‘Incompetent’ Navy Wastes Money

‘Incompetent’ Navy Wastes Money

Former Navy Secretary John Lehman stepped forward today and laid out the Navy’s shipbuilding problems in stark terms. The service looks “incompetent in the manner of managing its resources,” he said Friday at a Hudson Institute seminar on the Navy.

“Clearly, we have a problem, a deep endemic problem,” said Lehman, who led the Navy during the Reagan administration. “Acquisition problems are the most important issue facing the Navy,” he added. But these problems can be fixed by vigorous leadership and Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ choice of Ray Mabus to be Navy Secretary may be just the fix needed: “I genuinely believe we have a real opportunity today with the appointment of Ray Mabus. Every indication is that he gets it. He gets it.”

And vigorous leadership from the service secretary is exactly what the Navy needs, Lehman said: “With that kind of leadership it should all fall into place.”

But until Mabus settles in and clear and defensible national and naval strategies have been stated, Lehman said he would not dare go before Congress to ask for more money to build a larger and more vigorous navy, as he believes must happen. “I would never go before Congress in present circumstances and ask for more money. It’s just pissing down a rat hole. Until the Navy looks competent and has its acquisition programs for ship and aircraft and weapons under control, you are not going to see increases. You are going to continue to see cuts,” he said.

Lehman said the “first thing” the acquisition community needs to do “is stop the change orders and freeze the design.” Also, the service must stop rotating acquisition personnel every 18 months and keep them in place for at least four years and ensure they have the authority they require to take decisions and make them stick.

But even if vigorous leadership begins to turn the enterprise around, the current shipbuilding program is not sustainable, the Congressional Budget Office’s lead naval analyst, Eric Labs, told the Hudson conference. The service’s 30-year shipbuilding program needs up to an additional $12 billion a year over its current funding levels of roughly $14 billion to build the 313-ship service. To put that in perspective, a straight line projection shows that the service needs up to $800 billion to build that fleet and is likely to get about $450 billion over the 30 years, based on current funding levels.

While platforms are an indicator of power, a sharp focus on ships and just how many to build may not be the most effective analysis of US strength, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Penn.) told the Hudson audience. Instead, Sestak offered what several experienced observers said was a new analysis of the Navy’s best size. He took into account improved knowledge of the enemy gained through cyber capabilities. The country, Sestak said, could live with a fleet of 240 ships, including nine aircraft carriers and 40 submarines. For example, instead of using “a billion dollar sub” to track North Korean ships, the US could use “sensors and satellites.”

Sestak, a former senior Navy officer, said “it’s not the numbers. It’s the capabilities we have at sea.” Right now, the US Navy does not have the “right mix” of forces to do jobs such as tracking and killing terrorists. He gave the example of a “billion dollar” ship which stayed on station for four months to try and kill a single terrorist. Finally, the ship left the area. Later, the US deployed a UAV to spot the terrorist and killed him.

Most importantly, he said, the US must have capabilities to ensure dominance in the western Pacific Ocean.

One way to bolster US capabilities in the Pacific would be sea basing, the use of large mobile platforms to provide bases for ground troops and air assets, Sestak said.

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For my money, John Lehman was the best SECNAV in recent memory and I think he’s spot on here. The USN is in for a tough time in the next few years. How long can they sustain the current levels of personnel in the face of staggering over runs in the ship building account is anyone’s guess.

Recall that John Lehman was the father of the A-12 procurement strategy.


“One way to bolster US capabilities in the Pacific would be sea basing, the use of large mobile platforms to provide bases for ground troops and air assets, Sestak said.”

Now this is interesting, I only heard of this in sci-fi, but everyone knows what was once sci-fi 10 years ago, is now common technology.

The entire military procurement system needs to be revamped, top to bottom. How long was the F-22 in development? The V-22? The Army’s FCS? It simply cannot be allowed to take 15–20 years and tens of billions of dollars to develop new weapons systems.

