Home » Budget Industry » New Navy Force Structure Assessment, 2018 Elections Could Change the Path to 355-Ship Fleet


New Navy Force Structure Assessment, 2018 Elections Could Change the Path to 355-Ship Fleet

USS O’Kane (DDG-77), USS Preble (DDG-88), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110) and USS Sterett (DDG-104) are moored during the harbor phase of the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise on July 4, 2018. US Navy Photo

ARLINGTON, Va. — A new look at the Navy’s force structure and the upcoming November congressional elections will play key roles in determining whether Navy will reach its current goal of a 355-ship fleet.

The planned 2019 force structure assessment (FSA) will evaluate the size and types of ships the Navy will plan for in the future, Vice Adm. William Merz, the deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems (OPNAV N9), said on Wednesday.

The new FSA will seek to answer such questions as to whether the Navy has enough fast-attack submarines planned, enough guided-missile destroyers and what is the role of the planned next-generation frigate (FFG(X)), he said during a panel discussion at the Defense News conference.

“A lot of [the mix of ships] will depend on the next frigate,” Merz said. “The reality is we need all of those things.”

When the Navy last updated its FSA, in December 2016, it arrived amidst a resurgent Russia and a reconsideration of how many ships the Navy needed — a great power competition pivot-point.

The new report will come as the Navy prepares for a more challenging budgetary environment and a potential change in power in the House following the November mid-term elections.

Also on Wednesday, senior members of the House Armed Services Committee told Navy and defense industry officials at the conference that creating a 355-ship fleet is anything but certain.

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.)

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), who was part of the same panel as Merz, was adamant about the need to increase the fleet size and suggested speeding up the timeline for construction.

Instead of taking until 2050 to have a 355-ship navy, Wittman said he wants to see this fleet size in a little more than a decade. He suggested the Navy should be authorized to buy two aircraft carriers at a time and modernize existing ships now to speed up the process field 355 ships.

“Congress was very specific. We’re going to have a 355-ship navy,” said Wittman, the chair of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee. Wittman’s Tidewater, Virginia district neighbors the shipbuilding-heavy Norfolk, Newport News and Portsmouth.

The need for more ships, Wittman said, is the growing threat posed by China and Russia, who are working to increase their fleet sizes. China has a 68-vessel attack submarine force, Wittman said, compared to the 45 attack submarines in the U.S. Navy.

“[That] ought to sober everyone up,” he said.

 

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.)

However, anticipated budget restraints make Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the HASC’s ranking member, skeptical the 355-ship fleet would ever become, he said during a keynote address shortly before Wittman and Merz’s appearance at the conference. If the upcoming November elections swing control of the House to the Democrats, Smith is in line to take over chairman’s gavel and will have a lot of influence over how future Department of Defense spending plans are created.

“This obsession with how many ships we have is horribly misplaced,” Smith said.

Instead, Smith said Congress and the Navy should be evaluating the current capabilities of the fleet, what capabilities new ships should add and what missions these ships will accomplish. The updated FSA is expected to accomplish this evaluation.

“I heard a member on the floor talking about how it’s just shocking how we have fewer ships now than we did at the start of World War I,” Smith said. “But yeah, you take that WWI Navy and put it up against the Navy we have right now, I would take the Navy we have right now and give them points. I think we’re going to be ok. Capability matters.”

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    The importance of getting FFG(X) right cannot be overstated.

    The navy are managing to barely get by with the last two surface programmes being either cancelled (Zumwalt) or truncated (LCS).

    The navy’s future force structure can ill afford a 3rd f*ck up, especially with the likelihood of smaller budgets in the coming years

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      I agree completely, we need at least 20 FREMMs to save ourselves from the LCS debacle.

      Much better if we had 52 FREMMs.

      • NavySubNuke

        A force of 20 FREMMs and 0 LCS is a better force than 20 FREMMs and 32 LCS.
        Look at all the sustainment funding those LCS are sucking up for no return on the investment. If we hadn’t wasted tens of billions on the LCS and there as yet un-operative mission modules (in 2 of 3 cases) we could have bought even more than 20 FREMMs and a full complement of real minesweepers.

        • PolicyWonk

          “A force of 20 FREMMs and 0 LCS is a better force than 20 FREMMs and 32 LCS…”
          ========================================
          Ok – now THIS is over the top, and I MUST disagree.

          Once the much vaunted “Fleet Bottom Cleaning” (FBC), Fleet Septic Pump (FSP), and Homeless Shelter-Basic (HSB) mission packages are deployed, you’re gonna eat them unkind words about the mighty, fearsome, terrifying, and most irritable bowel-syndrome inducing (BAR NONE), littoral combat ship.

          And I beg to differ, because these here littoral combat ships ARE waging combat in the littorals of the United States of America, and are fighting hard every day to ensure that: the USN diverts thousands of sailors that could be used on ships that carry the fight to the bad guys, to crew the mighty LCS fleets that are welded to the nations taxpayer-funded piers while performing useless tasks of no value to national security; they are diverting billions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to programs that compromise US naval power; they are preventing useful warships from being maintained properly, on schedule, because they suck up tremendous amounts of dry-dock time for basic maintenance tasks; and are diverting US weapons designers and armaments experts from useful tasks, as they attempt to find a way to arm these hyper-expensive utility boats that lack room for growth, and could be severely damaged/sunk via determined attack by a diver armed only with his wits and an industrial can opener!

          It is my hope that you see the error of your ways, and can now see that the “littoral combat ships” ARE fighting every day, to ensure the US Navy decreases its ability to respond to national security crisis, but diverting useful (in the form of taxpayer funding, human, and material) resources that could otherwise be fruitfully employed elsewhere!

          What? Really? Wait a second…

          Never mind.

          • NavySubNuke

            Don’t forget all those extra unplanned maintenance dollars for when the crew makes a mistake and the engines spontaneously eat themselves.
            Luckily we only managed to maroon one crew in Singapore out of fear that the relieving crew didn’t know how to safely operate their vessel. Just think of how many crews would have been stuck there if there had been more than one LCS capable of deploying at that time!
            Luckily the Navy has avoided that potential embarrassment this year – we simply won’t deploy any of them!!

