WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 8 SEAPOWER / OCTOBER 2013
ment’s budget for a second year, the
Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)
program appears to be directly in
Speaking at a Sept. 5 American
Enterprise Institute event, Chief of
Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan
W. Greenert predicted a second year
of indiscriminate cuts would force
the Navy to cut one of the four
shore-hugging vessels the service
planned to buy in fiscal 2014.
But observers have been suggesting for months that the program
might be in deeper trouble, with
the possibility of the fleet size being
slashed from 52 to 24, which would
mark the conclusion of the current
contracts for the two ship designs.
Others are suggesting service officials settle on some other number,
but keep the fleet size well below the
52 now planned. Another option
could be for the Navy to down-select
to one contractor after the 24th ship,
which the service currently plans to
procure in fiscal 2015.
Lawmakers in both chambers
have been keeping an eye on the
program since its inception more
than a decade ago, raising concerns
about cost growth and design and
Neither chamber, however, appeared willing to tackle the program
head-on in the fiscal 2014 defense
authorization and appropriations
measures. Appropriators made small
cuts to the LCS mission modules,
but, otherwise, the program’s funding
remained largely intact.
But lawmakers have inserted
new oversight provisions in their
bills, an indication that patience
for the program on Capitol Hill
may be wearing thin despite the
Navy’s insistence that LCS is a critical element of its future fleet.
Of Cuts to MSP Fleet
The U.S. Maritime Administration
(MARAD) has lost one Maritime
Security Program (MSP) ship due to
cuts mandated by sequestration and
more could follow, acting Maritime
Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen
said Sept. 10 during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Coast
Guard and maritime transportation
The MSP — now a 59-ship fleet
— maintains a modern U.S.-flag fleet
providing military access to vessels
and vessel capacity, as well as a global
intermodal transportation network.
Jaenichen, who was nominated
by President Barack Obama to
become MARAD’s next administrator on Sept. 12, said MARAD, due to
the indiscriminate, across-the-board
cuts that went into effect March 1,
has reached a tipping point with
regard to the number of maritime
personnel it has to man ships.
“We may not be able to man all
our ships that are required for
sealift to support the Department of
Defense in the event of a national
emergency,” he said.
Each ship forced to de-flag
would result in a loss of 45 mariner
jobs. During the hearing, Jaenichen
said up to 10 ships could be cut
from the MSP fleet due to sequestration if it runs its full course.
At a briefing with maritime
union officials in Washington in
August, other MARAD officials said
as many as 15 ships could be lost if
the sequester cuts, that will trim
$1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next decade, are not reversed or modified.
“Right now, we need to be careful that we don’t lose what remains
of our U.S.-flag oceangoing fleet,”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.,
said during the hearing.
Cummings, whose district includes the port of Baltimore, said
any loss of MSP ships poses a major
security risk for the nation.
“It’s dicey, in part, because we like to protect the technological
jewels here. The Europeans would love it. The Japanese would
love it. But our technology protection regime is very political.
The right in the Republican Party doesn’t like technological
jewels leaving the country, and the left doesn’t want to arm foreigners. Between the two of them, it’s a hard slog every time.”
A professor at American University and former White House budget official
On the difficulty of forming research and development partnerships for weapons
systems and defense technologies with overseas companies.
Defense News, Sept. 8
“We’re only pulling out of areas where we think the Afghan
security forces are capable of standing up and fighting on
their own. But even when they ‘fight on their own,’ we are
still going to provide limited [intelligence and reconnaissance]
and close-air support, because those capabilities won’t be
ready for several years.”
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Mark Milley
Commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command
Noting that there have been no discussions for the NATO-led coalition to completely withdraw from Afghanistan after 2014.
Stars and Stripes, Sept. 3