And just because we’re fighting just insurgents and terrorists right now doesn’t mean we always will. True, we’re fighting (or at least started off fighting) insurgents and terrorist with weapons that were initially designed to fight the Soviets. But that’s an indication of how long these weapons systems are in service and how broadly the world has changed over the past 20 years. Your thin-skinned, highly deployable but lightly armored ground vehicles may have to slug it out with North Korean tanks toe-to-toe someday, and a lot of American soldiers and Marines are going to die. In that particular type of theater, unless we want a repeat of the Pusan Perimeter, we need to have a balanced mix of forces, both light and heavy, capable of successfully defeating all manner of threats to American interests around the world. If we are unwilling to do so, or are unable to come up with the funding necessary to do so, we need to concentrate on building walls along our land borders, make sure the Navy has plenty of submarines to keep adversaries away from our coasts, the Air Force enough fighters to keep away air threats, and abandon America’s place on the world stage.

I’d also like to point out that the Pusan Perimeter was only relieved by MacArthur’s Inchon landing–something we are completely incapable of doing today–specifically, a multi-divisional amphibious landing of 40k+ troops. Given the current force structure we have, it is already insufficient to counter all the threats that are out there–at least not without having to resort to nuclear weapons.
P.S. — Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

Is the NAVY wasting money? Is that even a question? Is Military Sealift Command also wasting money? Oh, yes. Keeping a ship around way past it’s time and causing entire crews to unfit themselves under Masters (MSC Civilian Captains) with no management ability. Sure, all in a days work for the Navy and MSC. Spending $200K in travel expensise every four months instead of keeping a decent crew onboard? Retarded and MSC never admits it’s continued mistakes.

“Sestak, a former senior Navy officer”.…LOL
yeah, Vice Admiral fired by CNO forced to retire as a Rear Admiral..Look up “assclown” in dictionary, and Sestak’s picture will be there.

Only problem with Sea Basing, which isn’t SciFi as the Navy has always done some of this and the startegy was articulated under CNO Verne Clark, is that it requires more major seagoing platforms, not less. And, given the success in recent years and months of the Virginia-class fast-attack sub program to reduce costs down to CNO Mullen’s targets and also come in ahead of schedule, there seems hope yet for broader USN shipbuilding efforts.

a modern, nuclear navy has been patrolling the oceans for 60+ years and for 60+ years there hasn’t been a world war (long peaceful stretch for Europe in history). sound incompetent to you?

the Navy’s plan is symptomatic of a planning process “so out of control that they’re not focusing on the areas that can truly help the country, like rebuilding the fleet and putting aircraft out there into the squadrons.” but simply wasting money.

Having worked on the repair side, in a Naval Shipyard for many years, I see the waste on a daily basis. The Navy insists on using equipment that is “tried and true”, and the OEM’s are hell bent on jacking up the prices for the repair parts! The problems the Navy is facing is not entirely of its own making. Venders and OEM’s keep stalling on the delivery of repair material, (how’s 78 weeks sound?), and in the process, they are holding the Navy, and the taxpayers hostage in the process. Contractors, vendors, and OEM’s need to have their feet held to the fire, and held accountable for the contracts they have signed. Cost over-runs are not acceptable. The leadership (or lack of) of the Navy should also be held accountable for letting all of this get so far out of control.

sounds so good on “paper”„once again has anyone given thought to “morale”..you can keep sailors on islation duty for only so long till “problems” arise…talk about retention problems„hummmmm

A base in the W. Pacific..? Used to be called Subic Bay, until the Pinoys kicked us out.

All these years it hasn’t been directly the size of the US military or the R&D that made the US a world power. It was the economy that paid for those things.

For years we’ve been reading that during the Reagan years the US spent the old USSR to death. The US had a more comprehensive economy, a better credit rating, and a bigger chunk of world GDP than it does now so such a plan seems credible. In the recent Bush II years we have seen a US government that turned that attack upon its own country. The US is broke and undeveloping. A young American Permanent Resident or citizen is nuts to become most types of engineer or programmer — if they get a job they won’t get a career out of it. Science will follow engineering as US companies continue buy subsidies in Washington to bail.

Just a couple of years ago the US was sustaining a trade balance of minus $2 billion per DAY and we can no longer afford to spend as much as the rest of the world combined on the military. Indeed, our economy and therefore our national independence itself recently had a near death experience. Already US creditors, China especially, have a lot of influence in Washington and have for some time. The last US government rolled over and played dead in China’s trade wars and there is a price to be paid.

