Sunday, August 1, 2021

Taiwan and Normandy

In any direct war with China (as opposed to a proxy war in, say, Africa), Taiwan will be the first objective of the Chinese.  They simply cannot allow a Western aligned country to exist that close to them, providing bases for surveillance and attack.  This is elementary war strategy (that the US has ignored multiple times to our detriment!).

 

In addition to the inevitability of a direct war, there is also the quite likely possibility that China may simply launch an assault on Taiwan outside the context of a general war – in other words, a focused campaign to reclaim Taiwan.  This should not be a surprising possibility as China has been saying exactly this for many years.  In their minds, they’re giving Taiwan time to come to their senses but China’s magnanimous patience will end at some point and China will take military action to reclaim their wayward territory.  Even the US military has recognized this likelihood and has set a ballpark time frame of the next several years, according to Adm. Philip Davidson.(1)

 

A Chinese assault on Taiwan will be most comparable to Normandy in WWII.  It will be a massive undertaking.  Taiwan has an active military of 275,000 plus a reserve of 2.8M and a paramilitary (whatever that means) of 1.9M equipped with reasonably modern weapons and systems.  For comparison, Germany had less than 50,000 troops available for the defense of Normandy.

 

Drawing on lessons from the Normandy assault, we can expect to see:

 

Speed – Whether as part of a general war or a narrowly focused Taiwan-only operation, it will be mandatory for China to accomplish its goals in a very short time frame.  In a general war, a short time frame would allow China to move on to its other objectives and free up massive forces for other operations.  Failure to do so would hamstring Chinese operations as the war progressed.  In a Taiwan-only operation, China would have to accomplish its objectives very quickly or risk the US having time to gear up and enter the conflict in support of Taiwan.  Failure to secure its objectives quickly would also open China to criticism from the world community to an even greater extent.  Thus, regardless of the scenario, China would make every effort to see the bulk of immediate objectives completed and ground forces substantially ashore within the first 24-48 hrs.

 

Scope – A Taiwan operation would require a substantial portion of China’s forces with hundreds of thousands of troops poured into the effort.  A staggeringly massive missile barrage would be required to render as many defenses inoperable as possible from the start.  The Chinese amphibious fleet would be hugely supplemented by civilian transport ships.  This would be quite doable and efficient since all Chinese merchant shipping is built with military conversion capabilities included in their design.  The West will be stunned at the amphibious resources China can bring to bear.  Air superiority operations will be truly massive and will be quickly followed by continuous air strikes and close air support.  The Chinese navy will be deployed on the eastern side of Taiwan to prevent US interference.


Normandy and Taiwan - Massive Scope


 Reinforcement  At the invasion site, Germany had a window of only hours or a few days, at most, to make effective use of reinforcements.  As it happened, one of the major goals of the Allies was to cut off the movement of reinforcements to the Normandy area and they succeeded.  Germany was never able to effectively reinforce their defenses.  Longer term, Germany had all of Europe as well as the German homeland to assemble reinforcements and push the Allies back off of Europe but could not do it.  Of course, the Soviet front siphoned off huge numbers of troops and resources that could have otherwise been used against the Allied landing.

 

In the same vein, Taiwan has very limited reinforcements – none, for all practical purposes, since the limited geography assures that every unit will be fully committed right from the start.  Taiwan lacks any strategic depth wherein it can trade land for time to prepare counterattacks.  What they have immediately available is all they’ll ever have.  Conversely, China can draw on immense reserve forces although the aforementioned speed requirement suggests that the need for Chinese reinforcements would indicate a significant strategic, if not operational, failure by the Chinese.

 

Strategic Goals – The Allies goal was to seize ports to provide supplies for the subsequent march across Europe and they succeeded.  China’s strategic goals would be to eliminate Taiwan as a US base of operations and to conduct the assault so quickly that the US would be faced with a fait accompli that would discourage US intervention.  In essence, speed would be China’s method of interdicting US reinforcements. 