          • PolicyWonk

            It is rather ironic that the “low-cost” LCS that was supposed to be very low maintenance and simple enough to crew with a mere 40 sailors, requires almost double the intended crew size, and still represents a maintenance nightmare.

            The navy took the honorable way out, and blamed the crews for the maintenance issues resulting from the numerous engineering and design problems created on their behalf.

            So they managed to avoid excessive (but still plentiful) embarrassments in 2018 by avoiding all LCS deployments. God help ’em in 2019…

            We used to laugh at the Russians for having a tug follow their lone carrier around due to the unreliability of its propulsion plant – but them chickens are likely to be coming home to roost when it comes to LCS.

          • NavySubNuke

            True. My favorite is the sweetheart proprietary maintenance deals the PEO set up to allow the contractors to continue to milk the government for as long as these ships stay in the fleet. Rather than allowing the crew to repair or even perform maintenance on the systems on the ship builder can.
            Can’t help but wonder if these sweetheart deals were the product of a backroom discussion to keep the cost of procuring the ships low enough congress wouldn’t cancel the entire deal. Reminds me a bit of Bobby Bonilla’s deferred money deal with the Met’s.

          • PolicyWonk

            I dunno: Keeping the costs down seemed to be more of an afterthought than anything else. A “Streetfighter” sea-frame was supposed to cost $92M, and LCS costs 10X that. The crowd at PEO LCS were too much like the McNamara bunch, who thought they knew better than everyone else, and were arrogant enough to not bother consulting NECC when it came to determining the requirements for what was supposed to be a littoral combat platform.

            If one were to read the ONR’s “Streetfighter” concept, and didn’t know the genus of the “littoral combat ship” (and that designation hadn’t been used, or was hidden from them), the individual probably wouldn’t recognize either the Freedom or Independence class as being derived from those base documents.

            Bottom line: if PEO LCS sold LCS for what it really was (as opposed to its blatantly misleading designation), it’s doubtful it would’ve been funded.

            However, once both variants turned into “Franken-ship”, and so monstrously expensive (this the PEO clearly knew well in advance), they had to look for ways to cut corners. This would explain the proprietary nature of the propulsion system maintenance, the commercial-grade sea-frames, and lack of margin in the sea-frames to add heavier weapons and/or protection.

            IMO, ethics were tossed in favor of PEO LCS building a wet dream (pardon the pun).

        • Ed L

          The LCS’s need a support facility like a tender and towable drydocks/repair ships would be nice to have

          • NavySubNuke

            I wonder how big the tender would need to be in order to swap out an entire side of the engine room after the LCS limps/is towed back into a reasonably well equipped port such as Singapore.

          • PolicyWonk

            Indeed.

            Once it became clear the Independence class needed an inordinate amount of dry dock time for basic maintenance, I was waiting for the “littoral combat dry-dock” contract to be awarded ;-/

            LCS might have a future as a mother-ship for Mark VI patrol boats, as the large flight deck (perhaps LCS’s only virtue) could carry a few Vipers in case they ran into trouble, and it would help keep the LCS out of harms way.

            But the notion of the destroyer-tender, etc., has a long tradition in the USN, and might be useful for the LCS fleets, if we can find a hulk or two with some life left in ’em at a reasonable cost.

      • Lazarus

        Such a Force is unaffordable by the Navy if FREMM ends up costing $1.3b or more per unit.

  • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

    Vote democrat. Free stuff outweighs national security every time… / sarc

    • ElmCityAle

      Not putting the country into deeper debt by spending more on the favorite programs of your choice – whether they be social services or arms spending – is one form of defense in itself. There are limits to everything – right, center, or left in politics. I hope the US Navy spends what it gets wisely, something many of us question (yet argue over what the “problem part” is, of course).

      • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

        The issue is defense is a constitutional responsibility and welfare is a vote buying scheme…

        • Samuel Clemens

          Warfare is the ultimately profiteering enterprise. Always has been, always will be. The Warfare State is not sustainable at these levels.

          OTH, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Oh my the general Welfare.

          • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

            So lets spend 4 trillion on government..

          • Samuel Clemens

            I know where we can cut back nearly a trillion in knee jerk expenses that includes excessive waste already documented internally at $100+ billion by its own IG.

          • Ed L

            Amen

        • PolicyWonk

          Thats why we keep giving welfare to the wealthy and corporate interests?

          Got it – makes perfect sense. ;-/

          • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

            Did I advocate that either? Uh, no but keep jumping to the usual conclusions.

          • Bryan

            Actually if you look at what happened to welfare under then President Obama, it skyrocketed. Now that the economy is coming back it’s going down? Oh wait. It isn’t going down.

            The reality is our political system leads us to extremes. But those extremes are not self limiting except for d’s, then r’s, then d’s, then r’s…

            There is another way. Making a practice of laughing at people with extreme ideas and offering alternatives that are not the other extreme. Heck, just recognizing that our choices are not binary and having a short conversation about the in between is a great start. It’s sad when one cannot tell the difference of a partisan political comment and a foreign national acting as an agitator.

            I noticed that everything on these boards lately has turned into politics. Must be time to vote. LOL. Just remember no matter what, “Facts” that you present and believe two things are important. The truth is somewhere in the middle and thus…you are wrong. Republican or Democrat? Steelers or Cowboys? Bloods or Crips? All are a lie with negative consequences for our children’s future.

            Please think about first, second and even third order effects of what we do. It matters no matter the letter on your ballot.

      • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

        Yes. However I always can look to the fact many, many, technologies come from military spending. I have never seen a welfare program create a new technology?

      • Ed L

        I for curtailing federal spending to defense and make congress pay their staff out of their own pockets. Outfit the House of Congress with a BOQ and barracks so representives and their staff don’t need to worry about living out in town. Do the same for the president and Vice President residents. Eat and work were they live. I did it for 14 years of sea duty.

