The chickens…

Are coming home to roost…

The Navy has admitted it cannot maintain AND upgrade all the ships currently on the books. Sequestration has come back to bite the congresscritters where they live… The Obama/Biden limits and the Dems refusal to cooperate with Trump has crippled the Navy Fleet through deferred maintenance, skipped upgrades, and lack of support for shipyard time to conduct the work, pushing ‘much’ of it back on reduced manning crews.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is considering requiring the U.S. Navy to better defend its requests to retire ships before the end of their expected service lives.


With tight budgets during a decade of sequestration-related limits, and now with expected flat defense spending in the coming years, the Navy has made many requests to retire existing ships — which cost money to operate, maintain, man, arm and more — and free up money for other priorities, such as developing more modern weapons and platforms.

Full article, HERE, from Defense News.

As usual, this was the ‘Peace Plan’, at the end of the cold war. “We don’t need no ‘stinkin Navy eating our budget. There isn’t any requirement for all those ships now that we’re at peace with everybody”, yada, yada, yada, no study of history, or listening to the Intel folks.

I know a number of years ago, the determination was made that the Navy would ‘no longer’ plan on one major and two minor conflicts at the same time, as there were not ships/personnel available to ‘meet’ the requirements of the basic plans, much less any surge capability.

And now it’s even worse, and NOT getting any better, even as the congresscritters ‘try’ to point fingers at the Navy, saying it’s all THEIR FAULT… As the Russians and Chinese make MAJOR moves into various locations.



The chickens… — 22 Comments

  1. The main problem with treating national defense as a game is that there is no way to quit the game, once it turns against the player.
    We still have to defend our shores, and, as we live in a nation with unwalled cities, and an essentially open border due to clear blue skies above, defending our shores sometimes means going somewhere else. And, as much as this former Army Spec-5 hates to admit it, the ONLY way we have of getting the massive amounts of bullets and beans from here to there is water transport. And how would we go about defending the water transport? Hmmmm….

  2. When the Navy cancels all future LCS acquisitions and sends all the existing ones to the breakers, then we’ll know they’re serious about spending money wisely. Until then, well, we have a navy that can’t make a 6″ gun work, and downsized the FREMM’s reliable 76mm to a 57mm.

  3. Hmm. I’m not convinced. Sequestration was a bad bill but the only way to get spending cuts through Democrats who have no interest in spending cuts (setting aside for now that many Republicans have no interest in spending cuts). The sequestration bill, however, exempted some of the biggest programs, like Social Security and others, undermining it’s goal of actually reducing spending. The military and other programs have since, however, been given immense amounts of money under emergency spending authorizations in the past nine years since this act. When I see, as McChuck pointed out, significant dollars spent on the LCS and other wasteful and failed programs (transgender surgery? diversity training?) instead of maintenance and operational training I wonder if this is a case of shifting blame to excuse the leadership. They knew, starting in 2013, that they would need to be more efficient. It appears that they didn’t figure out how to wisely spend what they did have.

    And keeping in mind, of course, that one job of managers is to make the case for more money for their department. It is always a crisis when the managers are making their budget requests. “This budget will lead to more crime, longer response times for fire trucks, bodies in the streets, homeless children, untrained Navy crews, etc” is SOP for budgeting requests.

    So again, color me skeptical, especially given the ongoing public displays of incompetence by the top brass of the military over the past decade or more.

  4. Hmmm, let’s see: Next very potential hotspot could very well be the South China Sea and/or defending Taiwan, the Phillipines, and possibly Vietnam. So, sure, let’s cripple the Navy. We won’t need them that much

  5. Regretfully I have to agree with McChuck. The Navy has done such a poor job of specifying/designing/building/fielding/manning the platforms, surface and air, that they have tried to bring to operational readiness that they really have no one to blame but themselves. And it isn’t like many smart people (read CDR Salamander for instance) who have been raising this flag for decades. As a (very old) retiree who spent some time at NAVAIR, our Navy hasn’t been good at fielding new systems for a long time. And I see nothing on the horizon that will improve the system, sadly.

