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Offline FSTO

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US Navy Woes
« on: October 17, 2017, 10:36:15 »
The collisions of McCain and Fitzgerald are symptoms of a far deeper problem facing the USN. Cdr Sal outlines them very well in this post.

http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.ca/2017/10/the-line-is-holding-but-you-can-hear.html

Tuesday, October 17, 2017



 
The line is holding ... but you can hear the load it is carrying





Many of the threads we've discussed here over the years have come together in this one deployment of a cruiser.

 In all the discussions about what we need to do to remain the premier naval power in the world and the tools we provide our Navy to do it, there is a lot of theory talking about talking. That is natural, as it is easy to hide some problems from the general public and even those in "the know" when your greatest challenge is yourself.

 Often in peace, when things are not where they need to be nothing bad happens. Why should it? They system is not under stress. Likewise, when things are going real well, nothing really bad happens either. It is hard to find something that you can put your hands on to get a tactile feel of what is going on.

 The USS MONTEREY (CG 61) just gave us one of those moments. We should take a moment to see why the world's largest Navy continues to show the signs - from retention to collisions at sea - of an organization under stress from overuse.

 We did not get here by accident. From the rise of China, the demographic/economic/religious drivers of migration and terrorism, to the expansion of mid-20th Century weapons technology - all the threats we see evolved in clear sight.

 How did we get there?

 First of all are the 2nd and 3rd order effects of the manning concepts of the Transformationalists. Instead of seeing our Sailors as our greatest asset, instead they saw only costs. As a result, they were treated as green-eyeshade mentalities have always treated people as a cost.

 The shambolic mess of at-sea manning speaks for itself.

 Instead of joining a long, almost anonymous list of people making strong, steady progress in evolving the fleet step by step, they decided to reach for fame in an arrogant leap as none have done before - to succeed for their name - or sell the future of others to fate when it was time to make the flash flesh.

 LCS, DDG-1000, CG(N?)-X, and the restart of the DDG-51 line speaks for itself.

 Training and readiness were no longer seen as how one prepares and measures the ability to take ships and Sailors to go in harm's way when the time comes, but uncomfortable and difficult things that if not properly "shaped" might produce the wrong color on a stoplight PPT. Fudge, hedge, ignore.

 The material condition of the SPRU as we decomm'd them were the first sign, and then to the everyday results of a the lack of depot level support requiring already undermanned ships to do that work themselves that we see today speaks for itself.

 We will do more than less, not because it is the best thing to do, but because it is what we want to do to make the theory flesh, get our check in the block, and hopefully make it through the change of command ceremony without a bad FITREP, crunched ships, and dead Sailors.

 The initial reports of the factors that led to the FITZGERALD and MCCAIN speaks for itself.

 Instead of a natural progression from the TICO cruiser, we created an unaffordable, program and technology risk laden monster that went nowhere. We still do not have a modern frigate - or any frigates for that matter. We tried to force-mode a "no frigate" requirements on a world that demanded them. We still do not have a DDG-X design. Will the Arleigh Burkes become the Navy's B-52, where four generations of a family will serve on the same platform?

 And in OCT of 2017, where have two decades of malpractice gotten us? We find ourselves at the second half of the second decade of the 21st Century surrounded by threats in hostile waters we watched grow for years and did little ... and are found wanting not by some exotic and advanced adversary - but our inability to execute the very basics of seamanship from anchoring to avoiding being run over by merchant ships.

 With no great battles at sea, no lurking threat in the deep attriting our fleet, we are running short of ships.

 ...and so, we have to do this;

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) departed Naval Station Norfolk Oct. 16, for a surge deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of operation.
Why?

The guided-missile cruiser Monterey will deploy on Oct. 16 as the Navy shuffles ships around to ensure there are enough ballistic-missile defense ships in the Pacific in the wake of two major accidents that rendered the destroyer’s McCain and Fitzgerald unable to deploy.

