Posts Tagged ‘Navy’

The fact the U.S. military serves as a social engineering sandbox for the civilian authorities in the three branches of government isn’t new. But now, the U.S. Navy and its handlers, led by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, have become the best of the best; the poster child of the poster children. The Navy has won the politically correct Golden Ticket.

Not content to merely support the DADT roll-away, the Secretary of the Navy is out naming ships for American heroes like John Murtha and trying to do the same for Caesar Chavez.

What’s next, the USS Alger Hiss? A fleet of Chevy Volts for all those on shore duty?

While the President may have directed the Global War on Terror be renamed Overseas Contingency Operations, and acts of terrorism are Administration-described as "man-made disasters" or the Fort Hood massacre as "workplace violence," there’s much more.

Now, it’s the Navy’s war on common sense and man-made intellectual disasters. How so? Instead of buying fuel at market prices, about $4 per gallon, the Navy has decided to buy 450,000 gallons of non-food biofuels — at a cost of $16 per gallon.

From the Fox News link above:

The purchase is being authorized by an executive order under the Obama administration’s "we can’t wait" campaign.

Administration officials gave no indication why they’re not going through Congress, instead using a program that was established to promote rapid job growth by bypassing congressional debate.

For those who think political correctness doesn’t exist (and sometimes drive things) in the military, think again.

 

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As a super-massive defense acquisition program, the F-35 carries with it a bummer of a birthmark: the program is so big that large chunks of funding and capability can be schwacked by the programmers and budgeteers.  This tends to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic perturbations to other military spending efforts.

As reported by Bill Sweetman at Aviation Week & Space Technology,

For the first time in the history of the Joint Strike Fighter program, a senior Pentagon appointee has raised the question of whether one of the three versions of the Lockheed Martin F-35 should be canceled to save money.

(Snip)

The instructions were included in a July 7 memo from [Navy Undersecretary Robert] Work… [who told] leaders to form a team to develop three alternative tactical aviation force structures, respectively representing cost savings of $5 billion, $7.5 billion and $10 billion across the future-years defense plan. Ultimately, Work expects to determine “the best value alternative, factoring in both cost and capability.”

“This relook must consider every plan and program,” Work wrote. “Even cuts to long-planned buys of JSF must be on the table.”

(Snip)

Under Work’s leadership, the Marines and the Navy signed an agreement in March under which the Marines would operate 80 [carrier-compatible] F-35Cs and 340 F-35Bs [the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing version].

Carrier-based UAVs and upgraded F/A-18E/F Super Hornets might lessen the warfighting impact of a reduced F-35 buy.

Last year, Work suggested in remarks to a Washington forum that forward basing and refueling on improvised airstrips—one of two pillars of the Marine case for the F-35B—would become much more hazardous in the presence of [Chinese] G-RAMM (guided rockets, artillery, mortars and missiles) threats.

I have seen the future and it will be (more and more) unmanned.

(image: flicker and check out thefarside.com as well) 

The Navy calls them unmanned surface vehicles (USVs).  They need another acronym because USVs could also be used to stand for unmanned sub-surface vehicles.

I have seen the future of warfare and… you know the rest.

Today’s contribution to the “no job is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it” files comes from David Axe.

The site is The Diplomat; the article is The Limits of China’s Fighters.

The story is focused on the Chinese J-15.  The background:

While outside observers have strongly suspected for several years that China intended to deploy the J-15 – an adaptation of the Russian Su-33 – aboard the PLAN’s first aircraft carrier Shi Lang, Chinese officials didn’t confirm it until last week.

(Snip)

It’s clearer than ever that the J-15 will inherit most of the Su-33’s limitations, particularly with regard to payload and range. As a result, Shi Lang could be highly vulnerable to foreign naval forces in combat.

The PLAN, not to be confused with The SITUATION, is the Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (OK, it’s kind of weird, but maybe something gets lost in translation?). 

Now as to the assertion that the carrier based J-15 could be vulnerable: it could well be true.  That is, unless the space-enabled Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile program first renders foreign (read U.S.) naval forces highly vulnerable themselves.  

Earlier, some ex-Navy and Marine Corps hands fired a budgetary shot across the bow in trying to make the case for more Navy in the country’s future.  The real agenda is this: to make a public case to cut the Navy and Marine Corps less than the other services.

An article at AOL Defense says the Navy must (and will) change and here’s why:

Although all U.S. service branches face this [budgetary] challenge, the Navy is feeling it the most acutely. In short, the Navy can’t afford the fleet assets it has today, and the cost to maintain them going forward is growing much more rapidly than the rate of inflation.

The article’s author, a Booz Allen Hamilton guy, suggests a non-traditional approach, acquiring weapons systems that are designed for affordability.  After all, what’s the use of a great weapon system if you can’t afford to operate, maintain, or train on it, let alone deploy it?  Historically the budget problem might result in more lobbying, more liaison with the legislators/staffs, a more full-court feel-good public affairs campaign, or just sitting back and taking the budgetary lumps.

The cost to operate and maintain our weapons systems is immense.  Assuming all else is equal (it isn’t but you have to start somewhere), consider the cost of nuclear deterrence as a for-example: is it cheaper to base nuclear weapons on rockets in the ground (ICBMs), in the air (bombers), or at sea (in submarines)?  While this rhetorical question is just part of the overall deterrence calculus, operating costs for all systems need increasing consideration as a “dependent variable.”

(Photo boredportal.com)

You can tell the Navy is concerned about the DoD budget battles by tracking their hired guns. 

When a former commandant of the Marine Corps, CNO, and Secretary of the Navy together put their names to an article asserting the future of national security is Navy-centric, its’ a shot across the bow.  So to speak.

Congratulations to all those friendly forces involved in the low-speed sea chase which culminated in an intercept and redirect of some missile technologies headed from North Korea to Myanmar.

However, it was a “rare victory”…

The extent of that trade [between North Korea and Myanmar] is unclear to American intelligence agencies…

…the ship was North Korean, but it was flagged in Belize [and when the Navy] caught up with the cargo ship and hailed it, asking to board the vessel under the authority given by Belize. Four times, the North Koreans refused

…the Americans did not have definitive proof of what was in the containers — and a mistake would have been embarrassing

[so] the White House was unwilling to forcibly board the ship in international waters, fearing a possible firefight

The challenges are great but it’s encouraging to see North Korea get busted.  Still, how many of their shipments make it through undetected?