 

More broadly, the seizure of Taiwan would allow Chinese mainland based air defenses to be substantially transferred to Taiwan which would significantly expand China’s defensive perimeter and make any counter-actions or counterattacks by the US much more difficult.  Seizure of Taiwan would greatly expand China’s defensive cushion and eliminate a glaring salient that could, otherwise, be used against China.

 

If China conducts just an isolated assault rather than as part of a larger war, China will immediately announce to the world that it is an internal Chinese affair in an attempt to make the US seem like a meddling outsider on the world political stage.  By doing so, China would hope to blunt any attempt by the US to build an opposition coalition.  Quite likely, China would quickly offer to negotiate a final settlement which, of course, would never produce any result and would just serve to further erode any US justification for intervention while ensuring China’s continued occupation of Taiwan.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The key consideration is the size of Taiwan’s defensive force versus the speed with which China could secure the island.  The defensive force is, potentially, much greater than was available to the German’s at Normandy but the question is whether that defensive force could retain its combat effectiveness after the initial deluge of missiles, bombs, and shells.  Without question, the fixed defensive assets such as airfields, missile sites, AAW sites, etc. would be largely destroyed in the initial bombardment.  Armored forces and artillery would also, presumably, suffer significant initial losses.  Whether the remaining troops and mobile or protected assets would retain enough coherent command and control, mobility, and firepower to provide an effective, coordinated defensive force is an open question.  Unfortunately, the result of the initial bombardment will be to reduce Taiwan’s forces toward the light infantry end of the spectrum and they would be left to fight heavily armored forces supported by air power and artillery.  There is no doubt about the final outcome but there is a great deal of doubt about the speed with which China could achieve its goals.  If Taiwan could delay the ultimate outcome long enough, China will have failed, strategically, as noted above which opens the possibility of US intervention.

 

In short, the Allies at Normandy were able to push supplies and troops ashore faster than Germany could reinforce their defenses.  Whether China can push forces ashore faster than Taiwan can relocate and reinforce its defenses is an open question as is whether Taiwan’s forces can muster sufficient firepower to be effective.

 

 

 

 

_____________________________________

 

(1)Washington Examiner website, “Pacific Commander Warns China Could Move To Take Taiwan In The Next Five Years If US Doesn’t Increase Deterrence”, Jamie McIntyre, 5-Mar-2021,

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/pacific-commander-warns-china-could-move-to-take-taiwan-in-the-next-five-years-if-us-doesnt-increase-deterrence


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

SEWIP Update

The first Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 3 production unit was recently delivered so let’s do a quick review of the status of the program.  You can read a previous post on the subject, here.

 

SEWIP, is the Navy’s project to improve the venerable and increasingly obsolete SLQ-32 system.  The project is divided into a sequence of four Blocks, each of which adds additional capabilities to the overall system.  Not all ships will receive all four Blocks.

 

Here are the SEWIP Block descriptions as summarized from the Navy website (4)

 

  • SEWIP Block 1 upgrade addresses obsolescence issues by replacing obsolete parts and installing improved control stations and displays.  It also adds additional threat signal receivers. 
  • SEWIP Block 2 upgrades antennas and receivers and improves the signal processing. 
  • SEWIP Block 3 provides active signal emissions to defeat incoming missiles. 
  • SEWIP Block 4 is a future upgrade that will provide EO and IR capabilities.

 

SEWIP Block 3 Array Undergoing Testing

 

Let’s check a brief history of the program by looking at the timeline.