    • PolicyWonk

      The US JCS has made it bluntly clear that it is the economic power of the USA that wields vastly more power than the armed forces ever could, and they consider that to be of the highest priority for maintaining US national security.

      The GOP is demonstrating it doesn’t know how to add and subtract, as if evidenced by the long-term outlook of its idiotic excuse for “tax reform”. All the so-called deficit hawks, the whining about the national debt, and fiscal responsibility we endlessly heard about was flushed down the toilet the day they discovered they had another pansy in the White House.

      That “free stuff” you whine about, isn’t and never was free. The additional 6M that ended up on food stamps and welfare, were put there by GOP incompetence, when they permitted the unprecedented transfer of dual-use technologies to the ChiComs, during 2002-2008, according to the US National Intelligence Estimate, which it called the one of the worst national security disasters in history (not merely US history). And with it, when the hard-won manufacturing techniques, and over 30% of the US strategic industrial base, and the 6M+ jobs.

      In short: the so-called “free stuff” was the GOP dumping on the very people they disenfranchised, while causing a historic national security disaster not only for the USA, but for every nation in the Asian-pacific region (added bonus!).

      Those 6M+ job losses, and the loss of the tax base that went with it, were where all the welfare and food stamps went. None of this counts the economic disaster (Great Recession); leaving behind a military at its worst level of readiness since Vietnam; or the worst string of national security and foreign policy disasters in history.

      GOP incompetence: bad for the nation; bad for national security; bad for our allies; bad for the planet.

      The democrats, are now the (gulp) fiscal conservatives, while the GOP has totally taken leave of its senses.

  • Western

    If only the capability of our enemy forces was subject to an election every few years.

  • Samuel Clemens

    The bums will be gone. Treason has a price. Also the Chinese Navy will guarantee the US Navy never achieves 355 very large, very easily destroyed surface targets. Time to get smart and think well beyond big metal manually operated ships like in WW1 and WW2. The current fleet is beginning to look like the Royal Navy in 1939 against the modern threats coming its way. This is the 21st Century, not the 19th or 20th century.

    • Rocco

      So what should we have please outline here if your gonna make this comment!

      • Samuel Clemens

        If you can’t read the trends, the rest of the world can. Battleships are dead. Aircraft carriers are the battleships of the 21st century. In real conflict they won’t last hours. Manned fighter aircraft are in the last generation which is hardly a controversial statement. Autonomous, smart and very numerous is obvious. Picking the winning designs will separate the winners from losers. Never said the future is easy but being stuck in a disasterous past is.

        Soon the Chinese will have kinetic kill weapons, rail guns, fortified islands, drones under the sea, on the sea, in the air, in near space merging with cruise missiles so that the stand off distance for aircraft carriers with 5,000 souls to lose at time with be San Diego harbor, just like what became of battleship. You don’t have to be Billy Bishop to see how totally absurd 355 big metal manually filled targets will be in 10 years time, let alone 2050.

        Geez guys, the US Navy once let in Clipper ships. Let’s bring them back too by that reasoning. The Royal Navy “ruled the waves” in 1939 with HMS Hood, HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Repulse who did not survive their first combat. Guess where the bulk of those 355 hulls will head in a real shoot out against a truly capable opponent? They will make great reefs for fishes and watery graves for sailors.

        Finally you have to do three things strategically that the US increasingly fails at. You have to innovate. Thus you need more, not less competition. Revive antitrust enforcement. You have to innovate cost effectively. Give priority to engineers who build things not financiers manipulating who make money from money. Excessive Financial Capitalism is choking this country, distorting decision making. Third, you have to manufacture innovatively and cost effectively. The only way to keep the US strong in 2050 would be fix the education system today. End crippling student debt. Oh and the H-1B visa program.

        • Refguy

          Prince of Wales did survive her first combat (Bismark), but was sunk by land-based aircraft along with Repulse.

          • Samuel Clemens

            Thank you for reinforcing the main point. Imagine you had taken Billy Mitchel seriously in 1921 rather than court marshalling him for demonstrating the truth about the future of naval warfare. What would you do? Emphasize the most flexible weaponry of the future – aircraft. Undertake naval aviation. Divert front line ship construction towards aircraft carriers. Develop screening tactics against surface, submarine and air threats. Which is exactly what won WWII at sea. Now the threat is swarms of autonomous vehicles, subsurface, surface, air, and near space. Start planning that. Not 355 WWI ready big metal hulls full of future human sacrifices.

  • Same number of boomers and carriers? The latter should be larger in numbers.

  • Kypros

    “He suggested the Navy should be authorized to buy two aircraft carriers at a time and modernize existing ships now to speed up the process field 355 ships.”

    Modernize which ships? The 10 OHPs the Navy rejected bringing back into service, will probably give 20 years of service to whichever allied navy now gets them.

    • Rocco

      We don’t need a New class of carrier the size of the Ford other than the one’s being built. How many ships could be built for the 14 billions for one Ford? Well at least 2 well equipped America class without a welldeck.

  • Ctrot

    “unaffordable and useless”

    Perfect description of the current small surface “combatant” program.

    • NavySubNuke

      Re-posting since Duane deleted:
      “You mean it is a bad idea to spend over $900M per ship on a small combatant that has virtually no armament, requires extensive maintenance on proprietary systems that can only be performed in port by company workers, and is so complicated the crew can’t even be trusted to operate it?
      Who knew!?!?”