“Monterey will leave on a previously unscheduled deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas to conduct maritime security operations,” Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson told Navy Times Thursday.

“This deployment will allow the Hawaii-based destroyer O‘Kane to deploy to 7th Fleet to provide more BMD-capable ships in the region,” she said, referring to ships with ballistic-missile defense systems.
Didn't MONTEREY just get back from deployment? Yes, she did;

It will be Monterey’s second deployment to both regions in the past year. Monterey left Norfolk June 1, 2016, as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and spent most of that deployment in 5th Fleet supporting operations there. The ship returned home Jan. 19.
Deployed 7.5 months. Home 9 months. Deploying again.

 This 27-yr old cruiser and her crew are headed out again. Didn't we just spend a couple of months talking about how riding our ships hard and leaving them up wet, along with burning out crews was bad?

 The MONTEREY will turn-to and take care of business as ships and Sailors have done for thousands of years. The why and when are the responsibility of senior leadership. I hope she has the material, training, and manning support she requires that the MCCAIN and FITZGERALD didn't.

 This little vignette is exactly why the likes of Jerry Hendrix and Bryan McGrath have been warning that our Navy is too small.

 We know what not to do, but we continue to do it - because we have decided we "have to." Hope isn't a plan, as the saying goes - but that is where we are. We hope that the MONTEREY will not find herself in a place where she demonstrates what we just got through telling Congress and the American people what happens when you ask too much - stretch demands too far - of our ships and the very human men and women we put on them.

 The line is holding fast, but can you hear that? That sound resonating up and down the line?

Since Canada's military is tied to the US military pretty tightly. I have witnessed these same issues facing the RCN. Transformation became a buzz word with us as well and look at what we have ended up with. No AOR's, way late Maritime air and no real date for replacement of the frigates.

Dark days ahead.

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2017, 19:19:33 »
Yikes!

Quote
Only one-third of Super Hornets ready to ‘fight tonight’ as of October, admiral says

Just a third of the Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornets were fully mission-capable and ready to “fight tonight” as of October, the head of Naval Air Forces told Congress on Friday.

Only half of the service’s 542 Super Hornets were flyable as of last month, Vice Adm. Troy Shoemaker told the House Subcommittee on Readiness at a hearing on aviation readiness.

The relentless pace of operations since 9/11, coupled with budget uncertainty in recent years, has forced the Navy’s aircraft and warship communities to do more with less, affecting overall readiness as a result, according to a copy of Shoemaker’s prepared statement to lawmakers.

Additional funding in FY2017 helped address immediate readiness shortfalls, Shoemaker said, but more will be needed as the service grapples with everything from an ascendant Chinese military to a belligerent North Korea and an Iranian force prone to incitement.

“Naval Aviation needs a multifaceted approach to readiness recovery that include aircraft procurement, consistent funding of readiness accounts and (military construction) and infrastructure investments,” Shoemaker said.

The Navy deployed four carrier strike groups this year to support combat operations and provide deterrence, he said.

Shortcomings meant the Navy had to “cannibalize aircraft, parts and people to ensure those leaving on deployment had what they needed to be safe and effective,” Shoemaker said.

“The demand for Naval Aviation forces greatly exceeds our ability to supply those forces,” he said...
https://www.defensenews.com/news/your-navy/2017/11/09/only-one-third-of-super-hornets-ready-to-fight-tonight-as-of-october-admiral-says/

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2017, 08:39:52 »
Captain Junge has a super article about the problems facing the USN and has some solutions.For example the Navy is kicking around the idea of bringing frigates out of mothballs.Instead he feels that the Navy should focus on insuring that all ships are manned at wartime levels.

https://warontherocks.com/2017/11/somethings-wrong-surface-fleet-arent-talking/

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2018, 19:07:42 »
Hoo boy, more planes/parts for RCAF!

