Sunday, February 14, 2016

Navy Again Trying To Retire Aegis Cruisers

ComNavOps is highly critical of Navy leadership but one thing I have to give them credit for is their sheer refusal to accept legislative direction.  Now, when I say that I give them credit, it’s akin to giving a bank robber credit for pulling off a successful robbery – it’s against the law but they showed determination in flouting the law.  Similarly, the Navy doesn’t even blink at Congressional mandates and things as silly as actual laws.

You’ll recall that the Navy previously tried to early retire several Ticonderoga class Aegis cruisers and Congress slapped them down.  Undeterred, the Navy then opted for the completely transparent ploy of “idling” the cruisers for “upgrades”.  Eleven cruisers were to be “modernized” for several years and then would re-enter the fleet.  No one, Congress included, bought that fairy tale.  Instead, Congress imposed a 2/4/6 rule whereby the Navy could only idle 2 cruisers per year, the modernization had to be completed in 4 years, and there could be no more than 6 cruisers undergoing modernization at one time.

Now, the Navy wants to retire modernize 7 additional cruisers for a total of 9.  The cruisers would be idled for an unspecified period of time and be brought back into the fleet only on a one for one basis to replace retiring cruisers (1). 

Aside from ignoring Congress’ legislative directive, that would have the effect of early retiring 9 cruisers since they would only return to the fleet as replacements for future cruiser retirements.  Of course, that assumes you believe the Navy would actually bring them back.  Can you seriously see the Navy bringing back ships that, at that future point, would be ten or fifteen years older?  Of course not!  The Navy will argue that the ships are outdated and should just be left idled.  This is nothing but another transparent early retirement ploy designed to bypass Congress’ law and intent.


It doesn’t matter whether you believe early retirements for the cruisers is a good idea or bad.  The point is that the military is run by the civilian government.  That’s what makes our country unique.  The Navy’s willful disregard for civilian authority is breathtaking.  This is just one more reason Navy leadership needs a wholesale housecleaning.  Fire them all.



17 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. The civilian leadership is not those in Congress, its the executive branch.
      Congress is often ignored when it comes to its wishes for the money it appropriates.
      Famously the F-18 was built after ignoring the requirement for the USAF and USN to have same plane that won the YF-16 and YF-17 flyoff.

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  2. CNO Im surprised you dont recall Article two of the US Constitution , 2.1 which makes the President the sole Commander in Chief. Declaration of War and approval of officers commissions is the only constitutional duty of Congress regarding military oversight.
    Anyway , if they get upset no one is taking any notice of them in the military, what are they going to do ? Cut off funding is their only option.
    The concern should be will these meddling fools ever learn.

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    1. What are you talking about? Article 1 section 8 specifically empowers Congress to "provide and maintain a Navy," not to mention "provide for the common defense," the general budget power, and the necessary and proper clause. Congress has a very significant role in deciding what ships the Navy should and should not have.

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    2. Ztev, in addition to Anon's comment, Congress also operates various oversight committees dealing with the military in great detail (House and Senate Armed Services Committee, for example). Congress very much has both the authority and responsibility to direct the military. They have failed in that responsibility for the last several decades but the responsibility is most certainly theirs. The Military has NO constitutional authority to set strategy, declare war, set force levels, mandate procurement, set budgets, or anything else. They may be invited to offer advice but they have no actual authority.

      More broadly, Congress has the power to make law. That law could take the form of setting force levels (as in the number of carriers), establishing cost caps (which the Navy has been working around), directing the purchase or retirement of specific units (A-10 and Aegis cruisers, for example), setting pay and benefits, or any other specific aspect of the military they care to address.

      You need to brush up on your governmental operations!

      Far from meddling, Congress needs to get more involved and re-establish their oversight and control over the military.

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    3. 'provide and maintain a navy' , is just a over arching purpose for which funds may be spent.
      It certainly wouldnt include setting out the upgrade schedule of Tico class cruisers.
      Since the President is both executive powers in the civilian Department of Navy and CinC of all the armed forces, his say overrides any wish of Senators and Congressmen regarding a particular ship gets an overhaul or not.
      The idea that there is some sort 'civilian leadership' of the armed forces in the committees of Congress is preposterous

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    4. Ztev, you really don't understand US government. Congress controls funding and legislation and can, therefore, put anything they want into law. Congress certainly can decide which aircraft and ships get built or upgraded and on what schedule, if they wish.

      You'll recall that the AF tried to retire the A-10 and Congress told them no. You'll recall that the Navy tried to retire Aegis cruisers and Congress told them no. You'll recall that the Navy tried to put Aegis cruisers into long term idle status and Congress told them exactly how many they could upgrade and how long they had to do it.

      Congress voluntarily defers most of the day to day running of the military (probably too much) but it retains the ability and authority to impose its will down to the last rivet if they so choose.

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  3. Diversity is the loss of focus on real issues affecting the service. Like the lack of weapons on the lcs and the lack of range on the f35

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  4. Getting down to brass tacks....

    Why does the Navy want to retire the Ticos? What's it going to do with the money?

    The President has said he wants to 'pivot to the pacific'. That's fine. But the Navy's response: short range LCS odd class, F-35 without enough range (though better than the SH), retiring the Tico's with their range and larger VLS capacity.... doesn't seem to make line up with what the President desires.

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    1. If you've been following this blog (and I know you have) you know the answer. The Navy's complete and total focus is new hulls. It doesn't matter whether they're useful. This is a budget issue. The Navy is all about securing ongoing budget. You don't do that by maintaining older ships with far cheaper, occasional upgrades. You ensure the flow of budget by building new ships. Their functionality or suitability doesn't matter. The Navy is happy to trade non-budget generating Ticos for budget generating LCSs.

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    2. which gets me back to an earlier point.

      We should cut their funding. If their idea of doing their job is to keep their budget, and not build a fighting fleet, then we are wasting the money on them.

      Not sure where I'd put it, to be honest. The Army has train wrecked like 3 new equipment upgrades and the Air Force thinks the F-35 is the bee's knees. But the Navy shouldn't get it.

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  5. Question. If the deactivate the cruisers do they buy more Zumwalts then?.

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    1. I'm guessing LCS's and/or F-35's.

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    2. See my response to Jim, above. The Navy will buy whatever generates budget - SSBN, CVN, LX(R), LCS, whatever. The Navy only cares about new hulls. It doesn't matter what kind or whether they're useful.

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    3. No. The Zumwalts are a dead end and if the could they probably would cancel it after the 2nd ship. A lot of the tech in regards to the engines, power system, etc are things that should be on a new hull.

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  6. Hardly the first law we've ignored. We ignored the promotion requirements of the pesky Goldwater-Nichols Act for over 15 years until the Chairman threatened to return all future selection lists for do overs if they didn't meet the joint selection requirements!

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