Florida’s entire congressional delegation attempted to breath life back into the idea of bringing a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Mayport Naval Station by sending a letter to the Department of Defense on Monday asking for money to upgrade the vessel basin to accommodate the Navy’s largest surface ships.
“To mitigate the risk of a terrorist attack, accident, or natural disaster, the U.S. Navy will homeport an East Coast carrier in Mayport, Florida,” the 2010 review said.
Mayport has not had a carrier since the USS John F. Kennedy was decommissioned in 2007. Prior to that, the USS Saratoga called Northeast Florida home for years before it was decommissioned in 1995.
“After the conventionally powered John F. Kennedy was decommissioned, the Navy prudently decided to complete construction necessary to make Mayport CVN capable,” said the letter to the Department of Defense.
The was sent to both Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley asking them to consider the improvements at Mayport as they finalize the budget for the 2018 fiscal year. Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson were the lead writers on the letter, and all 27 congressional representatives from Florida signed it.
“While we understand the realities of the fiscal environment, our Navy overleverages risk to our carrier fleet by having only one CVN homeport on the Eastern seaboard,” the letter said. “Not only are our operational CVN in jeopardy, but our future capital ships under construction are practically co-located, risking tens of billions of dollars of assets as well as our ability to project power abroad now and in the future.”
A statement from former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was used in the letter to show a lone port for aircraft carriers on the West Coast was deemed unacceptable while Norfolk, Va. is the only location on the East Coast with the proper facilities. A statement from former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was used in the letter to show cost should not outweigh the importance of dispersing the carriers along the East Coast.
According to the letter, the Navy conducted a review over the course of several years before making the decision to bring a nuclear carrier to Mayport as early as 2019. But the modifications are still needed, and the talks of bringing a carrier to Mayport have cooled in recent years.
In November, Mabus discussed the Navy’s current landscape in Northeast Florida on his final visit to Jacksonville as secretary of the Navy. He touted the fact that Mayport is the new East Coast home port for the Freedom-variant littoral combat ships which will bring people and jobs to the area.
Mayport welcomed the first two littoral ships to the basin in December — USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Detroit (LCS 7) — and more are scheduled to arrive each year going forward. The littoral ships operate close to shore with steerable jet propulsion instead of propellers. The Freedom class have steel hulls with aluminum superstructures.
Monday’s letter emphasizes the importance of spreading out Navy forces and highlights Mayport’s strategic and operational value as reasons it would make the most sense as a landing spots for a new carrier.
“We implore you to no longer defer resource allocations needed for Mayport to continue its service to the carrier fleet,” the letter said.
Mayport is the current home to the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group. The trio of ships is made up of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43).
The Iwo Jima is the largest in the basin with a core crew of about 700 sailors plus aircraft and U.S. Marine Corps personnel when needed.
If the decision is made to bring a carrier back to Mayport it would bring thousands of sailors with it.
Joe Daraskevich: (904) 359-4308
The Tampa Bay Council of the Navy League was honored to support our Coast Guard family on Friday January 27, 2017. The annual Blackthorn Memorial program was held at 2PM that day to honor and remember those brave Coast Guard members who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty during the Skyway Bridge tragedy. Many of us who were local to the Tampa Bay area remember that day all too well.
Your Tampa Bay Council of the Navy League as well as the Sarasota Council of the Navy League was there to show support and provide a wreath for the memorial service. The program included an aerial salute fly over from the local Coast Guard Stations, the reading of the names and bell rung, a rose placed upon the memorial, bag pipes and a gun salute. It was a very moving day.
For more information on the Blackthorn, please visit: http://coastguardnews.com/coast-guard-to-hold-annual-blackthorn-memorial-service/2017/01/26/
Your contributions support these events and we thank our membership for your support.
On January 26, 2017, the Tampa Bay Council of the Navy League was proud to support and sponsor the salute to the Coast Guard event with the Tampa Propeller Club. This is a long-time partnership and friendship between your Tampa Bay Navy League and the Propeller club and we were happy to be able to support the Propeller Club again this year. This annual event honors the great service of our local Coast Guard Stations and recognize their heroic efforts. We were able to watch a video of what they do day in and day out in our area and it is impressive!
