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WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Gary Roughead announced his selection of Fleet Master Chief (FLTCM) (SS/SW) Rick D. West, as the 12th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) in NAVADMIN 349, dated Dec. 5.
West is currently serving as Fleet Master Chief, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and previously served as Fleet Master Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He brings to this assignment 27 years of fleet experience, including six tours at sea highlighted by leadership positions aboard submarines and surface ships. In addition to his experience as Fleet Master Chief in the Pacific and Atlantic, he served as Chief of the Boat in USS Portsmouth (SSN 707), Command Master Chief in USS Preble (DDG 88), and Submarine Squadron 11, and Force Master Chief, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Additional analysis needs to be done before the Navy makes a decision on whether to move away from DDG-1000 and restart the DDG-51 production line, according to a top Pentagon official.
“I think there’s [a] substantial amount of additional analytical work to be done,” John Young, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief, told reporters during a briefing yesterday.
“We certainly have a requirement for future surface combatants,” he said.
Young has been at odds with Navy officials as the two sides try to determine the best path forward for destroyers. Until earlier this year, the Navy had been on a path to build seven DDG-1000 multi-mission combat ships. However, by mid-year, the Navy told lawmakers that a rapidly changing threat environment called for truncating the Zumwalt-class ships at three and restarting the DDG-51 class of Arleigh Burke destroyers.
Young was the Navy’s top acquisition official as the service began to develop plans for DDG-1000, known back then as DD(X).
Yesterday, Young told reporters, at low rates of production, initial estimates show building additional Arleigh Burkes will be very expensive.
“The DDGs at low rates of production may well cost on the order of $2 billion at that point in time,” he said.
The Navy plan now calls for restarting the DDG-51 line in the 2010 time frame and building eight of the destroyers.
The Navy has General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman under contract to build DDG-1000 and -1001, respectively. Each ship is expected to cost in the range of $3.3 billion.
“Lead ships carry some amount of design [cost], so if you peel that away, the lead ships are about $2.5 billion, and they would go down from there as we go down the learning curve,” Young said. “Would I pay a little bit more money to get a hull that can support more radar, [is] acoustically quiet, magnetically quiet, and has a low radar signature?
“Can I go in and work hard on the DDGs at low rate production and get that cost down? Because that’s where we need to have the discussion,” he added.
This is not a decision about five years from now, this is a decision about 20 years from now, Young added.
“So can I live with a ’60s…’70s vintage hull in the 2030 time frame? Or do I need a hull that has some of those additional features for the threat in that environment,” he said. “To finish this debate we really need to get some…construction returns on 1000 and get a better feel for what it is going to cost.”
The Navy does have a legitimate concern that if the DDG-1000s become significantly more expensive than the cost targets projected, it might be hard for the service to afford the ship, Young noted.
“But we have not done enough analysis, especially analysis looking forward as far as the time period when these ships will be a vital part of [the nation’s security],” he added. “We ought to lay in some flexibility in the budget through that analytical work and make a decision. And there are some near-term decision to be made.”
For example, Young said, if DDG-1000 is not the hull for the future, building three ships between two yards could be punitively expensive for the taxpayer.
“We are certainly talking internally, and we talk with industry, and industry are willing to talk to the Navy and Pentagon about these issues,” Young said. “But those are just discussions at this time.”
SAN DIEGO — The Navy will name its latest Zumwalt-class destroyer for a SEAL from Orange County who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the secretary of the Navy announced Wednesday.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, 25, was killed during a firefight in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006 when he smothered an insurgent’s grenade to save three fellow SEALs.
“Those who served with Michael Monsoor will remember him always as a consummate professional who faced terrorist enemies with aplomb and stoicism,” Navy Secretary Donald Winter said in announcing the decision during a speech in New York.
Born in Long Beach, Monsoor attended Garden Grove High School, where he played football.
Monsoor graduated in 1999 and he enlisted in the Navy in 2001.
He completed SEAL training on a second try after an injury thwarted his first attempt. He was awarded a Silver Star for bravery for an incident during the same deployment in which he was killed.