  6. And to top it off, the vaccine mandate will drive personnel out of the Officer corps, Enlisted will accept discharge from their contracts, Civilians will transition out of their jobs, and DoD Contractors will lose employees.
    Hell of a way to cut the Budget…

  7. Slightly O/T but on topic, the Navy is cutting base libraries and the auto hobby shops. Our Fleet is now smaller than what showed up in Okinawa in 1945 yet we have more Admirals than we did during World War II with over 6700 hulls in water.

    Fire 33% of the flag officers and 15% of the O-6 to pay for MWR.

  8. My thesis at the “Armor Officer’s Advanced Course” was on our participation in the Korean war.
    We got pushed all the way to Pusan at the very Southern tip of the peninsula before we could begin to mount a defense.
    History means NOTHING to these lemmings. What was it the smart guy said? “In times of peace, prepare for war.”

  9. Yes, the politics here has a long lead time, so we cannot safely ignore it now until we get other things sorted out.

    At the same time, there are fundamental political issues here, that throw off the old understanding of the funding politics.

    First, the morons in Congress have chosen to boogaloo. So, the old calculus of funding that includes pork for all of the existing districts may no longer hold. Because peacefully moving past the crisis of potential boogaloo will probably require addressing the apparent deeply entrenched fraud.

    At my work place, I overheard a management discussion snippet that mentioned who was going to be on which committee in x years. Okay, maybe that is the best planning that can be done now, but one of the ways it can matter is if there is a way out of the current level of crisis without hanging most of Congress.

    Secondly, you apparently haven’t fully realized how badly Afghanistan is going to hurt the politics of /all/ Federal military funding.

    A Naval officer may point out that the /Navy’s/ funding requests aren’t going to an inventory of tanks that the public can expect to be abandoned to a future ‘ally’ turned adversary.

    Issue is, you have to have ships that can travel to foreign controlled ports to have an active Navy. A future Biden could transfer naval hardware in a similar way to the Afghanistan transfer of Army, etc., hardware.

    Yes, foreign adversaries can’t necessarily assemble the human infrastructure to use that hardware as well as we can. OTOH, the ability for the taxpayers to have the use of the hardware depends on how loyal those humans are to the taxpayers.

    Possibly there is a path to having taxpayer/voter support for a level of funding that allows for a desirable level of capabilities. Possibly this could even be done without hanging a lot of politicians, officers, bureaucrats, retired officer/defense contractors and even academics. However, so long as we know that the officers and bureaucrats responsible have not been blacklisted from the defense industry, we will be skeptical of a defense bureaucracy that insists on funding such a defense industry. And it is the voters and taxpayers with the closest ties to defense that should understand this best.

  10. McC is not wrong, but he left out one ‘little’ piece of that equation. The congresscritters won’t LET the Navy kill LCS because their districts would lose jobs. Re procurement, I saw that up close and personal for a dozen years. Flawed does NOT begin to describe the process, much less the time lag. 12-15 years to field even ‘minor’ systems, killing successful programs to ‘penalize’ certain groups/congcrits/locations, etc.

    • It is established law and precedent that just because Congress authorizes spending, does not mean the Executive must actually spend the money. One election cycle of refusing to spend a dime on the idiotic projects, and Congress will get the message. And the Navy would still save money, because they wouldn’t have to maintain or crew these abominations. And they could eventually get some useful ships into the pipeline. Maybe even some new shipyards and drydocks (infrastructure) for future need.

  11. This has been obvious for years as our steel ships show up looking like they’ve been rescued from the breakers and reports come out every year that “1/3rd of the (insert vehicle/weapon system) is non-functional at the end of the fiscal year.”

    And I agree with eliminating a good portion of the admirals/generals. Only problem is that if that is tried now, the only ones to go would be the few competent ones left.