 

1974 - Northrop Grumman’s (NG) AN/SLQ-32(V)1 (‘Slick 32’) was launched

 

2008 – Lockheed Martin (LM) received contract to develop SEWIP Block 1

 

2009 - LM received contract to develop SEWIP Block 2 (AN/SLQ-32(V)6)

 

2010 – Navy approves LM Block 2 design

 

2011 – General Dynamics (GD) begins full rate production of Block 1

 

2013 - LM began LRIP of Block 2 and delivered the first SEWIP Block 2 system

 

2015 - NG received a $92M contract modification to a previous contract for SEWIP Block 3 engineering, manufacturing, and development intended to produce two prototype units.(2)

 

2015 – DOT&E testing found that Block 2 had severe deficiencies in generating and holding target tracks

 

2016 - LM received full rate production contract for SEWIP Block 2

 

2019 - Dept. of Defense approved the SEWIP Block 3 Milestone C to enable the start of low rate initial production (LRIP)

 

2020 - NG received a $16M contract modification to an existing contract to provide support for two Low Rate Initial Production SEWIP Block 3 systems.(3)

 

2020 - Navy issued a contract to Northrop Grumman for SEWIP Block 3 production systems.

 

The $100.7 million base contract is for the first follow on production lot of AN/SLQ-32(V)7 SEWIP Block 3 systems. The contract has a maximum value of $1.16 billion. (1)

 

 

2021 - NG delivered the first production SEWIP Block 3 to the Navy

 

 

There are a few noteworthy aspects to the SEWIP program:

 

Priorities – For reasons unfathomable, the Navy has never considered electronic warfare to be of much value.  The original SLQ-32 served for 34 years with only minor improvements.  For the last decade or so, the SLQ-32 was so obsolete as to be almost useless.  In contrast, during the same time frame, the Navy poured vast resources and funds into Standard missile development, clearly demonstrating where their priorities lay;  this despite the overwhelming evidence that electronic countermeasures have, historically, proven far more effective than hard kill measures.

 

Even with the commencement of the SEWIP program, it has taken 13 years to get the Block 3 into initial service.

 

The Navy misguidedly and unwisely continues to place little emphasis on electronic warfare.  The time span and leisurely pace of development demonstrates that the Navy is not particularly serious about shipboard electronic warfare.  We’ve discussed how the Navy should be hugely increasing the size, scope, capabilities, and power outputs of ship’s EW systems and should be building dedicated EW ships.  One has only to consider the vast resources and wide variety of equipment and capabilities being put into ground combat EW systems (with Russia leading the way!) to see that the Navy simply does not prioritize EW defenses despite overwhelming evidence of their effectiveness (see, “AAW – Hard Kill or Soft Kill”).

 

Block 3 – This is the development that adds active output transmissions and provides active countermeasures.  This needs to be thoroughly tested under realistic conditions and widely installed across the fleet.  The distribution is a concern because the previous SLQ-32 system was not uniformly distributed.  Ships received different, less capable versions depending on the ship type.  Once upon a time, when some ships were cheaper and therefore more ‘expendable’ this might have made some degree of sense (not really!) but today, with every ship costing $1B+, every ship should have the maximum possible protection.

 

Testing & Reporting - The last report from DOT&E on the SEWIP program was 2016.  In that report, SEWIP Block 2 was reported as operationally effective but not operationally suitable or survivable due to myriad reliability, training, reboot times, and cyber vulnerabilities.  Reports mysteriously stop at that point.  I don’t know if that means that the Navy has stopped conducting tests, which would be foolish in the extreme though not without ample misguided precedent, or if the Navy considers the SEWIP program ‘finished’, which would also be foolish since the system has never been tested in anything approaching an operationally realistic manner.

 


 

______________________________

 

(1)https://seapowermagazine.org/navy-awards-sewip-block-3-contract-to-northrop-grumman/

 

(2)https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contracts/Contract/Article/621915/

 

(3)https://www.afcea.org/content/northrop-gets-contract-mod-continue-naval-sewip-block-3-support

 

(4)https://www.navy.mil/Resources/Fact-Files/Display-FactFiles/Article/2167559/surface-electronic-warfare-improvement-program-sewip/#:~:text=The%20SEWIP%20Block%203%20program%20is%20designated%20as,is%20a%20future%20planned%20upgrade%20that%20will%20provide


Monday, July 26, 2021

Drone Wars

Hey, let’s have a little fun today!

