US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


Nov 25, 2018

what nobody will ever say is this:
this 'deferred' maintenance means those subs will be available for longer time in the future (would be important if new financial challenges occurred);

what nobody asks is this:
had those subs been available earlier (thanks to no maintenance delays), what would the USN have gained? I mean what opportunities were missed
instead the story goes like this:
With the Navy’s submarine maintenance woes, there may yet be hope
Connecticut Democrat Rep. Joe Courtney was surprised when he saw the Los Angeles-class attack submarine Boise’s long-delayed overhaul on the Navy’s 2020 “unfunded priorities” list.

The hapless Boise returned from a patrol in 2015, and it hasn’t gone back on patrol since. The inactivity has caused Boise to lose its dive certification, one of three attack subs in the fleet currently unable to submerge. It’s been four years and counting, and now it wasn’t even funded in the Navy’s fiscal 2020 budget request.

The Boise’s availability, unfunded to the tune of $290 million, “sort of jumped off the page,” Courtney told two senior Navy officials in a March hearing on Capitol Hill. The $306 million availability for the attack sub Hartford was also listed as unfunded.

“There’s been a lot of talk about them being kind of in the queue for an awful long time,” said Courtney, whose district includes the General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard that constructs the Virginia-class attack submarines and will, along with Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News shipyard, construct the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines.

The answer from the Navy’s top acquisition official was complicated. Nuclear maintenance is conducted in public shipyards in Norfolk, Virginia; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. But delays and schedule backlogs for other ships — aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines — have also driven delays into the attack sub maintenance schedule.

Seeking to ease the burden on public shipyards, the Navy turned to HII’s Newport News yard for the maintenance, but those jobs also fell behind. Overhauls for the Los Angeles-class attack submarines Helena and Columbus are behind by 12-18 months, as Newport News balances work on the Virginia class with preparations for the Columbia class and a new maintenance requirement.

“The challenge with Boise has been delays we’ve seen with the other submarines in the private yard maintenance,” said James Geurts, the Navy’s head of research, development and acquisition. “And quite frankly, we just can’t get Boise in until we get the current submarines in the — in the docks at Newport News out. That slipped Boise in [FY]20.

“We had planned to do it this year, that slipped it into ’20. That occurred after the ’20 budget was put together. That’s why it showed up on the unfunded list.”

The story here is years old.

Last year, the Government Accountability Office found that in total, between 2008 and 2018, attack boats waiting to go into maintenance had sat idle for 10,363 days. That’s years of lost time and a large chunk of which would certainly have been operational availability.

In 2014, the then-head of Naval Sea Systems Command, Vice Adm. William Hilarides, told an audience at the annual Submarine League symposium that he was in a “tail chase” with sub maintenance.

Part of the problem was increased demands from overused aircraft carriers, and another part of the problem was a continuing effort to refuel all the Ohio-class ballistic missile subs. And still another problem stemmed from budget cuts and a federal hiring freeze that left 2,000 jobs unfilled at the public yards. And attack boats were set to suffer the most pain, as aircraft carriers and ballistic missile subs would take priority.

“They are significantly behind, and we will not catch back up," Hilarides told the audience.

Digging out
There may be light at the end of the tunnel for the Navy’s attack submarine woes.

Some of the Navy’s problems will resolve themselves after ballistic missile subs are refueled, said Bryan Clark, a retired submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

“The big factor here is that attack submarines are last in line when it comes to maintenance,” Clark explained. “And that maintenance is done in the public yards, both the refueling and non-refueling overhauls. So that’s why you see submarines like Boise who have been waiting a long time to get in, because carriers had a lot of maintenance backlog.

“And working through that backlog pushed SSBN refuelings back, and that in turn pushed attack subs to the end of the line. Now that they are working through the carrier backlog and the SSBN refueling is now largely completed, that’s going to mean the attack submarines can be brought back into the public shipyards. So that’s a structural issue that’s going to work itself out.”

