Monday, September 21, 2020

Our Greatest National Security Threat is Our National Security Establishment

When David's article went up Sunday, I was amazed; amazed at the audacity of arrogance and betrayal.

Since we, yes we, caused the unnecessary drowning of 17 of our Sailors in their bunks in the summer of 2017, many of us thought at last we have something that will shake our Navy to take an honest self-assessment and change what we were doing.

We were wrong.

I thought after some rather good comprehensive reviews and nice words spoken by very smart and senior people that we would re-prioritize what we were doing.

I was wrong.

The people and their elected representatives hoped that after the international shaming directly resulting from our poor maintenance practices that begat dirty, rusting, and CASREP besotted ships would bring resources to bear, and unnecessary maintenance deferrals to an end.

They were mistaken

We thought we would work towards a better service climate concerning undermanning and undertraining of personnel, and outright abusive personnel policies that consider it a feature not a bug to demand months of 100-hr work weeks from people who can't escape the skin of the ship - and then extended for months at sea without liberty or rest.  We all thought there would be changes to be better stewards of our fleet and its Sailors.

We were lied to.

Yes, that is a strong word - and I mean it.

One again, for the most gossamer thin reasons, we are about to double-pump a carrier and her crew. We are foolishly consuming in peace what we will need for war.

We are not at war. There is no great emerging threat - right now for the next six months - that demands extraordinary efforts, sacrifice, and taking readiness and availability risk tomorrow to gather deployment time today.

And yet - here we are - again;

After shattering the U.S. Navy’s modern record for consecutive time at sea, the carrier Eisenhower is preparing for another deployment early next year just six months after returning.

Two deployments within the same readiness cycle, colloquially known in the fleet as a “double pump” deployment, used to be seen as something of an anomaly: a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency maneuver that puts enormous strain on the crew and the equipment.

But the decision to redeploy Eisenhower early next year is the second double-pump carrier deployment in as many years and will almost certainly send the 43-year-old ship into another extended period of repairs, experts said. Furthermore, the move raises questions about why the deployment is necessary at all, when the military is supposed to be focusing on readiness and moving away from running its forces ragged.

What is driving this?

...the current commander of U.S. Central Command, Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie has been vocal about his desire to get carriers in the region.

During testimony on March 10, McKenzie told House lawmakers that the aircraft carrier “has a profound deterring affect principally upon Iran.”

“They know what the carrier is. They track the presence of the carrier. And I view a carrier as a critical part of a deterrent posture effective against Iran,” he said.

McKenzie went on to tell lawmakers he believes that the reduction in Navy carrier presence in early 2019 and years prior may have contributed to the latest cycle of escalation from Iran that came to a head with the U.S. assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani and a retaliatory strike from Iran on U.S. bases in Iraq.

The carrier that relieved Eisenhower in Central Command most recently, the Nimitz, entered the Persian Gulf late last week, according to a U.S. 5th Fleet press release.

Of course ... of course - it is another example of the metastasized cancer of the ossified and tottering Cold War Era, Goldwater-Nichols COCOM structure that has each COCOM trying to out crisis each other for forces.

One carrier does not deter Iran from doing what she wants to do. If this is such a world ending requirement, who are we short-pumping next? Where are those Sailors coming from? Will they even get a chance to see the sandbox ashore for 96 hrs, or will this be another exercise is Sestakistic sadism?

Who in uniform in our Navy is willing to step up and stop this abuse? Who? Where is Admiral No?

We haven't even addressed what we all know this will do to retention. This is no longer, "Join the Navy and see the world." It is now, "Join the Navy and never have a home."

Sailors will give everything to her Navy, including their lives, on a simple order. They trust their leadership to make the right call so if asked to sacrifice, be it family time, long hours, or even their life, it will all be for a good reason. The right reason. An important reason.

Sell this. Don't demand it - as an institution if they don't know it yet, our senior leadership spent that professional capital years ago - explain the "why" to our Navy. If you can't do it with substance, then think about what, in the end, your accomplishment of reaching O-10 was really about at the end of the day.

We know where this leads. This is not new territory. 

Read it all.

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