  • NavySubNuke

    In addition to the Dems stealing money away from National defense to try to buy more votes we also have some hard choices to make when it comes to big ticket items such as carriers and SSBNs.
    No one is going to like it but it is time we acknowledged that 12 SSBNs just isn’t going to be enough and started planning for that. The NPR laid the ground work when it highlighted that 12 SSBNs was the absolute minimum and the sooner the Navy bites the bullet and accepts this the better off the entire fleet will be since we can better plan for it.
    One way to minimize the impact to the fleet and get two more SSBNs is by cancelling a single FORD class carrier. Obviously not a decision to be made lightly but until there are some serious breakthroughs in either strike aircraft range (and no the MQ-25 doesn’t do enough) or missile defenses the carrier just isn’t relevant to the early stages of a peer conflict. By the time we have the defenses knocked back enough that the carrier can go into the area and survive we will have had time to bring in whatever surviving carriers we have left in the fleet.

    • PolicyWonk

      The Dems stealing money from national defense?

      Seriously, with the blatant fiscal/economic incompetence on the part of what passes for today’s GOP, this is the best you can do? Did you really convince yourself that economic/fiscal idiocy on the part of what used to be the party of responsible economic/financial management isn’t the problem, but the party that isn’t even in power in either HoR somehow is?

      You might recall, these were the same clowns that preached fiscal prudence, claimed to be deficit hawks, and were bemoaning the staggering national debt under Obama, and then instantly forgot everything the second they realized they had a blowhard on their hands who didn’t even bother reading the budget summary when he signed it into law!

      Add to the idiocy above, the whopping tax breaks for the ultra wealthy, which monstrously damages federal revenue streams at the expense of national security.

      All this, after landing the (by far) lion’s share of the blame for fiscal irresponsibility from the CBO report on the Causes Of The Great Recession, also caused by GOP incompetence. And here they’re repeating the SAME mistakes they made before – NOW. And the GOP was also the party that destroyed our military: according to the Spring 2009 Report On Force Readiness (US JCS), by the time GWB left office, our military was at its lowest state of readiness since Vietnam – among many other severe problems they caused due to incompetence/neglect.

      Please explain yourself.

      • thebard3

        Anybody remember Jimmy Carter?

        • Samuel Clemens

          Yeah, the guy that got the US out of Panama without a shot fired. The guy who brokered the deal between Egypt and Israel that holds to this day. The only such one in the entire Region. The guy who gave the US the moral high ground of being for human rights rather than genocidal alliances. The guy who was a naval engineer on the first nuclear submarine. The guy who did not commit treason and lie about in the next Administration by selling arms to Iran to pay for drug dealers in Central America. Yeah, that guy.

          • thebard3

            I’m sorry. I didn’t realize your apparent affections for Noriega and Khomeini.

          • Samuel Clemens

            Way to rewrite history. Reagan sold arms to Iran to take the money to back the drug dealing people favoring Noriega in defiance of the laws on the books. Only alzheimer’s protected him and only very political pardons protected his Sec Def. Crimes against American national security were committed that went unpunished. The whole thing was excruciatingly well documented by the Special Prosecutor for Iran-Contra. These were the same people who commanded the Marines not to have bullets in their guns when hundreds were killed in the truck bombings of the US Marine barracks and the US embassy in Beirut. Very shameful. Check you history books.

          • Rocco

            So what’s your point??? Plus has nothing to do with this thread!!!!

          • Samuel Clemens

            Learn to read replies within a thread. It is called context. Not that big a word, just two syllables but does have latin roots. Still, it is manageable.

          • Rocco

            In America we say this 🖕☺️……Not to hard to understand. Unless u take it out of context!! In Italian we say this 🤙🤘👊💋!!! Has Latin context & Roots!!

          • Samuel Clemens

            Comrade you have studied but really time to pack it in. Getting too obvious.

          • Rocco

            Never a comrade to you!! And I’m always Packing!

          • Samuel Clemens

            Never a comrade to me because I am not a Russian troll. So right you are.

          • Bryan

            We will never know if Reagan knew about the arms sales because? Ollie North said the buck stopped with him and took the fall. Perhaps it did end with him or perhaps Reagan knew.

            I can tell you as an old Navy and Law Enforcement retiree…I’ve worked with the FBI. One fact remains throughout the decades….If Reagan didn’t know and old Ollie decided to lie and say he did…Ollie would have went totally free. The same is true today. All anyone indicted has to do is blame Trump and make it somewhat plausible. If it’s true justice was done. If it’s a lie? To the FBI, they don’t care. Power is intoxicating.

            One thing I remind people about this is twofold…

            1. There is a history of the FBI asking for indictments before elections, getting them and then quietly dropping them after the election due to…..weak to nonexistent probable cause.

            2. The FBI got a warrant on what appears to be weak probable cause in the run up to the election. With that warrant they(FBI and Justice department agents) have transcripts of every conversation, email and listening post in Russia that the Trump election team made. Easy arrest and prosecution….oh wait that didn’t happen. No probable cause on the transcripts. This whole witch hunt does stink like trying to overthrow a president. It stinks just as much as Republicans trying to overthrow a president on the definition of, “is”.

            I wonder if it will work out just the same…a second term?

            A warning to R’s and D’s….what if Trump is a symptom of a problem and not the actual problem? Yep…all them nasty 2nd and 3rd order effects that you don’t want to think about because they make you question our present problems as they really are. Like a bunch of rats arguing over a sorry piece of moldy cheese as though the world will end if they don’t get it.

            What these stupid arguments don’t solve is, how to make a ship building plan that is more resilient with 355 but will also be maximized if they end up with 250. Because we can all come together and fund 355 ships. We probably won’t but it could happen. What is more questionable is…will the manning and maintenance costs sink us even if we get it?

          • Samuel Clemens

            Yes we do know much about Iran-Contra. In criminal indictments. That case went on for 8 years of Special Prosecutor Investigation. Bush I had to kill it on his final days with pardons or there would have been orange suited Cabinet Members. Reagan by then was talking to bookshelves as if they were horses. That case so scared the GOP they set out to destroy the office of Special Prosecutor, a job to which Jesse Helms entrusted Ken Starr after the first one did his job honestly investigating Clinton. Ken Starr’s did not get an impeachment but he did accomplish the primary goal of destroying the office. George Bush II became the direct beneficiary and now this current monster filling the sewers in Washington, DC. Truth in history please.