But other aspects of the Navy’s quest to dig out of the submarine backlog are thornier and will require the service to make long-term commitments to private shipyards, Clark said. One of the main issues with assigning attack subs to private shipyards is that they are not necessarily set up as maintenance shops: They’re more so built and organized as new construction yards.

Naval Sea Systems Command acknowledged as much in a recent statement to the Virginian Pilot as part of a story on the delays of Columbus and Helena, which the command attributed to “the workforce’s inexperience in conducting submarine maintenance, which differs greatly from new construction.”

Working through those issues will take time, Clark said.

“It’s a totally different job from ship construction,” he added. “So that will take some time to build up a workforce and capacity that’s dedicated to ship maintenance, instead of taking folks who were working new construction and simply repurposing them for overhauls. There are some growing pains associated with adjusting to doing that kind of work.”

Demand signal

The other step to solving the attack boat woes involves sending a consistent demand signal to private shipyards, Clark continued.

“If there is a demand signal from the Navy, if the Navy says this is something we are going to continue to do ... then you’ll see Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls make the investments in the workforce and the planning capacity to support that,” Clark said.

“But until they see a projected demand signal that goes out several years, they are probably not going to make significant investments in that. And that means these jobs will continue to be ad hoc and drawn from their existing capacity, which means that they are bringing in folks who are used to doing ship construction and having them do maintenance, and it’s going to take longer,” he added.

Providing a demand signal was one of the main intentions behind the 30-year ship maintenance plan rolled out earlier this year by Geurts, the acquisition official. But if the companies are going to invest significant dollars in building out a maintenance operation and workforce, the Navy is going to have to put up a little more than just a plan.

“The 30-year ship maintenance plan is an interesting document from their perspective when it comes to thinking about strategy," Geurts said. "But when it comes to spending money on hiring extra people, establishing an organization that does planning for maintenance availabilities and overhauls, then you are talking about spending real money. You only want to do that if you have a sense of how much work will be there for you to do.”

One way to do that would involve a review of the Navy’s maintenance contracts. In the surface-ship maintenance world, the Navy has flipped between awarding ship maintenance to yards in blocks of two or more ship availabilities, and individually awarding each availability.

Both routes create unique problems.

“For submarine maintenance availabilities, they’ve traditionally been contracted individually,” Clark said. “Which from the industry side is not a predictable demand signal around which you can hire a workforce or invest in a planning and organization capacity. So the Navy may need to look at some sort of longer-term contracting mechanism to give the shipyards a more predictable demand signal.”

Working with Congress to extend the time the Navy has to obligate operations and maintenance dollars might help the service provide more long-term maintenance contracts, Clark said, adding that bundling submarine maintenance availabilities would also provide predictability for private yards.


it's actually interesting
A serious financial problem looms at the Pentagon

Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis listed business reforms at the Department of Defense as one of his top three priorities. Acting Secretary Pat Shanahan has supported this focus on reform, including financial reform. Yet, recent business changes threaten to create a serious financial problem at the DoD.

The issue is reprogramming. Reprogramming is a set of informal rules agreed to by Congress and the DoD that permits the department to move funds to different programs during the year when those funds are being spent. The moves must be “zero sum” — that is, any reprogramming increases must be offset by cuts. There are also restrictions on the size and nature of the moves. But under the existing informal rules, the funding shifts do not require enactment of a law, which would usually require too much time to be effective as a management tool. The shifts only require the approval of defense committees, particularly the chair and ranking minority members of those committees.

The reprogramming rules remain informal because if they were codified in law, they would permit one chamber of Congress to prohibit the shift in funds. That would violate the constitutional prohibition against a single-chamber veto of legislation.

A few weeks ago, the DoD ignored these informal rules and transferred funding of about $1 billion of Army military personnel funding for fiscal 2019 to the Corps of Engineers for use in building a portion of the southern border wall. (That funding is no longer needed because Army end strengths are lower than expected.)

The move was specifically denied by at least two congressional defense committees. However, because the informal rules are not legally binding, the DoD proceeded with the transfer.

Unless the courts intervene, Congress will probably react to this violation of the rules by restricting or even eliminating the DoD’s reprogramming authority. If Congress does not react, it will give up much of its constitutional authority to control the appropriation of funds.

