“They are very, very capable, they are an incredible ship. In
our program, right now, the modernization is what’s in there. I
believe the hulls have a lot of life left in them, but it’s important we make the appropriate investment so we can stretch
them out and continue to use that capability.”
Adm. Gary Roughead
Chief of Naval Operations
On the future of the DDG- 51 destroyers, for which there is no plan to extend
“Think about that: The Marines feel so strongly about the
future of the amphibious force that they list a Navy asset as
their top priority.”
Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss.
Remarking Feb. 26 on the fact that the Marine Corps listed a 10th LPD 17 amphibious transport dock ship as its top unfunded priority in 2009 budget documents.
Lawmaker: Scale Back
DDG 1000 Destroyer Plans
Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., chairman of the House Armed Services
seapower and expeditionary forces
subcommittee, has proposed scaling back the DDG 1000 destroyer
During a hearing last month,
Taylor said he had laid a plan that
would put the DDG 1000 on an
indefinite hold, limiting the Navy’s
procurement to just two of the
seven hulls it plans to buy.
Taylor’s district includes Northrop Grumman’s Pascagoula shipyard, one of the yards building the
DDG 1000. However, he is among
several lawmakers who have grown
frustrated with the destroyer’s $3
billion-plus price tag.
Pascagoula also is expected to
build many of the CG(X) cruisers,
which the Navy planned to base
largely on the DDG 1000 platform.
Under Taylor’s plan, the Navy
would restart production on the
DDG- 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, another Pascagoula ship-
yard product, and potentially
enlarge the destroyer to accommodate a nuclear power plant.
The Navy, however, has warned
that its largest area of risk in its fleet
is surface combatants — an indication that the service would balk at
any congressional efforts to cut the
DDG 1000. In addition, Navy officials have questioned whether the
DDG- 51 could be converted into a
“I’m not a marine engineer or a
naval architect, but I’m not sure
that that hull form can upscale to
that,” said Roughead.
In written testimony on the fiscal
2009 defense budget request, Navy
officials made it clear they want
Congress to temporarily waive a
statutory requirement for 11 aircraft
carriers. The Navy has said it would
cost $2.2 billion annually to keep
the aging Enterprise operational.
Hunter questioned whether
Gerald R. Ford would join the fleet
in time, and also suggested that the
Navy was searching for a way to
work around the statute.
“What I am beginning to conclude is that the Navy is not committed to 11 aircraft carriers, and I
fear that granting such a waiver
will provide tacit approval to the
Navy to further degrade its power-projection capabilities,” he said.
However, the commander of U.S.
Fleet Forces Command, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, said in a March 12
podcast to the fleet that the decommissioning date of the Navy’s last
conventionally powered carrier, USS
Kitty Hawk, has not been finalized.
It originally was set for this summer,
after it is replaced in Japan by USS
“I’ll tell you we will not decommission the Kitty Hawk until the
commissioning of the [George H. W.]
Bush takes place, right now scheduled for January of 2009,” he said.
The delay will maintain the carrier fleet at 11 ships during 2008-2009.
To 11 Carriers Questioned
Rep. Duncan Hunter, the top
Republican on the House Armed
Services Committee, has warned
the Navy against seeking a waiver
to temporarily reduce the size of
the aircraft carrier fleet to 10
ships, a move that would allow it
to retire USS Enterprise three years
before USS Gerald R. Ford joins the
fleet in 2015.
Biometrics Helping USCG
Curb Migrant Attempts
The U.S. Coast Guard has added
biometrics to its arsenal in policing
the Mona Passage, a waterway in the
Caribbean Sea between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
This passage “was considered to
be the backdoor to the U.S. for a
lot of migrants,” Capt. Thomas
Jones, commanding officer at the
Coast Guard’s research and development center, said during the
Armed Forces Communications &
Electronics Association conference
in Washington Feb. 27.