With possibly a single exception, not even the most ardent supporter of the LCS still believes the program accomplished what it set out to do. In short, it’s a failure. Beating that dead horse is not the point of this post. Instead, let’s recall who the LCS’ biggest supporter was and who may be the single exception I referred to. That person was Bob Work, now Deputy Secretary of Defense. The man made outrageous claims that the LCS was the greatest warship in the world. He flatly stated that the Navy got the ship it wanted, with the capabilities it wanted, at the price it wanted. He demonized critics and cowed supporters. In short, he was Adm. Rickover if Rickover had been completely wrong.
So, after championing one of the biggest failures of the Navy, Mr. Work has been rewarded with a new position as Deputy Secretary of Defense. That alone is scary. Worse, Mr. Work is, apparently, taking charge of the so-called Third Offset strategy which will, he claims, maintain our military edge over a resurgent
and Russia . China
Think about this. The man who championed the biggest failure in recent Navy times is now setting the military’s path for the next few decades? Is this wise? Is there any reason to believe that the man’s zealous backing of an epic failure is now going to produce a viable and successful result with an unproven and questionable approach to future warfare?
Still worse is that Mr. Work’s demonstrated demonization of opposition speaks poorly for the possibility of legitimate debate about the course he is attempting to place the military on. The Third Offset’s dependence on networks, unmanned vehicles, data sharing, etc. are all highly suspect and, at the very least, deserve close scrutiny before we irreversibly commit to them. Unfortunately, that type of scrutiny and debate is exactly what Mr. Work is famous for discouraging.
It is truly frightening how quickly and completely the military seems to have rolled over and acquiesced to this path. Meanwhile, Russia, China, and, seemingly, every other country in the world is frantically developing heavy armor, more powerful artillery, stealth aircraft, advanced SAM systems, armored amphibious capabiity, advanced submarines, extensive mine warfare capability, supersonic cruise missiles, intermediate range ballistic missiles, etc. In short, the rest of the world is rapidly developing the means to blow things up faster and more efficiently while we develop networks, operate green fleets, and factor climate change into our military planning.
Is the man who was so thoroughly wrong about the LCS the man to be setting the military’s future? I don’t think so.