Republicans should worry as much as Democrats about the DoD moving money without approval. Today, the moves are intended to finance a border wall. In the future, a Democratic president may use DoD funds to pay for programs that he or she regards as a national crisis.

Restriction or elimination of reprogramming would significantly harm the DoD’s ability to manage its money to meet national security needs effectively. To meet congressional timelines, the DoD must formulate its budgets two or more years before all funds are obligated.

Inevitably, needs change, creating higher priorities for some projects and lowering them for others. In these cases, reprogramming permits effective management. In different circumstances, reprogramming can avert crises.

While serving as undersecretary of defense (comptroller), I presided over DoD financial management during the dark days of 2013 when sequestration slashed funding for military readiness. We used reprogramming to mitigate sequestration’s adverse effects on the DoD’s ability to fight and win wars. I know from personal experience that reprogramming is an arcane and tedious process. I also know that the DoD must have reprogramming authority to meet national security needs effectively.

During the past two years, the DoD has placed emphasis on financial reform issues such as audits of financial statements, and the department is to be commended for those and other efforts. But if this violation of the informal rules leads to severe restriction or elimination of reprogramming authority, the resulting problems could overshadow their reform efforts.


since I've now read it, I post
Sailors Get a Firsthand Look at the Navy's New SPY-6 Radar System

It took two cranes and a flatbed truck to deliver it, but sailors and other spectators got an up-close look at the new air- and missile-defense radar being added to Navy ships.

Raytheon's SPY-6 next-generation scalable radar system was on display at this year's Sea-Air-Space expo outside Washington, D.C. The radar was transported from Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and was configured for setup on the Navy's new guided-missile destroyers.

The service recently tested the new system at its Pacific missile range, and the results were "eye watering," said Mike Mills, Raytheon's SPY-6 program director.

"It's 100 times more sensitive than the existing SPY-1. It gives you that much more range, and that means the Navy can counteract that much quicker," he said.

Much of what the system can pick up remains classified, Mills said. But as threats become more complex, they're tougher to detect; SPY-6 can help the Navy keep its edge, he added.

"This radar now is able to give that capability back to the Navy that they're able to track and detect those [threats] as early as possible to combat that," he said. "That's really what it gives the Navy back."

SPY-6 is built using individual 2-square-foot building blocks called Radar Modular Assemblies (RMAs). The one that will be built on the Flight III DDGs is made up of 37 RMAs. Different ships can go smaller with 24- or nine-block setups.

The Navy's Flight IIA destroyers will receive the 24-block model to help keep those ships in the fight.

Since the service plans to use this radar technology for the next 40 years, Raytheon built a system that can be updated accordingly.

"As we work with the Navy to identify different threats that they need to guard against, from a software perspective, we can make those changes," said Ian Davis, a Raytheon spokesman.

Each RMA can also be easily removed if it needs to be repaired or replaced. That is good news for maintainers who work on the older SPY-1 system, which requires a lot of tuning in order to maintain its performance, Mills said.

"Here, it's already tuned when we send it out into the fleet," he said. "If they ... do any replacement, they just need two tools. Since there's a lot of tooling involved in the legacy [system], that was something we looked at when developing this, to make it really low maintenance and really easy for sailors."

Raytheon has started delivering its new systems to the shipyards working on below-deck equipment for the first of the Flight III DDGs currently under construction, Mills said.
"eye watering" results according to a Manager, what else


Today at 7:55 AM
Trump nominates Shanahan as next defense secretary
they don't mention the F-35 comment; is forgotten now LOL
Shanahan Finally Nominated, Confirmation May Be Tough
The Acting Defense Secretary, with less than two years of national security experience under his belt, is poised to take over a department in the throes of a rapid modernization project, while rattling sabres with Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, China, and Russia.
The longest acting defense secretary in US history has finally and officially been nominated for the job.

Patrick Shanahan, a 30-year Boeing executive with no prior government experience before coming to the Pentagon in 2017, will now start preparing to face the music on Capitol Hill, where he has received a pretty mixed reception during his 17 weeks as Acting Defense Secretary.

