How many ships does the Navy have?

Discussion in 'Current News' started by Pugs, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. Pugs

    Pugs Back from the range None

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    I have to admit I'm shocked. We never really got to the 600 ship Navy but 278? Damn. Command of the Seas? I don't think so.

    Since this is a letter I don't think I've violated any copyright by posting the whole thing and I also know Capt Kenney (former AD, A-4 and A-7 Aviator) so if there's an issue I can get the original from him. The former CO of JFK and KH was best man at my wedding and I just verified the truth of this through him this evening.

    http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/mar/14/letters-to-the-editor/?print

    Ships are gone

    There are 12 carriers, by law. Today they are all nuclear powered. The last two conventional carriers, Kennedy and Kitty Hawk, were decommissioned several years ago; my son-in-law decommissioned both ships.

    After all arrangements were made to decommission Kitty, he was instructed to call the ceremony something else because its replacement had not passed sea trials and therefore the Navy would violate the law by having only 11 operating carriers. So they had a legend ceremony. Shortly after, only the CO and one or two sailors remained.

    Four months later the last crew member, the CO, received a message to transfer from the ship.

    So for four months the Navy had a commissioned carrier, dead and no crew.

    Now to the meat. If you were to ask our citizens "How big is our U.S. Navy?" you would receive all kinds of answers. Most would be large numbers, like 1,000 ships.

    Actually, it is 278, plus or minus -- the smallest number in some 80 years. There are 340 admirals, plus or minus a few.

    The Sixth Fleet has one ship, and I don't think it has any guns or missiles. I'm not sure where that destroyer came from.

    The No. 1 one priority for our Navy, as demanded by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mullen, and the chief of naval operations, Adm. Roughead, is diversity.

    They are busy doing other things. Our people have been put to sleep since the 1993 base closures, when the Navy lied to us about the size of the fleet. It was then 450, and nobody said anything when it dropped below 300.

    Where are the Kings, Halseys, Nimitzes and Burkes? We now have no warriors, only managers.

    James A. Kenney

    Capt., U.S. Navy (Retired)

    Timber Race Course

    Hollywood
  2. CAMike

    CAMike Active Member None

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    Dear God.

    Why has the diversity number become a priority?

    We have no warriors, only managers... this sounds like "one of the worlds largest transportation companies" today. Make every individual's life so miserable with mental masturbation report writing that they forget the customer, but damn you look good on paper and you MAY keep your job for now. Oh but wait... the corporate management team says the customer is is still the priority- which is sadly laughable!

    I find it confusing that I ever actually left the Navy. Our service member/warriors deserve better than to be mentally damaged by similar private company YES man politics.
  3. BigRed389

    BigRed389 Registered User None

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    Really, it's not surprising...we wanted to maintain 12 carriers (and 12 LHAs/LHDs too) with increasing costs and decreasing budgets. That forces us to maintain the CRUDES fleet needed to fill out the CSG screen, but we scrapped the coastal minesweeps, frigates, and other smaller ships that can't deploy with the CSG/ESG.
    I get the point of the letter, but it's also worth actually taking a look at what makes up those numbers and tracking what went where.

    We're at 288 battle force ships. Important distinction, because all the auxiliaries the Navy used to operate became USNS ships (~110 different ships). That includes supply ships, salvage ships, sub tenders, SURTASS ships, etc. In other words, ship classes most people today, in or out of the Navy, probably never even knew existed.
    Over 65% of the FFG-lets were decomm'd without replacement. That'll hurt numbers until/if LCS production picks up speed.

    We still have something like 25 cruisers and 60 "destroyers" which by any other navy's standard would be a light cruiser. About 2 CGs and 5 DDGs per CSG...more than we go out with now.
    Throw in roughly 25 smaller amphibs, 50 SSNs and 20 SSBNs/SSGNs.

    So...how many ships does he want us to have?
    HH-60H and mmx1 like this.
  4. Brett327

    Brett327 Magnum! None

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    +1

    One has to look at the capabilities our current force structure brings to the fight and not the number of hulls. This ain't the Cold War and I don't think we'll be going head to head with the Chinese any time soon, so where is this imperative for more ships?

    Brett
  5. Pugs

    Pugs Back from the range None

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    A good point on the USNS fleet. As far as how many ships we should have I think you're point about classes of ships is important too.

    Look at just 2 examples of where we need hulls - IO for freedom of the seas vs the privateers of North Africa, a job made for an FFG and we need enough of them that they can react. Sure, the guys are working hard there but the ability to cover missions like that are key.

    The Med sure could have used a big-deck carrier for the Libyan ops - hopefully we won't get more involved there that we do now but I'd sure rather support EA from 50 miles offshore than flying out of Aviano (living in Aviano vice CVN is a whole nother dealio though!) . Think about what next in the Med that may require multiple platforms that we don't have.

