Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Deputy Defense Secretary - A Sad Day

Robert Work has been sworn in as the Deputy Defense Secretary under Chuck Hagel.  I am hard pressed to imagine a worse pair leaders for our nation’s defense.  Work, you’ll recall, was famous for his impassioned defense of the LCS.  That alone would be bad enough but his zealous demonization of critics of the LCS is what really stood out.  He stifled every legitimate criticism and ignored all negative data.  He continued, and presumably still does, his defense of the LCS despite all evidence to the contrary that clearly indicates the program and concept was an utter failure.  As if that isn’t bad enough, he authored an extensive history of the LCS program which is one of the most egregious rewrites of actual history that I’ve ever read.  For example, in his history he claims that the Navy got the warship it wanted with the capabilities it wanted and at the price it wanted.  Even the most ardent supporters of the LCS would shy away from that statement!

With that kind of history of ignoring reality and facts is that really the person we want in that position?  He is not a man who encourages discussion or alternative viewpoints.  This is the latest sad, sad decision in a seemingly endless series of bad decisions involving the military.


  1. I've had a few email discussions with Secretary Work. He seems like a reasonable and knowledgeable fellow. I haven't seen him demonize any critics, but perhaps I missed something.

    I thought his history of the LCS was fairly balanced as well.

    IMHO his comment about the Navy getting what they wanted for the cost they wanted seems more or less on the mark. It's just that what they wanted is proving far less useful than they thought, and fully outfitting with working modules has proven more expensive and has taken much longer.

    1. B.Smitty, you'll recall that the original Navy requirements featured PowerPoint slides showing the LCS totally dominating the littoral region for miles around, including the land side of things. That's what the Navy wanted. Then the ASW module was cancelled and is being reworked into a pedestrian, though marginally functional module, the ASuW module lost its main weapon and is essentially impotent now, and the MCM module components have mostly failed to meet their specs or had their specs dumbed down. How is that getting what the Navy wanted?

      The original target price was $200M which quickly rose to $220M which ballooned to $700M and now resides around $500M with GFE and a module (if any existed). How is that getting the price the Navy wanted?

      I see why you find Work to be a reasonable man - you agree with him!

      Read the link in NICO's comment below. The article and quotes continue to paint a picture of a liar and a man who will brook no legitimate discussion. His comments about WARship (his words) and his challenge that the LCS will kick any enemy's ass (his words) are hilarious as well as delusional. He claims the LCS will have as much endurance/range as a destroyer are also delusional. Read the article and read his own words. He is exactly the man I described.

    2. The $200 million figure was always CNO aspirations. According to his history, the seaframe plus modules are coming in only a bit over the planned figure.

      To date, the modules certainly offer less capability than envisioned, but they are still evolving.

      That being said, I am not a big fan of the LCS concept or program for a variety of reasons.

      I found his history to be fairly balanced and detailed. That's rare from an obvious program proponent, IMHO. I think he makes a decent case that the Navy is getting what it asked for. I just would have preferred them ask for something else. I don't have any relevant experience or intimate subject matter knowledge to justify my preference.

      You can choose to disagree, but calling him a liar is too much in my book.

    3. B.Smitty, I went to buy a car the other day. My budget was $1000. I found out that the car didn't have an engine or wheels and it cost $1200. I got the car for only a little over my budget. I'm pretty happy.

      Seriously?!!? You don't see the problem with your statement that the seaframe and modules are coming in only a bit over the planned figure? The modules (and thus the LCS in total) have about a tenth of the planned capability and that's being generous.

      You point out that the modules are still evolving. True. However, if they ever evolve to even the original specs, they'll cost a fortune. Right now they're cheap because they can't do anything!

      Fair and balanced?!!? Only if you accept his revisionist history!

      Go back and look at the original PowerPoint capabilities slides. The Navy didn't get hardly any of that. How can you possibly say the Navy got pretty much what they asked for? Have you seen the original slides and requirements?

      They asked for an NLOS system of smart, networked munitions that would perform self-designation of targets and dominate both land and sea for 25 miles or so in any direction. They got a Griffon missile with a 3(?) lb warhead and a range of a couple miles with no land attack capability whatsoever.

      They asked for a networked system of unmanned sensors (some sort of mythical rapidly deployable sensor net) and unmanned vehicles that would dominate the littoral ASW while keeping the LCS safely out of range. They might someday get a VDS and no organic ASW weapons on a ship that is an acoustic beacon for miles around and will be in the middle of the ASW fight with a very short life expectancy.

      They asked for an MCM system of unmanned UUVs, laser detectors, helo borne mine killing super-cavitating guns, etc. They might someday get a slow RMV with limited capabiites towing a sonar that so far fails to meet specs, and a helo that turns out to be unable to actually tow its equipment.

      They asked for a ship that could swap out modules in a matter of hours and they got a ship that requires days to weeks to swap.

      Do I need to keep going?

      If you read the linked article from NICO, you'll see that Work's statements and claims are completely false. Completely false is the definition of a lie.

    4. PowerPoint presentations always look fantastic because they are largely divorced from reality.

    5. True. But, that's what the Navy wanted and despite Work's claims to the contray, they didn't get hardly any of it. The Navy did not get the ship they wanted. That the "want" was totally unrealistic is beside the point and doesn't change the fact that that is what they wanted. To see you buy into the claim that the Navy got what they wanted is disappointing.

      There's nothing wrong with noting that the Navy did not get what they wanted but that you still see value in the LCS based on future potential or whatever. I would disagree but that would be a fair disagreement about debatable points. For Work, or anyone, to claim the Navy got what they wanted is a lie.

      Work's total disconnect from reality is bad but his unwillingness to allow any disagreement is even more troubling. We went that route with Rumsfeld's transformation movement. Dissent was crushed and we saw the consequences. Work has made it clear that he will crush anyone who disagrees with him.

      I've beaten this enough so I'll drop it.

  2. Not impressed overall...


    1. NICO, nice article. Thanks for the link! The man is a delusional lunatic who wants to be surrounded by yes-men.

  3. Once again, I'm amazed that we have those in the higher ups who just seem to live in a world divorced from reality.

    I'd have been fine with the LCS being a 1 off 2 off test bed for different modular technologies to see if it works.

    Not just banging them out because you think the idea's neat. It would have been like turning Sea Shadow into a 50 count class because it represented 'transformational' technology.

  4. And I remember that comment about LCS kicking its opponents a$$. How? Seriously, how does *anyone* look at the vessels kicking around the littorals with AShM's, big guns, and speeds nearly as fast as an LCS at full load and come up with an LCS victory?!?

  5. I agree Jim, if LCS would have been just a 1 off between both designs and used as a stepping stone to something that helped with new tech, modular designs,etc and actually developed into something that had a purpose in war than LCS 1 and 2 would have been OK but to say that the class has delivered what was desired is beyond ridiculous.

    The LCS is kicking a$$ statement should have disqualified him alone, forget the other stupid remarks....


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