Monday, May 09, 2016

Your LCS Sad of the Day

So, they recently christened a LCS named after a Premier League team, the USS MANCHESTER (LCS-14). 

The PR work here and most of the quotes - well the whole sad ceremony - seems as if it were staged by an LCS critic, ahem, to outline some of the major points that are wrong with the entire program and what it has done to the public capital of our service.

I really don't know where to start. We'll go with quotes from the article first;
Making their support loud and clear, Shaheen along with Congressman Bradley Byrne pledged to fight for a full order of 52 ships and two suppliers. 

"I am going to watch over the Manchester and the entire LCS Program and do everything I can to protect it," said Shaheen. 
"We are going to continue to build these ships with the pace to get to 52," said Byrne, (R-Alabama).
Right off the bat, what is the one concern? Not the Sailors. Not the Navy. Not combat capability - but pork and politics. Of course, we have known this about LCS for years that combat capability was no longer a primary concern, simply numbers on a chart and obsequious cult of personality program support - but it is nice for such a tone-deafness, out in the open without shame clarity from those on The Hill. Makes the LCS critics job easier.
"It really gives you a different perspective of this ship. Being able to walk under it and see just how large these ships really are. Pictures don't do it justice and quiet frankly video doesn't either. So we are really happy to do it, and we hope we can do it like this going forward," said Craig Perciavalle, Pres. Austal USA.
Why yes, they are large. They are not small combatants. They are not stealthy. At 418', they are about 32' longer than a WWII FLETCHER Class destroyer. A ship, BTW, that no Fleet LCS in 2016, eight years after commissioning of Hull-1 can defeat in combat. Yes, 1942 defeats 2016 in a walk. Maybe a few 57mm holes before the 5'/38 finished her work, but to a 1942 FLETCHER DC team, that would just be training. Thank you again.
"It's very important ship because of it's ability to do many different missions and because of its flexibility," said Shaheen.
MANCHESTER is an INDEPENDENCE Class LCS. Hull-1 was christened in 2008 and commissioned in 2010. It is 2016. Name one mission, Senator, that this Class has conducted or has the ability to conduct? No, "presence" is not a mission. Liberty may be for some, but notsumuch. PMA please. Also, name one deployment this Class of ship has done with the ability to be even PMC in more than one PMA?

It is 2016

The answer is zero.
"Her shallow depth which enables her to go into most of the world's shores, so we can be present in a better capacity than any other ship in the United States Navy," said Commander Emily Bassett, USN and Prospective Commanding Officer, Manchester (LCS 14).
How many times does this need debunking?

Name one MIW mission of the last half century that LCS can conduct due to its draft? One ASW mission? Once ASUW mission?

The answer is zero. That is also the same number of the number of missions the LCS can conduct - the entire fleet of them now commissioned.

Finally, watch to the end of the video. It is so sad. We have reached the point that our Commanding Officers are coached to parrot industry talking points that never survive the first follow-on question.

FOX10 News | WALA

From the inside, it may look like everyone followed the talking points and kept to message etc - but here is where this is horribly damaging to our Navy. We have a uniformed Field Grade officer who is sounding exactly like a politician or an industry flack. We have them saying things that cannot survive the follow-on questions and if not on its face in a gray area near falsehood, are at best spin and fudge. As such, it degrades the officer saying it, and erodes the professional capital of the entire body of the officers. This is self-destructive behavior on a service wide scale. Not CDR Bassett's fault, but she is the one paying the price. It is as painful to watch as if we asked someone to read their last FITREP at open-mic, spoken word poetry reading.

Until we as a Navy get to the point we start acting like a customer of the military industrial complex as opposed to industry flacks, we will continue to get sub-optimal platforms like the Little Crappy Ship.

In the end, this is our fault. We ask our leaders in the Field to sell their word so cheap.

A final note. Here we are eight years since LCS was first commissioned. FLETCHER Hull-1 was commissioned in 1942. In the same period of time ... well ... you look what had happened, been developed, been done, etc.




Something is broken. It is not a budget problem. It is not a technology problem. 

This is a people and a process problem, in that order.

Hat tip MTH.

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