I don’t want to be a Cassandra, but only to add this to the SS poster’s remarks.

Thanks, and in remembrance

At leats John Lehman had teh common sense to kill the A-12 when the program was apparently unsustainable. That’s more than we can say about the disatrous acquisition programs in the sister service (USAF). The problem is there was no follow on program to replace the F-14/A-6 airframes in the fleet. The F-18 has proven reliable and capable of dropping bombs, but is not air superiority asset. Now the F-35 is the only game in town and there still is a huge question mark about it’s air to air capabilities in a real world scenario. Maybe teh technologies will mature soon enough for the US Navy to build the UCAV’s they so desperately want to put to sea.

The first thing that needs to go is the ill conceived ship that is pictured at the head of the article. The navy also has a habit of scrapping ships that still have a long life. Such as the nuke cruiser they got rid of and the premature retirement of the Spruance’s Yes they had a better design in the Burke’s, but no one else had one as good as the Spruance’s

“One way to bolster US capabilities in the Pacific would be sea basing, the use of large mobile platforms to provide bases for ground troops and air assets, Sestak said.”

Isn’t that the defininition of an aircraft carrier…large mobile platforms that provide basing for ground troops and air assets? Why can’t we use an outdated aircraft carrier as a sea base instead of cutting it up for scrap iron?

The Navy has started and stopped programs for ship building and aircraft too many times. A few billion here, a few more there, and it gets them nothing. The A-12, the navalized F-22, new destroyers and cruisers in stealth mode spent so much money and nothing further came from them. Who is in charge in the Navy? By the time the CNO and his staff find their way around the Pentagon, they either retire, leave for a consulting gig, enter one of the commercial, big time suppliers ; or get fired. All in 2 years or less. If they are lucky, there might be 3 or 4 years on station, but that doesn’t compare with the +20 years of experience that the contractors have who sell them the military hardware. The A-12 might have worked had McD and GD listened to Lockheed who was contracted to make the stealth features function. They didn’t and they left the fighter business. Remember that the F-18 is really a Northrup design that lost to the F-16 in the USAF competition. Sea Basing? Large, mobile platforms really means islands that can support the jets, ships, and Marines which are forwarded based. If you don’t want an island, how about an old carrier, a new carrier, and big amphib? What, too small? I guess that is why the concept keeps revolving around large, mobile platforms. But this also makes them large and slow targets! Depending on presidents and Congress — and yearly budgets, we get a Navy that goes up to 330 ships or down to 240 ships — that includes tugs! If a carrier costs $ 5 billion and is too small for a large, forward platform, how much does this new idea cost? Oh, how much would $ 5 Billion do towards upgrading an island instead? What about $ 15 Billion?
Remember that the Navy is about people. The rest of the stuff is the tools they use to protect us.

I think the Shipyard should be held more accountable for their wasteful practice and over spending.


I think you should do some research as to who is actually to blaim before you go dissing the shipyard…

Has anyone heard of DCMA, they are supposed to be the watchdog of these type problems. What have they been doing?

we need to bring back one or two battleships.conventional warfare,no the marines will need ground cover no matter where they are.this a time when we need them..

The Navy is incompetent way beyond the scope of this article. They dump perfectly useful (sometimes never used) tools and supplies overboard because its ‘time’ to order more! They take the ships out to do circles at a cost of millions of dollars a day, for no reason beyond the captain wanting to log sea hours for retirement! They make the lowest man in rank throw chemicals and oils overboard at sea that are leaving massive dead zones. What the general population would be shocked to know is that many sailors have to endure food (they pay about $300 a month for whether they eat it or not) that comes from a galley crawling with roaches. Our Navy not only wastes tax payer money in a multitude of ways, it treats our waters, and our sailors (who often sacrifice 6 months out of the year away from their families) in a way that our country would be ashamed of.

