Monday, February 8, 2016

How's That For Congressional Oversight?

The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, John McCain, and the ranking Democrat, Jack Reed, sent a letter to SecNav Mabus and CNO Richardson which absolutely rips the LCS program and the Navy’s lies concerning it.  Yes, there is no other way to characterize the Congressmen’s take on the Navy’s statements other than to call them lies.

I’ve been unable to obtain a copy of the letter in a format from which I can cut and paste to present selected passages but, honestly, you need to read the entire letter.  Here’s the link.

                         McCain/Reed LCS Letter

The letter is self-explanatory.  What I’d like to comment on is not the myriad issues – those are well known.  Instead, I’d like to point out the tone of the letter.  Clearly, Congress is getting fed up with the Navy’s games and lies and is tired of waiting for non-existent technology to mature.  Of course, one could wonder where the corresponding outrage over the F-35 is but, I digress.

The Navy has completely used up any stockpile of goodwill that it ever had and needs to immediately begin dealing honestly and openly with Congress if they are to have any hope of moving from an adversarial relationship to one of cooperation.


  1. Article about LCS and swarm attacks..

  2. For a body that is fed up they do NOTHING but talk and issue letters.

    Has the funding been cut? No the Republican platform is to strengthen the DoD, not spend more wisely.

    Has an Admiral been passed over? No, the people involved continue to get fat paychecks or move on to cushy Defense Contractor jobs.

    Until some ACTION is taken, this is just political cover for these Senators (and the rest by association) to say they are tough on DoD and their expensive programs.

    1. You're quite right. I'm not defending Congress in the least. Only pointing out that there is begining to be some pushback as compared to the days of merely rubber stamping anything the Navy wanted.

      I don't think it's a pure coincidence that the Navy plan for 55 LCS has been cut to 52, now 40(?), and that the original LCS has been killed. I think Congress let their feelings be known behind the scenes and the Pentagon took notice. And, yes, there have been some appointments held up over military policy disputes, though nothing major. Again, not defending but giving some tiny amount of credit where credit is due.

    2. Hmmm some people have been affected. Where are Young, Etter, Goddard, Sying, Hamilton, Sandel, Murdoch, Antonio, Siel now?

      AND I didn't even list the Captains of the mission package programs that have made Flag.

      Something is broke BIG TIME!

    3. In fairness, Congress has exercised some funding control. The Navy's plan to early retire the Aegis cruisers was forcefully shut down and the Navy's plan to "modernize" the cruisers was also greatly modified. The AF's plan to retire the A-10 was slapped down. Funding has been suspended on some lesser projects and legislatively mandated reports on others have been required. Congress has imposed cost caps on recent Navy construction programs although the Navy has maneuvered around them. So, yes, I do see Congress beginning to exert some small degree of their oversight responsibility.

    4. I agree with you. My problem is that those actions are not geared to the big changes we desperately need in DoD.

      Oversight, to accomplish BIG changes, needs to focus on 3 things in this order: PEOPLE, IDEAS, and then things. If you take care of the people and ideas then the things take care of themselves also.

  3. I read the letter, and it is very sharp.

    What I'm stunned, and extremely frustrated with, is that Mabus is saying the things he is. 'It will send the enemy fleet to the bottom'. If he means the fleet of pleasure craft outside of Marinette, he's absolutely right.

    Outside of that I'd steer clear of the lakers. They aren't fast but they are 1000 feet long and the 57mm cannon won't do much to them.

    I'm not against the idea of a small surface combatant that's not an Aegis cruiser. If the LCS didn't have the potential range issues, plus the utter failures in its mission modules, it wouldn't be bad. I'm skeptical of the jet drive, but willing to be proven wrong.

    But this thing is just a mess. And we're in serial production.

    1. 7 years into serial production.
      Mess is an accurate description.
      Considering from the first Perry entering the fleet to the retirement of the whole class was some 35 years, we're talking 1/5th of the LCS's potential operating life, and still not a single ship ready for any mission its been assigned to.
      Now, i know the Perry's were particularly short lived, but still. 7 years... There have been classes of ships that were retired for less reason in less time than these boats.
      Its a shame, the idea behind them is sound, and others have made the modular idea work, at least to some degree.
      There simply must be a solution, other than the catch all, dont buy Lock-Mart.

  4. Have made readable pdf's of the letter. let me know if you want them.

    1. I've got a pdf copy but I can't select sections and cut/paste. It appears to have some sort of cut/copy protection.

    2. OCR'd, you need to OCR the PDF.
      Use open office to convert Jpeg to PDF, then OCR the PDF.

  5. Why attack the LCS and not the F-35?

    There aren't any foreigners queueing up to buy the LCS who might be put off.

    What's good for LockMart's export sales is good for America.


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