We just discussed the joint Japanese, Royal Navy, US ASW exercise in which the US sent a single P-8 and one sub. Now, for the annual Sea Dragon ASW exercise, we’re sending four P-8s and one Los Angeles class sub. (1) The exercise begins on 14-Jan and ends 25-Jan.
On the plus side, that’s four times the commitment for the other joint exercise but, on the negative side, it’s a measly four P-8s – not much of an ASW commitment in a theatre in which ASW will play a major role in the event of war.
Again on the plus side, they’ll get to work against a live submarine. On the negative side, they’ll get to work a little bit against a live submarine and the rest of the time against a simulated sub, whatever that means. Seriously, we can’t even make an exercise that small an all-live exercise?
Slated to run 11 days, the exercise is “an exciting opportunity to ... focus on building anti-submarine warfare proficiency and increase warfighting lethality,” Capt. Brian Erickson, Commander of Task Force 72, was quoted as saying in a 7th Fleet news release. (1)
Capt. Erickson, can you tell me how an exercise with only four P-8s are going to build ‘anti-submarine warfare proficiency and increase warfighting lethality’? Is this an example of Navy officers who are so out of touch with reality that they really think exercising four P-8s will build our Pacific Fleet ASW capability or is the good Captain simply parroting what he’s been told to say, thereby demonstrating an utter lack of integrity and credibility?
I’ll ask the same question I asked in the previous ASW exercise post: what is the rest of the fleet so busy with that they can’t participate in training for, arguably, the most important aspect of Pacific theatre naval warfare?
This is becoming a recurring embarrassment.
CNO Richardson, are you even aware of what your fleet is and is not doing on a daily basis?
(1)Washington Post website, “Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea”, Christopher Bodeen, 14-Jan-2019,https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/recent-developments-surrounding-the-south-china-sea/2019/01/14/fa64f192-17ba-11e9-b8e6-567190c2fd08_story.html?utm_term=.830b189f20a8