Monday, May 01, 2017

Just Say “No” to Neo-Transformationalism

Have we actually learned anything from the Lost Decade of Shipbuilding?

Something happened to how we build ships after we evolved the SPRUANCE Class Hull in to the KIDD class DDG and the TICO CG, and got the WASP LHD’s in the water while we pivoted to the BURKE DDGs.

Of the next generation of warships; LCS, DDG-1000, LPD-17 – only after much blown treasure, redesign and hard work on the backs of our Sailors, only the LPD-17 can be even edged in as a successful platform.

An entire generation of nothing but fail and sub-optimal Tiffany platforms. The cause? Legion, but one of the core faults was digging deep in to the bag of fairy-dust to wish away technology-risk. We were seduced by the Transformational … by the promise of the awe inspiring, war-winning super-weapons that are “just around the corner.”

Wait … what did I just type?
In coming weeks, the Navy will release a document laying out what leaders see as the future of the service, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said during a discussion at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. It will discuss not only how to pursue a fleet ramp-up in a cash-strapped reality, but also how innovation can allow the service to get more capability out of available platforms.

“Let’s talk about the equivalent capability of 355 ships with some of these new innovative technologies that are really right around the corner, knocking on the door,” Richardson said. ” … We should be coming up with something compelling in the next couple weeks.”
I cannot even begin to describe here how disappointed and depressing this is to read coming from the CNO.

While this is accurate;
Richardson’s remarks come days after the Congressional Budget Office released an assessment finding that the construction costs to reach a 355-ship Navy from the current fleet of 275 ships would average $26.6 billion per year, some 60 percent more than the service has averaged on shipbuilding over the last three decades.

The Navy’s strategy, he said, “[has] got to be mindful of the resources that are available. That’s our challenge.”
Neo-Transformationalism is not the answer.

Yes, all that is true, and let’s talk about it. In the name of all that his holy, may we please not try to mask, hide, and fill the idea-space with a bunch of intellectual squid ink.

We can’t assume that PPT concepts, “right around the corner,” are going to be a successful bridge through the Terrible 20s that are really “right around the corner.”

Focus on fundamentals. Learn from the mistakes of the last two decades. Run with the good.

Neo-Transformationalism? Don’t insult us.

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