Monday, May 14, 2012

LCS: An Unhelpful Stage in the Argument

From the start of my concerns about LCS, the argument has always been over cost/benefit, utility, bad theory, and the general symptom it represents of a larger acquisition process..

The argument has always been a healthy one which to this point has been one of professionals on a professional subject, for all the right reasons.

Good people can disagree on LCS as the core of the argument goes down to "are we being smart with our money; are we doing a good job managing our programs; are we basing our Fleet design on sound concepts. "

That is healthy and good. I think what has made this even more interesting is that for the most part, both sides of the argument have been on the "Sea Power Team." If a Sen. McCain or Rep. Forbes is busting your chops over LCS, you know they are doing so for the same reason you are trying to defend LCS - a desire for a sound, well formed Fleet.

As the argument has grown and the clear problems with all things LCS from delays, design, quality, cost, CONOPS, NLOS, down-select, .... do I need to keep going? .... have come to the front, I am afraid that the blood in the water has attracted other entities.

POGO & Rep. Speier (D-CA) laid down gauntlet on LCS ... and I'm not all that happy.
The Navy's close-to-shore combat ship just hit some rougher seas. An amendment requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a review of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program passed during the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) yesterday. The amendment, introduced by Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA), requires the GAO to investigate cracks, equipment failures, engine breakdowns, weld quality, and other matters related to the ships performance and cost.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because, as Rep. Speier indicated during the markup, the LCS letter we sent to Congress last month was Rep. Speier’s impetus for submitting the LCS amendment.
I smell politics. I smell a standard issue San Francisco Democrat's view of defense. I smell less of going after LCS for the reasons we have covered here for the better part of half a decade - and more of going after LCS for the pot of money it represents.

POGO sometimes seems a little CDI-esque ... but not too much. When they pair up with someone like Rep. Speier though ... I think we have reached a phase where we have moved in to the temple of the money grabbers.

Ungh. In this case Navy - we've made our own luck.

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