Congressional Research Service.
Instead, the defense secretary
trimmed around the edges — such
as delaying the CVN 79 Ford-class
aircraft carrier by one year, from
2012 to 2013, and deferring the
11th LPD 17 amphibious transport
ship and the Mobile Landing
Platform, from 2010 to 2011
Gates also wants to delay the
CG(X) cruiser, a move that would
give the service more time to
design the ship and mature its
radar technology. The Navy had
planned to make the DDG 1000
the basis for the cruiser’s design.
In particular, Gates said, the Navy
needs to revisit “both the requirements and the acquisition strategy”
for the next-generation cruiser.
“The healthy margin of dominance at sea provided by America’s
existing battle fleet makes it possible and prudent to slow production of several major surface combatants and other maritime programs,” Gates told reporters when
announcing his decisions April 6.
But the Navy and Marine Corps
programs will likely get a closer
look in the upcoming Quadrennial
Defense Review (QDR), which
Gates has said will review amphibious capabilities.
It appears programs such as the
LPD 17 and the Marine Corps’
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle,
which has a troubled acquisition
history of its own, will be subject
to close examination during the
“I want the QDR to examine, as
we look at the 21st century, how
much amphibious capability do we
need?” Gates told reporters during
a roundtable discussion April 7.
“And I don’t know the answer to
that. We need it, but how much do
Gates said the LPD 17 and
Mobile Landing Platform, in particular, were among a “number of
issues … that I didn’t feel I had
enough analysis and understand-
“Wherever the police are, the robbers will go somewhere else.”
An expert on maritime national security at Rand Corp.
On the difficulty of quelling piracy in the waters off Somalia’s nearly 2,500-mile-
“We got the captain back, which is the outcome we wanted to
see happen, his safe and secure return. Regrettably, three
pirates made a choice that ended in the loss of their lives. One
did not and is in our custody and will, of course, be treated
responsibly and held responsible.”
Adm. Greg Smith
Director of Communications, U.S. Central Command
On the U.S. Navy’s rescue of Maersk Alabama Capt. Richard Phillips after he
had been held by Somali pirates for five days off the Horn of Africa.
Los Angeles Times
ing to make decisions, and so I
One of Gates’ decisions for next
year that still needs some clarity,
however, is the future of the F/A-
18s. The Navy had planned to buy
22 EA-18G Growlers and 18 F/A-
18E/F Super Hornets next year.
During his budget announcement, Gates said he planned to buy
31 F/A-18s next year, but did not
specify what mix of the aircraft he
intended to procure. Navy officials
could not provide more details.
One industry official said the
mix was 22 EA-18Gs, eight F/A-
18Es and one F/A-18F. The total of
31 represents a reduction of nine
from the 40 planned by the Navy
This “does nothing to solve the
fighter shortage,” said the source,
who said the Navy and Marine
Corps were heading for a shortage
of up to 240 strike fighters by the
The Obama administration is
expected to send its detailed 2010
budget request to Capitol Hill this
In a move that makes his plans to
curtail the DDG 1000 destroyer program more palatable on Capitol Hill,
Gates has said he wants to build all
three of the hulls at General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works in Maine.
The DDG 1000, like the older
DDG 51, was to be built both at
Bath and at Northrop Grumman
Ship Systems in Pascagoula, Miss.
House Armed Services seapower
subcommittee Chairman Gene
Taylor, D-Miss., whose district
includes Pascagoula, has long
backed efforts to end the DDG
1000 and buy more DDG 51s.
Maine lawmakers, on the other
hand, have adamantly opposed cutting back DDG 1000 procurement,
arguing that doing so would devastate the Bath facility and its employees. But, given the chance to build
three of the ships, the Maine delegation quickly changed its tune.
“This is incredibly welcome news
for Maine and is a testament to the
high-skilled, hard-working men and
women at Bath Iron Works,” Sen.
SEAPOWER / MAY 2009