Let’s Build A New National Shipyard, Part I

January 22, 2019

I published a commentary over at DefenseOne.com last week, suggesting that the Navy commission a new public shipyard. You can read it here, but the general gist is this: The U.S. Navy’s four public shipyards are overwhelmed. Budget documents show that their workload exceeds their capacity by 117 to 153 percent — that is, there’s too much to get done […]

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The Pacific Pivot as An Old LCU

November 18, 2018

To me, the picture accompanying this post speaks volumes about the “Pacific Pivot”. The photo shows LCU 1634 helping the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) recover after being leveled by Super Typhoon Yutu. Looks great, right? Well, it looks great until the observer realizes that LCU 1634 is ancient. That venerable LCU in the […]

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Inside the CBO’s Attack on Public Naval Shipyards

September 24, 2018

The misguided drumbeat to privatize America’s four remaining public shipyards is proceeding apace. The latest volley, fired by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), is a September 2018 report, “Comparing the Costs of Submarine Maintenance at Public and Private Shipyards.” CBO researchers looked at the DSRA costs (Docking Selected Restricted Availability) for SSN-688s over the PAST […]

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Arleigh Burke Wisdom in the Age of AI

August 31, 2018

Back in January 1984, the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings Magazine published some commentary by World War II destroyer skipper and former CNO, Admiral Arleigh Burke. The free-wheeling comments from this old Analog Admiral are appropriate in today’s whiz-bang AI era. Now, to understand the context of his comments, Admiral Burke–who had built his wartime reputation […]

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Unpopular Opinion: Russia’s Sub Fleet is Dying

July 7, 2018

For all the dire talk about Russia’s undersea resurgence and phoenix-like re-emergence from post-Cold War disarray, Russia’s nuclear sub fleet is dying. There is no denying it. Despite all the hand-wringing over increased undersea activity and fretful talk of new sub designs and weapons, nothing of substance has changed since the Cold War. Outside of […]

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When “Kill The Robots” Is Routine

June 23, 2018

Even the most optimistic unmanned evangelists must acknowledge that naval doctrine will, eventually, boil itself down to a simple precept: “Kill the Robot, and Quickly”. My sense is that America, as the first-mover in the unmanned space, finds that future somewhat distasteful. It is difficult to move from uncontested exploitation of potential utility to a […]

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Is the West Ignoring Asian Naval Architecture?

June 6, 2018

Asia is in the midst of a naval renaissance. But this renaissance has failed to lead to widespread adoption of Japanese and South Korean warship designs in the West. Why? Not that there haven’t been opportunities for hybridization. But the American FFG(X) program is full of European designs, the Australian Navy has rebuilt their Navy […]

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Is HII’s “Missing” FFG(X) Using StanFlex? Is it a Type 31e?

May 23, 2018

What is Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) going to offer for the FFG(X) competition? America is in the midst of a multi-billion-dollar competition for the next surface combatant, and HII–after years of gleeful anti-LCS rabble-rousing, agitating for FFG(X) and showing all kinds of notional National Security Cutter (NSC)-based FFG(X) prototypes–has gone completely and utterly quiet. Why […]

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Sea State 3 Limitations Mean Failed Operations

May 14, 2018

By now it should be pretty obvious that the post-Cold War U.S. Navy forgot about high-Sea-State operations…and somehow decided to harness the Navy’s future to a foolish idea that Sea State 3 was a fine operational goal for critical shipboard systems. It made sense.  Life was good back in the Post Cold War era–The Navy […]

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Appreciate the Un-deterrable Sub

April 23, 2018

Future undersea attackers will become far less deterrable. That’s a big shift–the idea that attacking submarines are deterrable has been enshrined in ASW Doctrine since World War I, and, even today, the idea that undersea attackers can be forced to break off their attack (or other mission) informs the resourcing and posture of ASW assets. […]

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