From SEAPOWER Magazine- The Latest Headlines from the Navy Leagues’s 2013 Sea-Air-Space Expo

  • by BPC Staff
  • on April 10, 2013

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Couldn’t attend Day 2 of the show? SEAPOWER brings you the highlights from April 9:

Asia-Pacific Shift Important for Partnerships, Poses Challenges

By JOHN C. MARCARIO, Associate Editor

The rebalancing of military assets to the Asia-Pacific will be one of the nation’s greatest security challenges, military leaders said during a panel discussion – “Engaging in Asia: Operating on Two Fronts” – that opened the second day of the Navy League’s 2013 Sea-Air-Space Exposition at National Harbor, Md.

“The prosperity and security of the U.S. is linked to the region,” Rear Adm. Michael Smith, Navy director, Strategy and Policy Division, said April 9. Joining him on the panel were Rear Adm. William Lee, Coast Guard deputy for Operations Policy and Capabilities, and Maj. Gen. (sel.) Michael Rocco, Marine Corps assistant deputy commandant for Plans, Polices and Operations.

The Obama administration announced earlier this year that the Asia-Pacific pivot would take place after military forces have spent more than a decade fighting two lengthy and deadly ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The policy change was met with widespread support from lawmakers and military officials.

Navy leaders have said they want to have 60 percent of the fleet in the region by 2020.

In preparation for that, they will be looking at the makeup of the fleet and the development of advanced systems for areas such as ballistic missile defense, space, cyber and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

“We want to take our newest systems and deploy them to the Asia-Pacific first,” Smith said.

Sikorsky CH-53K Staying Under Weight Goal

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

The new heavy-lift helicopter being developed by Sikorsky for the Marine Corps as a replacement for the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter is so far coming under its goal weight restrictions.

Marine Col. Robert Pridgen, the Navy’s H-53 program manager, told reporters at the expo that the estimated weight of the CH-53K will be 84,302 pounds, compared with the goal of 99,110 pounds and the requirement threshold of 110,122 pounds.

The CH-53K, being developed at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach facility in Florida, is built with a composite material fuselage and rotor blades. The helicopter will be equipped with new GE 38 engines, each producing 7,500 horsepower. The fuselage cargo bay will feature a width 12 inches wider than that of the CH-53E, allowing the standard Air Force pallet to fit inside without having to repackage the cargo on smaller pallets.

The ground test vehicle was rolled out in October and the static test vehicle is currently in stress testing. The first four engineering development test aircraft are being built, and approval has been obtained to proceed with four service development test aircraft (SDTA).

The first flight of the CH-53K is expected in late 2014. Delivery of the first SDTA is planned for early 2016, the same year a Milestone C decision is expected. Initial operational capability of the CH-53K is planned for 2019.

Navy League Maritime Policy Authors Discuss Sea Service Priorities

By DAISY R. KHALIFA, Special Correspondent

Members of the Navy League’s Maritime Policy and Resolutions Committee on April 9 highlighted key themes and pressing challenges across the sea services set forth in the organization’s recently released 2013-14 Maritime Policy statement.

Navy League National President Philip Dunmire introduced retired Navy Vice Adm. Phillip Balisle, chairman of the committee. Balisle explained the policy was crafted based on background briefings from the leadership of the sea services and analyses and recommendations of committee members in light of the Navy League’s mission of educating members of Congress about the roles and the requirements of the sea services.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Robert Sutton said a key area of concern deals with the number of ships in the Navy. The policy recommends an investment in shipbuilding, and supports a 306-ship Navy as the goal that must be achieved with an Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy (SCN) account of not less than $20 billion. “In the shipbuilding industry itself, once you lose it, you can’t reconstitute it unless you’re going to put about a decade of work into it,” Sutton said.

Retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen John Galinetti focused on the Marine Corps and its return its amphibious roots. He said the strategic plan supported by Gen. John Amos, Marine Corps commandant, syncs with the national military strategy envisioned by President Barack Obama as it relates to “shifting and pivoting” to the Asia-Pacific region. The Navy League, he said, supports funding to maintain end strength of 182,100 active-duty Marines, enabling the Corps to support the full mission spectrum.

James Offutt, a retired Navy aviator and Navy League national president-elect, underscored the valuable service provided by the Coast Guard, “our nation’s fourth military agency,” and highlighted its historic maritime roots. Offutt outlined the program of record, which calls for eight National Security Cutters, with four of those vessels at sea at any one time in the Bering Strait, the Far East, the Caribbean and off South Africa, he said.

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Albert Herberger, former maritime administrator, provided priorities concerning the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine and the Marine Transportation system. “The Merchant Marine, working with the U.S. commercial fleet, has revolutionized the way sealift has been handled in recent years, and this is the ability to have commercial enterprise going on all the time that can immediately convert when the U.S. Defense Department calls, and they can use the intermodal systems that are in place,” he said.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. William Wyatt discussed the industrial base and shipbuilding, and emphasized maritime policy themes concerning the size of the fleet, investing in shipbuilding facilities and programs, and better training for the workforce.

“Everything we buy is more expensive, higher than the national inflation rate, which is very tough with low throughputs and high technology being pushed all the time,” he said. “We’re trying to outpace the threat, and that drives modernization both in construction and maintenance. It’s hard to find a program that is ongoing that is not exceeding its planned budgets, and exceeding its schedule.”

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Brent Bennitt discussed the Maritime Policy’s commitment to ensuring the well-being of service men and women. The policy supports proactive recruiting and retention, and, likewise, stands by authorized end-strength for active-duty personnel of 321,000 for the Navy; 42,000 for the Coast Guard; and 182,100 for Marines.

Balisle offered the audience three takeaways – the United States must accede to the Law of the Sea Treaty, the SSBN9X) ballistic missile submarine replacement program should be funded outside the SCN account and fleet maintenance accounts must be maintained if the Navy is to extend the life current assets and take care of those now entering the fleet.

Navy Strives to Keep High-Quality, Motivated Workforce

By NICK ADDE, Special Correspondent

While recruiting and retention of high-quality people has never been better, the Navy must work to keep them, deploy them to the right places, and take care of their families, the service’s personnel chief believes.

“We need smart, motivated people,” Vice Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk, the deputy chief of naval operations for Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education, said during an April 9 presentation.

Given the historically high scores recruits are delivering on entrance exams and the battery of tests they take, the Navy is meeting its needs, Van Buskirk said. Keeping them in uniform will require convincing them that their work is relevant, he said.

After the steady downturn in personnel of recent years, Van Buskirk said the Navy now intends “to stabilize the workforce.”

The service still faces a gap of about 7,000 Sailors at sea presently, Van Buskirk said, with the number changing constantly due, in large part, to changes in mission sets and the nature of operations. As such, the task of creating a better balance between sea and shore billets is high on his priority list.

HII Executives Say Work Is Steady, Yards Hiring

By JOHN C. MARCARIO, Associate Editor

The message was clear from the two presidents of the nation’s largest shipbuilder – it is hiring and confident the work will continue into the future.

“We are not having problems attracting folks,” Irwin F. Edenzon, corporate vice president of HII and president of Ingalls Shipbuilding, said April 9 during a briefing.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) designs, builds and maintains U.S. Navy ships and submarines and Coast Guard ships at its Newport News, Va., and Pascagoula, Miss., shipyards.

Edenzon’s Pascagoula shipyard has 14,300 employees, and he said they intend to hire 2,400 more by the end of this year. Acknowledging that industry demand is up but supply is down, he said the shipyard has experienced an influx of work over the past year. “We are getting more selective in hiring people,” he said.

As budgets in Washington continue to receive congressional scrutiny, Edenzon said there is certainly nervousness in the shipbuilding business about long-term stability, and HII has to prepare for multiple budget outcomes in the next three years.