            As for the “number of hulls” – the entire debate is nauseating. Any business or system analyst will tell you that you don’t start with prejudices for a presumed answer. You start with needs. Then goals. Then objectives. Then risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis. There has been none of this at stragetic level. The proposed “solution” (to what?) itself has a risk of being worthless within a decade or two at most. The Navy deserves $0 except corrupt politicians paying off campaign debts, under the table payments and future payoffs lobbying for more good money to be thrown after bad money for the sake of throwing money. And political hacks and ideologues who love the idea of money being burnt up the way they like to see the flames. Absolutely shameful to the taxpayers and devastating to long term national security.

            Time to hit the reset button and begin over rationally.

          • Samuel Clemens

            The buck stops with the President. It is the very nature of the job. What a piece of trash like Oliver North says about criminally betraying his oath of service is irrelevant. 8 YEARS, EIGHT YEARS of investigation was very, very clear. Reagan lied, people died. Iran gained.

          • Rocco

            Commie

          • Samuel Clemens

            No Sir. Not a member of the Republican Party. Do not support Putin. Do not support those who support Putin. Do not make excuses for Putin. Do not attend rallies praising Putin. Do not resist effort to stop Russians from further sabotaging our elections. Do not denigrate the FBI. Do not denigrate the CIA. Do not denigrate the DOJ. Do not support North Korea. Do not make excuses for North Korea. Do not attend rallies praising “Chairman” Kim. Do not cheer those people coming to the White House to kick out all Americans while they debrief their man. No Sir. Do not ask for military exercises to be sabotaged without notice. Do not support betraying allies in Syria so former Soviets can have that country too. Do not support the KGB poisoning their own in the Free World. Support the Free World. Support NATO. Do not hate NATO. Support the EU. Do not want Russian to break up the EU. Do not hate and sabotage our allies to the Russian advantage. Support free trade and American leadership. Do not favor tyrants in every land. So Sir I do not stand with the American Republican Communist Party. Never. Resist. Defend the Free World. I am not now nor have I ever been a member of those parties or any of their front organizations.

            Not a Commie because not a Republican.

          • Rocco

            Well you need to make a phone call!!

          • Samuel Clemens

            Sure. But first please supply full name and address to make it productive, Comrade.

          • old guy

            Just 3 words describe you: deranged, deluded and demo-socialist. But you are amusing and add a light touch to our serious musings.

          • Samuel Clemens

            demo-socialist is not a word. It is intellectual drooling at the mouth.

          • Rocco

            😂🤔💡💭💰💸😜🖕

          • old guy

            You shame the name of Mark Twain.

          • Samuel Clemens

            How little you know Mark Twain. I suppose you thought he loved the Spanish-American war the way you love endless war in Afghanistan. My comment have nowhere near the sting against those in power that he had. May he not rest in peace but with inspiration for all who came later.

        • PolicyWonk

          I remember him well. He wasn’t a traitor to his country.

          The current administration, and the GOP, are in the process of systematically removing the protections put into place to prevent another incidence of the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.

          What’s your point?

          • thebard3

            You lost me when you said ‘GOP’, I think you meant to say ‘Washington’.

          • PolicyWonk

            The GOP is the party that rammed the so-called “tax reform” through the HoR’s without any democratic support. Virtually every economist has come out against this ironically “hope-y” pile of lousy legislation (the GOP used to love saying, “hope is not a policy – yet here we are today) – saying it’ll be fine in the short term, but monstrously damaging to the nations economic foundation in the long run.

            That’s what makes it the GOP, as opposed to “Washington”.

          • muzzleloader

            “The GOP rammed the so called tax reform through the house without any democratic support.” Uh, yeah that is called elections have consequences as Obama used to say.
            As I recall, the democrat controlled White House and Congress in 2009 rammed through Obamacare without ONE single republican vote. The democrats on the day of signing had a bizarre procession to the capital with Nancy Pelosi clutching her speaker gavel like a was a scepter. It was the dems who went down this road first.
            I guess you could say this is what winning looks like.

          • PolicyWonk

            As you recall, thats the story laid out by the GOP, who meticulously lied about the debates, and their “role” in them. They were active participants in the process in that case, where the democrats in this case were not.

            Next, the GOP “leadership”, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell both went on Fox News, and openly declared prior to the negotiations beginning, to declare that no matter how many GOP ideas they used, no matter how much money its saved, and no matter how good for the nation – they would do everything possible to torpedo healthcare reform.

            Would YOU negotiate with people who publicly said they were negotiating in bad faith?

            And, BTW, the ACA was based on a conservative healthcare plan created by the “Heritage Foundation”, that the GOP universally supported before they found out that Obama wanted to implement it.

            Bottom line: the ACA dramatically slowed the increases in health care expenses in this nation, is more popular than ever, and got 20M more Americans the healthcare they needed.

            The GOP legislation only helps the ultra wealthy, at the expense of US economic security.

            Next time you try to argue a point, try having a clue.

          • muzzleloader

            You think Obama left our nation a better place. You think Obamacare is more popular than ever. Those two statements disqualify you from me even considering anything else you have to say about anything.
            You are a hard core leftist, talking to you would be like discussing calculus with a drunk, a waste of time.

          • PolicyWonk

            Clearly, your distorted view of reality (as you posted here) says it all: you ignore cold, hard, facts.

            True conservatives don’t tolerate incompetence and are rooted in reality.

            I don’t know what you are – but conservative isn’t the right term.

          • muzzleloader

            My distorted view of reality?
            As is and always will be, so called hard cold facts are relative to what an individual already believes. As the saying goes, a man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.
            The best you and I can do is to agree to disagree.
            Have a nice weekend.

      • Rocco

        You have point!

      • NavySubNuke

        No worries, I realize as a democrat who still hates Bush and blames him for everything you will never be willing to find fault in anyone else so there is no point in even trying to have a discussion the topic.
        Have a great Friday!

