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Author Topic: Mabus: Maintaining American Sea Power  (Read 1213 times)

Offline Triton

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Mabus: Maintaining American Sea Power
« on: February 25, 2015, 03:31:30 pm »
Wasn't sure if this should be posted in "The Bar" or "Military." Since Secretary of the Navy is a political appointment, I reasoned that "The Bar" would be less controversial.

Opinion "Maintaining American Seapower"

By: Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy
February 25, 2015 7:00 AM • Updated: February 25, 2015 8:56 AM


Facing an increasing array of threats and demands even as our budgetary situation grows more challenging, it is clear that the Navy and Marine Corps team offers the best value to advance both our global security and economic interests.

Uniquely, the Navy and Marine Corps provide presence around the world, around the clock. We are the nation’s first line of defense, ready for any challenge on the horizon. Presence means we respond faster; remain on station longer; carry everything we need with us; and do whatever missions our nation’s leaders assign us without needing anyone else’s permission.

America was born a maritime nation, and we have always known that its success depends on an exceptional Navy and Marine Corps. Article I of the U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to “raise” armies when needed, but directs it to “provide and maintain a navy.” From the first six frigates to our growing Fleet of today, from Tripoli to Afghanistan, sailors and Marines have proved the Founders’ wisdom. American leaders across the political spectrum have understood the vital significance of sea power.

Nearly half the world’s population lives within 60 miles of the sea; 90 percent of global trade goes by sea; and 95 percent of all voice and data transfer occurs via cable under the ocean. The shelves of our stores are stocked with products from all over the globe. Some 38 million American jobs are directly linked to seaborne international trade. For seven decades, the Navy and Marine Corps have been the primary protectors of maintaining open sea lanes and freedom of commerce, giving rise to an international trade system that has created unprecedented economic growth and helped deter major conflict.

To provide the presence needed to maintain that system, and to meet the demands of a national defense strategy that clearly is focused on the maritime domain—with its emphasis on a rebalance to the Pacific—we need to maintain our investment in maritime assets.

The presence that the Navy and Marine Corps uniquely deliver, and our influence around the world together are built on four foundations: people, platforms, power and partnerships. Those are the keys to the capability, capacity, and success of our naval services. They remain my top priorities.

Tomorrow I’ll be on Capitol Hill to talk with the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense about the Navy and Marine Corps posture, readiness, and budget for next year. Overall the president’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget balances current readiness necessary to execute assigned missions while sustaining a highly capable Fleet, all within a tough fiscal climate. That climate demands the most rigorous examination of every dollar we spend, and aggressive efforts to cut unnecessary costs.

For the past few years the Department of the Navy has attempted to minimize the impact of an uncertain budgetary environment that has been marked by numerous continuing resolutions, the imposition of sequester-level funding, and the threat of the return of sequestration. That environment has made it more difficult—but even more critical—to set priorities and make hard choices.

We remain committed to providing our sailors, Marines, and our civilians with the training and support they need to maintain our naval presence—and we include in that their dedicated families and our wounded veterans. We’ve launched a comprehensive approach to assure the world’s healthiest, most resilient and best-educated force, and we are exploring innovative means to improve recruitment and retention.

But our personnel, as good as they are, cannot do their jobs without platforms. Providing presence—being where we are needed, when we are needed—requires ships, submarines, aircraft, and attendant equipment. Quantity has a quality all its own. That means we must have a properly sized and balanced fleet.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the Navy’s battle force stood at 316 ships. By 2008, our Fleet had declined to 278 ships. America’s focus on two ground wars only partly explains the decline. In the five years before I assumed this position, the Navy contracted for just 27 ships, not enough to stop the slide in the size of the Fleet. In my first five years in office we contracted for 70 ships, halting and reversing that decline. By the end of the decade, our Fleet will once again top 300 ships.

Without the right fleet, the Navy and Marine Corps will not be able to meet the demand placed on them by their need to respond to world events. In the face of budgetary uncertainty, cutting ships is the most damaging and least reversible course of action, which is why I am committed to preserving shipbuilding.

Fueling the ships, aircraft, and vehicles of our Navy and Marine Corps is a vital operational concern and enables our global presence. That’s why the Navy has a history of innovation, especially in energy. We led the shift from sail to steam and steam to oil, and the U.S. Navy pioneered nuclear-power propulsion.

Over the past six years the fuels market has seen incredible price volatility. New domestic sources are reducing our reliance on foreign oil, but cannot stop the wild price fluctuations. At the same time, the competition for power and energy and the use of fuel as an economic weapon remains a critical international security issue. Our national security interests, and the ability of the Navy and Marine Corps to meet their missions, must be enhanced by increasing their energy diversity and efficiency.

Maintaining presence and advancing global security must also be augmented through partnerships. Cooperation helps make us more effective, diffuses tensions, and reduces misunderstandings. While we commonly lead efforts around the world, we work closely with allies and partners to increase interoperability and establish relationships that help keep the peace.

Whenever America has called, the Navy and Marine Corps have always been there. In order to ensure that we continue to provide the naval force that our nation’s leaders and the American people expect, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Chief of Naval Operations, and I will work together with Congress to “maintain” our great Navy and Marine Corps. Because in the words of President Theodore Roosevelt “A good navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace.”
« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 03:33:55 pm by Triton »

Offline NeilChapman

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Re: Mabus: Maintaining American Sea Power
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 06:17:30 pm »

I did a cursory search to determine whether an appropriate topic existed prior to posting. 

The recommendation to not proceed with the refueling and complex overhaul of the the Truman engenders many questions for me.  I'd like to lay out my thoughts followed by 'Chapman's Unsubstantiated Opinion.'

