Friday, September 2, 2016

Are You Freaking Kidding Me?

Are you freaking kidding me????

As reported by USNI News, the Navy is going to conduct an in-depth review of the Ford because of all the problems it’s encountered (1).  The review is being triggered by a memo request from Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s chief buyer, to SecNav Ray Mabus.

“The review – outlined in the memo to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus from Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall – calls for the Office of the Secretary of Defense to take a closer look at key subsystems of the carrier that Kendall said could hamper the “schedule and performance” of Ford … “

This makes, what, about 900 reviews the Navy has conducted in the last year to investigate badly flawed programs.  If they truly need all these reviews then they have no idea what they're doing.  What has been the result of all these reviews?  In almost every case, no matter how flawed the subject, the recommendation and result is to stay the course.  What’s the point of reviews that don’t change anything?

Don’t we have an Admiral in charge of carriers?  Yes, we do!  Program Executive Officer (PEO) Aircraft Carriers for the Navy is RAdm. Thomas Moore.  He’s the guy with complete responsibility and authority for seeing to it that the Ford is progressing smoothly.  If things have gotten so bad that the Pentagon’s chief buyer has to mandate a review, shouldn’t we start by firing the PEO?  Where’s the accountability.  What’s that phrase?  “Not on my watch.”  Well, this has happened on his watch and he needs to be held accountable.

“What we have to determine now is whether it is best to ‘stay the course’ or adjust our plans, particularly for future ships of the class,” Kendall wrote, “The first step in that process has to be a completely objective and technically deep review of the current situation.”

The first step has to be a completely objective and technically deep review of the current situation??!  Are you freaking kidding me?  Shouldn’t a completely objective and technically deep review of the current situation be performed every day, if not every hour, in PEO’s office?  If we don’t have a completely objective and technically deep review of the current situation sitting on PEO’s desk, right this moment, and updated every hour, then PEO needs to be fired.

“The memo identified five areas the 60-day review will cover: propulsion and electrical system components, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), Advanced Arresting Gear, Dual Band Radar and Advanced Weapon Elevators.”

Are you freaking kidding me??!  We need 60 days to figure out what’s going on?  I’ll repeat, if PEO Moore hasn’t got an up-to-the-minute completely objective and technically deep review of the current situation sitting on his desk then he needs to be fired.  We don’t need 60 days – 60 minutes should suffice and should be about 59 minutes more than we need.  If we truly need 60 days, those 60 days should be dedicated to a Court Martial of PEO for dereliction of duty.

“With the benefit of hindsight, it was clearly premature to include so many unproven technologies in the Gerald R, Ford.” 

Are you freaking kidding me??!  Benefit of hindsight??!  Every blogger and commenter with a double digit IQ, and most of the ones with a single digit IQ, knew and stated that trying to incorporate so many non-existent technologies into a production ship would cause problems.  Aside from the incredibly obvious common sense that would preclude such a course of action, the history of the LCS and the F-35 should have made it clear that concurrency and the incorporation of non-existent technology is idiotic and leads inexorably to cost overruns and schedule delays.

RAdm. Moore - PEO Carriers - Fire Him!

Don’t try to ease the blame by claiming the problems only became visible with the benefit of hindsight.  Anyone and almost everyone saw this train wreck coming many years ago.  Only the idiots running the Navy failed to see it.  The rest of us saw this with absolute certainty and said so long ago.

So, what does the Navy think about the state of the Ford?

“Those new technologies, “compounded the inherent challenges of a first in class design,” Navy spokeswoman Capt. Thurraya Kent said in a Tuesday statement to USNI News.  “Consequently, a comprehensive test program, the most integrated and complex shipbuilding test program to date, was developed to address the integration of these technologies. This test program has proven to be highly effective at resolving many first-of-class ship issues through the testing of developmental systems onboard CVN-78 and proving the performance of these systems.””