        • PolicyWonk

          I provided you with facts, and you apparently aren’t able to answer the question or justify your opinion.

          Got it.

          Thanks.

          • NavySubNuke

            Actually you provided your interpretation based on certain facts for a discussion you and I have had before. Its Friday and I’m leaving work early to go away for the weekend and be blissfully disconnected from the world with my wife and kids so I have neither the time nor the inclination to rehash an old argument where there is no right answer.
            Have a great weekend regardless!

    • Rocco

      Agreed! I guess we’re too far into it with the Ford class money wise to cancel it. Or can all together the LCS class & sell them to the Philippines. Perfect operating area for them.

    • NEC338x

      There was a time when the SSBN fleet had the capacity to do 100+ patrols per year, then the “peace dividend” kicked in and the numbers plummeted. By 2008 we were lucky to be conducting 30 patrols. I’d like to see hulls and manning to support in the 70-75 range. Strategic assets are whats going to buy the country time in the event of a rapid onset conventional war. An enemy moves to fast and they increase the risk of strategic asset release.

  • PolicyWonk

    The above math is all wrong. The SSC count includes the worthless, so-called “littoral combat ship” in the count, and those are NOT assets: they are LIABILITIES.

    The understatement of the article is the one about the importance of the FFG(X) – this is a tremendously vital program. LCS should be KILLED in place, and any remaining funds poured into building new frigates.

  • Rocco

    By George I agree with you

  • Eyes open

    Want 355 ships? Stop scrapping good hulls because they are over 25 years old. There are 5 or 6 FFGs and 3 CGs sitting in Philly yard. Get them back to sea. And please, do not tell me they cannot be refurbished due to space restrictions or electronics upgrades. Where there is a will, there is a way. How many other ships fit this category? And has anybody thought about the ramifications if we get into a shooting war? What do we do if we lose a carrier or two? Do we run down to the local shipyard and have them build a few in short order? Nope. We do not have that capability any longer.

    What happened to the RRF?

    • Kypros

      Not to mention how all the Spruances were so quickly decommissioned, sunk or scrapped. Seems the Navy over the past couple decades, preferred to scrap good ships with plenty of service life left in them, in order to argue for new construction, rather than maintaining and updating them. Seemed stupid. Like you said, want 355 ships? Stop scrapping good hulls.

  • Rocco

    It might have crippled is Duane but it made the world a better place so stop your liberal rants because there was no ignoring Iraq or Afghanistan!

    • Samuel Clemens

      Yeah endless wars make everyone safe from those who never attacked in the first place. Brilliant way to burn up trillions. The Chinese industrialist are openly laughing at us in contempt. The Chinese military even more gleeful. Stupidity goes before the fall of a failing empire. The Chinese also have millenia of experience in that. Read a bit of their literature, the old stuff will be a good starting point.

      • Rocco

        That’s why China is building there Navy!!! Cruise ships their not!

        • Samuel Clemens

          High precision mIssile ships they are. No US Navy counterpart for many of them.

  • Rocco

    Because there’s no war ships in inventory that does !!

  • Rocco

    I’m only hope is I don’t become like you!! As there’s no hope for you Dude! Who cares what others think about Iraq! As far as I’m concerned we should blow it up!

  • Kypros

    LCS has yet to prove itself. Well, what what the heck, they’ve only been in the inventory like a decade…

  • Kypros

    Thanks to lack of maintenance and updates. Not only not updated, but also losing their Mk13 launchers.

    • Rocco

      In response to Duane because he blocked me again OHP will & alway be the Ship both LCS strive to be but Can’t! Remember The Cole!

  • TR

    The number of ships we have now is almost adequate, especially since navy ships are not subject to combat damage or being destroyed in these modern times……..

  • Adrian Ah

    Talk of Republican vs Democrat is useless- both can be blamed if you want to.

    Concurrence – which gave us the LCS, Ford and F-35, occurred late 90’s early 2000’s, which was Republican. Robert Gates cancelled the F-22 program, and he was in both Bush’s and Obama’s administration, but it occurred during Obama’s.

    I agree with NavySubNuke’s suggestion about the cutting a Ford carrier. But instead of cutting one Ford, perhaps cutting all Fords, build slightly upgraded Nimitz classes again as they are roughly half the price. 8 carriers x $6bn saved per carrier = $48bn. You can buy a few subs with that.

    From the serious articles I’ve read online, I believe that in a war in the 21st century, the sub will be the single most effective war vessel, given cruise missile range increases, proliferation, and the decrease in the range of warplanes on aircraft carriers. (this is imho, and I freely admit I’m an armchair enthusiat)

  • Kypros

    I don’t disagree. They could have been maintained better and at least the VLS converted ones might have seen more service. Point being, if you want a 355 ship fleet, well, you need ships.

  • PolicyWonk

    Since its already been determined (even by the USN itself) that LCS isn’t capable of fulfilling its original vision and terminated the program early (and doesn’t want anymore of them), your point makes no sense whatsoever.

    • NavySubNuke

      Reposting since one of the paid LCS advocates flagged it:
      It is pretty funny to see an LCS supporter complain that an FFG(X) might “come in at 1/2-2/3 the cost of a DDG 51 but with less than 1/2 the capability of the Burke. That’s a poor fiscal choice.”
      You would think he would realize that an LCS comes in at 1/2 the cost of a Burke and has (at best) 1/10th the capability.
      Great example of the complete lack of integrity it takes to be an LCS supporter….”

      • Lazarus

        Not a paid supporter.

        • NavySubNuke

          I never said you were – though if you are admitting to deleting my post I can edit the statement above.
          The fact that you deleted my reply and are now lying about what I said is yet another great example of your lack of integrity.
          What I actually said was that you were a hobbyist advocate.

          • Lazarus

            Deleted your reply? How could I do that? I am not a USNI employee?

          • NavySubNuke

            Oh? Then who made it disappear and show as pending? Your Duane account?

          • Lazarus

            I am not Duane and not a USNI employee so I can’t change your posts. ????