 

The Navy is obsessed with unmanned ships and aircraft, not as a means of achieving greater military effectiveness, but as a means of achieving reduced manning costs so that they can build more ships.  At best, this will produce a very weak navy that has somewhat reduced costs and any savings will be consumed by the hugely increased construction costs of those few manned assets that are left.

 

What if, instead of going down the Navy’s path of small, weak, unmanned ships, we, instead, postulate an unmanned ship that goes the other direction:  a very powerful, combat-dominating, unmanned ship?  What would such a ship look like?  What characteristics would it have?  How would it operate?  Let’s speculate and have some fun with it!

 

Now, what do we do before we begin designing a vessel and loading it up with every weapon system we’ve ever heard of (you know … the Navy way of designing)?  That’s right!  We develop a Concept of Operations (CONOPS). 

 

CONOPS

 

Here’s a few unmanned characteristics that should influence our CONOPS (absent an actual strategy which is what should drive the CONOPS!):

 

  • Unmanned vessels should be cheap since they don’t need berthing, heads, galleys, food and water storage, waste treatment, passageways (beyond a few service passages), showers, gyms, lounges, mail handling, postal services, etc.  That immediately reduces the ship size and, hence, cost by half.
  • Cheap unmanned vessels should be numerous.
  • Unmanned vessels are ideal for high risk missions.

 

What do those simple, general, foundational unmanned characteristics suggest in the way of a CONOPS?  They suggest – actually demand! - that the proper use for an unmanned warship is one that is not only intended to stand in harm’s way but to actively seek it out.  This is the offensive ship that the Navy has been lacking for so long – the ship that will take the fight to the enemy rather than sit back and passively try to defend and survive.  This ship will be used to aggressively seek out and engage (go straight at, not just try to defend against) enemy fleets, advance into the teeth of enemy port defenses and destroy those ports, and engage and destroy coastal bases and fortifications.  The ship will operate in squadrons of half a dozen on up to a couple dozen or more, depending on the mission, and will be supported, as needed, by other vessels and assets that will perform ASW, long range AAW, and long range surveillance.  Thus, this is NOT a do-everything ship – it is an attack ship, pure and simple.

 

It is also not a Terminator-like, artificial intelligence ship that is going to wander around on its own looking for targets among civilian shipping and deciding what is or isn’t a valid target.  That kind of AI doesn’t exist and would cost enormous sums to develop and would never achieve operational status.  Plus, that kind of candy-ass mission doesn’t call for a powerful WARship like this.  Instead, this is an unmanned ship that is simply given a series of waypoints and instructed to attack anything it can, within some generalized target parameters.  We already have this level of AI … it’s called cruise missiles.  Thus, the AI already exists and would cost almost nothing to develop and integrate.

 

It is important to note, as a crucial part of the CONOPS, that the ship will NOT be required to stay at sea, wandering around aimlessly and autonomously.  Instead, the ship will execute a mission and, if it survives, will return to port where needed maintenance and repairs will be performed and weapons will be reloaded.  It will stay in port until the next mission.

 

So, with that cursory CONOPS in mind, what does the CONOPS tell us about the required ship design characteristics?

 

The CONOPS assures us that the ship will come under attack, will take hits, will have to absorb damage, and will have to continue fighting with only minimal degradation of its combat effectiveness due to battle damage (a complete departure from current Navy ship design practice!).  Further, the ship will need massive amounts of offensive weapons because, having fought its way to a target, we have to make sure we can destroy the target or it’s all a waste of resources and effort.

 

What then, are the specific characteristics of this ship?

 

Sponge Construction – This ship will have nothing in common, structurally, with conventional ships.  Instead, the ship will be built as a ‘sponge’.  By this, I mean that instead of open, floodable compartments bounded by thin sheets of metal, the ‘compartment’ volume will be ‘filled’ by a metallic (or ceramic or resin or whatever material we can technologically produce in this form) ‘foam’.  Like a sponge, the volume will be a closed-cell (you plastics people know what that means) metal (or whatever material) foam.  Picture a giant cube of metal with lots and lots of void spaces like a sponge.  Thus, there will be no compartment to flood and sink the ship.  The worst case would be that an explosion takes a chunk out of the foam.  This kind of foam construction would likely confer tremendous resistance to missile penetration and would absolutely contain and mitigate the effects of a missile explosion.  With foam construction and only a few small service passages and compartments, the vessel would be very resistant to sinking.