I read a couple of comments about shipyard waisting money got to keep in mind if you were in bussiness building these ships for the navy. What would you do if every week if your coustomer kept changing there mind? Would you not charge them? Who’s really wasting time and money here?Navy needs a completed set of spec’s, firm fixed price before a new build program starts with proven tech that works. Would you build an LCS fixes price five years ago? Does anyone still know what one cost today

Quote “USA May 27th, 2009 at 11:36 am

The Navy is incompetent way beyond the scope of this article. They dump perfectly useful (sometimes never used) tools and supplies overboard because its ‘time’ to order more! They take the ships out to do circles at a cost of millions of dollars a day, for no reason beyond the captain wanting to log sea hours for retirement! They make the lowest man in rank throw chemicals and oils overboard at sea that are leaving massive dead zones. What the general population would be shocked to know is that many sailors have to endure food (they pay about $300 a month for whether they eat it or not) that comes from a galley crawling with roaches. Our Navy not only wastes tax payer money in a multitude of ways, it treats our waters, and our sailors (who often sacrifice 6 months out of the year away from their families) in a way that our country would be ashamed of.”

It is clear you dont know what you are talking about. Have you ever served on a sea going warship? The captain doesn’t have the option to say “Im taking my boat to sea” like it’s his personal pleasure craft. I never tossed parts or supplies overboard because it was time to order more and I have never heard of anybody else doing this. That’s ridiculous! Where are these dead zones that you speak of? I just heard about a carrier accidently dumping jet fuel off the coast of San Clemente Island, yet I was just fishing in that area and caught some beautiful fish. You don’t pay for your meals unless you are getting extra pay while living off base. As far as treating sailors like shit, hello, it’s the military, If you want to be cuddled and nurtured, stay at home with your mamma! Get your facts straight before you make these kinds of remarks!

Lehman as Secretary of the Navy was a disaster.And as setting an example even worst. The man at the very least should be drawn and quartered. Good ridance!!! and may he never serve as a political appointee anywhere…

Leonard Horcajo

Id this the same Lehman who cannot land an A3 and listen at the same time as a Lcdr reservist and secnav at the same time. I just can’t respect a man that while he was suppose to be for the sailors, all I saw or heard was him badmouthing us.

When in the last 40 years has the Navy not been considering “large mobile platforms”? This idea has been studied to death.

The stark truth is that most of the government people who knew how to manage a ship construction project are gone. “Let the prime contractor do design and integration” was the mantra. “It’ll be cheaper” was the promise. All it did was destroy the ability of the Navy to manage it’s own future. Now we are reaping the benefit of that plan.

First thing to do is close the doors on NAVSEA. They have been totally worthless for 30 yrs or so. Write the contract and get out of the way. My beloved Navy spends more money on contractors having to waste time on stale powerpoint presentations than any other branch of the service. Forget cutting cost as a means of pumping your fitrep, nobody will remember your breakthrough cost savings in 48 hrs much less your long and mediocre 20 yr career.… The first priority is getting the ship delivered and making it to buoy one without breaking down. GOYA

Talking about wasting money. I had a lot of friends that were station onboard aircraft carriers. Out at sea, they received all their
repair parts, general stores on the flight deck.
hundreds of pallets, tri-wall boxes, etc. For whatever reason, the air boss wanted to clear up the flight deck asap, because of that order, instead of taking the stores inside asap, it gets thrown overboard instead, which is the quikest way to clear the flight deck. Crews overwork, they don’t care.

Isn’t the real problem with executing funds a result of all the stupid rules congress places on us? Let’s face it, if we “save” money by being thrifty and efficient we are rewarded by having the funds taken back and next year our budget gets slashed. How fast you spend the money is what gets a good grade. yet, the funds often arrive 5,6 even 10 months late and then we get into having the “color” of the money change. Really, our congress is so bad at making so many impossible rules that we are doomed to failure.

“few rules strictly applied will always win out over too many rules to even know when you are breaking them”

Could the above comments be further apart on Lehman and every other subject? Imagine this group of “experts” deciding what the Navy should do for the next ten years. Would they come to blows or simply reinvent the camel? If this advice mirrors the competence of those charged with actually doing something, God help us.