During a firefight in Ramadi, Monsoor and other SEALs were assigned to a roof to provide watch for ground troops. When an insurgent hurled a grenade onto the roof, Monsoor yelled, “Grenade!” and dived on the explosive.
“Michael could have escaped and saved himself,” Winter told those at the Navy SEAL Warrior Fund gala. “But he chose a different path, a path of honor that embodies the way of a Navy SEAL.”
The latest Zumwalt-class destroyer is being designed to provide enhanced surveillance and weapon-delivery capability close to shore. Completion of the ship is set for early in the next decade.
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$6.5 million sponsorship with NASCAR team drafts racing superstar to boost enlistments.
Congress and the Navy are battling over the fate of this new class of destroyer.
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The first ship in the Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship class, the future USS Freedom (LCS 1), began Builder's Trials on Lake Michigan July 28.
WASHINGTON–Navy shipbuilding executives struggled Thursday to explain plans to abandon a destroyer program that the service’s top brass and the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer described as vital just a few months ago.
Changing threats at sea, including increased deployments of diesel-powered submarines by potential U.S. adversaries, drove the service’s move to end production of the futuristic DDG 1000 destroyer after just two ships, said Vice Adm. Barry McCullough, a deputy chief of naval operations.
In a House subcommittee hearing, congressional supporters of the ship countered that the Navy has not justified its new course, and they suggested that budget constraints – not military needs – are behind the change.
While the Navy puts the cost of each DDG 1000 now funded at $3.2 billion, a Congressional Budget Office analyst testified Thursday that the real price could be more than $5 billion per ship. CGX, a planned cruiser that will use many of the high-tech systems developed for DDG 1000, will be even more expensive, analyst Eric Labs said.
“This isn’t the first major ship acquisition program that has faced problems,” said Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass. “Why does so much risk and inconsistency exist” in the Navy’s threat forecasts? she asked.
Tsongas read aloud from testimony McCullough delivered in April, in which the admiral asserted that the DDG 1000’s power to provide surface fire support and defeat missile threats exceeds that of today’s Arleigh Burke class of destroyers.
But McCullough and Allison Stiller, the Navy’s top civilian shipbuilding official, said Thursday that Navy leaders now believe that building more ships of the Burke class is the best way to counter increased “blue water” threats from submarines and ballistic missiles.
The DDG 1000 was designed for a closer-to-shore mission, including providing covering fire to troops ashore, they said. The new ship is to be equipped with a long-range gun able to reach targets more than 60 miles away and has a radar-evading hull form that will make it hard for adversaries to detect.
McCullough said Thursday that the Navy believes it has enough aircraft and cruise missiles, along with the promise of an improved gun to be placed on the Burke ships, to support forces ashore. And the Burke ships can accommodate missile-defense systems that are not suited for the DDG 1000, he asserted.
Congress funded what was expected to be the last in the Burke line of ships in 2005. The Navy wants $2.2 billion to restart the line in 2009, though the proposed change has not been approved by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The new plan also has split members of Congress, though along geographic rather than partisan lines.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers from New England, where some of the DDG 1000’s high-tech systems are being developed, is pushing for construction of at least one more of the ships and for more detail on how the Navy decided that just two would suffice.
Those members have a well-placed ally in Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who heads the Senate’s seapower subcommittee. The Navy appears to have an advantage in the House, however, where Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., head of the House seapower and expeditionary forces subcommittee, is a longtime proponent of the Burke class of ships.
Even before the Navy’s announcement that it now wants to move away from DDG 1000, the House voted to “pause” the program next year.
But in June, the Senate Armed Services Committee signed off continued production. Since then, key members including Virginia Sen. John Warner have warned that thousands of shipbuilder jobs are at risk if the new destroyer is abandoned.
Other lawmakers are skeptical about restarting the Burke line of ships. The House Appropriations Committee voted this week to provide $450 million next year to continue buying parts for a third DDG 1000 but included no funds for more Burke ships.