 

The only non-foam compartments in the ship would be a few spaces that contain machinery that would need to be accessed for maintenance and repair.  The bulk of the electrical and utility conduits and piping would run through the foamed volumes.  As such, they would not be readily accessible and, if damaged in combat, would be bypassed until repairs could be made.  This ability to bypass and reroute utilities is something that would be designed in with numerous pre-existing cross connects.  In essence, this would create a spider web of electrical and utilities that can be automatically isolated and re-routed as dictated by damage.

 

Service Life - Hand in hand with the foam concept is a short design life span.  If equipment is going to be sealed inside foamed material, it goes without saying that it can’t be easily serviced which automatically limits the life span of the ship.  These ships would have 10-15 year design life spans.  This also eliminates the entire idiotic future proofing and mid-life upgrades that so many people love but that never happen.

 

Weapons - With no need for internal habitability volume, the bulk of the ship’s volume would be available for a very dense weapons fit. 

 

  • Missiles – Offensive missiles are the reason this ship exists.  Each ship would carry around 64 missiles in heavily armored, dispersed launch housings.  I use the term ‘launch housings’ because I don’t think the Mk41 VLS is a combat resilient mechanism.  We saw from the Port Royal grounding that the VLS was knocked out of alignment by the gentle nosing aground of the ship.  If a VLS can be put out of alignment by something that gentle, it is unlikely to be combat resilient.  We need a new type of launch housing designed for the abuses of combat.
  • AAW – AAW would be limited to horizon range using ESSM missiles.  Each ship would carry around 64 missiles in quad-packed, heavily armored launch housings.
  • Close-In Self-Defense Weapons – CIWS/SeaRAM mounts would be numerous (several per ship) to offer the best chance of surviving the inevitable attacks.
  • Guns - A ship like this is intended to sail right through enemy missile barrages and into enemy fleets and ports/bases so large caliber guns would be quite useful.   I’m thinking that a heavily armored, double or triple barrel, large caliber gun mount (I’m thinking 8”) is mandatory.  Nothing has the destructive power, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of a large naval gun with a magazine of hundreds of shells per gun.

 

Sensors – Sensors will be triple redundant, widely separated, and housed in armored ‘pop up’ mechanisms.  There would be no delicate, complex Aegis/AMDR arrays.  The sensors would small, simple arrays or rotating arrays (TRS-3D/4D, as an example) suitable for horizon range sensing … nothing more.

 

Armor – It should go without saying that this ship needs to carry the heaviest armor fit it can.  Note, though, that the foam construction fills much of the armor function.

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

All right, there you have it:  a conceptual unmanned WARship that embodies what it means to be a WARship and that takes maximum advantage of the benefits of an unmanned platform.  This is a mean, decisive, offensive machine that would restore some attack capability to the Navy.

 

This would not be a cheap, $200M one-hit-sink unmanned vessel with no significant capabilities (you know, like the unmanned vessels the Navy is building today).  This ship would cost on the order of $600M which is good value for something with the capabilities just described.

 

This conceptual exercise is an object lesson for the Navy.  If you want to implement unmanned vessels, at least make them useful.  Use them to attack, let them shoulder the brunt of the risk, and give them significant firepower so that they’re worth having.  Keep the AI simple and direct to eliminate development costs.  Maximize the benefits of unmanned and use them to their strengths.

 

That was fun!  Now, what does your unmanned vessel look like?

