SECNAV Meets With Jim Webb

by Craig Hooper on October 28, 2019

So, today, news broke that SECNAV Spencer–who is in a full retreat from his bombastic attack upon the Navy’s friends in Congress–spent some time this weekend with Jim Webb, the only SECNAV who quit the job.

Maybe Spencer got some pointers.

If you are in the reading mood, I was over at last night working up this little notice about SECNAV Spencer, and then spent some time on the Hill today, hearing just how the SECNAV’s Brookings Institution comments were playing out.

It’s not a very pretty picture. You’ll hear about it soon.


Secretary Spencer Needs To Stop His Business Analogies

by Craig Hooper on October 23, 2019

I don’t know where Secretary Spencer gets his business analogies for his “set” stump speeches, but he tells one about the Truman CVN that…is just wrong. And he tells it a lot, too. Somebody do the Secretary a favor and cut the story out of his speeches.

I’ve heard it several times; he’ll start talking about how “in business” if somebody sees even a modest increase in return or efficiency on something, the offending inefficiency will immediately be replaced or retired. Then, on the basis of the anecdotes from “business”, he tries to make the case that the Ford Class is far more efficient than the Nimitz Class (Fewer crew! More Sorties! etc. etc), ergo, the Nimitz Class should go.

But…there are no metrics on the Ford! It’s all notional baloney.

In business, real businesses use metrics to make decisions. For the Ford, the SECNAV is using decidedly rosy assumptions. He cites notional Ford performance benchmarks that have been repeatedly walked back over the course of planning, production and testing the vessel. The trends in sortie generation, crew size and a whole lot else are pointing the wrong way.

The Ford carrier that deploys will be far less formidable than the one originally advertised.

Now, once the Ford performs, the Nimitz Class will disappear. But the Ford has to perform. And it isn’t. Not yet.


A Few Updates…

October 23, 2019

Hey, I’m over on, talking about the need to secure the Alaskan EEZ and what may be another Navy attempt to avoid shock testing the USS Ford. Let me know what you think! I am also wondering if the SECNAV is going to say anything interesting when he speaks–and takes moderated questions–from the safe […]

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US Navy Declines To Party With PLA(N)

April 19, 2019

The old movie Wargames reminds us that, sometimes, “the only winning move is not to play.” It looks like the U.S. Navy is doing just that with China’s massive naval review this month, refusing to send ships to celebrate the 70th anniversary of China’s Navy beyond the local attache. From the Japan Times: The United […]

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In Forbes: Build A USN Training Fleet

April 5, 2019

I have been remiss, but I have a few posts up at Forbes that may be worth your time. One of them deals with training ships. Go read it! Now, I am convinced that training ships–if they are taken seriously–do work, and I am particularly impressed at how Japan has converted their BIG training fleet […]

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In Press: The New Naval Race To Look Good

March 15, 2019

I have a post up at, discussing how emerging/re-emerging navies are exploiting the U.S. Navy’s increasingly shabby visage. I urge you all to take a look, here. There are a few other ancillary items that didn’t make the piece, but they were interesting enough to merit additional discussion. Item 1: Image Does Matter: Many […]

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In Press: No Reserve Ships On The Road To 355

March 7, 2019

Glad to see the Navy finally, irrevocably, kill off the pipe-dream of resurrecting the FFG-7s. As I said about two years ago, when I first panned the fever-dreams of the “Reactivate the FFG-7” crowd, “America need FFGs less than a policy and strategy to guide the graceful transition of combatants from front line duties, through […]

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Winners and Losers from the 2019 USNA Ship Selection

February 24, 2019

The U.S. Naval Academy’s annual Ship Selection “rite-of-passage” is enormous fun. Of course, it happened more than a month ago, so I’m a little late to the party. But, that aside, two things really struck me: the participation of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and the non-participation of the Avenger Class MCM and […]

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Let’s Build a New National Shipyard, Part II

February 9, 2019

In continuing the discussion sparked by my recent proposal to build a new National Shipyard, let’s take a few minutes to examine maintenance work-load estimates. Even though low-balling the cost of operations and maintenance is an old, long-standing habit in certain parts of the Pentagon, the game is no longer fun, and it needs […]

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Admiral John Aquilino Gets It

February 1, 2019

It was great to see the Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral John Aquilino, head over to one of the more important National Shipyards–the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility–and rally the workforce. This is exactly the sort of high-level attention the National Shipyards need if they’re going to be sufficiently resourced. There’s no transcript […]

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