This is all very interesting. The idea for floating bases is nothing new. It has been around since it was used in W.W.II! Not done with the knowledge and equipment that are avalible now, though. Last year, ” Popular Mechinics,” had a great story on this.
Only ONE PROBLEM with this, “OB AMA, Peliose, Boxer, Finestien, etc, and don’t let me forget, “WHITE HOUSE GANG!” This gang is made up of the most radical nutheads the world has ever heard of. That is not a joke, either. They are the ones who meet everyday and talk with OB AMA about their next move to CHANGE the security of the free world, so the terrorists can attack the United States!
Then look at the person OB AMA has put up for the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice. She will LIE when she takes the oath of office. Just read all the publications she has stated over her political career. She has the same stupid ideas as the, “WHITE HOUSE GANG!“
By the time these brainless humans get done with the United States of America, YOU won’t know it. I, will be dead in a few years and won’t have to deal with this mess, but my children and grandchildren will! “GOD WILL NOT BE ABLE TO HELP THEM!”

Started my career as a white hat and 45 years later consult on program/project management. Performed as an individual contributor and/or consultant on LPD-17; DD-21; and CVN(x) plus other programs such as FCS; Missile Defense; and commercial nuclear power. Two tactical issues need addressed before the strategic: 1) the total lack of project management knowledge, skills, and abilities evident on the government side and the contractor side; 2) the sloppy way contracts are developed and managed that encourage change as a way of life. This is a recipe for built-in cost over-run from the beginning.

tincan says
” For whatever reason, the air boss wanted to clear up the flight deck asap, because of that order, instead of taking the stores inside asap, it gets thrown overboard instead, which is the quikest way to clear the flight deck”


It’s highly likely that the deck was needed to land a multi million dollar aircraft with who knows how many souls on board.

So, if you have $20 million in stock or a $40 million a/c in jeopardy, what are you going to save?

I’ll guarantee that the deck wasn’t cleared just to see how fast it could be done.

Having said that, it sucks having to throw good stuff away. Look up Kitty Hawk skipper sacked for tossing overstocked equipment overboard.

John Lehman is correct, the Navy’s procurement system is broken, badly. Secretary Winter wanted an omnibus Lean Six Sigma support contract awarded, potentialy valued at over $700 Million over five years. Teams of contractors spent in excess of $2 Million each to prepare and submit proposals. Within two weeks of Sect’y Winter’s departure the then two year old solicitation was cancelled. It was ill conceived from the start, as are many acquisition actions, including the LCS and DDX/DDG1000/CGX. Too much emphasis is placed on revolutionary rather than evolutionary changes in platform and weapons systems. Industry sincerely believes shipbuilding programs are entitlement programs with a socio-economic purpose first and foremost, and Congress with its ear marks support this notion. The entire acquisition system needs overhaul. It can begin with two decisive actions: 1) freeze designs and end change orders, by which contractors get very rich even on firm fixed price contracts, and 2) pass legislation prohibiting any civilian or military procurement process official from ever (no, not just two years, or even less) taking a job with a company they had any contactual interaction with. There are plenty of other jobs to be had, including staring your own company and competing in full and open competition, creating new jobs along the way. Ray Mabus is a good man, but he will have the same impact as Secretary Winter unless the rotating door between industry and government is stopped for good. There have been many good ideas, including implementation of Lean Six Sigma prnciples and methodologies, but they must result in a genuine culture change, and that can’t happen when they are treated as just another program, which comes and goes with 18-month leaders. Passive resistance is a cultural trait of the Navy.

It’s about time someone challanged the “old boy” network of shipbuilders.

I worked for BIW and despite management they build the finest ships the Navy has. Having said that here are a few observations;





Again BIW build’s the finest ships in the world despite managements best attempt to scuttle the labor’s of the shipbuilders.