          • NavySubNuke

            Never said you could change them – just pointed out that you could flag them and make them disappear for moderation.
            If you are confused on how to do that just check with your Duane personality the next time you and he are sitting down with Putin and Xi for an LCS cheerleader central committee meeting.

          • Guest

            N.S.Nuke, when USNI comments “disappear for moderation”, can’t you simply click on them and “Show” them ? easily ? quickly ? no problems ?

            Are you using the SAFARI browser ( in Apple software ) ? I never have any problem “seeing” those comments that awaiting moderation. Just a simple mouse click away. What browser s/w do you use ?

          • NavySubNuke

            It appears to depend on how they are flagged and if someone has already responded to them or not. Some, it appears those that haven’t been replied to yet, disappear entirely while others disappear for moderation but can be clicked on and shown.
            Not sure how it all works but USNI is the only forum where it happens so I imagine they give users more power to moderate other users.
            That works fine when adults are doing the commenting but Duane has admitted to flagging posts in the past that he didn’t agree with because he claims anyone who disagrees with him is a paid Russian troll out to destroy confidence in the US military. Which is hilarious but also annoying.

  • Curtis Conway

    The LPD-17 Class amphibious ships are getting Mk41 VLS, EASR Enterprise radar, and a combat system upgrades so they will be more meaningful players in defense of the Battle Force in the future. With the advent of NIFC-CA and introduction of the SM-6 Standard Missile, the makeup of air warfare around the battle group regardless of makeup (CSG/ESG), will be changed beneficially. Donation SM-6 in a NIFC-CA in the greater FORCEnet-21 environment is a true game changer.

    Lazarus is right about the impact of the FFG(X), but flawed in his analysis of capabilities vs ‘capacity’ of said platform. A $1Billion 9-RMA/per array face FFG(X) with all the inherent DDG-51 capability (SPY-1 search volume) installed on the platform in a more efficient, and cost effective manner buys us a lot for that extra $200Million. This will stretch production dollars into more platforms, feed the network with greater amounts of accurate track data, ESM, expand possible SM-6 control at greater ranges in more disparate areas (littorals), and provide three+ capable FFG(X) platforms for the cost of two DDG-51 Flt III destroyers, growing the fleet faster. Most of the COCOM is not peer, or near-peer areas. We need greater numbers to cover the bases, but those platforms need greater combat system capability over weapons capacity.

    Upgrade of current platforms (digital SPY-1 get the vacuum tubes out), and upgrade of their combat systems to greater capability and commonality, will buy us a lot. Force capability increases with time commensurately. The NIFC-CA & SM-6 combination is the name of the game.

    Directed Energy is next for self-defense first. Then the effective range of DE will begin to grow, with a commensurate increase in passive surveillance capabilities, which is where the primary improvements to combat systems should be going. A purely passive surveillance capability should be a development goal and capability for all surface combatants over time.

    ‘Going Active’ in the future will be like a porcupine raising quills, only the message will be less a defensive move, than a message we are ready to ACT! Adversaries will know when they have ‘crossed the line’.

  • Kypros

    As you stated, they chose to save the money vs maintenance and upgrades.

  • old guy

    The really difficult task is to deep six the MY CAREER, MY SERVICE(PARTY), MY COUNRY, [in that order] jerks, that abound in the Congress and the military.

  • Rocco

    I have no problem with it!

  • SierraSierraQuebec

    Average Use Ohio SSGN class Cruise Missiles over 30 Year Extrapolated Lifespan: 279 + 121 (Contingency) = 400 Missiles
    [USS Florida SSGN-728, 93 Missiles Launched, Libya, 2011; 4 SSGN in service approx. 10 Years, 640 Missiles Available]

    Planned:
    10 Block V Virginia class w/Payload Modules, (28 VPM + 12 VPT) x 10 Boats = 400 Missiles; $32B for Block V

    Alternative:
    8 Block V Virginia class, (28 VPM + 14 VPM) x 8 Boats = 400 Missiles (including internals); $25.6B
    Alternatively 48-144 supersonic/hypersonic missiles, 640 preserved missiles from Ohio class SSGN’s
    4 Block IV-AIP (Al-Air Fuel Cell Replacement Section), 25-28 Internal Weapons x 4 Boats = ~32 msls Projected at $1.2B per boat, $1.6B or more in design costs, $6.4B total
    (fuel cell units, air tanks, motor, distribution, arrangement; some elements already developed for DDG-1000 & other electric drives)

    A build up of 1 nuclear and 3 Al-Air boats per year will bring the Navy to 60+ boats by the time USS Virginia and early boats reach the end of their service lives. Naval and submarine superiority would be developed and maintained with further Al-Air drone mini boat USV/UUV sensor saturation and AI integration to filter out hostile threats.

  • Kypros

    Like I said, I don’t disagree. However, if 355 ships is the goal, that means building new ones, while retaining, maintaining and upgrading old ones to remain in the fleet. Or if not, drastically increasing and accelerating new construction.

  • Navsea Retired

    LCS is a ship program that changes or just ignores many essential contract specifications which were agreed to before LCS-1 was even launched a dozen years ago. Washington DC LCS leaders, keep moving the goal posts for LCS so that (eventually) the spec’s will sorta fit the product, not the other way around.

    Motto for L.c.s warships:
    .
    FLOAT LIKE A BEE….

    STING LIKE A BUTTERFLY……

    .
    .
    (with apologies to Cassius Clay / Mohammed Ali the great boxer)

    • Lazarus

      Most programs go through specification changes before they are actually built. LCS is no different. The DD 963’s were all originally supposed to be like the DD 993’s but budget limitations prevented. You can quote old specs as much as you want but the budget did not support them. Sometimes the greatest engineering project is just unaffordable.

      • Navsea Retired

        You know full well that your glib post above is incorrect: deliberately, and intentionally a prevarication. Go over to CDR SAL blog site where we can attach actual DATA to our posts and re-read the past 3 years of my LCS comments.