Since taking over from Jim Mattis on Jan. 1, after the former Marine general resigned due to differences with President Trump over Syria policy, Shanahan has mostly held the line on policies already in place, keeping an emphasis on modernization and the National Defense Strategy released last year.

The nomination comes at a challenging time for the Pentagon as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on Iran and Venezuela, while keeping an eye on a new round of ballistic missile tests in North Korea and scrambling to maintain the US military advantage over China and Russia. Over the past year, Shanahan has also pressed the case for standing up a Space Force, while managing almost 25,000 US troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

That is a full plate for any policymaker, but particularly one who had had no relevant foreign policy or military experience since becoming Mattis’ deputy less than two years ago.

It is unclear when Shanahan’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee will happen, but it is has the potential to be something of a bruising affair, as he has at times struggled to answer lawmakers’ questions, drawing sharp rebukes.

Earlier this year, Shanahan was dinged by a surprising source, Republican Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who mused Shanahan does not share the “humility” that Mattis exemplified, which the senator has repeatedly praised. “He (Mattis) had a very rare quality, humility, that I would like to see rub off.”

On Thursday, Inhofe offered lukewarm support for Shanahan, however. “I’m pleased that President Trump will nominate Patrick Shanahan to be the next Secretary of Defense. We need a confirmed leader at the Department and, after working with him closely over the last few months, I welcome his selection.”

Other members of SASC may not be so accommodating. Two members of the committee, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren, are running for the Democratic nomination for president, and other Democrats like Tim Kaine, Tammy Duckworth, and Ranking Member Jack Reed have been staunch critics of the Trump administration and its policies.

Six Democratic members of the SASC sent a letter to Shanahan last month saying they are “extraordinarily distressed” about the potential to damage military readiness the military’s new role on the border might present.

On Wednesday, Shanahan told lawmakers the Pentagon has redirected enough money to build 256 miles of barriers along the southwestern border. The work is part of the $3.6 billion in military construction funds shifted for the project, which has attracted criticism from both sides of the aisle in Congress.

Unlike his predecessor, Shanahan has shown little appetite for disagreement with the White House, although some of that could be the product of his angling for the job on a permanent basis, combined with the fact that acting officials have less pull than do those who’ve been confirmed. “We are not the Department of No,” Shanahan told Pentagon officials after Space Force was announced last year, and he has quickly funneled money originally slated for military construction to Trump’s border wall.

When it comes to the Space Force, experts see little change in policy.

“I don’t think it’ll change the trajectory for Space Force; he’s been the face of this proposal thus far and will undoubtedly get questions on it during confirmation,” said one defense industry source. “I’d think the continuity thru this particular NDAA and appropriations cycle will be important.”

But Shanahan’s decades as a Boeing executive have caused problems. The nomination comes days after the release of an Inspector General investigation which looked into alleged violations of his ethics agreement meant to place a firewall between him and decisions about Boeing, his former employer. Shanahan was cleared of any wrongdoing.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Shanahan’s nomination was “based on his outstanding service to the country and his demonstrated ability to lead” the Pentagon.

On Twitter, Shanahan thanked the president for having confidence in him: “If confirmed by the Senate, I will continue the aggressive implementation of our National Defense Strategy. I remain committed to modernizing the force so our remarkable Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines have everything they need to keep our military lethal and our country safe.”


Marines: FVL Intriguing, BUT CH-53K Is Essential

in my comfortable armchair, I can understand a danger of "a precision-guided barrage" against big bases, BUT
  • I think "a big base is just a big target: It’s not a sanctuary, it’s a deathtrap." is an exaggeration, as a bigger base would get a bigger protection, AND
  • I ask if "a 1,000 or 3,000 foot runway, or less" wouldn't be vulnerable to "a precision-guided barrage", too?? anyone?


USS Rhode Island launches Trident II D5, following North Korea and US Air Force missile tests
US Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) carried out a successful test flight of one unarmed Trident II D5 missile on May 9.