Men battled and waiting upon the hope MacArthur would return. Exhausted without adequate ammo and supplies lacking air support.…thousands of American and Philippine forces were ordered to surrender by General Wainwright…who had to take Mac Arthur’s place. The fighting spirit was there but also was the hobbling fix for lack of preparation for war. Grandfathers PBY and his squadron warned of the immanent Japanese invasion of The Philippines getting ready to take place before Pearl Harbor. All the Kings Horses and all the Kings Men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again…We need to keep the professionals on the job and to keep the candy pants political liars cheats and thieves out of blocking the Naval service peace and war mission strategy. Quality can out shoot outmaneuver and produce just in time combat deterrence and effectiveness than all the bells and whistles attitude of a big is better attitude. Cost effective, quality control, high intelligent technology,manpower,maintainability and materials as well as dutiful honorable selfless leadership on all levels make a sharp team effort. John Lehman didn’t sound like a John Wayne to me as i envied his career;but he is right about The Navy does need the right mix to posture and to maintain a Naval dominance. One does not dare say too much in the event it would tip off adversaries;but smart platforms are more important than immobility and winding up as a sitting duck. Wastage of Naval resources is a form of aiding and abetting the enemies of America. Every penny every precious decision saves money and ads up to victory dollars. One U loose your country; U will witness an unfairness as to which you have never known. The only justice will be that of the victor! Give ah damn about your Navy. Fighters never quit. Be prepared for the shock wave of war. Build skills and don’t waste anything. i don’t know which is worse… puppet Master Kim Jong Il’s poker face desperate lake of fire Seoul South Korea threat or my X’s wrath? Carry on shipmates.

Despite all the criticism handed upon the US NAVY.….I am still confident and proud that the NAVY is second to none…

The Navy considers anything under $10,000 disposable. We we were working on a project sent 60lb. samples in by Priority Mail one rate boxes, the next round we received the 200 Lbs of “tokens” from the Navy for processing by Overnight Fed Ex, except when we returned them for testing they had run out of money.

It would be interesting to know how these
so-called stores got onboard. I had unrep
stations years ago on carriers, and we received
all stores in the hangar bay. I personally
doubt this whole story. During a 20
year career I never saw a carrier take stores
on the flight deck.

There are good and bad things to be said about Navy management. Most of the purchasing and contracting is determined by back-room deals in DC and can’t be changed by active duty sailors of any rank. I must say, though, I have seen some questionable things happen, including throwing perfectly good parts overboard because it was cheaper than turning them in to supply when new systems came on board. I once ordered a rotary radio tuner and received a rotary aircraft engine. I gave it to the Aircraft maintenance people because it would have cost more to turn it back in to supply than the cost of another radio tuner. Isolated incident? I don’t think so, but when you talk about the sheer numbers of parts that must be kept on hand to support one aircraft carrier, the mind boggles. Until we get “Star trek” replicators, there will always be waste unless we never upgrade.

Some things we can control? Let’s keep good personnel in by changing some of the advancement requirements. We lose good leaders to the selection process because political correctness is more important than leadership to the admiralty and congress. Want to really level the playing field? remove all references to race and gender from evaluations and fitness reports, and see who really deserves the promotions. It is criminal to see a sailor who has spent 15 of 23 years at sea and can’t make CPO or CDR because of race and gender staffing quotas.


“research” what research, if you worked in the shipyard you’ll know, unless you’re also responsible for it. Just one example TDY between
shipyards, i.e. painters, wrench turners,riggers
why do they need to send those people TDY and pay them about $80/day per diem plus overtime. As it is they don’t have enough ships to work on to keep them busy.

TDY personnel were also provided lodging (hotel,motel, or condo).

Lucky for all I have the answer. Clearly we dont have the sailors cleaning enough. If we could just get some deckplate leadership and attempt to fully utilize the asset of 164 available hours per week per sailor all of these problems would go away. Obviously a cleanliness issue.

The entire time I was in the Navy the supply / acquisition guys were the dumbest group on board. I see it has changed.
The Navy just closed the supply training school in Athens, GA. I guess they figured out they can’t be trained.
Now we have Obama-nomics for the Navy.

I have to add that there is an endemic problem with the US Navy for ship procurement in that the construction of a large ship takes between 5 and 7 years. The naval planners get to go through at least 4 threat analysis exercises in that time and ask the shipyards to update their designs to include the latest electronics, weapons, signature suppression, etc. The costs can be contained on the initial build by eliminating these updates as the ship is under construction. Of course, then the upgrades will have to be budgeted in to future procurements.
The DOD acquisition workforce has been redirected in the past 10 years to babysit the contractors, not develop the overall requirements. The concept as stated in an earlier commentary is to let the contractor tell the DOD what it needs and it will be cheaper? The deletion of military specifications and standards was the beginning of the NEW way of doing business. You reap what you sow and we now have cost containment problems. Perhaps the OLD way of doing business was the correct way.

