SNA: The Navy’s happy warrior

SNA: The Navy’s happy warrior

Navy Undersecretary Robert Work mocked skeptics of the future fleet on Thursday and expounded boisterously on his belief that, far from a diminution in American seapower, the 21st century will deliver it to new heights.

Work told the Surface Navy Association that all the hand-wringing on Capitol Hill and among think tanks about the number of ships the Navy will wind up with misses the point. The ships will be much more capable than they’ve ever been and the Navy will have new systems and sensors, such as its Broad-Area Maritime Surveillance aircraft.

“People say, ‘Is it going to be 313 ships or 310?’” Work said in an anxious voice. Then he declared: “I don’t care! We’ve got BAMS!” He showed a chart with overlapping circles where ships, BAMS, and the Navy’s new P-8 Poseidon aircraft will be able to cover more area when they come online.


“How many ships would you need to maintain this kind of domain awareness? It’s a lot bigger than a 600-ship navy, I can guarantee you that,” Work said. “We span the globe!”

Work sounded like someone who has spent months absorbing and processing critics’ attacks on the Navy, and was eager to present an alternative storyline that everyone was missing the point.

“This is not something where we need to say, ‘Oh my goodness, we don’t have 600 ships!’ We don’t need them. This is a better fleet. I would take that fleet over that third-generation fleet of 600 ships” – though he admitted he’d prefer 100 attack submarines.

Work brushed off criticisms of the littoral combat ship: “Yeah, it burns a lot of fuel. We have refuelers,” he said. So the Navy might struggle with the ships’ crewing – he pointed out that critics also worried about sending the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates to sea with 185 sailors.

“We didn’t get that exactly right,” he said. “Why cry about it?”

LCS, new destroyers, amphibious ships and other systems, including the Navy’s planned integrated fire-control system, its SM-6 missile, and the new reach of the P-8, BAMS and E-2D Hawkeye means the future of the U.S. Navy is so bright that Work said he was “psyched.”

“This is a good time to be a [surface warfare officer] – and if you aren’t excited, you don’t have a pulse.”

Naval expert Norman Polmar stood up and asked Work whether they would see a new, next-generation replacement for the Tomahawk cruise missile in their lifetimes. Absolutely, Work said – not only that, the Navy also is moving along in its bid to develop a next-generation anti-ship missile to replace the Harpoon.

Navy officials are at the point in their analysis of alternatives where they’re deciding between one of two ways to go, Work said: “Slow and stealthy or high and fast. We’re just about ready to complete the AoA – in your in my lifetime we’ll see follow-on to Harpoon and be very effective, and out-stick everybody out there.”

Work admitted that he might be accused of “talking nirvana,” and he acknowledged to reporters afterward that part of Washington’s emphasis on Navy fleet numbers was because of the Navy itself. Two consecutive chiefs of naval operations spent years selling 313 as at least the minimum number of warships the Navy must have, but as we saw Wednesday from Senator Susan Collins, even the Navy’s own projections aren’t very optimistic about that.

Work said he thought the Navy should begin trying to tell Congress a broader story about the Navy as “a total integrated battle force,” as opposed to just a simple number of ships, but he and other top Navy leaders this week did not concede the service should change its official requirements.

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Interesting that Dr. Work specifically mentions the contributions of various aviation programs like P-8A, BAMS and E-2D, but omits (glaringly?) the F-35 and its purported ability to cue/designate/guide the AEGIS / SM-3/6 system to targets 800 miles away using its EO-DAS.

Glad to hear ArcLight and LRASM are apparently on track.

At least he’s admitting to the “talking nirvana” bit, because he sounds delusional. Even 5 years ago when the DoD was swimming in funds the Navy couldn’t figure out how they were going to get 313 ships even though they kept hammering that they and the Marines needed every last one of them. That “313” includes the Corps’ amphibs which it doesn’t think it’ll ever see in the numbers they desire. We’ve spent the last 4 articles on this site discussing how his “better ships” don’t even have the weapons and mission packages they’re supposed to sail with. Blowing off the argument of the LCS sucking fuel with “we have fuelers” smacks of arrogance and waste everyone is bending over backwards to be more efficient with resources. I’m sure we’re missing some context in his speech, but not caring that the Navy can’t meet any of its own goals makes this guy sound nuts.

I agree most of the Doom talk is from Republicans which want to give the DoD a blank check and will bankrupt the nation. They don’t get there way so they cry foul. However the P-8 may be cut when new cuts come next year. Same for the LCS. the main problem is the Navy is retire more ships quicker than it can replace. While Russia is rebuilding its navy modernizing Soviet ships and subs and making new Russian ships. The Navy needs for now to NOT retire the USS Enterprise and USS Gorge Washington keeping current ships available till new ones replace them. Also to retire the crappy Super Hornets from its wings and either return the Tomcat or make a new Fleet Defender fighter.