    The Navy’s issues were evident during the multiple collisions with shipping that occurred back in 2016/2017. The problem? Broken equipment, lack of training and snit-fits between various officers. Solution? None. Zip. Nada. Not a return to ship handling skills and a full bridge watch in crowded waters, no. Just a bunch of fingerpointing and covering up for incompetents and petty jealousies and outright illegal and immoral activity.

    It’s 9-11 all over again (referring to the interceptors launched to down the missing airliner that WEREN’T ARMED and would have to ram the plane, which, fortunately, went down in Pennsylvania.) That’s how bad much of our forces are.

    More concerned with muslim outreach and diversity politics and dumbing down everything to the lowest denominator while conducting full-scale pogroms against white hetero men.

    Don’t know how we’re going to survive. Don’t know if we deserve to survive.

  12. Call it what it is. Defense “spending” is workfare for vast numbers of people and has little to do with the boots on the ground (or aboard vessels) IMO. An example from the past was the Army switching from the still relevant 1911 to something else (1985). A general testifying before Congress complained about the length and expense of the process. Calling the sidearm the least important weapon in the Army arsenal, he said he could walk into a Cabela’s and rearm the service for a fraction of what had already been spent.

  13. I spent 8 years of my AF time in 33 holes in the ground, and only two of them still exist as historical sites. One’s in Arizona (Titan Missile Museum; big); the other one is under Whiteman AFB, MO (smallllll).

  14. The LCS disaster is well-known but never referenced by those in power. I can only speak of the competence of the navigation watch on board navy ships, which is STILL 100% wrong and faulty even after the collisions, relief for cause, and bad press. I can’t add anything to the number of brass relative to the poor job they’re doing, either. I can speak to the navy’s atrocious bridge skills, though, and the next crisis, which is the impending sealift disaster.

    The US navy can’t drive boats. Period. They suck at it, and worse, the enlisted who collect information and handle mundane tasks as part of the bridge management team lack agency, being treated as feral parrots. I sure do love having to wait until a close-quarters situation develops to have a bitchy 25-year old LT with no sea time try to make passing arrangements that should have been agreed on before they were even in visual range. The arrogance and incompetence is, worse, joined by utter ignorance. We can’t even bitch them out on the VHF for being hazards to navigation because they’re too damn stupid and ignorant of the nav rules to know that they’re stupid and ignorant of the nav rules. I don’t know what they teach at the Prick Factory in Annapolis, but it sure isn’t anything resembling seamanship.

    Not that I have any strong feelings about it or anything. And in the Straits of Florida last year I totally didn’t tell some sultry-sounding female radio operator who couldn’t get in touch with an officer on her own ship that she had a sexy voice but her OOW was a fatherless shoemaker.

    The other, more serious point is that the Military Sealift Command, the guys who carry beans and bullets, is in a REALLY bad way, with less than 40% of the sealift fleet currently on-schedule in terms of readiness goals and maintenance while laid up. The massive failure of last years Turbo Activation (a 5-day activation for ships that are slated to be able to sail on command) where under 50% of all ships met the goal of leaving the dock (and 2 had plant failures the same day). The average age of Sealift ships is approaching 50 years. The ships are small, of questionable seaworthiness given their age (The El Faro, the old and unseaworthy ship that sank a few years ago and killed 30 sailors, is newer than many MSC ships), and of questionable utility, given that most were made to transport only rolling or break-bulk cargo, in the era of modularized cargo transport.

    Over a dozen sealift ships are steam-powered. There are only 2-3 steam-powered US merchant ships left, making crewing unlikely. Chief Engineer of Steam vessels Unlimited licenses can’t be had without steam experience.
    This years activation exercise also highlighted that there aren’t enough merchant mariners to crew the MSC fleet without federalizing crusty old boogers like me.

