Thursday, April 12, 2018

LCS: Bringing a Junkie's Mentality to a Great Service

Let's start with a quote from the Behavioral Medicine Association, shall we?
The first casualty of addiction, like that of war, is the truth. At first the addict merely denies the truth to himself. But as the addiction, like a malignant tumor, slowly and progressively expands and invades more and more of the healthy tissue of his life and mind and world, the addict begins to deny the truth to others as well as to himself. He becomes a practiced and profligate liar in all matters related to the defense and preservation of his addiction, even though prior to the onset of his addictive illness, and often still in areas as yet untouched by the addiction, he may be scrupulously honest.

First the addict lies to himself about his addiction, then he begins to lie to others. Lying, evasion, deception, manipulation, spinning and other techniques for avoiding or distorting the truth are necessary parts of the addictive process. They precede the main body of the addiction like military sappers and shock troops, mapping and clearing the way for its advance and protecting it from hostile counterattacks.

Because addiction by definition is an irrational, unbalanced and unhealthy behavior pattern resulting from an abnormal obsession, it simply cannot continue to exist under normal circumstances without the progressive attack upon and distortion of reality resulting from the operation of its propaganda and psychological warfare brigades. The fundamentally insane and unsupportable thinking and behavior of the addict must be justified and rationalized so that the addiction can continue and progress.

One of the chief ways the addiction protects and strengthens itself is by a psychology of personal exceptionalism which permits the addict to maintain a simultaneous double-entry bookkeeping of addictive and non-addictive realities and to reconcile the two when required by reference to the unique, special considerations that àat least in his own mind- happen to apply to his particular case.

The form of the logic for this personal exceptionalism is:
Under ordinary circumstances and for most people X is undesirable/irrational;
My circumstances are not ordinary and I am different from most people;
Therefore X is not undesirable/irrational in my case - or not as undesirable/irrational as it would be in other cases.
Armed with this powerful tool of personal exceptionalism that is a virtual "Open Sesame" for every difficult ethical conundrum he is apt to face, the addict is free to take whatever measures are required for the preservation and progress of his addiction, while simultaneously maintaining his allegiance to the principles that would certainly apply if only his case were not a special one.
Could there be a more accurate description about where our Navy finds itself at the start of 3QFY18 concerning LCS?

Let's spin the golden oldies, shall we? Back to the dulcitones of yesteryear, in this case almost a decade ago to 2009;
The Navy announced Oct. 13 the decision to deploy the USS Freedom (LCS 1) in early 2010 to the Southern Command and Pacific Command areas ahead of her originally scheduled 2012 maiden deployment.

According to Navy leaders, littoral combat ships (LCS) are needed now to close urgent warfighting gaps.

"Deploying LCS now is a big step forward in getting this ship where it needs to be - operating in the increasingly important littoral regions," said Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations. "We must deliver this critical capability to the warfighter now."

The Freedom will have an immediate impact on fleet readiness and global reach as an asset with unique combat capabilities and the ability to meet littoral tasking not previously seen in the modern cruiser or destroyer fleet.

"The Navy plans to build a considerable number of littoral combat ships which will form the backbone of our future fleet," said Adm J. C. Harvey, Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces, charged with executing the early deployment. "The sooner we integrate them into our fleet, the sooner we can incorporate them in the order of battle. This deployment offers a golden opportunity to learn by doing. Employing the USS Freedom in theater two years ahead of a normal timeline allows us to incorporate lessons that can only be learned in a deployment setting more quickly and effectively in the LCS fleet integration process."
...and here we are.

A decade after commissioning Hull-1. A decade and a half after the triumph of the Transformationalist movement. How many changes? How many excuses?

Here we are;
The Navy may not deploy any of its Littoral Combat Ships this year despite previous plans to deploy one to the Middle East and two to Singapore in 2018, due to a confluence of maintenance availabilities that has most of the LCS fleet sidelined this year.

Three of the Navy’s four original LCSs are in maintenance now, and four of the eight block-buy ships that have commissioned already are undergoing their initial Post Shakedown Availabilities (PSA), Cmdr. John Perkins, spokesman for Naval Surface Force Pacific, told USNI News.

In addition to the deploying ships themselves being in maintenance, so too are the training ships that will be required to help train and certify the crews.
Still, no ability to do ASW. No ability to do MIW. Exceptionally limited - almost comical - ASUW.

Oh, and the air det?
Weaponized MQ-8B Fire Scouts are ready for deployment, they just need the Littoral Combat Ship program to reconfigure its weapon storage to squeeze in the ammunition, program officials said.
The weapons testing went great from the airframe standpoint,” Dodge said. “One of the issues with the advanced weapons systems is because it’s based on an unguided rocket, it’s designed to be built up in an armory and the LCS armory doesn’t have the space that you can build up.”

The LCS has one magazine, used to store all the ships weapons, including any that would be used for aircraft and other weapons systems.
Good googly moogly; ready, fire, aim.

We chose this path over a decade ago, and yet not only do we not have mission systems, the Sailors' training pipeline en route to the ships is so jacked up, we don't have enough Sailors to properly man the ships we have conducting extended static displays ... not to mention training them once they are there.

As a Fleet LT told me, deployment isn't a priority; deliver is.

And there is your problem. We are so focused on spending money on hulls that equipping them, manning them and training them for warfighting is an afterthought.

It is 2018 and we still do not have it right.

We have what we have and need to make the best of it - but we simply can't. The solution now is what the solution was that I offered over a decade ago. Stop building these ships NOW and find some use for what we have. License build a couple of dozen Eurofrigates until we get a good USA design ready to go.

We have built way more of these white elephants now than if we followed Plan Salamander a decade ago, but it is never too late to do the right thing.

Stow the cost arguments before you drag them out again. 

Look at what OHP, SPRU and DDG-51 Class warships were doing 10-yrs after commissioning of their Hull-1, and then behold LCS.

Remember, what would you rather have; 3 FFG deploying in 2018, or 5 LCS hanging out pierside? What is the real value for your money?

Over and over again we continue to choose LCS or to make excuses. We define deficiency down for the sake of what?

Like any addict, we will make excuses and warp everything to feed that addiction. What are we addicted to, our own desire to defend our bad decisions? Hope?

Choose life my dear Navy. Choose life.

...but to really understand that, you need the non-Kristen friendly OG version.

Hat tip Sid.

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