Thursday, July 22, 2021

It's About Time

CNO Gilday has finally acknowledged what everyone with a double digit IQ saw from the very beginning:

 

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday on Tuesday conceded that the service’s choice to include almost two dozen new technologies on its latest aircraft carrier was a mistake … (1)

 

A mistake?  Really?  Do you think?  How many years has it taken you to figure this out?  The rest of the world has been saying this since day one.  What an idiot.

 

CNO Gilday, I know you’re too stupid to figure out such obvious things on your own so why don’t you just read this blog.  I’ve laid out all the right choices for you.

 

If Gilday had an ounce of integrity, he’d recall to active duty the previous CNOs who were involved with this Ford fiasco, court-martial them for dereliction of duty, and then resign for his own part in all this along with his recommendation that he, himself, be court-martialed.

 

 

 

_________________________________

 

(1)Breaking Defense, “CNO: Too Much New Tech On Ford Was A Mistake ”, Justin Katz, 21-Jul-2021,

https://breakingdefense.com/2021/07/cno-too-much-new-tech-on-ford-was-a-mistake/


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Defensive Mindset

Over the last several decades, the US military has developed one major flaw that is crippling it.  No, it’s not any particular weapon system or lack thereof.  It’s a mindset that no longer recognizes victory as a goal (see, “Ending War – True Victory”).  The US military no longer wants to win a war.  We have become a purely defensive military whose goals have become the maintenance of the status quo.  The fact that so many naval analysts talk about containment as a strategy against China illustrates this defensive, status quo mindset which guarantees a repeat of any war and eventual defeat (see, “China War Strategy - Blockade”).


Victory is no longer in our ethos.

 

Consider the history of recent conflicts 

  • Korea – Gen. MacArthur aside, this was a war that had no victory condition and whose cease fire resulted in the creation of a continual threat – now including a nuclear threat – from North Korea.
  • Vietnam – This was a half-hearted war with no desire for actual victory and only nebulous containment goals as objectives.
  • Soviet Union – The collapse of the Soviet Union presented us with the opportunity to secure a lasting victory but our refusal to follow through resulted directly in the Russian threat we face today.
  • Kosovo – The goal of this conflict – to the extent that there was a goal – was to simply return to the pre-war status quo which has left all the pre-conflict problems still festering.
  • Desert Storm – While a brilliant tactical and logistical victory, our refusal to follow through and bring down Iraq/Hussein was a strategic failure that directly resulted in having to refight the war in Gulf 2.
  • Gulf 2 – This was not so much a war as an armed raid to kill/capture Hussein and his followers.  The aftermath led to the formation of various insurgency groups, such as ISIS, and many years of terrorism and conflict in the region.
  • Afghanistan – We are now abandoning Afghanistan after two decades and the Taliban is in process of reclaiming it, as we speak because we had no goal of victory, just some nebulous nation building that had no hope of happening.
  • China – Our current policy of appeasement speaks for itself as to the lack of any victory conditions.
  • ISIS – Our main goal in combatting ISIS was avoidance of collateral damage which led to massive additional civilian casualties due to our reluctance to engage ISIS.

 

Some might attempt to argue that we achieved our goals in some of these conflicts but that’s exactly the point – that our goals did not include actual victory.

 

This refusal to make actual victory an objective has led directly to the formation of our current defensive military.

 

  • The Marines are now a totally defensive force, having abandoned amphibious assault, armor, and firepower and substituted a defensive missile-shooting mission.
  • The Navy is a floundering organization with no guiding strategy whatsoever except the pursuit of a greater budget slice.

 

We are at a crossroads.  We desperately need to make a decision about our China strategy.  Will we go for true victory or fight a defensive war until we can negotiate an unfavorable settlement that will allow China to secure its gains and build for the next go-around?  This will determine whether we should construct an offensive or defensive military.

 

Some issues that need to be addressed if we want to build an offensive force that can achieve an actual victory:

 

What is our guiding strategy and what are our victory conditions?

How will we use the Navy in an offensive role and what fleet structure do we need to do so?

Will we use tactical nuclear weapons?

What offensive weapons does the Navy need?