Quote
US Navy to scrap scores of fighter jets from its inventory

The U.S. Navy is moving to scrap almost 140 older Hornet fighters from its inventory and accelerate the transition to newer Super Hornet models in a bid to cut the costs of maintaining old aircraft that have seen hard use over two decades of continuous combat operations.

The Navy projects it will recoup the better part of a billion dollars over the next five years, money used to fund other readiness initiatives both in the beleaguered Naval Aviation Enterprise and elsewhere.

The plan, hashed out in June, is to strike F/A-18 “A” through “D” models for a total of 136 Hornets, 66 of which will be gone by the end of 2020...

The Navy thinks this is an opportunity to get some usable spare parts for the in-service jets and help the Marine Corps by sending it the best of the remaining aircraft.
https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/03/06/navy-to-scrap-scores-of-fighter-jets-from-its-inventory/

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2018, 08:48:21 »
The USN has a pilot shortage and will pay a retention bonus of up to $175000 to keep pilots.

https://www.stripes.com/news/navy-offers-new-bonuses-to-keep-pilots-in-uniform-1.518090

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2018, 11:29:21 »
The longer we, the CAF, bury our head in the sands and refuse to acknowledge that money is part of the retention solution (and keep saying losing pilots is a loyalty issue), the worse it's going to get, to a point, in the near future, where we will not be able to meet our mandates.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2018, 09:53:13 »
The longer we, the CAF, bury our head in the sands and refuse to acknowledge that money is part of the retention solution (and keep saying losing pilots is a loyalty issue), the worse it's going to get, to a point, in the near future, where we will not be able to meet our mandates.


I agree with you, Max.

Anecdotally, back in the early 1960s, the Signal Corps, especially, but, indeed, the whole Army, was having a helluva time retaining technicians and other skilled tradesmen (we were almost all men) ... many people wanted to join and learn a valuable trade ~ the five recessions of the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960/61 were over and the economy was on track for an almost 15 year "run," but military salaries had not kept pace with the realities of the fast growing Canadian economy.

That was, in fact, one of the drivers for the changes to rank and trade that Mr Hellyer introduced in the mid 1960s. But in the early 1960s the Army (and I guess the Navy and RCAF, too) changed the grade pay structure so that the top paid people, like me, were still, as corporal radio technicians, paid more than Signal Corps captains or Infantry staff sergeants, because we were, quite simply, too hard to retain ... but so were vehicle mechanics and heavy equipment operators and almost every skilled trade we had. Enlistment rules also changed ... a soldier could join the Artillery, for example, or even Signals as an operator or lineman, on a three year engagement but technicians were enlisted for five years. On selection for a Group III trade course, where the high salaries kicked in, one had to re-engage for, as I recall and I may be wrong, eight additional years.

Money mattered then and the extra money worked, I think. I do not see any fundamental change in human nature or society that changes that.
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2018, 10:13:36 »
I will argue that our pilot problem has two facets: The RCAF's congenital inability to train pilots, and the RCAF's stubborn insistence that, having spent north of $1M to train a pilot, we employ the majority in non-flying roles.

A smaller pilot occupation, properly employed, and with a better training system would meet our needs.  And not require financial incentives above what they already receive.

Alternatively, the Capts who are so hard done by could release and fly for Porter or fly other sub-100 pax aircraft, and make about the same as a non-spec pay Sgt.
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2018, 10:21:18 »
The RCAF will still be flying for years, old aircraft.
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Offline winnipegoo7

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2018, 10:34:46 »
Alternatively, the Capts who are so hard done by could release and fly for Porter or fly other sub-100 pax aircraft, and make about the same as a non-spec pay Sgt.

Wistful thinking?

RCAF pilots are well educated and generally intelligent. Many have engineering degrees.

Presumably they could quit the RCAF and enter into many lucrative career fields like:
Engineering
Medical  (become a doctor)
Law enforcement
CSIS
Go into politics
... I’d argue that there are nearly unlimited opportunities for these people.

edited to add that I heard that there will be up to $80,000 available for education if you release from the CF - that helps start a new career
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 11:24:56 by winnipegoo7 »

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2018, 12:12:49 »
I will argue that our pilot problem has two facets: The RCAF's congenital inability to train pilots, and the RCAF's stubborn insistence that, having spent north of $1M to train a pilot, we employ the majority in non-flying roles.

