Category Archives: Surface Forces

Opinion: Sequestration is Here

Opinion: Sequestration is Here

 USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) pulls out of Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. on June, 4 2013. US Navy Photo

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) pulls out of Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. on June, 4 2013. US Navy Photo

The dirty word spreading across the U.S. Navy and the larger defense establishment this year is “sequestration.” It was never supposed to happen, yet today it is the law of the land. Worse still, there appears to be no interest in Congress to repeal this legislation. That’s significant, since the longer this process goes on, the greater will be the cumulative damage on the long-term health and readiness of the U.S. Navy, as well as all of America’s military.

Sequestration was born out of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which stipulated that more than $900 billion in defense cuts over 10 years would begin automatically in 2013 unless Congress passed a long-term deficit reduction plan. This provision was considered so draconian that all agreed at the time that it would never be implemented. Think again. Read More

LCS Program Faces Additional Scrutiny from Congress

LCS Program Faces Additional Scrutiny from Congress

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in March enroute to Singapore. US Navy Photo

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in March enroute to Singapore. US Navy Photo

At least one Congress member is expected to try and slow development of the Littoral Combat Ship program during debate this week over the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, according to a report in Defense Daily.

The LCS backlash follows the leak of a draft copy of a Government Accountability Office report that called for Congress to slow development of ship construction and the accompanying mission packages. Read More

Chinese Carrier Leaves for More Sea Trials

Chinese Carrier Leaves for More Sea Trials

An undated photo of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning. PLAN Photo

An undated photo of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning. PLAN Photo

China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning has left its homeport of Qingdao to conduct sea trials, according to a Tuesday report from the Xinhua news agency.

The underway will focus on “scientific experiments and sea training,” Xinhua cited People’s Liberation Army Navy officials. Read More

McCoy Departs NAVSEA

McCoy Departs NAVSEA

Vice Adm. Kevin M. McCoy, former commander of Naval Sea Systems Command. US Navy Photo

Vice Adm. Kevin M. McCoy, former commander of Naval Sea Systems Command. US Navy Photo

Long serving Naval Sea Systems Command commander, Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy retired after five years on duty as the Navy’s top military shipbuilder.

In a June 7 ceremony, McCoy handed command of NAVSEA over to Vice Adm. William H. Hilarides, formerly of the NAVSEA’s Program Executive Officer for Submarines. Read More

Document: U.S. Military Relations with China

Document: U.S. Military Relations with China

China has accepted an invitation from the U.S. to join the 2014 Rim of the Pacific naval exercises off of Hawaii.
However, members of Congress have raised questions if the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s inclusion as part of RIMPAC will violate provisions of a 2000 U.S. defense bill that restricts the level of military to military contact the Pentagon can have with its Chinese counterparts.
The following is an April Congressional Research Service report that broadly outlines the history of the defense law and the U.S. military relationship with China.
Read More

Analysis: The U.S. Navy's High-Low Mix

Analysis: The U.S. Navy’s High-Low Mix

USS Nicholas (FFG 47) departs Souda Bay, Greece harbor following a port visit on Feb. 11, 2013. US Navy Photo.

USS Nicholas (FFG-47) departs Souda Bay, Greece harbor following a port visit on Feb. 11, 2013. US Navy Photo.

Interaction with partner navies around the world is a centerpiece of “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Sea Power,” the document that guides U.S. Navy maritime operations. One of the strategic imperatives in that directive demands that the Navy “[f]oster and sustain cooperative relationships with more international partners.” That task is extraordinarily difficult because of the disparity between U.S. ships and partner vessels in size and capabilities.

The recent decision to retire seven aging Aegis cruisers eases the disparity to some extent, but also highlights an ongoing debate about the future of the naval force structure. Those seven cruisers are in addition to the five Ticonderoga-class ships scheduled for decommissioning in 2013 and the six Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates also designated to leave the fleet this year. The retirement of the frigates raises old issues. The current naval construction program will replace the “low-end” warships with littoral combat ships (LCSs). The Navy needs the high-low mix across the spectrum of tactical mission areas, but how can this best be achieved?

A new book by former deputy undersecretary of the Navy Seth Cropsey stirs this boiling pot. Read More

Second JHSV Delivers, Third Launches

Second JHSV Delivers, Third Launches

Third Joint High Speed Vessel Millinocket launches from Austal USA's mobile shipyard on Wednesday. Austal USA Photo

Third Joint High Speed Vessel Millinocket launches from Austal USA’s mobile shipyard on Wednesday. Austal USA Photo

Austal USA delivered its second Joint High Speed Vessel on Thursday — USNS Choctaw County (JHSV-2) — to Military Sealift Command and has launched the third JHSV from its Mobile, Ala. shipyard.

Choctaw County follows closely behind the lead ship, USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1), which delivered in December. Read More

NAVSEA on Flight III Arleigh Burkes

NAVSEA on Flight III Arleigh Burkes

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), front, the Republic of Korea Navy Aegis-class destroyer ROKS Seoae-Yu-Seong-Ryong (DDG-993), middle, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG-85). US Navy Photo

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), front, the Republic of Korea Navy Aegis-class destroyer ROKS Seoae-Yu-Seong-Ryong (DDG-993), middle, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG-85). US Navy Photo

The Navy is confident it has enough space, power and cooling onboard the hull of its planned new line of destroyers to accommodate the planned high-powered Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR), Capt. Mark Vandroff, Naval Sea Systems Command program manager for the DDG-51 shipbuilding program, told USNI News in an interview on Thursday.

However, the Arleigh Burke- class destroyer (DDG-51) Flight III would be limited in the amount of additional weapons the ship could accommodate — including electromagnetic railguns and high-energy lasers — without removing other capabilities. Read More

U.S. Navy's Next Bid for Ship to Ship Combat

U.S. Navy’s Next Bid for Ship to Ship Combat

Lockheed Martin artist's conception of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). Lockheed Martin Photo

Lockheed Martin artist conception of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). Lockheed Martin Photo

In light of emerging anti-ship threats the Pentagon is exploring the first new anti-ship missile system since the demise of the Soviet Union.

Under the auspices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—with funding assistance from the Office of Naval Research—DARPA’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) program hopes to field a new anti-ship cruise missile for the Navy, a capability long neglected in the years since the Soviet Union’s collapse. Read More

Document: Coast Guard Icebreaker Update

Document: Coast Guard Icebreaker Update

The following is from the May, 24 2013 Congressional Research Service report: Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization.

The Coast Guard’s FY2013 budget initiated a new project for the design and construction of a new polar icebreaker. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2013 budget requested $8 million in FY2013 acquisition funding to initiate survey and design activities for the ship, and projected an additional $852 million in FY2013-FY2017 for acquiring the ship. The Coast Guard’s FY2013 budget anticipated awarding a construction contract for the ship “within the next five years” and taking delivery on the ship “within a decade.”

Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The Coast Guard’s two existing heavy polar icebreakers—Polar Star and Polar Sea— have exceeded their originally intended 30-year service lives. Polar Star was placed in caretaker status on July 1, 2006. Congress in FY2009 and FY2010 provided funding to repair it and return it to service for an additional 7 to 10 years of service; the repair work was completed and the ship was reactivated on December 14, 2012. Read More