What ground assault capabilities do we need?


Monday, July 19, 2021

Comparative Fleet Roles

The key to an effective Navy is to have a balanced fleet - a balanced fleet that is designed to handle all of the missions and roles required of it.  Is today’s fleet balanced and capable of meeting its requirements?  To answer that question, let’s start where wisdom always starts … history.  Let’s see what kind of balance the surface fleet of WWII had and how that compares to today.  We do this by looking at the various required roles and what ship types filled those roles, as demonstrated in the table below.

 

 

Role

WWII Type

Example

Current Type

Example

Strike and fleet defense

Carrier

Essex

Carrier

Nimitz

Aviation escort

Escort Carrier

Casablanca

-

-

ASuW and land attack

Battleship

Iowa

-

-

Escort and land attack

Cruiser, Heavy

Baltimore

-

-

AAW

Cruiser, AA

Atlanta

Destroyer

Burke/Tico

ASW/ASuW escort

Destroyer

Fletcher

-

-

ASW

Destroyer Escort

Buckley

Destroyer

Burke

ASW and convoy escort

Corvette

Flower

-

-

Patrol and ASuW

Patrol

PT Boat

-

-

 

 

Notes:

 

I have not included the LCS in the table because it has no actual combat capabilities.

I have not included the Zumwalt in the table because it’s only three ships and they have no defined purpose.

 

 

The first thing we note is that the WWII fleet had a ship type for every role and, in many cases, multiple ship types for a given role.

 

Comparing the WWII fleet structure versus our current structure demonstrates that we’ve lost several fleet functions or, more precisely, condensed them down into fewer ship types.  The problem with condensing the roles down is that the resultant ships are hugely more expensive, more risk averse, and less optimized which means less capable.

 

During WWII, the balance and diversity of ship types allowed mixing and matching of ship types to perform specialized roles such as the ASW hunter-killer groups composed of escort carriers and destroyer escorts.  The diversity of ship types endowed the fleet commanders with tremendous flexibility to tailor the task forces to the specific needs of the operation.

 

Today’s fleet commander has no flexibility and no choices.  We have carriers (too expensive to risk in combat) and Burkes … and that’s it. 

 

The Navy’s quest for efficiency and cost savings has resulted in a necking down of all the ship types into just two types:  carrier and Burke.  While the endless production of now-obsolete Burkes has, indeed, produced cost savings, it has produced an inflexible fleet that is going to be mismatched to the specific operational needs when combat comes.

 

Today’s fleet is unbalanced, inflexible, and ill-prepared for war.


Friday, July 16, 2021

Women, Credibility, and Standards

Here’s a couple of recent announcements from the Navy involving female achievements:

 

  • The first female has supposedly graduated from the Navy’s special operations boat group (Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen, SWCC).(1)
  • Command Master Chief of USS Chung Hoon (DDG 93), Josephine Tauoa, was selected as the recipient of the 2021 Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Delbert D. Black Leadership Award.(2)

 

 

I’d like to believe that these achievements were fairly earned and well deserved.  However, given the prevalence of lowered standards, gender-norming, dual standards, and command-dictated achievements (looking at you, Rangers), one can’t help but wonder if either of these achievements are legitimate and that is the insidious problem with all attempts to impose equality of results without equality of standards.  You can never be sure if the person actually earned the achievement or was simply given it to meet a quota or public relations requirement.

 

To these two women, I say, I doubt you.  … … … …  And that’s the shame of it – that I doubt what might be a real accomplishment but until standards are set high and uniformly applied, doubt will always exist.  Women should be demanding uniform, high standards … but they’re not.  Which leads to further doubt.

 

What a shame.

 

 

 

___________________________________

 

(1)USNI News website, “First Female Navy Special Operations Sailor Graduates from Training”, Sam LaGrone, 15-Jul-2021,

https://news.usni.org/2021/07/15/first-female-navy-special-operations-sailor-graduates-from-training

 

(2)https://www.cpf.navy.mil/news.aspx/110975