On the same day, the US Air Force launched a Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Both tests coincided with North Korea’s firing of two missiles into the sea between North Korea and Japan.

The US Navy launch marked the 172nd successful test flight of the Trident II D5 missile since its introduction to the fleet in 1989.

This test flight was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation, designated DASO 29. The primary objective of a DASO is to evaluate and demonstrate the readiness of the SSBN’s strategic weapon system and crew before operational deployment following its engineered refueling overhaul (ERO).

Rhode Island completed its ERO in August 2018. The undertaking is a complex, major shipyard availability during which the submarine is refueled and upgraded before returning to support the country’s nuclear deterrence strategy. This ERO extended the life of Rhode Island for more than 20 years.

EROs play a critical role in the future of the US Navy’s submarine force as they extend the life of the aging 14 Ohio-class submarines in the Navy’s fleet. Ohios are scheduled to be replaced by 12 Columbia-class submarines, with the first initial deterrent patrol in 2031.

“USS Rhode Island’s successful test flight today demonstrates not only that this ship’s crew and shipboard weapons system are ready to return to service, but also that the sea-based leg of our nuclear deterrent remains ready, reliable and credible,” said Capt. Mark Behning, deputy director, Strategic Systems Programs (SSP).

SSP, along with Naval Ordnance Test Unit, oversees the DASO certification process and provides integrated testing and evaluation capabilities, while various other organizations provide support.

Ohio-class SSBNs carry up to 20 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and provide the United States with its most survivable and enduring nuclear strike capability. The design allows the submarines to operate for 15 years or more between major overhauls. The Columbia-class submarine will not need to be refueled during its lifetime.

Rhode Island is the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name and was commissioned July 9, 1994. Assigned to Submarine Group 10, Rhode Island is one of five ballistic-missile submarines homeported at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia.


Tyrant King
Marines: FVL Intriguing, BUT CH-53K Is Essential

in my comfortable armchair, I can understand a danger of "a precision-guided barrage" against big bases, BUT
  • I think "a big base is just a big target: It’s not a sanctuary, it’s a deathtrap." is an exaggeration, as a bigger base would get a bigger protection, AND
  • I ask if "a 1,000 or 3,000 foot runway, or less" wouldn't be vulnerable to "a precision-guided barrage", too?? anyone?
Depends on the base.
Right now though a big established base is a well known target.
If a potential adversary wanted to pull a Pearl harbor 2.0 lobbing ballistic missiles at a large established US Airbase within a few thousand miles would be a fair start and effective way to knock the US back for weeks if not months of operational capabilities if partnered with air and sea denial.
Although the US employs some very good air defence missile systems not enough.
The aim of smaller bases is to establish distributed operations.
An Enemy only has so many long range precision guided munitions to spare at a time so if made to choose between three bases one large and two smaller they will assume the larger one is more capable and more of a threat.
The smaller bases though can respond and assist the larger one in defence or repair. They can also shelter addiction assets.

Before Pearl harbor one of the good management choices made by commanders was just that. To move additional aircraft from the main base field to secondary bases around the island. When the attack happened the Japanese focused on the main base. The secondary bases managed to come in and out up a fight.



Before Pearl harbor one of the good management choices made by commanders was just that. To move additional aircraft from the main base field to secondary bases around the island. When the attack happened the Japanese focused on the main base. The secondary bases managed to come in and out up a fight.
which one would be your "the main base" at the time of Pearl attack, Ford Island perhaps?

[Japanese] "... attacked military airfields at the same time they hit the fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor. The Navy air bases at Ford Island and Kaneohe Bay, the Marine airfield at Ewa and the Army Air Corps fields at Bellows, Wheeler and Hickam were all bombed and strafed as other elements of the attacking force began their assaults on the ships moored in Pearl Harbor. The purpose of the simultaneous attacks was to destroy the American planes before they could rise to intercept the Japanese."

plus according to my google search now, the number of US aircraft which took off varies from 5 (five) to 14 (fourteen) depending on the link (of course I knew the number would be close to zero)