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Over a fifth of Navy ships aren’t ready to fight

July 14, 2011

Over a Fifth of Navy Ships Aren’t Ready to Fight | Danger Room | Wired.com.

This is a very interesting article.  It details systemic problems within our Navy’s maintenance infrastructure that are only destined to get worse as the budgets of our forces have been cut over the next decade:

According to statistics released by Rep. Randy Forbes, the Virginia Republican who chairs the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, 22 percent of Navy ships didn’t pass their inspections in 2011. In 2007, just 8 percent of ships were rated as carrying junk equipment or insufficient spare parts. And more than half the Navy’s deployed aircraft — the F/A-18 Hornets, the jamming EA-18G Growlers, the P-3C Orion surveillance plane — aren’t ready for combat.

Having served in the Army as a crew member of Bradley M2A2 IFV, I can tell you these aren’t little problems that are making these ships fail their inspections.  You can get by with quite a bit of components not working on a piece of machinery and still be considered “operationally ready” – these are serious problems these ships are facing.

Now, lets look at the results of this study in two lights, first from the sailor’s perspective.  They are serving on ships that can’t do their job, some of the deficiencies include:

…anti-air defenses, radar, satellite communications, or engines.

Our men and women are put in harm’s way because of this.

The second perspective is from the fleet level, or Carrier Group if you will.  If 1/5 of the ships in a Carrier Group are having issues with air-defense, radar, communications or engines, this puts EVERY ship in the Group at risk, even our most expensive ships in the fleet, the Carriers themselves!  Carrier Groups work together for mutual defense – as the saying goes, “you are only as strong as your weakest link.”

This is bad news folks.  I am the first to say there is room in the defense budget for cuts.  But they need to be based off commonsense, not some political motivation to “hit a number”.  Let’s stop wasting money on “Military Leadership Diversity Councils” and alternate engines for the F-35.  I even support bringing our boys and girls home from Europe, and after reading this NRO article, Ingratitude, bringing them home from South Korea.  But it makes no sense to spend billions (trillions in the case of a carrier) on ships and then to undercut their abilities and readiness by cutting the maintenance infrastructure that keeps them operating.

Read the rest here.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. JustFacts permalink
    July 14, 2011 8:38 am

    This is exactly the same scenario that played itself out in the Carter administration. Increases in funding for the social programs and a cuts in our military preparedness. A bloating of federal governmant doing the things they’re not supposed to be involved with (healthcare, welfare, etc.) and ignoring the things that the federal government is chartered to do (military preparedness, foreign affairs, etc.).

    • July 14, 2011 9:33 pm

      Well, Obama has been modeling himself off a retarded effete Carter (sort of redundant huh?) since he got elected, so that is no surprise.

  2. bunkerville permalink
    July 14, 2011 8:50 am

    I can only hope a few folks pick up the “Fall of the Roman Empire”. We are more than on our way. Nice snag.

    • July 14, 2011 9:33 pm

      Yeah, we are declining pretty fast.

  3. July 14, 2011 2:19 pm

    It’s only going to get worse. We are going to have to drastically cut defense budgets to pay for Obamacare. Might we soon be like Russia was in the ’90s? An entirely mothballed fleet?

    • July 14, 2011 9:36 pm

      I doubt we will go mothballed, but we will become a Soviet-style paper tiger. We are supposed to maintain 11 Carrier Groups. If their capabilities are diminishing because of poorly funded maintenance, how many true carrier groups will we have?

  4. July 15, 2011 2:49 pm

    You’ve picked up on a data point that this Navy family been seeing firsthand for 10 years. It started long before my watch, I’m sure.

    I picked 10 years b/c of a memory of squadron folks on base, lamenting how hard it was to keep “X” number of jets up and running, robbing Peter to pay Paul, parts-wise, etc. I’d use more recent examples as well, but a google search has warned me that perhaps these things aren’t on public record.

    So Obama is not to blame per se, but oh man. Things are likely to go critical under his “leadership.” I’ve had bated breath ever since he came in office for this very reason.

    The military bureacracy is such a strange mix of inefficient spending and draconian “do-without” mentality, both at once. Unwinding this tangle of administrative cause and effect would probably be impossible, given the human tendency to preserve budgetary feifdoms at any cost necessary. This type of protectionism occurs at every level, from DC on down to commands.

    So cost cutting ends up being done by folks like Obama who don’t give a whit about how much pain they cause. Hubs and I have had serious discussions about whether we will experience the point at which the military breaks. Literally breaks down and stops working.

    If the Ruling Class keeps expecting more and more out of less and less from the military, there will be a breaking point. Whether it’s in 20 months or 20 years, I dunno.

    I didn’t know the actual numbers. 20% of the Navy is currently unready? Sheesh.

    Good catch, Fleecy.

    • July 15, 2011 4:22 pm

      Excellent response, thank you.

      I experienced a little of this in Clinton’s Army during the 90’s, what you aptly described as “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Parts cannibalization was rampant as we tried to keep our vehicles operating. Something you imagine a third-world army having to do, but not the United States.

  5. July 17, 2011 10:27 am

    In related news:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/07/16/two-never-used-navy-ships-head-to-scrapyard/

    good grief.

    • July 18, 2011 4:21 pm

      Good find, thanks. =)

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