Fred Harris Hangs Up His Hard Hat

December 1, 2016

Fred Harris, great shipbuilder that he is, is out. His “retirement” was expected–the General Dynamics Corporate Office tends to be intolerant of failure, and Fred had staked his future on the OPC bid that Bath lost. It’s something of a sad tale. Three years ago, Fred Harris was on top of the world. NASSCO was […]

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How To Build President Trump’s 350-Ship Navy, FAST

November 18, 2016

When a President-Elect repeatedly makes a commitment like “350 ships”, it is my humble sense that, as President, Mr. Trump is going to want 350 ships sooner, rather than later. He’s certainly not going to want them in 2025, or 2030. He’s going to want 350 ships darned quick. And cheaply. Sure, maybe he’ll want […]

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Bath Ironworks: What’s Next?

November 13, 2016

Poor Bath Ironworks. Over the past decade, Bath has endured one heck of a fall from grace–going from a favored ship-production site and world-renowned naval combatant manufacturer to, well, something of a demoralized mess. It’s serious. Wandering around the Navy Yard, I have never heard the Navy semi-publicly vent over a shipyard’s attitude and performance […]

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It’s a Boeing/Northrop Grumman Fight For the MQ-25 Stingray

October 30, 2016

Two things inform the upcoming MQ-25 Stingray opportunity: The first is that Northrop Grumman will be hard to beat, and, second, airframe innovation should take a distant backseat to the work needed to harden and prove-out the electronic “back-end” of carrier-based UAVs. I had a chance to discuss all this with the San Diego Business Journal last […]

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Overlooked in the CNO’s CSIS Speech

October 5, 2016

So the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson, gave a speech at CSIS, and everyone is excited about his surprise termination of the term “A2/AD”. That’s all well and good–I have hated the A2/AD debate since the term crawled out from the torrid fever swamps of swarm boats and carrier killers (Read this, for […]

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Rotary Wing Integration With Surface Combatants Is Important!

October 3, 2016

As ubiquitous as maritime helicopters are, America often forgets that the sustained operation of rotary-wing craft off smaller surface combatants only really started in the sixties. Today, it’s easy to scoff that helicopters got their start aboard combatants decades ago, but…for the U.S. Navy, the regular use of helicopters aboard smaller combatants spans only a […]

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Restore Admiral Bulkeley’s Test:

September 30, 2016

The Navy needs to regularly test the ability of ship crews to function at half-strength. It’s been done before: After World War II, Medal of Honor winner and PT Boat hero Rear Admiral John Bulkeley (He’s the tough guy on the right) ran Naval Training Command, where he developed some interesting “real world” manning tests, […]

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In Press: Talking T-ATS(X) With InsideDefense.com

April 14, 2016

As the oil industry races to put modern platform support vessels and anchor handling ships into layup, the eight-ship “tug and salvage” T-ATS(X) program is getting kinda tough to justify. Why build new ships if the Navy can buy suitable hulls for far less? Right now there’s plenty of ships on the market that would make […]

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In Press: Fat Leonard Is Still With Us

April 10, 2016

Though it is now back-page news, the Glenn Defense Marine/Fat Leonard scandal is still with us. Greg Moran, of the San Diego Union Tribune, has been doing a great service, following this case as it winds through the local courts, transforming from a paper-selling “prostitutes and corruption” scandal to less exciting court-reporter fare. But somewhere […]

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In Press: New Tools Demand New Homefront Doctrine

April 1, 2016

How, exactly, will the MV-22 Osprey–and other new Navy/USMC gear–help at home? It’s a valid question–Waaay back in 2010-11, when the MV-22 first started to shoulder aside the West Coast’s enormous inventory of venerable, obsolete CH-46 Sea Knights, I started urging the military to get real about evaluating the MV-22’s suitability for HA-DR operations typical […]

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