May 2010 will be remembered as the month the Navy was given the first clear signal that change is coming since the cold war ended. It is important to note that the speech for the Navy League was only the first step though - with the second step coming on Saturday. If you thought the last Gates speech was interesting - wait until you hear the next one...
So writes Raymond Pritchett this morning over at his place.
I think he’s right, but I will also remind readers that the SecDef hasn’t told us exactly what this change might be. I think we can get a pretty good idea of what he’s getting at by going back to reread the work of Bob Work—current Under Secretary of the Navy—when he was stalking the think tanks of Washington D.C., because much of what he wrote at CSBA is now being reshaped as a roadmap for the Navy. Also, as Pritchett noted, the upcoming AirSea Battle rollout will go a long way in making the path ahead a little more clear.
I had a glimpse of part of what this future might be a few weeks back when I spent a few days aboard the USS Independence, (LCS 2), the aluminum trimaran hull that is in the running with the USS Freedom (LCS 1) for the 55-ship contract for a new modular, shallow water capability for the Navy. Gates still seems committed to the idea, and it plays a big part in some of the most innovative thinking being done about future Navy capabilities by people like Cmdr. Henry Hendrix. You can read my full LCS 2 story over at DTI. Here's a bit of it:
I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way,” reads the quote from the larger-than-life father of the U.S. Navy, John Paul Jones, which is posted above a stairway leading to the mess deck on the USS Independence.
On a clear, calm day in late March, on only the ship’s fifth full day at sea, the crew saw how fast the Navy’s second Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-2), designed by General Dynamics, could go. In the blue waters far off Florida during its maiden voyage from Key West to Mayport, Fla., Capt. Curt Renshaw ordered the ship to make a full stop. The Independence rocked idly for several minutes before Renshaw ordered the crew to crank it up to its maximum speed—a blistering 43 kt.—which was reached in less than 2 min. Not bad for a 2,100-ton, 418-ft. ship. The acceleration was remarkably smooth—the only way those on the ship’s bridge could tell that the Navy’s newest warship was rapidly increasing speed was by the spray kicked up by the aluminum trimaran.
Read the whole thing here.
(Pic of LCS 2 by Paul McLeary)