ComNavOps is highly critical of Navy leadership but one thing I have to give them credit for is their sheer refusal to accept legislative direction. Now, when I say that I give them credit, it’s akin to giving a bank robber credit for pulling off a successful robbery – it’s against the law but they showed determination in flouting the law. Similarly, the Navy doesn’t even blink at Congressional mandates and things as silly as actual laws.
You’ll recall that the Navy previously tried to early retire several
Ticonderoga class Aegis cruisers and Congress slapped them
down. Undeterred, the Navy then opted
for the completely transparent ploy of “idling” the cruisers for
“upgrades”. Eleven cruisers were to be
“modernized” for several years and then would re-enter the fleet. No one, Congress included, bought that fairy
tale. Instead, Congress imposed a 2/4/6 rule whereby the Navy could only idle 2 cruisers per
year, the modernization had to be completed in 4 years, and there could be no
more than 6 cruisers undergoing modernization at one time.
Now, the Navy wants to
modernize 7 additional cruisers for a total of 9. The cruisers would be idled for an
unspecified period of time and be brought back into the fleet only on a one for
one basis to replace retiring cruisers (1).
Aside from ignoring Congress’ legislative directive, that would have the effect of early retiring 9 cruisers since they would only return to the fleet as replacements for future cruiser retirements. Of course, that assumes you believe the Navy would actually bring them back. Can you seriously see the Navy bringing back ships that, at that future point, would be ten or fifteen years older? Of course not! The Navy will argue that the ships are outdated and should just be left idled. This is nothing but another transparent early retirement ploy designed to bypass Congress’ law and intent.
It doesn’t matter whether you believe early retirements for the cruisers is a good idea or bad. The point is that the military is run by the civilian government. That’s what makes our country unique. The Navy’s willful disregard for civilian authority is breathtaking. This is just one more reason Navy leadership needs a wholesale housecleaning. Fire them all.