May 04 2013
I have long maintained that the Navy has some serious problems that it refuses to address up front. Its biggest problem is not, despite the opinion of others, its coming need to replace its SSBN's. That's a problem-but its a distant one. The nearest problem for the US Navy is its continuing inability to address its OPTEMPO. When a guy like Greenert can calmly say something like this, you know the Navy is well and truly fucked:
“Right now that’s just an estimate, but we think it’s just about right,” Greenert told Navy Times after his talk with sailors. “We’re expecting them to fall between eight and eight and a half [months] I project.”
I want that present my Sailors gave you in 2006 back.
Eight months should be the lone exception-not the rule, and the very fact that the USN seems compelled to do it is sign #1 that it is over committed and should do something about that.
Because what really happens is that 8 months normally becomes 9 months-at the drop of a hat. Gone are the days of six months portal to portal-and any extension required approval from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and had better have a good reason.
Does the Navy need to two carriers in the Gulf? No-and it finally came to that realization after the sequester hit. It should have been a decision made 4 years before. The Navy, in its quest to be "relevant" is eating itself. And it is going to find out just how much damage it has done to itself when the economy recovers and the companies start hiring and JO's and junior Sailors start leaving in droves.
Anything beyond six months sucks with a capital "S"-and should be avoided at all costs. There are ways to reduce OPTEMPO-and they need to be quickly considered. Here are a couple I can think of:
1) Divorce the service of the idea that the CV and the CVW always have to deploy together. Just as at the beginning of OIF there was no need for 5 carriers in the Gulf-maybe they needed 5 Air Wings ( something I truly doubt- especially as it became apparent what a long haul Iraq was going to be)- sometimes the wing can go forward without the carrier.
2) Look at rotating crews out at intervals. Go drastically at the "Navy's overhead"-its shore establishment to free up bodies to do more meaningful work at sea.
3) Finally, learn how to say no.
This cannot go on-and that it has gone on this long without a large number of people fired for their inept management-is beyond me.
I could go on and on about the ways 8 months could be avoided-but it is clear no one is listening. Welcome to 1972. Did we learn nothing in 40 years?