The donations you make to the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Navy League ensure that we can continue to provide financial support to these type of events. Thank you for what you do to support our missions.
Congratulations to the new Tampa Bay Council Navy League officers elected at the annual meeting on February 8, 2017.
Jason Allen – President
Ed Miyagishima – Vice-President
Nancy Allen – Treasurer
Humerto “Chief” Alvarez – Secretary
By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.on February 10, 2017 at 4:47 PM
- 14 aircraft carriers instead of today’s 11;
- 160 cruisers and destroyers instead of 84;
- 72 attack submarines instead of today’s 52;
- New classes ranging from a missile-packed “magazine ship,” to diesel-powered submarines, to a heavy frigate to replace the Littoral Combat Ship, which would be cancelled.
All told, the MITRE plan is even more radical than the competing plan submitted to Congress by the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments. Although both studies would grow the fleet, upgrade the America-class amphibious assault ship into a conventionally powered light carrier, cancel LCS, and build a new frigate, MITRE calls for a larger force overall and more new types of ship. Senate Armed Services chairman John McCain finds both alternatives “impressive” but favors the CSBA scheme.
The High-Low Mix
Building a 414-ship fleet “is unrealistic,” MITRE acknowledges, even assuming the Budget Control Act is repealed. So the study lays out what MITRE considers a good-enough plan to build and upgrade as many ships as possible for an additional $4.5 billion a year ($1.7 billion in shipbuilding funds and $2.8 billion for new weapons, mostly missiles).
This good-enough plan includes many compromises. Most notably, it slows down the production of aircraft carriers in the near term — even though MITRE believes we ultimately need more — because the Navy doesn’t have enough fighter jets to equip them all, and an aircraft carrier without aircraft is pretty pointless. To close the airpower gap, MITRE advocates buying more F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, since it believes “accelerating F-35C (Joint Strike Fighter) production does not appear to be a viable option.”
More broadly, and similarly to CSBA, MITRE argues against today’s reliance on a small number of exquisitely expensive long-range missiles for anti-aircraft and missile defense. Instead MITRE advocates large barrages of precision-guided shells fired from conventional naval cannon — known as the Hyper-Velocity Projectile — and ultimately from electromagnetic railguns. Fielding HVP “must be a top priority” because it would turn the 5″ guns on every Navy cruiser and destroyer into missile defense systems.
In general, unlike CSBA, MITRE explicitly calls for a “high-low mix” with a smaller number of high-end warships supplemented by a larger force of cheaper, less capable vessels. Most of MITRE’s proposed new types fall in the relatively “low” end:
- The magazine ship or MG(X), similar to the 1990s concept of an arsenal ship, would be a low-cost hull — derived from a commercial or military transport — that’s packed with missiles. Weapons would include both new kinds of cruise missiles and a new ballistic missile based on the Army’s 1980s-era Pershing (but without the nuclear warhead). The MG(X) might also carry HVP-firing cannon. These ships would provide backup to conventional warships, which have better sensors but less capacity for munitions.
- Diesel-powered attack submarines are far more common worldwide than nuclear ones, even among our First World allies, and with modern Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) — which eliminates the need for snorkeling — they can be highly stealthy, while still costing a fraction of the price of a nuclear sub. MITRE wants to keep building the nuclear-powered Virginia class at two a year, but would also supplement those boats with cheaper diesel subs.
- The Navy currently plans to replace its aging LSD-class amphibious ships with a scaled-down version of its San Antonio-class LPD amphibs, to be called L(X)R. MITRE argues for economizing much further, replacing each planned L(XR) with either about six small Expeditionary Fast Transports — catamarans formerly called JHSVs — or three modified Watson-class transports.
- MITRE’s new frigate, however, would be larger and more capable than the LCS it replaces, with a 5″ gun (firing HVP) and sufficient sensor and missile capacity to conduct air and missile defense over a wide area, instead of only being able to protect itself. MITRE proposes Germany’s new F125 frigates as a model.
