Why is the Navy throwing away ships?


Via Information Dissemination, we get the latest announcements on which ships the Navy will dispose of in FY13.

SHIP NAME INACTIVATION POST DECOM STATUS
USS CROMMELIN (FFG 37) 31 OCT 2012 SEE NOTE 1
USS UNDERWOOD (FFG 36) 15 FEB 2013 SEE NOTE 1
USS CURTS (FFG 38) 27 FEB 2013 SEE NOTE 1
USS CARR (FFG 52) 15 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 1
USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) 15 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 2
USS KLAKRING (FFG 42) 22 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 1
USS REUBEN JAMES (FFG 57) 30 AUG 2013 SEE NOTE 1
USS COWPENS (CG 63) 31 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 3
USS ANZIO (CG 68) 31 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 3
USS VICKSBURG (CG 69) 31 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 3
USS PORT ROYAL (CG 73) 31 MAR 2013 SEE NOTE 3

As Galrahn notes, the FFGs have served long, and well, and are due for retirement. And if you click through and read, you’ll see those tired ships are also being earmarked for transfer to friendly foreign navies. So they’ll get some more good use.

The Enterprise, bless her heart, has on year to the day left. She’s overdue for retirement as it is, so she’ll get to go through the incredible hassle that decommissioning a nuclear vessel is.

The head scratcher is the Tico class CG’s slated for decommissioning. The ships slated for decomming are relatively young. Designed for a 30 year service life, they’re being retired in their mid to early twenties. At a time when the Navy is smaller than it has been since just before World War II, why are these ships being tossed away?  Are they that worn out from service that they are not capable of being rehabilitated? If so, that’s a damning statement on the state of Navy maintenance and it’s “enterprise” approach to fielding forces. If not, why is it that the Navy seems determined to fund just about every crazy idea that comes down the road, such as biofuels and diversity initiatives out the wazoo, but is hostile to the concept of operating warships? And why are they slated for dismantling, rather than transfer to a friendly foreign nation?

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck  McKeon (R-CA25), in what was admittedly a partisan, rally the troops speech, questions the Navy’s decision making process here.

Frankly, the Navy has been treated quite well by Congress for over a decade when it comes to shipbuilding budgets. The problem has been, the Navy has been entirely less than forthcoming with Congress. The Navy has played cheerleader for certain programs, but not others. But what it has utterly failed to do is paint a picture of what the size of the surface force should be, why it should be that size, and how the Navy intends to reach that size.

There is an incredible amount of angst in the operating forces about the state of the Navy today, and what shape it will be in the future. At a time when the stated strategic emphasis of the nation is a pivot to the Pacific, one would expect the Navy to step up and make a case for its relevance and key role in that strategic emphasis. Instead, the Navy is intent on retiring some of the most capable surface units it has.

From the comments on a similar thread at Ace’s:

30 Cutting muscle to save the fat.

What a perfect metaphor.

Posted by: Brother Cavil, in Cylon hell at March 15, 2012 12:17 PM

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2 Comments

Filed under ARMY TRAINING

2 responses to “Why is the Navy throwing away ships?

  1. ohengineer

    Brad, everyone knows the Navy’s job 1 is diversity. Operating ships at sea? Not if it interferes with Job 1.

    Seriously, It’s long past time for Enterprise to go. I can remember the fuss over JFK not being a nuke, but it wasn’t a nuke because the design would have been similar to Enterprise and it was something of a nightmare. I wonder about the overhaul it had recently in light of the quick end she will see, however.

    I’m all for keeping the name in commission, however.

    • Yep. It cost more to give her a refit to squeeze two more deployments out of her than it cost to build her.

      She’s more than earned her retirement.