APKWS Being Fielded for Marine Corps Helos

By OTTO KREISHER, Special Correspondent

Precision attack weapons for combat aircraft, which have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a shot, are now being fielded for Marine Corps helicopters at what, for Pentagon standards, is low cost and should be available in the near future for Navy helos and for multi-service fixed-wing aircraft, Navy and industry briefers said April 9.

The low-budget munitions, called the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS), is produced by adding a laser-seeking control unit to the 2.75-inch unguided rockets, one of the military’s most common airborne weapons, said Capt. Brian “Zulu” Corey, program manager for naval forward firing weapons at Naval Air Systems Command.

“This weapon is so simple it’s hard to communicate” to people, Corey said.

The precision conversion of the Vietnam-vintage “dumb” rockets is being performed by BAE Systems in a relatively short time and with surprising success. Although BAE cites a 90 percent combat reliability in its publications, Corey said, “We don’t know of a single failure” in operational testing.

Composite Hangar, Deckhouse Only Change for Third DDG 1000

By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Special Correspondent

Despite initial plans to use composite materials instead of steel on the third DDG 1000, the Navy does not plan on making any further changes to the final ship in the class, the program manager said April 9.

The Navy plans to build a composite hangar and deckhouse on DDG 1000 instead of steel, as was used on the first two ships in the class, but that is “the only difference we have planned for the third ship,” said Capt. Jim Downey, DDG 1000 program manager.

“Why did we look at that at this point with only three ships?” Downey said. “We’re always constantly focused on cost.”

The program expects a significant amount of commonality between the DDG 1000 program and other ships. The program is in fact building some products for other programs, such as a radar to be used on the new CVN-78 class of aircraft carriers, Downey said.

The ship also has commonality with the combat system on the LPD 17 amphibious transport dock, as well as some commonality in the navigation systems. Further, the DDG 1000 has power similarities with the DDG 51 destroyer, the captain said.

Navy Will Seek More Savings on CVN-80, PM Says

By DANIEL P. TAYLOR, Special Correspondent

The Navy will continue its effort to drive out costs when it begins work on the CVN 80, as the service hopes to implement some cost-saving measures that won’t be in time for CVN 79, the program manager said April 9.

Capt. Doug Oglesby, CVN 79 program manager (PM), told expo attendees that the Navy is always asking “how can we do things differently,” and the service will continue to look for opportunities to squeeze some savings out of CVN 80.

“Some of the things that we want to do with CVN 79 to drive out costs, it’s just not the right time to do that with 79,” Oglesby said. “We’re going to further drive out costs, [and] we’ll continue to work to identify things we can do differently, more efficiently, with 79 and 80.”

However, a block buy of the two carriers isn’t in the cards for the program as CVN 80 hasn’t officially been authorized, even though such a buy would result in some “efficiencies gained” for the program, he said. “I think, in terms of a block buy like with [some Nimitz-class carriers], I think that might be a better opportunity for the future,” he said.

Lockheed Martin Formulates UCLASS Design

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has released some details of its design for an unmanned carrier-based surveillance and strike aircraft ahead of the Navy’s request for proposals for the project.

The company’s proposal for the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS) would be a flying wing design that would reuse many existing technologies and subsystems as a way to control risk and costs, Bob Ruszkowski, director of UCLASS program development for Lockheed Martin, told Seapower April 9.

The Navy intends to deploy a UCLASS on its aircraft carriers in the 2020 timeframe as a persistent surveillance and strike platform with aerial refueling capability.

The Lockheed Martin UCLASS will incorporate some of the technologies of the company’s F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, including survivability features like skin coatings and selected mission systems, Ruszkowski said.