I’m optimistic about the F-35’s capabilities, but I don’t think it can do that. Maybe the F-35C could link into and expand AEGIS network coverage via the E-2D, but I think the AN/APG-81 as opposed to EODAS will be the workhorse there.

“Work brushed off criticisms of the littoral combat ship: “Yeah, it burns a lot of fuel. We have refuelers,” he said.” — Well sort of~ We have old Kaiser class T-AOs which can barely keep up with the current tempo of ops. We are looking at more ops in more places needing CLF support.
AND the LCS are difficult to refuel from current tankers and as Work says will need refueling more often.
I would even get into the LCS abilities to be picket ships ala Perrys

Got that right. And reading carefully about the LCS I’ve found they’re an incredible waste of money. They’re ships — if you can call them that — without a mission. None of the current missions can be supported in any effective manner by these vessels. So, what appears to be going on is the navy “leadership”, and I use that term loosely, is developing ideas for how to utilize the vessels. In other words, they’ve accepted these things as the only thing they can afford, and now they’re trying to fit them into some made up mission. They’re fast, but incredibly weak.

The one I saw was touted as amphib capable. But it could only carry a single platoon of troops. THAT’S IT! About 40 men and a half dozen HUMVEEs. What is THAT going to do for anyone? Moreover, it couldn’t even deliver them to a remote location. The only way to drop them off was through roll-on, roll-off capability, requiring a port. HUH? And you call that an “amphib?” They’re all show, no blow. In a war they’d be toast in half a heartbeat. Welcome to the new navy. This is what you get when the overwhelming priorities are “diversity” and GLBT “coming out day.”

Clue: We’re experiencing the same thing we did under Carter, and later, Clinton. It’s a repeat every time we get a liberal Democrat. GUTTING. This includes spare parts. Clinton tripled the operational tempo while cutting the fleet in half. That’s why Spruance Class destroyers, which were built in the early 1980s, were already being decommissioned by the late 90s. Less then 20 years service and they were being trashed. Why? They were so badly beaten up through overuse and under maintenance, it was prohibitively expensive to overhaul. Rather than undergoing proper overhauls, they were given minimum maintenance and sent back out to see.

I and other officers who saw this in the 90s predicted the situation we’re in, because we saw it coming. It was obvious. It’s not a matter of giving DoD a blank check. Certainly we have to cut spending in DoD as well as elsewhere, but that’s not happening. Obama is doing what Democrats and their RINO allies always do. Take it out of hide of the military and USCG. Nearly 90 percent of the Clinton/Gore directed budget cuts were against the miilitary. And Obama is doing the same. What kills me is how Obama just said recently that we’re building our intelligence capabilities. HUH? NO we’re not! My agency alone was hit with massive cuts of planned programs that were supposed to improve our capabilities. And now we’re taking even more across the board cuts. Smoke and mirrors is what we’re being fed.

Yeah, and most of those refuelers are sitting in mothballs in places like Philly ship yard. Back in summer 2000 I was part of the crew on the Kalmar Nyckel — Delaware’s tall ship — which was hired to deliver the Delaware Republican Party’s delegates to the Republican National Convention in Philly. As we sailed into Philly, I noticed rows and rows of ships, many of them recent designs, laid up in mothballs. Among them were a number of the new Cimmarons, which were less than 10 years old. There they were, lined up, laid out of service. When I got home I looked it up and found the decommissionings had included many new ships. Why? Clinton’s budget hatchet job, which reduced the navy by 46 percent in just a few years.

A couple months later, when the USS COLE was bombed, I initially wondered what the hell we were doing in an unstable known terrorist nest like Yemen. It was because our underway replenishment fleet was mainly sitting in mothballs. The downsizing we’d undergone, combined with a tripling of the operating tempo, meant we were in too many places with too few assets. So, it was decided to refuel at shore areas wherever we could. That and Clinton wanted to funnel money to the Yemenis to try buying their friendship. The NCIS did a threat study and predicted exactly what wound up happening. They said there was no way we should send ships there, and if we did, we needed to surround them with security boats. Naturally the ambassador phew phewed that and the Pentagon agreed. When the attack on the COLE happened, naturally it was the captain who’s career was brought to an abrupt end, not the political hacks who caused it.

Lcs difficult to refuel from current tankers?? What fuel you been sniffing?? I been onaboard lcs1 for deployment and its quite easy to the crew and been done many times to the point of ease … The fuel consumption is due to it being a littoral ship… Not supposed to be a blue water ship…

Wow! I’m impressed. Where did you guys come from? All of you can express yourselves in full sentences and spell. Am I still in Military​.com? What have you done with the people who usually comment in this site? Thanks for the knowledgeable opinions.

hi ileve in iran iwant go to military and navy man can help me

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