Sorry for the break. It has been a busy summer, but you can now expect a return to regular blogging and articles. To get back into the swing of things I just wanted to highlight for you once more why I fear the US military's position as the planet's dominant military power is slipping to something less (a topic I discussed in my last post before my summer vacation). The labor day celebration of this nation's industrial strength is upon us, so in beginning to answer this question let's focus on perhaps our nation's foremost weapons manufacturer: Lockheed Martin.
The first operational deployment of the USS Freedom (LCS-1) remains an ongoing disaster. The latest snafu occurred while the Freedom was operating off the coast of Singapore. There, and on July 20th, the Freedom temporarily lost propulsive power. Though the ship's crew quickly fixed the problem (according to the US Navy LCS-1 was a sitting duck for "only" minutes rather than hours - as if the one would have been better than the other in an active combat environment) they were forced to return to port for more extended repair and maintenance.
Today, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2014 Budget. In spite of the sequester, and under the proposed budget, the Department of Defense will actually see its funding only marginally decrease from the enacted 2012 levels - a drop of $3.9 billion leading to a $526.6 billion allocation for the Pentagon's base budget. Among the budget highlights are as follows:
$96.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations in 2013 (primarily meaning ongoing operations in Afghanistan).
$95 million to imrpove Guam's infrastructure as part of the ongoing "pivot" to Asia.
In January we reported that the U.S. Navy was preparing the first monohull designed LCS 1 (littoral combat ship) USS Freedom (in contrast to the trimaran design LCS 2 USS Independence) for its first deployment. This was welcome news considering the bevy of mechanical issues that had cropped up during sea trials in 2011.
Of course, on the eve of that deployment the roughly 3,000 ton combat ship was blasted in a report issued by the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation. A report that concluded the USS Freedom is "not expected to be survivable" in combat and unable to
Last week the keel laying ceremony for the USS Detroit took place in Marinette Wisconsin. The USS Detroit is the fourth Littoral Combat Ship built by Marinette Marine. The U.S. Navy expects to take delivery of the ship in 2015.
As a native of the Metro Detroit region I am proud to have the name of the city attached to a brand new warship. That said, I am a bit apprehensive about the Detroit. The LCS class of warships have come under a healthy dose of criticism; particularly in regards to their questionable survivability and hitting power versus their steep costs.