The design features a single engine and a 66-foot wingspan, with folding wings, that will allow two UCLASS aircraft to be positioned simultaneously on the two bow catapults of the aircraft carrier. The length of the aircraft will be half the length of an F/A-18. Mission systems will include an electro-optical sensor, with growth capability to allow installation of a radar, an electronic surveillance measures system and an electronic attack capability. Two weapons bays will be incorporated in the wings, each able to enclose a 1,000-pound-class weapon. External pylons can be fitted for additional weapons.

2013 a ‘Year of Transition’ for the P-8A Poseidon

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

The Navy’s new P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will complete several important milestones this year as it transitions from its initial development to operational deployment.

“I’d characterize 2013 as a year of [program] transition,” Rick Heerdt, Boeing’s vice president and P-8A program manager, told reporters April 9.

The P-8A completed its initial operational test and evaluation in March, and full-rate production is scheduled to begin this year. The first operational P-8A squadron, Patrol Squadron 16 (VP-16), based at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., will take the aircraft on its first deployment in December as it achieves initial operational capability.

Full-scale fatigue life testing began in February. The fatigue-life airframe will be tested for the equivalent of two lifetimes and will conclude in 2015. Static and live-fire testing was completed in 2012.

The last of six Low-Rate Production 1 (LRIP-1) P-8As was delivered in January and the first of six LPIP-2 aircraft was delivered in March, with another to follow in April. Heerdt said that Boeing expects to deliver 10 Poseidons in 2013: seven P-8As for the U.S. Navy and three P-8Is for the Indian Navy.

Coast Guard Makes Slow Progress on UAS Capability

By PETER ATKINSON, Deputy Editor

Noting that the 21st century will be the era of unmanned aviation, the U.S. Coast Guard is forging ahead, albeit slowly, with its effort to obtain an unmanned aerial system (UAS) to improve the service’s maritime domain awareness capabilities, Cmdr. Albert Antaran told a briefing audience.

“We’re on the right path,” Antaran, the aviation domain lead with the service’s Office of Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Office, said during his presentation at the Coast Guard Pavilion on the expo floor.

Given the current budget environment, the focus going forward will be on a smaller, less-expensive UAS, based on a platform such as the ScanEagle or RQ-21 Integrator unmanned aerial vehicle, as opposed to a larger system like the RQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopter, he said.

At present, the Coast Guard is concerned more about the system’s payload capabilities than the platform that will carry it, although the service is looking for a platform that is capable of operating from a National Security Cutter, has long-endurance and is man-portable, among other attributes.

Navy Oceanographer: Time to Share Weather, Climate Data

By WILLIAM MATTHEWS, Special Correspondent

The Arctic ice is melting, sea levels are rising, storms are getting worse. What does it all mean for the U.S. Navy? What does it mean for homeowners along North Carolina’s Outer Banks?

Nobody knows for sure, but a lot of people in a lot of U.S. government agencies know a little something, and Rear Adm. Jon White says it is time to start sharing their knowledge in order to produce substantially better long-term weather and climate forecasts.

White, who is oceanographer of the Navy, is promoting the Earth System Prediction Capability as a way for multiple agencies to share weather and climate data and create forecasts that can look decades into the future.

A lot of agencies – the departments of Defense, Commerce, Energy and NASA, for example – spend millions of dollars annually collecting and analyzing weather data, White said during an April 9 briefing. “But we need to focus on a single operational model” for turning the data into more useful long-range weather and climate predictions.

Using Simulators, Computers to Train the Facebook Generation

By JOHN M. DOYLE, Special Correspondent

Naval training that uses simulators and intelligent tutoring computer systems not only saves money but helps turn out Sailors who are better practiced at doing their job, the commander of Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division said April 9.

“It’s very expensive to do training in an operational mode,” Capt. Steven Nakagawa said, adding that in the current era of fiscal constraint “doing things cheaper is very, very important.”

But new technology like intelligent tutoring also turns out people “who are not just regurgitators of book knowledge, but critical thinkers who can solve problems that are new,” he said.

Intelligent tutoring can provide customized instruction and immediate feedback. Like a tutor standing beside a student it can “harvest how you learn best and do all that stuff a human mentor would do,” Nakagawa said.