Why don’t we buy our Navy ships from China?

It would be cheaper, and the Chinese have alredy stolen most of the technological secrets.

More seriously (and yes, Chinese espionnage is serious), the Navy suffers from much the same malady as the rest of Amercian culture… the desire to get something for nothing.

We want a large, first-class Navy with plenty of command-opportunities. We want to form the ships into “squadrons,” so there are even MORE command opportunities. We want mission sustainability and presence. Indeed, we want ships that can perform multi-missions: Track quiet subs, while targeting ballistic missiles, while performing gunfire support, while deploying SPECOPS forces, while doing ELINT, all while un-rep’ping, at night, in rough seas.

Yet we want small crews ‘cuz large crews are too expensive when payday comes around, plus ooooh — those retirement bennies.

And we want it all to come cheap.

Hey, you don’t always get what you pay for in this world. But you NEVER get what you don’t pay for.

I worked in Navy acquisition for over 30 years and I think they are doing quite well. It is hard to find a multi billion enterprise that couldn’t use some improvement. I think the biggest problem with changes, etc. is the system. Navy provides budget inputs, president “adds value”, approves and submits to congress, both houses “add value” and approve the budget and the Navy gets to execute.
For a new ship from “concept to ship launch” takes years…lots of opportunities each year for politics to affect ongoing efforts (e.g. Reagan-positive and Clinton-negative). Somehow we still have the best Navy in the world…Go Navy!

china cant weld… plus they cant even keep their own navy running… why the hell would we buy warships from them… we would spend more money modding a chinese ship to be to our standards and pass sea trials then we would if we built one ourselves.. The navy… like the airforce need to build somehing not too high-tech so we can afford the numbers we want… the f-22 got the AF in trouble.. and the navy is having the same problems w/its cutting edge ships… desisn one that has the technology of the times… but is affordable and does the mission… the navy is going to have to compromise to get what they want…

@sub guy Wow. You’ve really missed the boat on this one.

Sea basing, the large mobile off shore platforms the author talks about, has ben in testing and development for a long time. It’s part of the MPFF program, which is about as expensive a shipbuilding program as you can conceive.

The issues with sea basing are many, not to mention the “interface”. Our current state of technology with regards to that interface isn’t sufficiently developed to do tackle this.

Also, Sestak does a remarkably poor job of comparing the Burke class destroyer, later replaced by a drone in hunting pirates. The issue is numbers of ships, yes. It’s also national security focus and he makes a nonsensical argument from that to arrive at a 240 ship Navy.

Well boys and girls…the DoD’s mantra of “Doing MORE with LESS!” has finally put PAID to our efforts! No acquisition person wants to do the job of two or three people (who have left or bailed out to get away from a bad boss or overworked job situation) AND then get “blamed” for not performing!!

The Navy’s acquisiton people were told for years they would be paid on a “par with our commercial peers” — HA! We were officially dubbed a “Professional Series” and asked to work harder. Forget it — I can make the same pay doing a “lesser” GS job in Civil Service (and I did). I did NOT miss working week-ends and holidays — or even all the time spent helping other (acquisition) people with contract “problems” they could not solve– they were “book” learned with the right college degree and credentials — but had little to no knowledge of Navy ship systems or private contractors methods. Sad but there it is — until they decide to “pay the price” DoD will NEVER get competent acquisition people to stay in Civil Service and put up with the extra workload. The private sector pays far more, assign mentors to guide their new people (thereby insuring quality performance), AND take much better care of their acquisition personnel. Its still called “quality of life”

this isn’t news.… same story for the last 25 years… US Navy ship building is all about politics; we need 40 subs like we need a hole in our head… we need troop ships, carriers and support ships; freeze the specs and build ‘em. Maybe a new sub every 7–10 years.

I spent 20 years in the navy on everything from gunboats to tincans, Salvage ships to oilers, Tin cans too. If we do not stop looking at the past and what used to work then China is going to serve our head to us on a platter. They have a goal, which is the absorption of Taiwan, They are very focused and they are unwavering on that goal. Could we stop them? Today it is doubtful, tomorrow it is certain that we can not.

The navy wants 40 subs? Can someone tell me anything the submarine navy has done for national security in the last 20 years??

