ComNavOps has listed and described many Navy programs and policies that seem almost random in their adoption, implementation, and integration into the naval force structure.
class LHA without a well deck – OK, so we’re
committing to aviation assaults. No, the
third LHA has a well deck – so, we’re back to waterborne assaults? America
LCS will dominate the littorals, clearing the way for the entry of high value units that could not possibly survive on their own. No, the LCS requires an umbrella of protection from a Burke or a carrier group.
The F-35 is the world’s most advanced aircraft – except that the Navy doesn’t seem to want it and doesn’t quite know what to do with it.
The Navy has established a training school for ship commanders, sort of a Top Gun for surface warfare – really? What have we been training ship commanders to do for the last few decades instead of surface warfare and how bad have things gotten that we need a special school?
The carrier air wings are steadily shrinking – nearly half the size of the original Nimitz air wing - and yet we’re building bigger carriers?
BMD is, arguably, the Navy’s self-designated number one priority and yet the Navy has tried repeatedly to retire 11 Aegis cruisers well before their lifespans and all capable of BMD?
With the collapse of the
Soviet Union, the Navy lost its most visible threat and,
bizarrely, seemed to lose its self-awareness of its reason for existence. That, combined with threatened budget cuts as
part of the drawdown from the Cold War victory, led the Navy to desperately
throw out all kinds of wild rationales for its existence.
Eventually, the Navy settled on “littoral” – the indefinable shallow water threat that somehow (it was never explained how) rendered every other ship useless and vulnerable. Thus was born the LCS.
Of course, littoral was eventually exposed for the fraudulent concept it was and the Navy had to find another rationale for its existence. They came up with the Pacific Pivot and AirSea Battle. Thus, the A2/AD zone was born.
It has become painfully clear that, as regards its purpose for being, the Navy is lost at sea. It has forgotten its true purpose and is casting about wildly for anything that can justify its slice of the budget pie. It does not want to risk becoming the Army which has, depending on your measure, borne the brunt of budget cuts. And thus we see the Navy’s true purpose as espoused by its leaders: to absorb budget and sustain itself.
The Navy’s core purpose has devolved into one of simple and base self-preservation – existence for existence’s sake. The Navy no longer cares whether its acquisitions support any strategic, operational, or doctrinal needs. It’s sufficient that the acquisitions absorb budget and justify more budget. We’re lurching from one military fad to the next in the hopes that it will justify more budget: littoral, unmanned, A2/AD, Pacific Pivot, offset strategy. These are just marketing buzzwords intended to justify budget.
The Navy seeks to expand simply to expand. Remember the old saying,
“The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”
This about sums up the Navy’s purpose as practiced by its leaders: to grow so as to grow. To absorb budget in order to sustain itself.
The Navy’s leaders have completely forgotten or abandoned its core purpose.