Paxton: Marines at the Crossroads Once Again

By NICK ADDE, Special Correspondent

Marine Gen. John M. Paxton Jr. began his talk before an April 9 luncheon audience with a history reference. On the same date in 1945, the sea services were fighting World War II’s bloodiest campaign in Okinawa. In 1953, he said, Marines had recently finished major operations at Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir in Korea.

After those campaigns, Paxton said, the Marine Corps underwent significant strength reductions – similar to those under consideration today amid the budget crunch. Events later proved that the reductions went too far too quickly, he said.

“We have seen this before,” Paxton said. “The Marines have made a habit of institutional paranoia.”

The Marine Corps and its fellow sea services are at such a crossroads again, Paxton said.

“We may not know where we want to go. We don’t know what threats are out there. The point is, we have to make a decision,” Paxton said.

Besides continuing instability in the Middle East and looming threats in the Pacific, Paxton alluded to wild-card issues such as the space and cyber arenas, and the connection between the proliferation of weapons and drug trafficking. These and other hazards are out there and could flare at any time, he said.

Navy Moving Toward a Single MH-60S Helicopter Configuration

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

The Navy’s armament and mine countermeasures (MCM) additions to the basic MH-60S helicopter are blurring the original Block distinctions, and the service is moving toward a single configuration capable of both missions, in addition to the vertical replenishment mission.

Capt. Jim Glass, the Navy’s H-60 program manager, told reporters April 9 at the Navy League’s 2013 Sea-Air-Space Exposition in National Harbor, Md., that the Navy is expanding the weapons capability of the Sikorsky-built MH-60S Seahawk to include unguided and laser-guided rockets, as well as the M197 20mm cannon, to augment the Hellfire missile capability. The weapons are intended to give the MH-60S a significant capability against fast attack craft.

The MH-60S originally was planned to be built in three configurations: the Block I vertical replenishment version, the Block II mine countermeasures version, and the Block III armed helicopter. Now the armament and MCM systems will be carried by the same version.

Enterprise Approach to Aviation Valuable to USMC

By OTTO KREISHER, Special Correspondent
Faced with the challenge of keeping some aging legacy aircraft flying while bringing in a new generation of airplanes, the Navy and Marine Corps are relying on the Naval Aviation Enterprise system to get the most effective use of their funds and facilities, a senior Marine Corps civilian official said April 9.
The challenge is particularly great for the Marines, who have been forced to maintain their F/A-18 Hornets and AV-8B Harriers in service longer than expected due to the delays in the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter program, said Russ Howard, assistant deputy commandant for Aviation, who focuses on sustainment.
The Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) was formed by the Naval Air System Command to bring together its experts and assets to effectively produce future readiness at the lowest cost. Howard, who came to NAE after a lengthy career in Air Force acquisition, said “the enterprise approach to aviation is incredibly valuable.”
That is important to the Marines, whose air assets are in high demand around the world and are “a force in transition” with new systems, such as the MV-22 and the UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters replacing decades-old choppers. The Corps also has the problem of a shrinking force and “uncertain fiscal environment,” Howard said.

USCG PROTECT Model Boosts Security in High-Risk Patrol Areas

By DAISY R. KHALIFA, Special Correspondent

A U.S. Coast Guard research and development expert gave a brief presentation on the agency’s new Port Resilience Operational/Tactical Enforcement to Combat Terrorism (PROTECT) Model April 9.

Lt. Derek Storolis, modeling and simulation domain lead for the Coast Guard’s Office of Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, part of the agency’s acquisition directorate, said the Coast Guard developed PROTECT as a new surveillance model that will be incorporated in its Ports, Waterways and Coastal Security (PWCS) mission.

The PROTECT model supports the PWCS mission through its use in areas where targets, such as liquefied natural gas shipments, are more at risk, Storolis said. He said the program answers the need for developing a methodology for “randomizing” patrol schedules that the Coast Guard does for PWCS.