The Navy is quite pleased, it appears.  The test program has proven to be “highly effective” at resolving issues, the Navy claims – so effective that the ship is only billions of dollars over cost and looking to be around two years overdue for commissioning.  Even better, the Navy has hinted that many of the new technologies will be non-functional when the ship is commissioned.  Isn’t a commissioned ship supposed to be ready to fight?

This is the Navy’s idea of “highly effective”?  This is the Navy’s idea of how to run an acquisition program?  This is the Navy’s idea of sound project management?  This is the Navy’s idea of cost control? 

Are you freaking kidding me?

The Navy is in absolute denial.  People at the top need to be fired for this.

The Detroit Lions, long time joke of the National Football League for their perennial losing ways, once had a coach named Darryl Rogers in the mid-1980's.  After a few dismal losing seasons, he was frustrated, depressed, and wanted out.  He disgustedly remarked to a reporter, "What does a coach have to do around here to get fired?"

What does an Admiral in the Navy have to do to get fired?


(1)USNI News website, “Pentagon Conducting New Review of Gerald R. Ford Carrier Program”, Sam LaGrone, 30-Aug-2016,


  1. """"“Those new technologies, “compounded the inherent challenges of a first in class design,”"""

    There is a big part of the problem right here, they stuff a bunch of brand new equipment which is rushed into production into a new ship and they get the problems such a policy creates.

    They should hunt down the first person who used the word "transformational" at the Pentagon and shoot him and put his head on the front door as a warning to others

    1. That's generally credited to Rumsfeld.

    2. They were not rushed into production. They were tested ashore for years and failed to reliably function, by wide margins. But they went ahead and installed them on the Ford anyway!

    3. Forgive me because this is a little bit of semantics but any system that is not ready but is put into production anyway is, by definition, rushed. Rushed means it wasn't ready.

      EMALS, AAG, Dual Band Radar, etc. were all rushed into production.

      As I said, forgive me. It doesn't change any conclusion and is more a semantics nitpick.

  2. " What’s the point of reviews that don’t change anything?"

    To provide political cover and look like you're doing something.

    14 billion dollars. Or, put into perspective, around 6-7 Flt II 'Burkes. And that's just the cost so far.

    "This test program has proven to be highly effective at resolving many first-of-class ship issues through the testing of developmental systems onboard CVN-78 and proving the performance of these systems.”

    Okay. Bold claim. Lets take other major Navy projects; say, nuclear propulsion in Submarines and Aegis.

    Did their test plans fare better or worse than what is happening with the 14 Billion dollar Ford?

    And, at the end, did those ships move the dial in terms of combat capabilities?

    When Ford is commissioned, if it can become fully combat capable, its still slinging Superhornets off its decks. Is it really going to be over twice better than the Nimitz that preceded it?

  3. The Navy’s problem is that it not only has little appreciation for the Program Management World – it has less comprehension that the road betwixt Engineering Development’s (now used) CADD models and Manufacturing is hardly a straight line. It is anything but a 1 to 1 relationship. How many times have I heard (Development / Design) Engineers absurdly state, “Why can’t they just build it as we designed it?” One stared at me with an incredulous look when I tried to explain to him an Engineering Development provided Bill of Materials was of almost no value to the Production World – rarely, if ever, can anything be produced or assembled in the sequence of an Engineering Bill of Materials. Some will, but most don’t grasp the production process and have no interest in learning about it or trying to understand it.

    And, this idea / concept that one can use a CADD environment to successfully simulate testing versus an actual prototype is sheer nonsense. No one can sufficiently systematize all the variables of the real world – especially when we are making radical changes in methods used such as going from Steam Catapults to EMALS. They rely on the CADD Models and computer based simulated testing environments and afterwards race forward into a full blow production commitment. And, of course, they never stop changing the Requirement Specs.

