Monday, December 12, 2016

Everyone Goes Salamander on LCS

Almost everyone except VADM Rowden this month it seems, but he'll come around, again.

I believe most visitors to the Front Porch have already caught a snippet or two of the LCS slam-dance from earlier this month, but I think if you only know the pull quotes - that I'll start with here - you are missing the best parts.

Let's start with everyone's most popular Salamanderesque remark from the Senate hearing from our friend Sean - at the 1:51 point;
"The experience of LCS, it broke the Navy," said Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition.
Though repeated in many articles, that pull quote really needs full context of the complete 01 DEC 16 United States Senate Armed Services Committee's hearing on Oversight, Acquisition, Testing, and Employment of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and LCS Mission Module Programs. You can watch this in full here.

Another solid pull quote from the hearing that got some play - and is still funny every time I read it, is from Paul Francis, managing director of acquisition and sourcing management at the Government Accountability Office;
"The miracle of LCS didn't happen,"
With that set of the most quoted bits, let's back up a bit and look at a little, well plowed ground.

We've beat up on LCS a lot for the last decade, and right now we are deep in that stage we started talking about when we reached the point of no return, the place somewhere in this 12-step LCS program where; "Good people in hard jobs are doing the best to make of a flawed program for our fleet and its Sailors."

I know the hearing at the link is 2.5 hrs long, but not only are Stackley and Francis worth your time, Michael Gilmore and VADM Rowden also have some good moments to inform your opinion of this still developing program.

Senators McCain, Reed, Ayotte, and Inhofe make a good show, as do others.

BTW, separate LCS, Gilmore's gutting of F-35 at the 1:30-38 exchange with McCain is just brutal.

At about the 1:39 point Stackley hit center mass with Sen. King on our hobby horse - a blindness to technology risk, as does Francis with his culture comment at 1:44.

If anyone really goes Salamander, it would be Gilmore at 1:46, but let's get to a sore point that goes back to when we first tilted against LCS a decade ago. 

Damn it - we were right from the start. Go to Stackley at the 1:52 point,
Mr. Chairman, in reference to the $220 million ship; the witnesses who informed the Congress, I don't think they knew or understand how much this ship would cost. ... they believed, or they desired it strongly enough to believe that it would cost $220 million, but the underpinning below that was broken. 
I. Rest. My. Frick'n. Case.

I should never have to buy a beer in the Beltway ever again.

As I pivoted circa 2010, we now have what we have and we will to make the best of it - but we need to make sure that everyone only now paying attention and in the future knows how we got here so the same mistakes are not made again with the same program.

This story needs to be told over and over again and again and again. Good enough for the Senate and House, it is good enough for the Front Porch. 

OK, I'm going to stop now with the minute by minute reporting. I can't do a blow-by-blow, but I did my favorite part.

Watch it all.

A week later over a The House Armed Services Committee;
“The ship works,” Sean Stackley, the assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, said in closing testimony Dec. 8 before the House Armed Services Committee. “We have reliability issues but we’ll get through those.”
“It’s an exciting time in our Navy bringing this capability into the fleet, the capabilities that it [the LCS] is going to deliver” he (VADM Rowden) said. “We have a team focused on the issues, we’re learning about the issues, we’re learning about how to maintain it, and going forward I am 100 percent that we will tackle those issues and we will defeat them.”

“We need to acknowledge that many problems that exist and fix them,” said Gilmore, who has been highly critical of the development of the LCS, particularly the schedule, lack of testing, lack of reliability and lack of redundancy of systems, which impacts survivability. “I’m glad the Navy is now acknowledging these problems, but in the past that hasn’t always been true.”
OK VADM Rowden, calm down a bit. We're drifting in to FITREP verbiage over-reach;
Rowden, whose surface force has deployed three LCSs to the Western Pacific to date, said the fleet commanders keep asking him, ‘How many LCS can I get and how fast can you get them to me?’”
Oh, in the name of all that is holy, no they are not - not as presently configured and deployed. No one would trade one DDG for two 2016 LCS. If anyone would, they should be relieved for cause. 

If LCS were all that in need, the coast of Yemen would be crawling with LCS, but it isn't because LCS can't. 

The fruit is not ripe. It is on the tree, and it is the only tree we have to eat from - but the ripening is not complete. Eat too much of what is there 1QFY17, and you'll get sick.

So, almost everyone is going Salamander now except VADM Rowden. He'll come around eventually - he's been there before, drifted away, and come back. It is known.

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