    So, I think you're right that we need to consider more ships and maybe a couple more classes to consider being able to tailor the force. This is not dissimilar to the quandry of the weapons on said ships (or planes for that matter) . Do we go with an all modern smart weapon family or do we consider keeping some of the more traditional weapons that require less planning/support? Heck, I don't know but I do know that I see a lack of hulls as hurting us baeing able to complete the number of missions assigned.
  6. Recovering LSO

    Recovering LSO Suck Less None

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    I think the bigger problem, and one that transfers across designators, is: how much time do these ships spend at sea? Fewer ships means fewer people. Fewer underway days means less experience. Less people with less experience, but someone has to promote.... Who's it gonna be? Your best DIVO/OOD/etc? Or the dude who's got the best paperwork skills? This is what I think CAPT Kenney should have addressed - because it affects all designators and ends up putting dipshits into very high leadership positions.
  7. helolumpy

    helolumpy No closed tower ops for you; two months!! None

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    So the answer is building more ships? I bet Adirmal Roughead never thought of that... It sounds like the author has an axe to grind about diversity and uses the ship building issue as additional fires. I base me opinion on the fact that he makes no actual recommendations.
    The sHip building issue is a different problem from the diversity arguement altogether.
    Ships are very expensive now, so the better question should be regarding the types of ships we are building. Do we need high tech multi mission ships or do we need more single mission type ships like corvettes (smaller than frigate)? IMO the LCS is not the answer.
    If we need more hulls for forward presence and for the maritime security mission, those ships do not to all need have AEGIS, SM missiles, TLAM and two helos embarked. A Knox class frigate could do counter piracy almost as well as a new DDG and at a fraction of the construction cost.

    So if we need more hulls, then maybe we don't need high-end warships. Maybe by having more commands, then more folks will have an opportunity to command which will give us a larger pool for O-6 selection or maybe something radical like O-3 or O-4 command opportunity....
  8. Recovering LSO

    Recovering LSO Suck Less None

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    We should all have an axe to grind concerning how diversity has become the overarching priority for our senior leadership - the CNO's number one priority for the entire Naval force is diversity. Maybe the additional command billets will allow for more diverse commanders...
    Bevo16 likes this.
  9. HueyCobra8151

    HueyCobra8151 Well-Known Member None

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    I dunno if I have an opinion on the subject, but it is an interesting discussion. I don't think the author was trying to rail against diversity, he really only made one small sentence about it. I think the point was just that warfighting isn't the top priority.

    --
    I think a lot of people in the military have forgotten that the end result of everything is supporting some dude with a rifle who is locating, closing with, and destroying the enemy by fire and maneuver.
  10. Recovering LSO

    Recovering LSO Suck Less None

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    yep.
  11. Brett327

    Brett327 Magnum! None

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    Is it an actual priority though, or is it just lip service. While many of us decry the increasing politicization of warfighting over the past 20 years, it's hard to argue that "diversity" is somehow the number one priority in the Navy.

    @ Lumpy: Interesting line of thinking, particularly WRT the piracy issue. I wonder whether the proverbial Knox Class ship would be as cheap to build in relative dollars as it was back in the day. Another thing to consider would be the second guessing that would occur if a lesser vessel like a Knox class suffered some kind of severe casualty in action. Explore the analogy of the lack of "up-armored" Hummers in OIF and you'll appreciate the political peril of that course of action.

    Brett
  12. Brett327

    Brett327 Magnum! None

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    You may want to review your Clausewitz. Ultimately, the people we're supporting are the policy makers in D.C. for whom the rifleman is just a pawn in the grand scheme.

    Brett
  13. KBayDog

    KBayDog Well-Known Member

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    I dunno about you, but I'm just supporting Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Bush, Cheney, Halliburton, Blackwater, and the rest of the Neo-Con Military-Industrial Complex.
    :D


    Edit: Added smilies to indicate the levity associated with this post, lest someone think I am being serious...
  14. Ezekiel

    Ezekiel Falling, with style

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  15. Gatordev

    Gatordev Well-Known Member None

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    Lumpy,

    Overall, I think you make some good points, but here may be an example of where the problem comes in...

    A Perry-class frigate (just using that as an example since it's "newer" and therefore "better" than a Knox-class type ship) can barely do CIT/CP ops by itself, let alone with out its helos. Without some sort of comms upgrade, sensor upgrade, etc, it's almost worthless. And there's where the expense starts to creep in. Sure it wouldn't need SPY, but upgrading the radars and data-collection suite is going to add up. Then the question comes up as to why we just don't buy another LCS. I'm not saying that's the right mindset, just something that I could see happening.

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