Navy Cuts One Year off Virginia Attack Submarine Delivery Time

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
The team building the Navy’s Virginia-class attack submarine (SSN) has reduced the time from construction start to delivery to the Navy by a year over that of the lead boat of the class.
Capt. Dave Goggins, the Navy’s H-60 program manager, told an audience April 9 that the most recent delivery, Mississippi, was built in 63 months, a 27 percent reduction in delivery time.
“We’re delivering ahead of schedule at higher quality,” Goggins said.
He said the Navy is on track to reducing the time from delivery to fleet service to 12 months, making the time from construction start to fleet service to six years.
The Navy has nine Virginia-class SSNs in the fleet, and they have completed a total of five full-length deployments, with a sixth deployment now underway by USS New Mexico. Ten SSNs are under construction.

Time for a Long-Term Arctic Strategy

By JOHN C. MARCARIO, Associate Editor

The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy are working on developing a long-term strategy for a bigger military presence in the Arctic, service officials said April 9 during a roundtable discussion.

One million tourists are expected to travel Arctic waters this year. The region also has 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil, a fact not lost on Shell Oil Inc., which started drilling two exploratory wells last year and will continue this summer.

The Coast Guard has been at the forefront of driving the Arctic discussion, with its commandant, Adm. Robert Papp, Jr., saying earlier this year during his State of the Coast Guard Address that a strategy for the region is one of the service’s top priorities. The first Arctic strategy will be delivered this spring, and another Arctic mission will take place this summer as the service continues to examine what resources are needed and what will work in the icy region.

The Navy, meanwhile, has been quietly patrolling the region, and acknowledging that a full-time presence will be needed in the next few decades, said Rear Adm. Jonathan White, Navy oceanographer, navigator of the Navy, director of space and maritime domain awareness.

Bell Boeing Proposes Its V-22 Osprey for the Carrier Delivery Role

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

The Bell Boeing team that builds the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor transport aircraft for the Marine Corps and the Air Force Special Operations Command is offering the aircraft as a replacement for the Navy’s Northrop Grumman-built C-2A Greyhound carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft.

Brian Roby, field marketing representative for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in San Diego, told Seapower in an April 9 interview at the 2013 Sea-Air-Space Exposition in National Harbor, Md., said the Osprey offers a lot of advantages and a new way of operating compared with the fixed-wing C-2A, which has been in service for 50 years.

The Navy is exploring is options for recapitalizing its COD capability.

The V-22 can land and takeoff vertically from a ship and also can make rolling takeoffs. It does not require arresting gear and, Roby said, provides much more flexibility and less disruption to flight operations on the aircraft carrier’s flight deck. The V-22 can land on a carrier deck with negative 5 knots of wind. The V-22 can fold its rotor blades and wing in 90 seconds to allow for quick exit of a landing area. The Marine Corps has been using its Ospreys to in a similar role for logistics for its amphibious assault ships.

Shipboard Flights Begin for Marine Corps’ Integrator UAV

By WILLIAM MATTHEWS, Special Correspondent

The Marines have moved a step closer to having a spy drone that can be launched from an amphibious assault ship, fly 60 miles away and gather intelligence for 15 hours or more before returning to the ship.

Called the “Integrator,” the new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is intended to scout ahead of Marines as they prepare to go ashore, and monitor them during ship-to-shore maneuvers, said Ryan Hartman, a vice president at UAV maker Insitu Inc.

Hartman announced the Integrator’s first launch from a ship, the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde, at the expo April 9. However, the launch and recover occurred in February.

The Integrator is a big brother to the Navy’s familiar ScanEagle also made by Insitu. A half-dozen ships operate ScanEagles, including at least two ships in the Persian Gulf that use them for surveillance. Iran claimed to have captured one in December after it entered Iranian air space.

