A child wants to build a birdhouse but instead of starting with hand saws, files, and sandpaper, he wants to start with a power saw, router, and power sander. Instead of doing the hard work of mastering the fundamentals of woodworking and acquiring an appreciation for the craft, he wants to bypass all that and leap into the “easy” approach.
Now consider this,
“For the Navy in particular, with leadership looking for an exponential increase in fleet capability that comes faster and cheaper than the traditional approach of building more ships and planes, accelerated acquisition and innovative solutions to operational problems are an attractive approach.” (1)
Does that sound a lot like the birdhouse story? Instead of doing the hard work of mastering the fundamentals of seamanship, discipline, maintenance, and readiness to increase capability, the Navy wants to bypass all that and leap into the “easy” approach of magical “innovation” and technology.
“Faster and cheaper” - Well, we’ve seen repeatedly that nothing is “faster and cheaper”. The F-35 that was the cheap alternative to the F-22 wasn’t really cheaper, was it? The promise of computer designed ships didn’t make the LCS construction time faster, did it (it takes longer to build a LCS than a Burke – we posted this!)? Faster and cheaper didn’t work for the Ford or Zumwalt, did it?
So, have we learned a lesson? Nope. The Navy is determined to repeat their mistakes in pursuit of the illusory “faster and cheaper”.
Unlike the child who, hopefully, has a father who will force them to learn the fundamentals, the Navy is unrestrained and darts off on any attractive path that glitters.
There is no short cut for the hard work of mastering the fundamentals.
(1)USNI News website, “Navy Prioritizes Boosting Capability Above Growing Fleet Capacity; Stresses Innovation”, Megan Eckstein,