Oops, I guess that is classified…

it just tells me that you’ve been away from ships for a long long time. That was before VERTREP.

The aftermath of the IInd WW taught us many lessons. That successful conquest remains depends on access to human minds. Still psychological warfare remains in its infancy. When it comes to armed combat a little more has to be done on the development of submarines, dirigibles and floating docks. The floating monsters that we have churns the ocean waters for a good half hour before it attains speed!

The Navy, or DoD, cannot expect a system of any sort to remain cutting edge. The ability to change should be a contract item. The contracting process MUST allow for future innovations, that might improve the change order problem. Two savings immediately come to mind: 1> Contractors that make or assemble equipment cannot own the intellectual rights to national assets (DoD must be legal to reproduce for its assets, including spares) and 2> Procurement must be small business friendly (Less Defense Contractor Dependent). No hardware store has an inventory of “O” rings for a Fighter Jet. When the services need such a spare, a small company that could mill one out has to buy the rights to reproduce parts from the OEM (that tax dollars paid them to do). One way or the other, a part that could be re-manufactured (and improved in the process) is a political football and in the current way of procurement, delivered at an astronomically inflated price (because a Defense Contractor would have to open the assembly line again or the administrative cost to outsource the job to the same small company is SO VERY EXPENSIVE). Where has DoD, or the Navy been on getting smarter to this issue for all this time. I suspect somewhere between them and our congressional leaders open source to U.S. Small Business can guarantee quality and provide huge savings. That the short story, the long story is having a national strategy that is linked to the Administration’s cabinet and on down the local level in our military industrial complex.

During the upgrade of the Belknap to flagship 6th fleet. I had a divisoin officer (Lt) inform me that the ship had an open checkbook for whatever was desired. And yes the checkbook was used for the conversion to flagship. However, the division officer went out of his way to blow money on things he wanted. Where was the oversight? And for the record, Belknap was too damn small to handle the flag and his people. And all the waste was sent to the bottom by the Navy when the ship was done away with.

This is the same John Lehman who screwed up the Hawaiian Superferry (2 catamaran ferries that the State of Hawaii refused to let operate because of environmental concerns) and now his company is lobbying Congress and the military to lease these ships from them at exorbitant rates so they can pay the builder? This is the type of leadership people listen to?

Getting back to navy procurement, the only good shipbuiilding program that is on track is the one that is being built by NASSCO in San Diego, they are actually deliving ahead of schedule. Big complex ships. Of course, MSC kept changes down to a minimum and really looked at life cycle costs.

The big Navy also does not keep experienced civilians in the building yards to make sure the shipbuilder meets requirements. Having revolving door military involved who have to “make their mark” to get promoted causes massive changes, with the associated cost increases.

Unfortunately, this mismanagement has halted bonuses, prevented good sailors from attending career advancing schools, and PCS moves. I should know. My husband recently attempted to turn in his packet for IDC School and was told to re-submit it in October. He had to re-enlist at our current duty station and we’re not stuck here for another two years.

Maybe it is not the technology that wastes the bucks,it is the quality and caliber of the folks in leadership positions! In my opinion, with very few exceptions, there isn’t a leader amongst them. For years, we have been selecting PC officers who end up selecting other PC officers who couldn’t lead their way out of a corn maze. We have no vision for the future, no mission relation to the “missions” that we are doing now, and no leadership to take us in a new direction. Many of the PM’s are not given the authority to execute nor held accountable when they don’t. There is such a high risk aversion, that new ideas or new apporaches are stamped out, and die onthe vine with the creative force officer that tried to make a change​.It is time for the Old Guard to step aside.

Personally I can agree with this statement in that I also believe that the 600 ship navy that Lehnan and Reagan formulated during this historic turn in the history of the Navy was the American Spirit on its highest carma. If there is to be a rebirth in the American Spirit I believe that someone like him could do the job for generations to come. Reagan always wanted to clarify the definition of Who are “we” during the climax of the Cold War that if this was not an element to resolve the Soviet and American Relations in the 1980’s. It is nice to know that we are finally on communicable terms and our focal point is the reduction of terroristic elements we face in society. jtimwhitley@bellsouth.net

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