Is something shaking up the peacetime-oriented MSC?

by Craig Hooper on October 19, 2010

As I wrote in the October issue of USNI’s Proceedings, the 30-31 ships of the Combat Logistics Force (CLF) are some of the most important and highly utilized vessels of the Fleet (article .pdf here: Hooper Oct 10). Sink our underway replenishment ships, and our local combatants run out of gas, ammo, food or all three!

To me, America’s comparatively tiny CLF is a peacetime-sized, peacetime-oriented resource run to please accountants rather than serve in contested seas.

As I hint at in my paper, the CLF–and, in particular, the four fast multiple-product-delivering T-AOEs–are the ultimate targets for asymmetric thinkers, for the Chinese “Carrier-Killing” DF-21Ds or for whatever SSK that happens to be lurking in the neighborhood. Wherever they go, the underway replenishment ships of the CLF have a big target painted on ’em.

So I am a tad pleased to hear that the MSC is finally getting around to doing some damage-stability analysis on their most important platforms, the fast, multi-product T-AOE station ships.

About freakin’ time. Congratulations Tridentis!

The T-AOEs were, after all, only launched about two decades ago! The MSC–above all else–needs to understand that as the American Fleet reorients itself to operate in contested seas, they are the ones who are going to

be forced to change the most.

Right now the MSC is far too wedded to peacetime operations for my taste–but, perhaps, some good, strong post-Cold War realities are starting to settle in…

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

leesea November 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Maybe you should ask naval leaders that question? I do not hear ANY of them talking aobout going back to the old ways of CLF. When I was on one it was old, poorly maintained and they kept going away or breaking down each yeat UNTIL MSC started taking them over and fixing them until like the AFSs they just ran out of “life”. Are you saying that the current situation is some worse than the old?

BTW the AOE gear sets have been bad since the Navy had them built and still are~


Craig Hooper November 14, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Yeah. Concur. We need to do some serious thinking about how the MSC fits into the contested seas of tomorrow..


Distiller November 14, 2010 at 7:30 am

Fleet replenishers don’t have a place in MSC. They should be integral part of active fleet, plus equipped with full CIWS.

The second gapping hole of course if the lack of escorts for the pre-pos ships and other sealift assets. Invitation for disaster against any more capable enemy.


Craig Hooper October 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Built to mil-spec too. Just speculating, but maybe there’s some new threats to assess, or changed load-outs, internal modifications or some such thing.


DJF October 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Shouldn’t such analysis have already been done since these ships started out as being part of the Navy and manned by US Navy sailors and would have had to go through all the qualifications and testing that all other navy ships had. It was only years later that they were transferred to the MSC. I never served on a AOE but did serve on a US Navy auxiliary ship and it had damage stability charts and diagrams.


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