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Breakdowns of Chronically Under-maintained Ships Means Diminishes US Naval Presence

Updated: Feb 3, 2023


USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) was a $2 billion (2022 dollars) Wasp-class ship lost due to poor maintenance and a failure in the discipline and professionalism of the ship's crew


As reported by Bloomberg, US Navy warships have seen fewer days at sea since 2011 because vessels are breaking down more frequently than expected and taking longer to repair.


The GAO's January Report cited forming the basis of the Bloomberg article makes this statement on the state of the United States Navy:


"The report is a sobering primer for lawmakers and Navy officials who only recently have shifted focus from adding more vessels to the fleet to maintenance backlogs. It adds to doubt about the Navy achieving a goal of a 350-vessel fleet, as desired by many lawmakers, when it’s having major difficulties with its current force of 293." - January 2023 GAO Report: "Weapon System Sustainment Navy Ship Usage Has Decreased as Challenges and Costs Have Increased"


This problems described in detail in the 105 page report are not issues that can be quickly rectified, instead are the result of systemic/chronic problems with U.S. Navy procurement, sustainment, training and personnel policy including :


1) Too few shipyards capable of building Navy ships means no meaningful competition for Navy business and the Navy paying too much for new ships.

2) Too few shipyards to repair Navy ships resulting in higher repairs costs and ships sitting idle in the repair queue for months at a time.

3) Massive increases in percent of senior military leaders taking jobs with defense contractors over the last 30 year, resulting in the deepening the dysfunction brought on by the incestuous relationship between the military and defense contractors.

4) The military industrial congressional complex. A Congress inundated with defense lobbyists and promises of jobs in their districts has been utterly ineffective in providing effective oversight of defense spending.

5) Purposely undermaintaining existing ships in order to make the case they will cost too much to repair and that new ships are the better way to go.

6) Retiring ships with many years or even decades of useful service to make way for neat new ships. Example - the early retirement of the Navy's best ASW ships, the Spruances, to make way for the littoral combat ships and the DDG-1000's.

7) General breakdown in discipline and professionalism of Navy, due in part to social engineering and woke policies, has resulted in accidents that have put Navy ships out of commission or destroyed them (Bohamme Richard for example).

8) All volunteer military is very expensive and may not be able to maintain the kind of force structure needed to meet U.S. commitments. And the Navy's capitulation to wokeness and double standards has made attracting the best recruits very difficult.


ALL OF THE ABOVE, MEANS THAT WHEN IT COMES TO NAVAL DEFENSE PROCUREMENT, NO COUNTRY GETS LESS BANG FOR THE BUCK THAN DOES THE UNITED STATES!

THE NAVY DOESN'T NEED MORE MONEY, IT NEEDS DEEP AND DISRUPTIVE DEFENSE REFORM AND REAL ACCOUNTABILITY!


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