President Trump, Nominate A SECNAV ASAP

March 19, 2017

One of the biggest frustrations I have with White House staff (of any party) is that moment when happy West Wing “warrior functionaries” get drunk on their power and start micro-managing, inserting themselves too deeply in obscure Department of Defense operations than is politically healthy. Despite anything the underestimated White House powerbroker Rick Dearborn says […]

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Osprey Down: Learning From Another Hard Landing

February 5, 2017

Last week America lost an MV-22 Osprey, a Special Operator and, in addition, had several servicemen injured in a bungled “fishing expedition” in Yemen. What can we learn from this? Details are trickling out, but regardless of their veracity (first reports are often wrong, and there’s always a lot of CYA in this sort of […]

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The Next SECNAV Is…Philip Bilden!

January 27, 2017

The next SECNAV is going to be “off-the-radar” financier Philip Bilden. Mr. Bilden will be taking on an important post–he’ll run the tip of the spear of any kinetic (and some non-kinetic!) actions the Trump Administration might consider, leading service honored with a Trump-promised 350 ship goal, and his tenure will be blessed with a host […]

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Mulling Bath’s “Bad” Bid

January 19, 2017

Reports claim that General Dynamics Bath Ironworks is trying to force the Navy to grant it a cost-plus contract to build the initial Flight III DDG-51 destroyer. The cost-plus request is a real head-scratcher for observers–and it is an action that should concern every Blue-Water Navalist out there. Obviously, a cost-plus proposal is a pretty […]

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How Big Defense CEOs Can Try To Manage Mr. Donald Trump

January 1, 2017

In the Trump Era, “Big Defense” CEOs must either market themselves as visionary, “national” assets or wait to die under withering attack from the White House. Look, for any defense company has a big marquee program like the F-35, the Ford Class Carrier or the SSBN(X), being a colorless, faceless and largely anonymous means of […]

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What Will Trump’s 350 Ship Navy Mean for Bath Ironworks?

December 3, 2016

If the Trump Administration is going to build a 350-ship Navy, then Bath Ironworks will have a big role. I had a chance to talk with the Times Record’s Nathan Strout, and offered a few thoughts on the future fleet’s impact upon Bath Ironworks. There’s some skepticism out there about the 350-ship goal. Let me […]

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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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