Friday, July 11, 2014

DoN Transformation Plan

I recently wrote a humor piece that mocked the priorities of the Navy by placing all the non-warfighting requirements at the top of the list.  Well, darn if the Navy didn’t just come out with their own actual list that reads almost the same as my comedy one!  From the Department of the Navy, Transformation Plan, 2014-2016, here is the list of official DoN priorities.

1. Take care of our people
2. Maximize warfighter readiness
3. Lead the nation in sustainable energy
4. Promote acquisition excellence and integrity
5. Proliferate unmanned systems
6. Drive innovative enterprise transformation

Taking care of our people is laudable but it shouldn’t be the Navy’s top priority.  Warfighting is, because that’s the Navy’s reason for existence.  It’s as simple as that. 

Well, hey, you say, at least warfighting is number two.  Unfortunately, if you read the explanation in the document, maximizing warfighter readiness is actually about sizing the fleet rather than combat training, tactics, or any other actual warfighting activity.

The number three priority is to lead the nation in sustainable energy?!  Are you kidding me?!  In what alternate universe is leading the nation in energy development one of the Navy’s responsibilities let alone a top priority? 

Did you catch number five?  Proliferate unmanned systems.  The explanation states that the Navy will proliferate unmanned systems across all areas, responsibilities, and activities.  You’ll note that there is no caveat like “if it makes sense” or “if it actually enhances combat effectiveness”.  Nope, we’re going to do it regardless;  just because.

Finally, here’s a paragraph from the summary section.

“The FY14-16 DON Transformation Plan translates the Secretary of the Navy’s strategic guidance into a blueprint for the entire department to follow. Changing culture, wider use of analytics, and effective governance will enable the department to transform business operations and to reform the institution so we continue to provide the nation a vital service through global naval presence.”

Not a single word about warfighting.

This sounds an awful lot like one of my comedy offerings but it’s not.  That’s sad beyond belief.  The incompetence that this document codifies is staggering.  I weep for my Navy.


  1. This is a rather off topic question, but it's been bugging me for a bit now. I recently read "The Last Ship" after finding at discount price at the bookstore. In the beginning of the book, the protagonist asserts that cruise missiles made land-based nuclear ballistic missile treaties history's greatest charade, because nuclear tipped cruise missiles were unverifiable, uncontrollable, and contained massive destructive power (a single ship contained enough to wipe out any one continent). Is this true, are ballistic missile treaties essentially purposeless because of the sea-based leg of many nations' nuclear triad?

    1. LoS, I'm not an expert on nuclear issues or nuclear treaty requirements. As best I recall, the START treaty required the countries to declare their cruise missile inventories but there was no verification. That treaty has expired, I believe. The US removed its nuclear Tomahawks from service and we supposedly have none, now. Russia is believed to have nuclear cruise missiles in service and China is, undoubtedly, pursuing them if they don't already have them.

      US nuclear cruise missiles were, I believe, far less powerful than the ICBM type weapons, being intended as tactical weapons rather than super-massive destructive weapons (a somewhat dubious distinction!). Presumably, Russian and Chinese cruise missiles follow suit?? Also, cruise missiles, while long ranged, do not have the intercontinental range of the ICBMs.

      Any nuclear limitation treaty is only as good as the good faith of the signees since verification is next to impossible - which is to say that treaties are essentially worthless. To be fair, that's true of any military limitation type treaty. There are always ways to hide violations from the other treaty members.

      Did that help any?

    2. Yes, I appreciate your answer!

  2. I love how everyone wants more automation so the crews can be smaller but want the ships less expensive. News flash people: Unmaned means expensive. The original reaper drones? Cost tens of millions but really are about as powerful as a plane around a million dollars.

    Its why everything keeps going up.

    At some point people have got to wake out of the day dream of stealth and drone dreamland.

    1. James, you make a very good point about manning. People tend not to realilze that unmanned simply means the "man" has moved to a ship or land based controller location. It's unmanned only in the sense that the pilot/operator is not at risk (a good benefit, to be sure!). There is no cost savings by "removing" the man. They're not removed, only relocated.


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