Until the new frigate comes online, MITRE would funnel funds saved by canceling LCS into building more destroyers. In fact, MITRE’s ideal fleet would nearly double the current force of 84 “Large Surface Combatants” — destroyers and cruisers — to 160, compared to 104 in the Navy’s 355-ship plan and just 74 in CSBA’s proposal.
CSBA, by contrast, sees cruisers as increasingly redundant and relies heavily on highly capable frigates, 71 of them compared to MITRE’s 46 or the Navy plan’s 52. CSBA also calls for a new fleet of 40 corvettes and also emphasizes even-small unmanned craft more strongly than MITRE. Despite the real differences between MITRE and CSBA, however, both strongly concur on the need for a more powerful small warship than LCS, a frigate able to help defend the fleet against swarms of incoming anti-ship missiles.
Posted: February 10, 2017 4:58 PM
WASHINGTON — The U.S. and Canadian governments on Feb. 7 established a partnership that will enable the U.S. Coast Guard heavy polar icebreaker acquisition program to test and validate potential heavy polar icebreaker design models at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) in St John’s, Newfoundland, the Coast Guard said in a Feb. 9 release.
The testing, which includes analyses of maneuverability in ice and icebreaking resistance and powering, will be used to further inform the baseline requirements for new heavy polar icebreakers, expand current icebreaker design and operational knowledge, and support the urgent need to recapitalize U.S. heavy icebreaking capability.
The partnership is being facilitated by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and was developed under the Agreement Between the U.S. and Canada for Cooperation in Science and Technology for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Border Security, enacted in 2004. Model and test activities at the NRC are scheduled to formally begin in April.
The NRC is home to one of the world’s largest ice tank facilities, which is used to measure the performance and evaluate the safety of ice-going ships and structures in controlled model-scale conditions. The NRC ice tank is capable of modeling a wide range of marine ice conditions, including first-year and multiyear ice, pack ice, ridged ice and glacial ice.
In addition to the modeling work that will be conducted at the NRC, the Coast Guard and Navy will conduct additional model test work to evaluate the performance of the icebreaker in open water at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, in Bethesda, Md.
Journal Article |
Global warming and political incorrectness are the greatest threats to the United States, and it is the job of America’s Navy to protect us from those threats. For the past eight years, that has been the strategic legacy of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and the primary goal of his successor should be to ensure that Mabus has no legacy. The traditional mission of the US Navy has been to deter potentially hostile navies, or failing to do that, defeat them. Getting the US naval services back to that philosophy is going to be a big job for the new administration.
The Mabus priorities have been making the naval services more caring, inclusive, and environmentally protective. Discipline, combat effectiveness, and readiness have been secondary goals at best. Under Mabus, the Navy has sunk to readiness levels approaching those of the post-Vietnam Carter era. The breakdown of the appropriately named USS Zumwalt in the Panama Canal late last year is symbolic of Mabus and his “Great Green Fleet” concept. Zumwalt was arguably the worst Chief of Naval Operations in history. His namesake ship has been a disaster. Its main gun fires a round that is so expensive that it cannot be used in training, and would be ineffective in supporting sustained land operations, which is one of its primary missions.
The disgraceful conduct of sailors captured by the Iranians last year, and the incompetence of seamanship that led to the incident, are a direct reflection of the misplaced priorities of the Department of the Navy under Mabus. The fact that the Marine Corps has remained an effective military organization is primarily due to the moral courage of Marine Corps leaders who challenged Mabus and his extreme social experimentation at its worst when he attempted to integrate male and female units at the Marine Corps’ two recruit training establishments (Boot Camps).
The next Navy Secretary should have three immediate priorities:
First, should be a firm statement that a return combat readiness and iron discipline will the primary emphasis of the Navy and Marine Corps. Leaders should not be afraid to discipline malcontents because they might be accused of being racist or sexist; that is not the case today. Sailors and Marines should be trained to be warriors and not lab rats in bizarre social experiments. In addition, the Navy Department and the Defense Department as a whole should abandon hyphenated American celebration days. LGBT sailors and Marines are allowed to serve by law, but some are now demanding special recognition. Being recognized as a competent warrior should be enough. The demand for special recognition for race or sexual orientation detracts from morale, good order, and discipline; such celebrations have outlived their usefulness if they ever had any in the first place.
