Category Archives: News & Analysis

Navy Officials Single Out Freedom Generator Woes

Navy Officials Single Out Freedom Generator Woes

Cmdr. Joe Femino, commanding officer of USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) watches USS Freedom (LCS 1) through a pair of binoculars on June 20. US Navy Photo

Cmdr. Joe Femino, commanding officer of USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) watches USS Freedom (LCS 1) through a pair of binoculars on June 20. US Navy Photo

The generator problem that sidelined USS Freedom (LCS-1) earlier this month is “the most significant design deficiency that we’re dealing with today,” the Navy’s top acquisition official told a congressional panel on Thursday.

Speaking before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection forces, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition, Sean Stackley singled out the widely publicized July 20 generator failure as the largest design challenge faced in the class of Littoral Combat Ships. Read More

The Heart of the Navy's Next Destroyer

The Heart of the Navy’s Next Destroyer

The Aegis-class destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) launches a standard missile (SM) 3 Blk IA in July 2009. US Navy Photo

The Aegis-class destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) launches a standard missile (SM) 3 Blk IA in July 2009. US Navy Photo

When the first new Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer enters service with the U.S. Navy in 2019, it will be equipped with a new radar roughly 30 times more powerful than the long-serving Lockheed Martin SPY-1 system found on current Aegis warships. Called the air and missile defense radar (AMDR), the new sensor is expected to exponentially increase the ship’s performance in simultaneously defending the Fleet against both air-breathing and ballistic-missile threats. The key technology that enables such high performance is a semiconductor called gallium nitride (GaN).

“It is definitely one of the key enabling technologies,” said Captain Douglas Small, Naval Sea Systems Command’s AMDR program manager, during an interview with USNI News. “We’re basically in the Flight III going to deliver over 30 times the radar capability for about twice the input power.” Read More

Opinion: American Seapower Must Look to the Future

Opinion: American Seapower Must Look to the Future

Seaman Apprentice Robert Nunez, left, from Suffolk, Va., and Seaman Apprentice Amy M. Haskins, from Kansas City, Mo., stand watch on the signal bridge aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68). US Navy Photo

Seaman Apprentice Robert Nunez, left, from Suffolk, Va., and Seaman Apprentice Amy M. Haskins, from Kansas City, Mo., stand watch on the signal bridge aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68). US Navy Photo

As I consider the likely national security issues facing the United States in the coming decade, I am struck by the decidedly maritime character of these challenges. From China’s rapid naval modernization to Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz to international shipping, the United States is increasingly facing a security environment requiring robust naval and air forces.

While the previous decade was characterized by the predominance of large ground forces, I firmly believe that the next decade will be defined by the strength of our sea power and projection forces. Read More

Dempsey's Options For Syria

Dempsey’s Options For Syria

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. Defense Department Photo

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. Defense Department Photo

Last week Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outlined American military options in Syria, in response to a threatened hold on his reconfirmation by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and a letter signed by McCain and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.). Both senators are proponents of American intervention in Syria, and both are frustrated by what they believe is the administration’s slow and limited decision to intervene in Syria’s conflict. The traditions of American civil-military relations make uniformed discussions of military options in politically charged issues—especially in a public forum—a delicate issue. Nevertheless, in order to secure a second term as JCS chairman, and in response to a formal request, Dempsey presented an unclassified assessment of five options for American military involvement in Syria. Read More

Opinion: A Future for Canadian Submarines?

Opinion: A Future for Canadian Submarines?

HMCS Windsor transits from the U.K. to her home port in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Canadian Navy Photo

HMCS Windsor transits from the U.K. to her home port in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2001. Canadian Navy Photo

Canada’s Victoria-class submarine fleet has been controversial since its inception. Most recently, a report by Michael Byers and Stewart Webb argues that the time has come to either phase out the program or commit to a robust discussion of how to replace the fleet. Critics cite a disappointing history of expensive repairs, time lost, and a catastrophic fire. Supporters insist that the boats provide important capabilities. And navy planners have sought to get the ball rolling on acquiring new subs sometime after 2020. Debate over the current fleet and its potential replacement should include all of those elements, but focus on how they align with one another, on whether submarines provide the right capabilities at the right price to serve Canada’s national interests. Read More

Pentagon Takes Next Steps in Moving Women into Combat Jobs

Pentagon Takes Next Steps in Moving Women into Combat Jobs

Chief Engineman Patricia Cooper, a student in the Riverine Combat Skills course (RCS), patrols the training grounds during a field training exercise in Camp Lejeune, N.C. in 2012. US Navy Photo

Chief Engineman Patricia Cooper, a student in the Riverine Combat Skills course (RCS), patrols the training grounds during a field training exercise in Camp Lejeune, N.C. in 2012. US Navy Photo

The Marine Corps intends to build up a female cadre of officers and noncommissioned officers to help women as more military occupations and units become open to females, the deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs told the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee on Thursday. Read More