Friday, August 10, 2018

Their Lips Move

What’s the old joke?  How can you tell when the Navy is lying?  Answer - Their lips move.

If they’re speaking (or writing), they’re lying.  It’s become that simple.

The latest example is a Department of Defense Inspector General (IG) report (1) that states that the Navy fraudulently declared Initial Operational Capability for three mine countermeasures (MCM) components of the LCS MCM mission module.  The MCM components the IG reviewed are

  • AN/ASQ‑235 Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS)
  • Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS)
  • Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) Block I
Here’s the blunt statement of finding by the IG.

The Navy declared IOC for the three MCM mission package systems reviewed prior to demonstrating that the systems were effective and suitable for their intended operational uses.

Here’s what out and out fraud sounds like,

We [IG] determined that N95 declared IOC for the COBRA Block I to avoid requesting a sixth change to the IOC date that would further delay the delivery …

Note:  N95 is Major General David W. Coffman, USMC, Director, Expeditionary Warfare (N95)

The DOD-IG is not alone in criticizing the MCM’s ALMDS and AMNS components.  A June 2016 DOT&E (Director Operational Testing & Evaluation) report states,

… the MH-60S helicopter with the current ALMDS and AMNS units would not be operationally effective or suitable to conduct mine countermeasure operations.

“Not operationally effective or suitable”?????  That’s saying it’s useless.

What does all this mean?

As a result, the Navy has delivered units that have known performance problems to the fleet …

Since declaring IOC, the Navy has delivered two ALMDS, one AMNS, and one COBRA Block I units to the fleet with known performance problems …

So, despite all the problems, the Navy is knowingly and intentionally fielding flawed equipment.  This violates the trust of the nation and the trust of the sailors in the fleet.  CNO Richardson needs to be relieved for loss of confidence in his ability to command.


(1)Department of Defense, Inspector General, “Acquisition of the Navy’s Mine Countermeasures Mission Package”, Report No. DODIG-2018-140, 25-Jul-2018


  1. When is this Maj Gen retiring? Is he banned from working for Defense Contractors for life?

    Being a retired Marine and an Acquisition Professional, I vote for a Court Martial on charges of Fraud, whatever misappropriation charges are appropriate, AND conduct unbecoming an officer.

    Maybe, JUST MAYBE in a Court, he would expose all of the MICC pressures that led him to do this. Then maybe something could be done to reform the system. Not a redemption but at least a start.

    Criminal, just Criminal.

    1. Its interesting that OPNAV 94 is Chief of Naval Research/Director, Innovation Technology Requirements and Test & Evaluation .
      So his equal ranked colleague has oversight of T&E.
      That could be the problem, T&E doesnt outrank the individual development warfare Directors and they all report to OPNAV N9

  2. Familiar story

    PMS 420 claimed Increment 1 & 2: Gun Mission Module (GMM {GD Land Systems Mk 46 mod 2 30 mm canon} and Maritime Security Module (MSM) – Completed IOT&E in APR 2014 on USS Forth Worth (LCS 3); Achieved IOC in NOV 2014.

    March 2017 awarded $69M, possible $812M, contract to Northrop Grumman for the GMM to begin development testing on LCS 5 USS Milwaukee that would culminate in operational testing and initial operational capability in 2018.

  3. It makes total sense to tolerate unsatisfactory modules if the true intent is to have many ship hulls that justify many officer jobs and career opportunities and provide much prestige.
    I blogged about the toxic effects of the well-known principal-agent-problem and Niskanen's budget-optimising bureaucrat (two economic model) on armed bureaucracies.

    The only way to get such self-serving bureaucracies back on track to serve the nation first and foremost is stern and effective exogenous (civilian) leadership that does understand the issue and does not adopt the bureaucracies' interests as its own.

    The United States are incredibly far away from achieving such a difficult thing, and the first step towards it would be to overcome the idolization of the armed services amonog the civilians.

  4. Illegal/unethical obfuscation without check is what it is. IG reports are documentation only. No one takes action unless directed by the top after deliberate decision avoidance and more "teaming".

    If you do this enough and work for the government in acquisition you eventually become numb and then you are promoted to do it more. What they on the inside call "leadership" and being "clever". Clever is big nowadays..



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