Enlisted Leaders Tout Their Troops as Motivated, Committed

By NICK ADDE, Special Correspondent

Three of the sea services’ senior-most enlisted leaders agree that budget constraints pose a serious challenge for leadership, who nonetheless must ensure their charges are trained, motivated and ready to do their jobs.

The enlisted ranks, however, remain motivated and committed to weather the storm – provided that their leaders give them good orders upon which to act.

The job of the Marines is “to hold the line and fill the gap,” Sgt. Major of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett, said April 9 during a panel discussion. “We’re ready to leave tonight, regardless of sequestration – the ‘S’ word. We’re ready to go,” he said.

“You can’t get around the fact that these are challenging times right now,” said Force Master Chief Petty Officer Nancy Hollingsworth of Naval Installations Command. “But you couldn’t ask for a more committed leadership, civilian and military.”

“I agree with our commandant,” said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael P. Leavitt. “What we need is a good set of standing orders, and a well-trained, well-engaged and proficient crew.”

Expeditionary Forces Will Be Key to Asia-Pacific Rebalancing

By OTTO KREISHER, Special Correspondent

As the Marine Corps looks forward to ending more than a decade of land war in Iraq and Afghanistan, “we’re coming back to the future as we re-emphasize expeditionary” and amphibious operations, Lt. Gen. Richard Mills said April 9.

Forward-deployed Navy and Marine expeditionary forces will be even more important with the strategic rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region with its vast ocean areas, maritime choke points and many key allies, said Mills, the commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

That will require the naval team to be able to project power, which would include the ability “to conduct forcible entry at the place and time of our choosing,” he said.

But amphibious operations require three key elements: capable and survivable amphibious ships, a trained and flexible landing force and the element that links them, ship-to-shore connecters, Mills added.

“We need a portfolio of landing craft” with different capabilities to give the amphibious commander the ability to put the landing force ashore where needed, he said.

Mills and Maj. Gen. Timothy Hanifen, director of Expeditionary Warfare, said the Navy has provided very capable amphibious ships, citing the growing fleet of San Antonio-class LPD 17s and the large-deck LHA and LHD amphibious assault ships. But, they said, the fleet is well short of the 38 gators that doctrine says are needed or even the 33 that has been set as the resource-limited acceptable level.

Ohio Replacement Program Coping With Sequester Cuts

By JOHN M. DOYLE, Special Correspondent
The mandatory budget cuts imposed by sequestration have not stopped the Navy’s program to build a series of ballistic missile submarines to replace the aging Ohio class, the program manager told an April 9 briefing.

“We are managing our way through that,” said Capt. Bill Brougham, adding that “as we saw what was coming, we came up with options of what we could do to mitigate the potential cuts.”
Later, he told reporters that the percentage of cuts “was less than what we were initially prepared for,” adding “we’re in better shape but we had to rejigger.”
Brougham said the first replacement submarine was still on track to start construction in 2021, as stated in the fiscal 2013 budget request, with a three-year testing program and deployment anticipated in 2031. In the fiscal 2012 budget, the first Ohio replacement boat was slated to be procured in fiscal 2019, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Aggressive Defenses Need To Counter Cyber Threats

By WILLIAM MATTHEWS, Special Correspondent

Cyber threats need to be treated more like diseases, said Rear Adm. Robert Day.

Just as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps a sharp eye on public health and spots bird flu when it pops up in China, the United States must be vigilant for cyber threats, spot them early and attack them aggressively, said Day, the Coast Guard’s deputy cyber chief.

Cyber dependence is growing, cyber attacks are increasing, but the United States’ ability to keep up with the threat is lagging, according to Day and a panel of military and civilian cyber experts April 9.

Chinese cyber schemers use the Internet and social media to manipulate the stock prices of U.S. companies, said Jeffrey Johnson, the head of information technology risk and assurance at the consulting firm Ernst & Young.

Hackers have shown that it is possible to break into U.S. military networks with ease.

