May 04 2013

The worst part is that they pass these ideas off with a straight face.

Published by at 1:31 pm under Navy

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?

 

 

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15 responses so far

15 Responses to “The worst part is that they pass these ideas off with a straight face.”

  1. [...] via Far East Cynic » The worst part is that they pass these ideas off with a straight face.. [...]

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  2. Sweetbriaron 04 May 2013 at 2:29 pm

    For comparison and further investigation, I believe that when I was young in the early 60's, Dad's cruises lasted 8-9 months. Was that the case then, and if so why? I agree that 6 months should be plenty now, and we should plan for that, but I don't know why and when we last had regular 9 month deployments historically.

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  3. Skippy-sanon 04 May 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Well, I would submit there were more than a few differences between then and now;

    1) The carriers made a up a bigger portion of the Air War-and there were 4 times as many troops actually in Vietnam. Now however Navy sorties only account for about 25% of the daily flights in support of troops actually in a combat theater.

    2) Second-in Vietnam, the carrier aircraft could actually get to and from the target quicker than those that were landbased-although the aircraft in Thailand had approximately the same distance to go. However in 1964 and 1965 and again in 1972 were were actually engaged in a comprehensive bombing campaign to drive the NV to their knees or the peace table. Now its the forces on the ground that are decisive-and USN is doing close air support. That could be flown from bases in AFG or from UAE.

    3)CV's are supposed to be a deterrent presence against Iran. Fine, I accept that, but why can't one be a deterrent presence like it always was?

    4) We made a big mistake driving the CV's as hard as we did in the 60's and it came home to roost in the 70's.

     

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  4. Cupojoeon 04 May 2013 at 8:43 pm

    The deployment length isn't as bad as the obviously shortened time period in between deployments, where crews are required to perform the more complex maintenance requirements and inspections. I don't remember the deployments being as bad as local ops where we drilled for 4 weeks, broke stff, and then spent two months fixing it all.

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  5. Curtison 04 May 2013 at 11:15 pm

    It didn't really take you almost 2 months to conclude that I was 100% correct across the board when I replied back on 8 March with similar notions did it? As I recall, a lot of people thought the wheels would come off if we cut DoD spending by even a nickel. Ha! We are doing BS missions that neither need doing nor us to do them for no reason at all but to justify a plump DoD budget. I particularly liked my proposal to put our increasingly frightening SSBNs on deployment in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior although for pure atmospheric reasons I'd prefer they remain in Lake Huron. Fortunately Erie is too shallow for effective SSBN operations.

    Just think, they could pull into Lake Saint Clair and Detroit for Blue Gold turnover or maybe operate out of Great Lakes Naval Training Center and take back the waterfront after dark. Hell, they could pull into some Canadian ports for liberty in foreign climes.

    Another win win.

     

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  6. Skippy-sanon 05 May 2013 at 3:26 am

    Well I would disagree with you that the sequestration is not taking a toll. On a personal note, it is making it quite difficult to hit 1K status this year-which for me is quite a tragedy. ;-)

    That said, I guess I am at a loss to understand why the deployments can’t be six months with 18 months of turnaround-given that both lant and pac are filling only one theater now.

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  7. lawrence granton 05 May 2013 at 8:39 am

    The army is quietly doing the same thing; sort of.  They droped the length of deployments to 9 months, but took away the R&R that went along with 12 months.  This is collusion between the army and navy to make 9 months the norm.  The air force is not buying into it yet.  But they did extend the deployments from 4 to 6 months.  

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  8. Curtison 05 May 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Ah, you should have seen the games played with our Red Lines ISO OEF, OIF. Reserve squadrons mobilized for 12 months, deployed for 9. Active squadrons deployed for 6 months. It was Reserve only for the first 3 years and then every other rotation to each location over there was split active and reserve. Then NECC decided that the thing to do of course was get rid of the pesky reserve squadrons and make more active squadrons that did nothing at all INCONUS for 2-3 years at a stretch. Wonderful business plan those morons put into effect. Now biting them on their ass.

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  9. Mauriceon 05 May 2013 at 7:31 pm

    As a former "F***ing Shoe" as someone put it, I think that an 8 month deployment is too long.  When I reported to my first ship in 1990, came there right at the start of the old REFTRA and was out on the weekdays, and in on the weekends, and you could count on one of those weekend days being a duty day with 4 section rotation.  Did that for two months, and then did all of the work ups, again, in on the weekends, and out during the week, with anchoring in San Diego harbor at night, just to save fuel.  Then came RIMPAC and then we left on deployment in June and then Desert Stomr happened.  What got me pissed off back then was that I wanted to stay in the area, but they made us come back home just to send the message that ships would not break the 6 months deployment rule (my CG was part of the USS INDEPENDENCE BG).

    So when we are going to do something, we get pulled back.  But they can find it in their wisdom to keep us out churning circles and playing games.  8 months is too long just to be doing that, without the quality liberty ports for visits.  Now you have guys depoyed for that long, and the only place they get to stop is Bahrain, and then maybe a stop in Thailand.  But of course if they do go anyplace, they have massive liberty restrictions put on them to the point where a guy can't go get a drink and have a good time.  They must make sure that where ever they go, they must make sure to build a school and paint an orphange.

