You know by now that the SecDef ordered the Navy to trim the number of LCS' its buying and to downselect to one hull.
What I didn't consider is how public this repudiation of Navy Dept policy is. I didn't think about the clash of politics, doctrine, procurement and "future force" policy we were actually seeing. Luckily The Conservative Wahoo saw it and educates us all. Check this out....
There are several key elements of the memo worth discussion, but none more important than the third paragraph, which reads in part “…our military is first and foremost a warfighting force, and while we seek to deter wars, we must also be prepared to fight and win them. This means that overall, the Navy’s strategic future requires focusing more on posture, not only on presence, and more on new capabilities, not only on ship numbers.”This is power politics stuff!
I interpret this statement (and the thinking behind it) as saying that “in a pressurized budgetary environment, conventional deterrence is of relatively less importance than warfighting”, and one can see this reflected in the items taken from the budget (lesser capable ships) and what is added to the budget (munitions, upgrades to the submarine force, and strike fighter capacity).
I am of two minds on this conclusion. First, as a Seapower advocate, I find myself rejecting the false choice between deterrence and war-fighting. The fleet must be balanced for both, and the rhetoric coming from OSD leads one to believe that budgetary restrictions have caused them to unbalance the Navy program with a thumb on the scale of warfighting. The nation can afford both, and the case must be made to ensure that the Navy receives the resources to do both. But that is not the budget environment we are in today, and so the consultant in me sees rationality and coherence in the OSD position.
They won't have control over the defense budget in a year but its hard to turn a ship and Carter is charting a new course...a course that will hold sway for the remainder of his term and will be influential into the next.
In short the transformationalist have won the day. The question is will it make a difference? Everyone but the US Army is facing a procurement trainwreck (and the only reason why the Army isn't is because they're basically buying nothing....JLTV and a few ATVs for airborne forces are peanuts in the defense world)....even if they go the transformation route will there be any money to make it work?