    Eccentric as he was and despite many disagreeing with his operating or design views, there are very few Engineering Oriented Flag Officers of the caliber of Admiral Rickover who can successfully lead and manage the major redesign of Ship / Boat technology and then have the personality to see it carried through. Like him or not, he fortunately for the Navy overall succeeded. Given the increase in technical complexity of the systems on today’s ships and planes—the Navy needs more Flags like him. He succeeded many more time then he failed.

    The only consolation (?) is that the Navy had similar failures in past decades -- ever see the F7U Cutlass.

    1. This might be a question that requires a thesis but.....

      "rarely, if ever, can anything be produced or assembled in the sequence of an Engineering Bill of Materials."


  4. I really think there are a few good guys in the Pentagon that are going to take action, bypassing the corrupt Navy. They are probably leaving with Obama next year, so why not do some good? Note they blame Rumsfeld, that evil Republican, who left DoD 10 years ago! I love it. So after the Nov. election, something will happen.

    They are unable to fix the launch system, and something like 1 out of 300 result in a "soft launch" compared to 1 in 200,000 with steam. Here is a great video of a rare carrier "cold cat launch."

  5. "What does an Admiral in the Navy have to do to get fired?"
    Miss his SHARP class.

  6. I am pessimistic that this will lead to any real change. More likely just some cosmetic reform.

    The problem with EMALS seems to be inherent to the design. If so, then the carrier is fatally flawed and the entire class should be halted.

    1. EMALS has its problems but the AAG seems to be a major problem as in, it just doesn't work. EMALS works though not well and not reliably. AAG has a fundamental engineering flaw(s) and is the technology I'm more concerned about.

    2. Either way, the carrier is having difficulty with its most basic function - launching and landing aircraft.

      Until both functions are proven to work reliable in combat conditions, the class should be halted. Otherwise, a class of white elephants is inevitable.

    3. Combined with the LCS class of white elephants, that would make up a sizable portion of the fleet!

  7. OT, but here is an interesting article about the latest from DOT&E:

  8. Hindsight appart. Clearly there have been ( at the very least ) some project management issues.

    On this count where are the corrective actions. The next(s) of class are on the way.

    If there are problems with tech what are the implications. Yes we have costly first of class issues but this is an ongoing project. Corrective actions are clearly implicated going forward if only in terms of timescales for ship 2 and 3 ???

    These reviews are therefore CLEARLY a PR exercise. And not worth the electrons they are transmitted on !

    Sorry. But thats how it seems.


  9. Out of curiosity, when was the last time a US admiral was fired for anything?

    In the RN there was of course the example of Admiral Byng, who was fired on rather than being fired: and Milne and Trowbridge sacked in 1914.

  10. Kimmel, of course, demoted after Pearl Harbor, with what justice I cannot say. Any demotions or firings for less spectacular disasters?


    Perhaps the sailors on the Bush should have a chat to Moore, currently the poor sods have wasted over a 100,000 man hours looking for an operational head.
    Oh, and just to tickle your fancy, repairs were carried out. From June 2015 to July 2016. The worlds most powerful ship, essentially, the worlds most powerful anything military, spent 13 months tied up trying to fix the shitters.
    Things are not looking good for USN.

  12. Scrap the EMALS and AAG, rebuild her from the waterline up and turn her into a BBGN!

  13. Uh, VADM Moore is now commander of NAVSEA, and PEO Carrier is RADM Antonio, formerly PEO LCS.

    1. I stand corrected. Thanks. I took Moore's name from SecNav.Navy.Mil website which, apparently, has not been updated.

      According to SecNav/mil site, PEO is Moore. Here's the link,

      PEO Moore

    2. The change was only in the past couple of months, but I thought that you would get a kick out of that change in leadership between this and the recent LCS breakdown.

    3. It doesn't change anything. Moore was in charge since 2011 so it's all on him. I certainly can't blame Antonio, at least not for the carrier mess. Typical, though, if someone has thoroughly messed up the LCS program, why not promote them to carriers? Insane!


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