From the Congressional Research Service Sept. 27, 2013 Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) report:The LCS program has become controversial due to past cost growth, design and construction issues with the lead ships built to each design, concerns over the ships’ ability to withstand battle damage, and concerns over whether the ships are sufficiently armed and would be able to perform their stated missions effectively. Some observers, citing one or more of these issues, have proposed truncating the LCS program to either 24 ships (i.e., stopping procurement after procuring all the ships covered under the two block buy contracts) or to some other number well short of 52. Other observers have proposed down selecting to a single LCS design (i.e., continuing production of only one of the two designs) after the 24th ship. Read More
The following are slides from U.S. Marine Corps Commandant James Amos Sept. 23, 2013 General Officer Symposium briefing on the direction of the service after the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan.
“We will stop accepting bad behavior or substandard performance as a natural consequence of being a ‘combat hardened’ Marine Corps,” Amos said.
“We will begin enforcing established standards. This will include behavior, physical conditioning, personal appearance, weight and body fat.”
The so-called “reawakening” includes placing restrictions on off-base housing, increases emphasis on security in barracks and tightens rules for Marines in garrison. Read More
From the Oct. 4 message from Fleet Forces commander Adm. Bill Gortney to the fleet.
During the current government shutdown, the Fleet will continue to provide ready forces to safeguard national security. In the meantime, we must remember that war fighting is first, and we will continue to provide the best possible support to those engaged in that fight. Concurrently, we will continue to protect the lives and property of our Nation’s citizens. We have historically demonstrated good judgment and scrutiny of our operations and expenditures, and I expect even greater scrutiny in the current environment. Read More
From the Sept. 26 Government Accountability Office report: Navy Strategy for Unmanned Carrier Based Aircraft System Defers Key Oversight Mechanisms.
UCLASS faces several programmatic risks going forward. First, the UCLASS cost estimate of $3.7 billion exceeds the level of funding that the Navy expects to budget for the system through fiscal year 2020. Second, the Navy has scheduled 8 months between the time it issues its request for air vehicle design proposals and the time it awards the air vehicle contract, a process that DOD officials note typically takes 12 months to complete. Read More
The following is the Sept. 30 memo directing federal agencies to cease operations due to the government shutdown. Read More
The following is a Sept. 26 letter sent from the Senate ICBM coalition to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Read More
From the July 2013 Office of Chief of Operations (OPNAV) report — Littoral Combat Ship Manning Concepts:
Based on current analysis and lessons learned from FREEDOM’s deployment, LCS will be configured to support up to 98 total personnel, to include core crew, Mission Package detachment, and aviation detachment. Projected costs to modify ships to accommodate this manning level are $600,000 for LCS-3 and $700,000 for LCS-4. Projected design and engineering costs for future ships are estimated at $6 million for both LCS variants. The costs to modified follow on ships will be addressed in future budgets.
Manpower and workload analyses of FREEDOM’s eight-month deployment to the Western Pacific will continue through her deployment. Finally,Navy Manpower Analysis Center will conduct a study aboard FREEDOM in early 2014 to support the development of the LCS Ship’s Manpower Document (SMD) which will further codify manpower requirements and policies and validate crew size, crew rotation construct, and associated shore manpower required to operate and support the LCS class. Read More
The value of the Navy and Marine Corps team is as apparent today as it was at the founding of our nation. Enshrined in our Constitution is the direction to Congress to “provide and maintain a Navy.” There’s a reason for including “maintain.” At that time, the Navy was a tangible and permanent signal of our independence and of our presence on the world’s stage. Throughout our history, the Navy and Marine Corps team has been called on to act in both war and in peace, and today continues to play a large and vital role on that stage. The framers of the Constitution understood that the Navy had to provide constant and persistent presence—it had to be “maintained.” Presence is what the Navy and Marine Corps are all about. Read More
From the document:
In this statement I will explain the impacts of sequestration having occurred in FY 2013 and current law imposing reduced discretionary caps in future years, and why I believe these caps will preclude our ability to execute the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance (DSG) in the long term. In the near term, sequestration in FY 2014 will negatively impact our readiness and investments, further degrading programs in all appropriations except military personnel. Combined with the prohibitions on transferring funds, increasing program quantities and starting new projects associated with a continuing resolution, these impacts will be considerably worse in FY 2014 than they were in FY 2013. Read More
The following is a Tuesday letter from the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. The letter — signed by chairman Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) and ranking member Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) — asks Mabus to closely monitor the acquisition of the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) and raises concerns on the direction of the program. Read More