A smaller pilot occupation, properly employed, and with a better training system would meet our needs.  And not require financial incentives above what they already receive.

Alternatively, the Capts who are so hard done by could release and fly for Porter or fly other sub-100 pax aircraft, and make about the same as a non-spec pay Sgt.

I will disagree with you.  I know several highly experienced pilots that were in flying positions that quit (some were offered positions that not many people would refuse).  Main disatisfiers?  Pay, quality of life and lack of recognition.  We invested well norh of $1M in those people (more to the tune of $5M) and that's probably gas alone during their training. Would it be so bad to invest an extra $50-75K a year (and a contract) to keep them in and retain the experience?  Could we use some creative solutions such allowing withdrawing a pension while continuing serving Reg Force (but stopping contributions to the pension plan and any increase in annuity other than cost of life index)?

Some left for much more lucrative flying jobs, some left for other fields and some left for the airlines, knowing they will take a financial hit for 2-3 years before coming back to their current pay (120-130k a year) and then go up from there. 

I will also disagree that we need a smaller cadre of pilots.  We need operators in HQs.  I have seen 1st hand what happens when non operators are put in charge of operations and sometimes, they entirely lack operational sense in their decisions (and make damaging decisions).  In the Fighter Force, I want to say we hit a balance but I may not have the whole picture...

Offline dapaterson

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2018, 12:30:53 »
Pilot Majors start at $120K (ignoring allowances), which is comparable to pilots in most civilian airlines with thousands more hours.  They gained their training and experience as paid CAF members (unlike civilian pilots who paid significant amounts of money to get their license and flight hours).

Given the cost of pilot training, it is wasteful to have such a large proportion of the trade employed at desks.  Perhaps what's needed is NCM pilots who spend their careers on the flightline, and a much smaller group of pilot officers who split their time between flight operations and non-flying jobs?
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Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2018, 12:38:43 »
Pilot Majors start at $120K (ignoring allowances), which is comparable to pilots in most civilian airlines with thousands more hours.  They gained their training and experience as paid CAF members (unlike civilian pilots who paid significant amounts of money to get their license and flight hours).


Irrelevant.  A 2,000 hrs CAF pilot is not the same as a 2,000 hrs pilot in the civilian world and companies acknowledge this fact.  We generally have years more experience in aviation, which isn't the case for our civilian counterparts.  Furthermore, most of our time is command time and we are put in aircrew supervisory roles (standards, training, auditor) much earlier.  All in all, our experience (as a whole, not just hours) is extremely valued and that makes us marketable, more so than someone with equivalent hours in the civilian world.  FWIW, New hires can upgrade to Aircraft Captain in 1-3 years ar Jazz where the salary is more than what we make. 

The fact that our training was paid for is equally irrelevant.

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2018, 12:40:47 »

Given the cost of pilot training, it is wasteful to have such a large proportion of the trade employed at desks.  Perhaps what's needed is NCM pilots who spend their careers on the flightline, and a much smaller group of pilot officers who split their time between flight operations and non-flying jobs?

You will need the same amount of pilots.  And the same proportion will end up in HQs.  What is expensive isn't the salary (and you'll have the same issues with NCMs:  they'll want to be compensated fairly):  it's the training.  Making pilots NCMs won't solve that issue.

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2018, 13:29:06 »
You will need the same amount of pilots.  And the same proportion will end up in HQs.  What is expensive isn't the salary (and you'll have the same issues with NCMs:  they'll want to be compensated fairly):  it's the training.  Making pilots NCMs won't solve that issue.