    Last I heard, the navy needs an additional 30+ sealift ships immediately. The plan is to buy Chinese and Korean-made merchant ships and refit them, eventually. Maybe. Except that there is a global shortage of ships, and nobody is selling their existing ships.

  15. My teeny two-cents-worth: around 1976, BUPERS decided that one sailor was sufficient to fill a critical role 7/24 on the USS Constellation CV-64. When my immediate superior, the other guy who did what we did, left, I was it. Did you know that after 72 hours with 3 hours sleep you start to see bats and rats in a space where only you and your O-3 have a key? Navy admin eff-ups are SOP. God help us now ’cause the fu***** politicians won’t. And my VA doctor thinks I have insufficient reason to drink excessively…

  16. Hey Old NFO;

    God I miss the competence of the 1980’s, where we had people that knew what the hell they were doing before they were run off by “The Peace Dividend”. We are so gonna get our ass handed to us if we get into it be a near peer force, because of the PC crap warfighting is no longer stressed.

    • The only thing we can hope for is that the Communist Chinese have a history of winning only against other Chinese. It was the Nationalist Chinese who fought and pretty much beat the Japanese in China. It was the Vietnamese who have handed Commie China their colectivist asses twice. It was friggin Indians with pieces of lumber and rocks who beat the Commie Chinese back so badly the Commie Chinese couldn’t lie about it. It was the Peruvians and Chileans who sank wholesale numbers of ChiCom fishing vessels.

      The ChiComs have ‘won’ against the Christian Chinese. ‘Won’ against the Urghars. ‘Won’ against Hong Kong. ‘Won’ against Falun Gong. ‘Won’ against the intellectuals and scholars during the Cultural Revolution. ‘Won’ against the students and democracy-seeking young people in Tiananmen Square. ‘Won’ against the open capitalists recently during the quiet takedown of several large openly capitalistic (and not owned by the Chinese Party or the Chinese Army) companies.

      The one time they technically ‘won’ against the US was when one of their planes rammed one of ours and our plane had to land PDQ, sadly, in Communist China.

      Other than that? When has Communist China won? Maybe during one of the border skirmishes against the old Soviet Union (which they ‘won’ by being closer to supply lines and having overwhelming numbers and still almost got their commie asses handed to them.

      Against the US of A? Lost during the Boxer Rebellion (which was kinda the start of Communist China.) Lost during the active phase of the Korean conflict. Lost during the ‘warlord’ period against ‘warlords’ and nascent ascendant Chinese Communists.

      If that feckless womanizing bastard ‘Wheels’ Roosevelt and his pet socialist State Department hadn’t supported the ChiComs during WWII, this all might have not happened at all.

      So, to finalize, the Communist Chinese have no history of winning any war (except maybe Tibet, and that’s like the US invading Greenland and taking it over) other than internally. No matter how much Hollyweird and ChiComhollyweird wish to portray the Chinese Communists as victorious against the lower kingdoms.

      (Yes, the ChiComs consider themselves the middle kingdom of humans who stand between the upper kingdoms of celestial beings and the lower kingdoms full of human-animal hybrids and other lesser races.

      No. Not kidding. Seriously, they think themselves better than anyone else and think we all owe them for being so superior. Even though even the Tibetans handed them their asses before being overwhelmed.)

  17. All- Thanks for the comments, and frankly, I’m GLAD I don’t have to go to sea with them anymore… PCism has gone a long way toward killing (literally in some cases) sailors at the alter of ‘equality and promotion opportunities’…

  18. CDRSalamander has summed up many of the problems with the current fleet:
    1. Not enough ships for the mission.
    2. Not enough money for maintenance. See #1.
    3. Not enough staff to support #1 and #2.
    4. An aging fleet.

    If I were in charge, I would expand FFX (FREMM seems a good choice), order a bunch of Burkes and Tico’s, and implement Ringo’s Spanish Inquisition wrt basic ship handling, rules of the road, and navigation.

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