With some of the budget reduction POM options coming to the front over the last couple of weeks, everyone’s Fleet-number waterfall graph just shifted to the left a few years. A quick note to those blandly blinking at the PPT; this is not a drill.

It is time to leave behind the sway-back, hidebound arguments and talking points of the Lost Decade; FRP, Optimal Manning, Transformation, exquisite systems, Network-Centric Unicorn Theory – that is in the past. The future, if you will, that never was.

They have either been measured and found wanting, abandoned, unaffordable, or perpetually shifted to the right waiting for quantum theory and pixie dust to make them operational. It is time to move forward.

One underlying fact that has finally reached the 51% tipping point in the minds of most decision makers in the last 18-months is this; in time of financial crisis the military budget will be hit harder than other parts of the budget if for no other reason than it is structurally easier for politicians to do so. With our new “Super Committee” process – even more so.

Relax; there is no need to panic. No need to wear sack cloth and ashes, bound with your full-leg metal cilices as you walk off the Blue Line, through Pentagon Station to your desk. No; it is time to straighten your gig-line, lean forward, walk with purpose to get your next cup of coffee, put a smile on your face, and get to work.

Look at what has been done by our predecessors in a time of stress; naval developments in the 1920s and 1930s in carrier and cruisers; even the 1970s, more or less, brought us the F-16, TLAM, Aegis and others.

This is a time to focus. We can come out of this period – be it 10 years or 20, in a good position if we start now to look; look not just at platforms, but what those platforms carry. Sensors, weapons, leaders, Sailors, and ideas. That is what is critical. Don’t get me wrong – numbers matter for a dual-ocean, maritime, mercantile republic with global responsibilities – but what is on those platforms is more important than just numbers.

To do this right though, we need vision and leadership grounded in fact, modesty, honesty, and respect for risk. Not just that, but in our age it needs to be public vision and public leadership. The time is now to look back for a firm grip on something firm, solid, and reliable – and then reach forward.

A great worry however, is that we won’t benchmark the successful responses to stress in the past clearly founded on solid programs and viable short-cycle evolutionary progresses, but instead will follow the intellectually moribund and disgraced habits of the other past as defined by a future-imperfect PPT deep and an efficiency plan as thoughtful as, “Everyone grab your spoon and take two scoops our of your rice bowl.”

Simple reductions of what we have without vision and an understanding of a strategy to support it is not a plan, it is a reaction. It is drift; drift in rapidly shoaling water.




Posted by CDRSalamander in Marine Corps, Maritime Security, Navy
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  • Spade

    “Look at what has been done by our predecessors in a time of stress; naval developments in the 1920s and 1930s in carrier and cruisers; even the 1970s, more or less, brought us the F-16, TLAM, Aegis and others.”

    And the 2010s will bring us LCS!

  • http://brainshavings.com Alo Konsen

    So who’s the modern day “Fighter Mafia” of Boyd-like thinkers that have the freedom & authority to structure the fleet of 2020+? If they exist but don’t have the freedom & authority they need, how do we out here among the Great Unwashed help extract them from under the dead weight of FOGOs, SES bureaucrats, & politicians?

  • efisp

    “Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins. In order buy wins, you need to buy runs.”

    Peter Brand
    Moneyball

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Step 1: LCS delende est.

    We are giving up cruisers for coastal gunboats dressed up in a sequined miniskirt and a tease line, and a thirst for tea at single malt prices. All saucy promises and a thug in the alley just down the street.

    The LCS is a hussy, and we are getting set up to get rolled. When we wake up in a benjo ditch, hung over, bruised all over, with two black eyes, in a ruined set of whites, no wallet and a day AWOL, will the FOGOS sober up then?

    It is a sad day when DinQ, NQP SA’s show better sense than the old men with solid gold shoulder boards.

    Not that the old men will fight when the Think Tank defense “experts”
    come out of the dark alley. At least John Gob will go down punching.

    This is a great opportunity for a new CNO to show what he’s got. Whether he realizes it yet, or not, he just walked out on the coliseum floor with a net and a trident. Here’s hoping St Michael has his back.

  • avidus

    I’ll suggest perhaps equally dangerous to the continued LCS procurement is the F-35.

    If plans continue we will be introducing an aircraft that has a slower speed, slower turn rate, slower climb rate, and holds less weaponry than almost every aircraft it replaces and even worse, every one of its projected enemies.

    As with the LCS we are told that a magic attribute, missions modules for the LCS and stealth for the F-35, we overcome all of its other manifest and overwhelming flaws. This despite almost daily evidence that these advantages are vastly over-hyped and are defeated by those of their peer competitors.

    While we are watching the Navy budget fall dramatically rather than using this as the perfectly acceptable excuse to excise these programs senior leadership is instead doing their very best to expedite them.

    I have faith in the Navy’s ability to overcome once things become truly dire but I worry that the difficulty in doing so is being compounded both by the outside congressional factors but even more by the Navy leadership itself.

  • Paul

    How stealthy is an LCS when some yahoo puts an RPG through it’s sides during a board and search?

    Will a commander be willing to risk a half billion dollar warship in an environment it was allegedly designed for but where it might get damaged and cost the Navy millions of dollars in repairs? Will he or she be willing to risk the negative effect on their career due to this?

  • W. Spears

    “No; it is time to straighten your gig-line, lean forward, walk with purpose to get your next cup of coffee, put a smile on your face, and get to work.”

    This is precisely the mentality we need more of around here.

  • Maritime Security Training

    Yes I am agree with the contest but it needs a lot of practice done in this way.

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