    If you keep them out that long, then treat them like adults.  Let them have quality libety ports.  Let them pull into Guam and other WESTPAC ports to get maintenance done for more than just 3 days, and some liberty.  Sailors will make the sacrifce, but it has to be worth it in my opinion.  If you are going to ask me to stay out that long, make it worth my time.  You don't have to pay me that much extra, but treat them like adults, and make it so that they can have quality port visits, and time at home.

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  10. Skippy-sanon 06 May 2013 at 3:18 am

    If you keep them out that long, then treat them like adults. Let them have quality libety ports. Let them pull into Guam and other WESTPAC ports to get maintenance done for more than just 3 days, and some liberty. Sailors will make the sacrifce, but it has to be worth it in my opinion. If you are going to ask me to stay out that long, make it worth my time. You don't have to pay me that much extra, but treat them like adults, and make it so that they can have quality port visits, and time at home.

    That is a wonderful point. But you are highlighting the other great failing of today's Navy-its idea, driven by its flag leadership that it has the right to micro-manage your personal life. They are so terrified of liberty incidents and someone having carnal knowledge of the natives-that they will make the 8 months a living hell. It is a double whammy on retention.

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  11. Skippy-sanon 06 May 2013 at 3:21 am

    If you keep them out that long, then treat them like adults. Let them have quality libety ports. Let them pull into Guam and other WESTPAC ports to get maintenance done for more than just 3 days, and some liberty. Sailors will make the sacrifce, but it has to be worth it in my opinion. If you are going to ask me to stay out that long, make it worth my time. You don't have to pay me that much extra, but treat them like adults, and make it so that they can have quality port visits, and time at home.

     

    That is a wonderful point. The other great failing of today's Navy leadership is their idea that they have a right to micro manage one's personal life. So its a double whammy on retention. They are so afraid someone will sex with someone not on the "approved" list of sexual partners-that it becomes an 8 month hell.

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  12. Mauriceon 06 May 2013 at 9:59 am

    Skippy,

    I am sure you remember before you retired reading the liberty policy that was required by a US Navy vessel on a "humanitarian" cruise going across the Pacific building schools and providing medical services to the natives.  They pulled into a country that was our former enemy where John S. McCain had a room with a view for 8 years, and now they are our friends, but some of the policies were:

    - Off the streets by 1800 in your approved hotel room.  Hotel bars were off limits

    - No drinking in hotel room after 1800.

    - You must be alone in said hotel room, no native company only approved "buddy" that was approved by the fist O6 in your chain of command.

    With all of that, why bother going out to sea.  Imagine those guys, some of whom had probably come from places like Iraq and Afg being told to be off the streets while the sun is still up, and all the while regular US tourists are out having a blast.  With that much PC crap in place, what good is it to go out and see the world?  Even if you weren't going to partiake in the carnal knowledge of the native population, why go on a tour when by the time you get back you have to be locked up in your room.

    Never mind that all this leads to is cases of "blue on blue" engagement, the results of which were a few TAD personnel at your last duty station who were showing the after effects of those types of engagements (i.e. off the ship after 20 weeks).

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  13. Skippy-sanon 06 May 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Maurice,

       You know what the worst part of that stupid policy was? There were westerners doing all of the above and you know what? They didn't get arrested or go straight to hell. There were American, British , and French expats getting laid in Saigon-and the world did not come to an end. What it really shows is how ignorant many American flag level decision makers are-or too enraptured with conservative , religious ideas.

     

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  14. Mauriceon 06 May 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Skippy,

    I agree with you to a point.  I don't think it is not just the "conservatve viewpoint" that holds many of the Flags to make such ridiculous policies, but also the press and how they treat things military.  If a military member is seen wearing a uniform down the street in Angeles City (in the red light area), right then we will get the story that the military condones "Trafficking in Persons" and prostitution and how we turn a blind eye to the exploitation of women.  Yet, when DADT was finally repealled, they made quite a "Feel Good Story" of how military members were allowed to march in Gay Pride parades in uniforms free from reprisals from the brass.  So I submit to you, what's the difference in marching in a Gay Pride parade in uniform or walking down the streets of Angeles City in uniform?  No difference.  Bottom line is that they both will involve some type of sexual activity, it just so happens the press is more forgiving with the activity that relates to a certain agenda.

    Case in point here in Japan, a Sailor was found again drunk in the yard of a Japanese.  Nothing bad was done, just drunk in someone yard asleep.  Of course it made the blog pages of Japan today: (http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/drunk-u-s-serviceman-arrested-for-trespassing-in-private-residence#comment_1556805)

    Yet there is a RAN ship here and some of their guys are doing some of the same things, and they are not on any liberty restrictions, and yet not a peep out of the J-press.

    If there was a Flag Officer who wasn't afraid to just give plain talk and tell it like it is, and not worry about the "politics" maybe we would be better off.  After all, even if they were forced to retire at 2 Star rank, that's still a lot more money than the average American will make in a year.

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  15. Skippy-sanon 07 May 2013 at 4:10 am

    You will get no disagreement from me. The hypocrisy is quite amazing on these subjects. FWIW-the Navy is being equally stupid here in Europe and in Israel as well. There are just less ships so it does not quite get the same visibility.

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