Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What's Right?

What’s right with the Navy?

Regular readers know that ComNavOps is critical of many aspects of the Navy, both leadership and systems.  The posts that address these problems make every effort to be fair, factual, and logical.  Be that as it may, readers may, understandably, get the impression that nothing about the Navy is right and that’s just not true – not by a long shot.  There is much that is right.  This blog tends to focus on the problems in the hope that the various posts may offer some small bit of wisdom to the Navy.  That said, it doesn’t hurt to occasionally recognize some of what’s right about the Navy.  In no particular order, here are some strengths of the Navy.  They may have associated problems but, in comparison to other navies, they represent definite strengths worthy of recognition.

The Average Sailor.  The US Navy enjoys a level of education, motivation, and dedication in its ranks that is unmatched.  This general competence and capability allows the Navy to achieve great things even in the face of questionable leadership policies or substandard systems.

Submarines.  The submarine force represents a huge advantage over any potential enemy.  No enemy force can match or counter our submarines.  This is an advantage that should be emphasized and built upon.

Aegis.  No AAW system in the world offers the capabilities of the Aegis-based combat system.  Though unproven, there is every reason to believe that Aegis will prove successful in combat and offer a significant advantage.

Carriers.  Although shrinking airwings are devaluing the carriers, the carrier force is still unmatched in power projection capability and provides an immensely powerful offensive force.  The F/A-18 Hornet offers a capable aircraft suited to a variety of missions and able to operate in significant numbers from a mobile, floating airfield.  That’s tough to beat!

Support and Logistics.  The Navy’s various fleet support ships allow the Navy to operate far from home and for extended periods.  No other navy has the extensive support enjoyed by the fleet although the recent cuts in support ships is troubling.

ComNavOps.  No other navy has access to the sheer wisdom, insight, and analysis that ComNavOps offers.  Heh, heh!  Just checking to see if you’re still reading.  Of course, … … it’s true!

Signal Processing.  One of the Navy’s greatest military advantages is the sophisticated level of software signal processing associated with the various systems.  This impacts detection, targeting, ECM, and every aspect of electronic operations.  The Navy’s electronic systems can “pull” more information from their sensors than just the first order effects.

There are undoubtedly other strengths that could be included in this list but these should serve to demonstrate that the Navy is still a powerful force and that ComNavOps clearly recognizes this and encourages that recognition from regular readers. 

What's right with the Navy?  Plenty!


  1. On the contrary - the wonder of the internet means that every navy, sailing club with delusions of grandeur and dog in a dinghy has access to you!

  2. Hmmmm, interesting comment.

    I think you have to remember that the USN purpose is primarily to fight wars again nation states. To protect the people of the USA on a national level.

    It’s designed to provide defence at the very highest levels. And is armed and equipped accordingly.

    To this end, yes they would find it extremely difficult to find a single malevolent canine attempting to make the journey across the pacific in a row boat, and it is quite possible that this theoretical hound might indeed evade them and given fine weather, good tides and a following wind, possibly make it to the realms of the USCG, maybe even a US beach where it might bite someone important before being shot by a US civilian.

    {As their propensity for gun ownership \ self-defence and generally shooting shit, is quite shocking!} ;)

    Making a second page entry in a second rate local newspaper and then largely being forgotten.



  3. whats the achiless heel of the mighty US navy ? overreliance on satellite / gps that will be degraded in real war against peer/near peer enemies ? under estimating suicidal enemy attacks using civilian ship as cover ? Enemy with abundance of modern sea mine ?

    i see an aging force with no real war / battle experience that will relearn the hard way in future wars, just like USN learning curve in WW2

  4. "The Average Sailor. The US Navy enjoys a level of education, motivation, and dedication in its ranks that is unmatched. "

    Can't agree to that.....while the USN no doubt represent the gold standard against which all others are measured , i can name several navies whose sailors more than stack up to that standard....among them the RN, RAN,RCN,RNLN and the Royal Norwegian Navy just to name a few.

    While US sailors are typically more specialized and focused on a single area of expertise, their RNoN or RNLN (for instance)counterparts is often assigned
    several different tasks and as such receive a broader spectrum training and education.
    In certain areas ,like MCM or to a lesser extent ASW , i would even argue that the expertise and most capable personel is found outside the USN.

    1. morten, the comment encompassed not just technical training (in fact, it didn't address technical training at all !) but, rather, motivation, dedication, and general education. While I will acknowledge that a few other countries may come close, the US sets the standard (OK, a little national pride talking, there!).

    2. we can argue about motivation and dedication ...but when it comes to general education i still think you are wrong.
      In another allied navy, the danish, ALL officers receive a bachelors degree before they are commisioned, and many will continue their studies to eventually get a masters degree or PhD in a relevant naval/military field.
      Now how much more education can you get ? let alone need.
      And lets not forget the Royal Navys famous FOST and Perisher courses, widely acknowledged to be the best and toughest of their kind in the world, even training USN officers. I think you will have a hard time convincing me (and the british) that their sailors are somehow trained to a lesser standard.

  5. "Aegis. No AAW system in the world offers the capabilities of the Aegis-based combat system."

    While that was probably true 15 years ago, today there is at least a few modern systems that offers equivalent or better capability.....the UK's PAAMS or Thales NAAWS are both newer and more advanced systems and employs better radars and sensors than AEGIS.

    After all, while AEGIS was revolutionary in its day , it is still "just" a Combat Direction and Management System (CDS/CMS).

    Frequent upgrades and the addition of game changing technology like CEC , continues to make AEGIS a formidable system though.

    1. morten, the comment was about the Aegis-based combat system which includes not only the radar, itself, but all the other components. No other system has the combination of radar, illuminators, range of missiles, CEC, computing power, level of integration, and most importantly, the extensive and highly capable software to tie it all together. Throw in Aegis-managed ASuW and BMD and it just gets more powerful.

  6. " Aegis-based combat system"

    Aegis IS(and was) the combat system...nothing more , nothing less, its not "based" on anything. Its just a name for a CMS/CDS

    "No other system has the combination of radar, illuminators, range of missiles, CEC, computing power, level of integration, and most importantly, the extensive and highly capable software to tie it all together."

    Yes they do ...Actually i cant think of a single modern high end frigate/ destroyer that doesn't. All the stuff you mention was revolutionary in the 70' when Aegis was developed, but open architecture CMS integrating weapons and sensors etc is pretty standard now.

    In fact a most of the hardware(computers,servers, consoles etc etc.) on many of the DDG-51's and Tico is more than a decade old and does not have the computational power of the much newer systems installed on state of the art vessels like the Type 45 or Iver Huitfeldt class.
    Software upgrades can only do so much.

    Wrt BMD , ships like the aforementioned + the Dutch De Zeven Provinciën class and the German Sachsen class, all have radars superior to SPY-1.
    This means that while Aegis vessel can conduct short to medium range TBMD out to ~600km, the newer european ships will have the capability to act as true Early Warning sensors reaching as far as 2000km.
    The british, dutch and danish ships will all recieve the BMD upgrade around 2017. Rumors has it CEC is also on the wish list.

    The Burke's and Tico's does enjoy a significant advantage in the number of VLS cells though.


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