“The classified networks appear to be as challenged as the unclassified,” said Lou Von Thaer of General Dynamics.

The hackers have been able to generate phantom targets, hijack fire control systems, corrupt supply chains and alter intelligence.

U.S. commanders “should have no confidence” in their networks if they are confronted by a capable cyber adversary, Von Thaer warned.

Organizers Detail USS John F. Kennedy Project

By PETER ATKINSON, Deputy Editor

Organizers from the USS John F. Kennedy Aircraft Carrier Project (USS JFK Project) outlined their plans to turn the retired carrier into a multifaceted working museum in Newport, R.I., during an April 9 presentation.

The last conventionally powered carrier built for the U.S. Navy, John. F. Kennedy, aka “Big John,” served for nearly 40 years before being decommissioned in August 2007. It currently is berthed at the Naval Sea Systems Command Inactive Ships On-site Maintenance facility in Philadelphia.

The project is being developed under the auspices of the Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame, a nonprofit organization established in 2000. Organizers hope to bring the carrier to a pier in Narragansett Bay where it will serve as the centerpiece of what they describe as a family attraction and entertainment center, education and job training resource, special event venue, and naval and aviation museum.

The organizers said $10 million already has been committed to the project and they hope to raise a total of $25 million.

Counter-piracy Mission Off Somalia Remains Problematic

By JOHN M. DOYLE, Special Correspondent

While the costs of piracy off the Horn of Africa is a national security issue, the problem does not have a simple military or naval solution, the former commander of a multinational anti-piracy task force told an audience April 9.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Terence E. “Terry” McKnight said pirate attacks on ships in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden have driven $7 billion in additional transportation, military patrol and inboard security costs for commercial maritime interests and governments.

McKnight, the first commander of the multinational counter-piracy operation, Combined Task Force 151, in 2009, said one aspect of the piracy problem is the difficulty of catching pirates in the act on the 1.1 million square miles of the Gulf of Aden, where most attacks occurred. He called the detention of the few suspects his five-ship task force did apprehend essentially a “catch and release” program.

“We did not have the evidence to bring them to trial,” he said.

Another problem, McKnight said, is the lack of legal jurisdiction over pirate prosecution. Initially, suspects were taken to Kenya for trial, but that East African nation soon said its courts and jails were being overwhelmed by the number of pirates detained.

Gortney: Pulling Together the Elements of Readiness

By AMY L. WITTMAN, Editor in Chief

“I really only have one real mission, and that is readiness,” Adm. William “Bill” Gortney said April 9. That’s one issue, the head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command said, that has been missing during most of the panel and roundtable discussions held thus far at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition. “We need to understand what goes into readiness, and who is the advocate of readiness.”

Delivering the keynote address at the Sea-Air-Space Banquet, Gortney said it’s important to first understand the environment in which our forces operate. “What is the environment over the next 10 years that the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard are going to be faced with? We’re out of Iraq, we’re coming out of Afghanistan after 12 years of combat. What’s next?”

He noted that the new national strategy is about refocusing on the Pacific. “Is anyone surprised we’re focusing on the Pacific? Have we ever stopped focusing on the Pacific in the United States Navy? Of course not. We have the preponderance of our forces in the Pacific. We have the preponderance of our forward deployed forces in the Pacific. What I think is important about refocusing on the Pacific, quite frankly, is right here in this town. … It’s the intellectual shift on the Pacific, which is more important that the physical shift.”

But there are some hurdles to shifting more U.S. forces to the Pacific. One, he said, is that we’re still in a war, and another is the instability in parts of the world. “And that’s where it comes to Arab Spring. … It’s a debate, sometimes violently, over haves and have nots in those countries,” Gortney said. “And from it springs instability and crisis. So what does that mean for us over the next 10 years? We’re going to be on the front line as those crises break out because we’re going to sail to those crises because we’re already going to be forward, we’re already going to be there, because that’s what we do in the Navy and Marine Corps, is we are forward 365 days out of the year.”