A second priority should be to conduct a thorough investigation into the Mabus’ era project on biofuels. In a recent Washington Post interview, Mabus touted supplying biofuels that cost only $1.99 a gallon as part of his legacy. The shady accounting that led to that ridiculous claim should be investigated and Mabus should be prohibited from being employed by any of the renewable energy firms with Navy contracts that profited from that scam in the future if it is shown to be bogus. If an investigation shows that biofuels are indeed cost effective and don’t impact operational efficiency, I’ll eat my hat; I’ll even buy a USS Zumwalt hat, and eat it.
Third, the embarrassingly bad performance of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) is an example of shoddy management and poor judgment involved in that program should result in a total review of Mabus era naval procurement. In the 21st Century, taxpayers should be able to demand that a multimillion dollar Navy ship have the same type of quality expected of a Toyota Prius.
The US Navy and its partner Marine Corps are facing extraordinary challenges in the 21st century. They have to be prepared to deter big wars with regional threats such as China, Iran, and North Korea as well as to wage small hybrid wars with non-state actors. They need to do so in an environment where threat include cyber warfare and insider attacks in an era of increasingly austere budgets. Secretary Mabus and people like him have used the Department of the Navy to accomplish non-military “progressive” political objectives at the expense of a real military capabilities.
Mabus and his ilk should be investigated for their performance in office; their “accomplishments” go beyond incompetent. If their actions are found to be of such a nature that they have eroded national security to further their political agendas, they should be prohibited from doing business with the government in the future.
Gary Anderson is a retired Marine Corps Colonel who has been a civilian advisor in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is an adjunct professor at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.
Almost exactly one year ago, Defense Secretary Ash Carter rebuked his Navy secretary, Ray Mabus, for submitting budget plans that Carter believed put too much emphasis on quantity over quality. Mabus evidently hasn’t been persuaded: the final force structure assessment prepared under his watch calls for a significantly bigger fleet than the Navy’s own growth plans called for two years ago.
The 2016 update to the Navy Force Structure Assessment, sent to Congress last week, asserts the service needs a fleet of 355 ships in order to adequately perform its missions. That’s a big change from the 2014 plan of 308 ships the Navy has been building toward.
Importantly though, officials fully acknowledge that the bigger Navy would be too expensive to fit within the governmentwide budget caps that have been in place since 2012 and will remain through 2021 unless Congress eliminates or raises them.
3-day work week for DC area feds due to inauguration.
The Navy said in a statement that the new force structure assessment “was not constrained by Budget Control Act funding levels” but insisted that “if funded, this plan is executable, as each ship class called for in the FSA has an active shipbuilding line already up and running.”
“To continue to protect America and defend our strategic interests around the world, all while continuing the counter-terrorism fight and appropriately competing with a growing China and resurgent Russia, our Navy must continue to grow,” Mabus said in a statement. “All of the analysis done to date, inside and outside of the Navy, recognizes, as we have for nearly the last eight years, the need for a larger fleet. That is why, working with Congress and our partners in industry, we have successfully reversed the decline in shipbuilding that occurred from 2001-2009, putting 86 ships under contract over the last seven years. Maintaining this momentum, and the cost-saving business practices we have established, will be critical to ensuring the Navy is able to achieve the FSA-recommended fleet size.”
During public speeches and interviews, Mabus often touts his success in increasing Navy shipbuilding during his unusually long tenure.
But he may have felt more free to recommend a larger fleet not only because this is the last assessment of his career as secretary, but also because it aligns closely with what little President-elect Donald Trump has said about his plans for Defense. Trump called for a 350-ship Navy during the presidential campaign, along with a larger Navy and Marine Corps.
Assuming lawmakers find a way to manage around or completely ignore the deficit reduction imperatives that prompted the Budget Control Act in the first place, the plan is also likely to get support in the upcoming Republican-controlled Congress.
“This force structure assessment is long overdue, but welcome news for America’s national security,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. “At a time when our adversaries are investing in weapons systems and engaging in aggressive behavior, this strategy, if implemented, will help boost our fleet, support our security, and send a strong signal to allies and enemies alike that American naval power remains a key element of our defense.”