1.  Why

Does the Navy feel that having $20 billion and a 15 year replacement timeline too much risk in a single platform?
  CUO.  No, they're buying two Ford-class carriers.  Although that could be a political decision
           based on continued ship-building capacity that really wouldn't make any sense.

Does the Navy feel that aircraft carriers are not the 'value' they once were?
  CUO.  No, they're buying two Ford-class carriers.

Has the Navy determined that 12 carriers are not required?
  CUO.  There's not enough data to support a conclusion at this time. 

Is there an existential risk perceived in the near future that is mitigating this decision?
  CUO.  Possibly.  Given Russian and PRC forays into land grabs there is an understanding
           that the stick is not big enough.  Mattis' push for aircraft availability and SecState
           reaffirmation of the US commitment to the PI are telling.  It's also telling
           that the DoD is after quantity; ships, manpower (pilots), and airframes.  If
           nothing else, increasing aircraft production numbers takes years.  F-35 is about
           at full rate production in the next year or so.  If you're anticipating possible attrition
           with a near-peer battle, you'll want other factories and subs (F-18, F-15) not
           producing 1 or 2 per month.  You'd want time to get that production up to a
           much higher rate.  Perhaps a push to higher B-21 production rates as well?
           We know there will be a new frigate as well as a large surface combatant.  We know
           there is a request for 3 subs and 3 destroyers and the last shipbuilding plan didn't
           even show shipyard capacity for a 3rd sub.

Does a perceived existential risk require the redirection of $5-6 billion over the next few years (and perhaps 30 billion over 25 years) to other platforms to 'buy down' that risk?
  CUO.  The PRC is building ships quickly.  They are also securing footholds in ports around
            the globe.  Quantity has a quality all its own.

Are there 'other' technologies that are transforming the calculus?  e.g. low cost satellites, potential rapid (~40 minute) transport around the globe (SpaceX Starship for example), lasers, etc.
  CUO.  There's not enough data to support a conclusion at this time.

Is the maintenance backlog such that freeing up a dry-dock and 4000 workers for 3-4 years is more important than an additional carrier?
  CUO.  In general terms, could see where the extra manpower could be used to support
           new construction as well as maintenance backlogs.  There may be factors specific
           to RCOH's that limit the utility of workers between the different work requirements.
           I would like to understand how the drydock specified for the RCOH could/would be
           used in the absence of the Truman.

Does the Navy feel that Nimitz-class carriers do not provide adequate lethality given the 'facts on the ground'?
  CUO.  It seems possible there is potential for greater self-protection Ford-class carriers given
           their advanced power generation.  Reporting seems to suggest this is just about
           money.  Mattis' was definitely pragmatic.

Does the Ford-class, with its greater power generation, presumably higher sortie rate, and potential for self-defense, provide the level of lethality required in the supposed A2AD environment?
   CUO.  ???

2.  Is it legal?

While this is a recommendation by the executive branch.  There is law that says the US must maintain 11 carriers.  Are there not other Nimitz class carriers expected to retire in the next 5 years?

3.  Is it likely?

Will DoD be able to make a cogent case for Congress such that they will go along with this plan? 
  CUO.  My gut tells me probably not. I think it's unfortunate that Mattis is not available
           to make the case for this decision.


It seems to me that DoD under Mattis had made up its mind on the 'path forward.'  I expect it was a weighted decision based on a number of factors.  I'd be interested to hear what is thought about how this decision was reached.


Offline NeilChapman

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Re: Mabus: Maintaining American Sea Power
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2019, 09:31:56 pm »
Reporting re:the F-15CE/X proposal.  The numbers, 8 in 2020 and 18 each in 21-24, don't reinforce my 'quantity' speculation at 1.5 airframes per month.  It is maintaining a 'quantity' of producers which evidently mattered to Mattis.  Will/Should increase availability numbers.  Speculated that F-15 could be platform to launch hypersonics?

« Last Edit: March 26, 2019, 12:16:04 pm by NeilChapman »

Offline NeilChapman

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Re: Mabus: Maintaining American Sea Power
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2019, 09:34:19 pm »
Tom Modly, the under secretary of the US Navy, discusses the service's new Educating for Seapower or E4S plan to improve officer and enlisted education to grow more strategic, thoughtful leaders as the critical advantage in great power competition and fields questions

There are some interesting ideas proposed.

« Last Edit: April 03, 2019, 06:59:51 pm by NeilChapman »

Offline NeilChapman

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Re: Mabus: Maintaining American Sea Power
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2019, 08:31:50 pm »

Some of the top acquisition priorities for the Marine Corps to prevail against the emerging security threats are maintaining the ability to command and control a naval expeditionary force in a degraded electronic environment and acquiring air defense capabilities against unmanned aerial systems, senior officials said April 4.
Berger noted that the 2020 budget includes “cancellation of some legacy systems in order to upgrade others.”

To deal with the rapidly growing threat of armed unmanned aerial systems (UAS), Berger emphasized the new Ground/Air Tactical Oriented Radar, as “a huge advance for us in identifying and tracking targets. … Plus, it’s expeditionary.”

He also cited the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System, being fielded in “very limited quantities.” It is “an integrated, modular package” that can be mounted on two small vehicles and includes sensors, controls and an electronic attack system to disable small UASs.

Offline NeilChapman

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Re: Mabus: Maintaining American Sea Power
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2019, 03:43:25 pm »
Another view on what to do with Truman

When the cost of keeping a capital ship in active service exceeds the amount the country is willing to pay, the smartest move is to lay it up—striking the middle ground between shouldering the monetary burden and retirement of a valuable asset. Defueling the Truman and putting her in a drydock will bring the Navy operating costs savings and still allow of the carrier’s associated crew and air wing to be retasked. Then, just like the original frigates, when the need for powerful capital ships arises, the Harry S. Truman can be reactivated to join the fight—more rapidly than a new carrier could be built.