Monday, May 20, 2019

OK SECNAV, Show us the Money

Will May 2019 be seen in hindsight as the month that the very real crisis in our merchant marine - decades in the making - finally broke above the background noise?

If you have not already, listen to yesterday's Midrats with gCaptain's John Konrad, read his recent editorial and ... it appears ... read the recently published CSBA report on maritime logistics.

In the fight for money we have, at the moment, the weather gage;
The Navy’s current and planned maritime logistical force “is inadequate” to support the new National Defense Strategy and major military operations against China or Russia, and failure to correct that deficiency “could cause the United States to lose a war,” an in-depth study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment warned May 16.

Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer praised the CSBA study and declare: “We really have to get after it.”
OK SECNAV, let's make sure we carefully and exactly define who "we" are, and trace that back to a funding line, because ...
... “decades of downsizing and consolidation” have left the maritime logistics forces “brittle” and contributed to the decline of the U.S. shipbuilding industry and the Merchant Marine,” which is expected to carry the bulk of military material and equipment for an overseas contingency.

“Failing to remedy this situation, when adversaries have U.S. logistics networks in their crosshairs could cause the United States to lose a war and fail its allies and partners in their hour of need. An unsupported force may quickly become a defeated one,” the report warned.
We need more than reports. We need more than holding-action words from senior leaders in suits - we need advocacy from those in uniform and have those words followed up with funding lines from Congress.

Everyone has to be dancing the same waltz; 
Spencer noted that the weakness of the Navy’s maritime logistics was brought up by members of Congress during a visit to Capitol Hill the day before. He said a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee who was particularly strong on the issue told him the Navy was not funding what was needed. “And I said, ‘you’re exactly right, and we have to get after this’.”

He promised that the audience was going to hear him and the new chief of naval operations “talking about the battle. And it’s not steaming to the battle. Our first battle is getting off the pier. And we have to start addressing this in earnest.”
Having trouble finding the money right now? OK, here's some seed money. Mothball two of the three ZUMWALT DDG and take that money to start cutting steel.

Talk is cheap. We need action.

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