigation plans for 250. Hopefully we do, somewhere.
DoN 2013 Long Range Shipbuilding Plan Report to Congress

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