What if there were less Pilot positions in HQs?  Does CJOC (as an example) *really* need Pilots behind desks, or can those be filled with Any Air trade (or even any trade)?
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline dapaterson

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2018, 13:35:04 »
What if there were less Pilot positions in HQs?  Does CJOC (as an example) *really* need Pilots behind desks, or can those be filled with Any Air trade (or even any trade)?

The size of the HQ in CJOC needs to be revisited, and then apportionment of the 25% remaining between trades can be done.

The CAF has an indecent obsession with oversized, underemployed HQs.
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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2018, 13:44:29 »
I will also disagree that we need a smaller cadre of pilots.  We need operators in HQs.  I have seen 1st hand what happens when non operators are put in charge of operations and sometimes, they entirely lack operational sense in their decisions (and make damaging decisions).  In the Fighter Force, I want to say we hit a balance but I may not have the whole picture...
Totally understand and agree, Max.

One thing l felt the RCMP did right and we did wrong, when l was an MP was our Security Officers.  All RCMP members go through Depot and spend time in the street, doing the job before they Commission and move upwards.  It annoyed me to no end to have Officers whom had never walked in my shoes regulating how l would do my job, with what equipment etc.  The majority l knew had washed out in other trades before being sent to us. 

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2018, 13:57:12 »
Its pretty standard for US J staffs to have officers from each service.Now days some folks are not in the same trade they started their career in due to consolidation.I thank my stars that when I arrived at my first duty station as an airborne infantryman that I did not wind up pulling guard duty at a Nike site.The Command needed paratroopers more as they were short and airborne units had more priority.They probably sent som MP's to fill the shortfall. ;D

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2018, 22:47:45 »
The cure for the pilot shortage isnt money oddly enough.

https://www.stripes.com/news/pilot-retention-more-than-a-money-issue-navy-s-personnel-chief-says-1.520002

Navy pilots would rather have more time in the cockpit than cash bonuses designed to keep them in uniform, according to the chief of naval personnel.

Feedback from the fleet shows that not enough flight time, lack of warfighting focus and poor work-life balance are the three biggest reasons why aviators leave the service, Vice Adm. Robert Burke wrote in the March issue of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings Magazine.

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2018, 23:03:40 »
Wouldn't more flight time unbalance the work-life balance even more?

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2018, 23:05:02 »
USAF has retention bonuses of $35k a year and they're still hemorrhaging pilots. You're never going to compete with all private sector salaries, get close and be happy with that.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2018, 23:12:35 »
Wouldn't more flight time unbalance the work-life balance even more?

Given the choice, I'm guessing that pilots would rather get 10 additional flight hours than spend ten hours doing DLN training on WHMIS; controlled goods; security awareness; Flossing and You: The Dental Crisis; The Army's New Ranks: Who you're talking to with your hands in your pockets, and the plethora of other items that fill non-flying hours.

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Offline Dimsum

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2018, 23:23:03 »
Given the choice, I'm guessing that pilots would rather get 10 additional flight hours than spend ten hours doing DLN training on WHMIS; controlled goods; security awareness; Flossing and You: The Dental Crisis; The Army's New Ranks: Who you're talking to with your hands in your pockets, and the plethora of other items that fill non-flying hours.

Flossing and You will help prevent the scourge of GIIINNNGGGIIIIVVVIIIIITTTTIIIIIIISSSSSS!!!!!!!!! 

But yes, 10 hours means a) 10 hours out of the office and DLN, and b) 10 more hours into their logbook for the airlines  :nod:
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2018, 23:39:56 »
Flossing and You will help prevent the scourge of GIIINNNGGGIIIIVVVIIIIITTTTIIIIIIISSSSSS!!!!!!!!! 

But yes, 10 hours means a) 10 hours out of the office and DLN, and b) 10 more hours into their logbook for the airlines  :nod:

10 hours actually means 2-3 hrs in the logbook.

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Re: US Navy Woes
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2018, 23:49:58 »
10 hours actually means 2-3 hrs in the logbook.

Depending on airframe.
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."