        I have a total over 2,300 posts with over half of them substantive and detailed about LCS pitiful performances due to bad design, ignored contract spec’s, 10 years of unsatisfactory testing, with countless misleading obfuscations to attempt to delay LCS until all 30 + of them could be funded and built. Well, you won, Laz. You have all your 30 plus LCS funded and contracted out. Are you happy ? Nope, you now want more water jet boats built in Wisconsin and called FFG for another 24 strange, under fueled so-called Naval warships.

        Here at USNI blog, you can hide behind your unsubstantiated vague words. Go back to the other blog site and read past 3 years of LCS “discussions”. You have failed to even attempt to respond to a fraction of the hugely important issues raised by many concerned Navy veterans. Repeatedly, Lazarus. You simply throw out your wide ranging prevarications and then run and hide when details are presented for real discussions, which you avoid.

        You owe the Navy community about 1000 replies just on LCS, but you cannot attempt it because you know whatever you try will obviously not hold water.

        Old spec’s ? How about the next gen FFG X spec for 2019 ? The one where it has even reduced Key Performance Spec’s B-E-L-O-W what LCS is required to do in a basic Navy warship parameter: mobility ( aka MOB mission area ). Just so FFG X can be awarded to the extended, heavier, stretched water jet powered LCS being built at Wisconsin, the Washington DC “leaders” have decided that next generation frigates can be even shorter ranged that the very short ranged LCS presently. ! ! ! !

        Amazing. And you know the new FFGX spec’s violate Navsea rules for KPP of max range and endurance by permitting the future US NAVY world wide deep water frigates to achieve an even shorter and un sat KPP. by illegally burning all the JP-5 Aviation fuel 100 percent in their main propulsion engines.

        Address just that one spec, please ?

        • Lazarus

          Sure. The Navy does not want or need a long range, high endurance cutter to patrol the wastes of the Northern Pacific. That is a Coast Guard mission and the NSC is designed to fulfill that. Since every warship is a compromise, the NSC likely gives up capability in favor of long range. The Navy instead desires a balance of operational range, armament, sensors, space for growth and unmanned units and moderate speed. All of this needs to be on a financially sustainable platform whose follow-on units (after the first) must cost less than $1b. The most exquisite engineering in the world is impractical unless the price is right. Naval history is littered with fine engineering that could not reach affordability in numbers.
          How does the FFGX range KPP “violate” NAVSEA rules? I don’t recall the Navy FFGX RFI saying that the class could burn JP-5 in propulsion engines. Even if so, why would that violate a rule? Isn’t that actually a point of flexibility that other warship classes may not have seen in the past?

          • Navsea Retired

            already covered in agonizingly detail at Cdr Sal blog along with some actual written, posted facts. . And you know this to be very true.

            repeatedly. thoroughly. and now you ever so innocently try to claim you know nothing about this mess. I posted this a hundred times in the past four months and you know this.

            you are disingenuous in this and so many LCS matters. You know this like the back of your hand:

            LCS-1 spec originally required 4300 nm range at transit speed of 18 knots.

            and LCS-1 spec clearly stated could not burn the Aviation fuel. Just like the Navy requirement ever since 1982 for all USN ships.

            and now: LCS is down to sorta claiming 3,500 nm range at 14 knots, burning all JP_5, only in sea state = 0, never taking on a drop of ballast as they run from 100 percent fuel down to 5 percent fuel. Wow ! What a joke. LCS has never even attempted this endurance range test in the past 10 years. They just extrapolate a brief test. Sea state CALM ? for the entire long range transit ? Ha. if you encounter even one hour of SEA STATE = 1, then you can claim the test woulda passed if the seas had remained totally CALM with Sea State = 0 for the entire test. And never take on any ballast at all ? ever ridden LCS odd class when they have only 5 percent fuel onboard and no ballast ? Get real.

            In other words, LCS has a made a mockery of out contract SPEC’s and they prevaricate and fudge ridiculously to fool the Navy into meeting their so called KEY PERFORMANCE specs.

            Just for the MOB mission area. Don’t bother with weapons and other propulsion and sensor issues. You do not blog fairly. Your memory is selectively forgetful even after beating issues to death. You are just playing games.

          • Lazarus

            You asked an FFGX question. I responded and you replied with more LCS history (before tbe steel was cut.) Make up your mind for pete’s sake on what you want to discuss.

          • Navsea Retired

            You complained about OLD specs being discussed.

            So, I offered you a NEW spec. I’ve already posted the details on how it violates Navy rules. About 40 times in the past 8 weeks over at Cdr Sal blog. And all readers there know exactly that you and your LCS pet program are 100 percent wrong about burning JP-5 in next gen frigates main engines, and you have been exposed. So you will simply avoid talking specifics about old SPEC’s or new SPEC’s that your LCS and next gen LCS simply disobey. Flagrantly.

            Wish I could attach the 40 or so blog posts here, but USNI is a great refuge for non details. But your will just pretend not to know what the issue has been.

          • Lazarus

            I don’t understand; what’s so wrong about being able to burn JP-5 in main engines? Please at least cite what OPNAVIST or NAVSEAINST says anything about not “allowing” ships to burn JP-5 in main engines. Can you at least do that? I am not aware of such a regulation.

    • NavySubNuke

      Careful – pointing out that the emporer has no clothes like that will get your post deleted by the LCS Cheerleader Central Committee.
      They hate it when people point out the truth about their ugly baby and do all they can to suppress any discussion on the topic rather than allowing the truth to be told.

  • Lazarus

    Your lack of knowledge on the LCS program is equally evident. I do not have multiple accounts.

    • NavySubNuke

      Re-posting since your lack of integrity caused you to delete it the first time:
      “LOL. It is true that I don’t enjoy the same access to privileged information from the program office that you do as a hobbyist advocate for the program but it doesn’t take unauthorized access to at least FOUO information to tell when you are lying. There is plenty of information in the public space that makes that clear.
      I’m sure you don’t have multiple accounts….”