Reflections on the CNO’s Navigation Plan CNO has issued a “navigation plan” for for Fiscal Years 2013-2017 that can be accessed here. (It’s only four pages.)

“The Nav Plan provides details on how we will execute this guidance, highlighting our investments through the lens of my three tenets: Warfighting First, Operate Forward, and Be Ready.”

Most of it is, of course, not Coast Guard related, but there are some that might ultimately impact the Coast Guard.

Under “Warfighting First”:

“Improve near-term capability to counter fast attack craft by fielding enhanced gun and surface-to-surface missile systems for Patrol Coastal (PC) ships and Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and laser-guided rockets for helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).”

Some of this might ultimately be applicable to CG platforms.

Under “Operate Forward”:

“Sustain the “places” our forward operating forces depend on to rest, repair, refuel, and resupply in Spain, Italy, Greece, Djibouti, Diego Garcia, Bahrain, Japan, Singapore, and Republic of Korea – as well as our forward base on Guam”

“Field improved Firescout UAVs…”

“Forward station additional ships – LCS at Singapore and PCs at Bahrain – to improve our ability to cooperate with regional partners in maritime security operations.”

“Improve our ability to remain forward by studying options for rotational crewing of other classes of ships.”

We already have Patrol Boats at Bahrain. We may see an additional push to put more assets, including perhaps more than one FRC, in Guam, (maybe not a bad thing for SAR and Fisheries enforcement). The increased Navy presence in Guam may also provide opportunities to exploit their units for SAR and LE as well.

Hopefully the CG will benefit from improvements in Firescout, but the Navy is talking about increasing the size of the airframe substantially which may be problematic for CG ships.

Certainly there will the opportunity to share experience in rotational crewing, and perhaps make it work.

Under “Be Ready”:

“Improve the “wholeness” of the Aegis Weapons System through data link and software upgrades while adding the Shipboard Self Defense System to more non-Aegis ships, such as amphibious assault ships.”

“Improve operational energy efficiency by investing in new technologies such as hybrid-electric drive.”

The weapon systems on the NSCs, and presumably the OPCs, are derived from the Aegis system and, I believe, closely related to the Shipboard Self Defense System for non-Aegis ships mentioned above. As the system evolves, ultimately we might see the Rolling Airframe Missile system replace the Phalanx on the NSCs. It is essentially the same weight and is used by the very similar system on the Freedom Class Littoral Combat Ship.

The Navy is already using hybrid-electric drive on the USS Makin Island (LPD-8) and a fully integrated system on the USNS Louis and Clark class T-AKEs. There may be opportunities to ride the coat tales of their experience. Fuel economy is probably even more important to the Coast Guard than to the Navy.

What was not there:

I notice there was no mention of either African Partnership station or Drug Enforcement.

5 thoughts on “Reflections on the CNO’s Navigation Plan

  1. Perhaps more important than projecting how the USN Nav Plan will be incorporated into the USCG, I think the USCG will promulgate a Nav Plan of it’s own. Let’s not forget, the primary benefit of being an Armed Force and Military Service isn’t in agumenting the Navy. The military nature of the USCG is a huge advantage in crisis as demonstrated by the Hurricane Katrina response but also seen in mundane work like maintaining a system of aids to navigation. Augmenting the Navy/DOD is a secondary effect derived from the ability to prosecute USCG missions. I recommend reading Commandant Bertholf’s views as he strongly recognized the need to maintain interoperability but also achieved a distinct seperation from our sister naval service. The USCG should maintain the ability to integrate and work with the USN. However, Taken to the extreme there are significant downsides to this reasoning. I’ve seen defense ops become the primary reasoning against continued production of the WMSL, in no small part do to cost drivers associated with equipment that for the large part is secondary to conducting USCG most USCG missions. The fact remains, if we didn’t integrate or operate with the USN at all the USCG would still need a large, heavy weather, offshore surface asset to conduct strictly USCG missions. Upgrading to rolling airframe missles doesn’t support procuring the fleet the USCG needs now to safely, effectively and efficiently conduct the majority of missions currently assigned. Using defense ops as a major argument in justifying ocean-going cutters will likely lead to…. no larger cutters and being regulated to ops within 50nm of the coast. As the USN operates forward, who will be available to conduct ops around North and Central America let alone the Bering and Arctic?

    • Matt, the solution is for the CG to exercise the existing MOU and have OPNAV N86 pay for the C4I systems. The former “Deepwater” project office of yesteryear missed the boat on that; had they coordinated with OPNAV N86 through our existing MOU at the time, lots of the sensors/systems you mention would have been payed for as “Navy Type, Navy Owned” equipment. There are some in the building who are now trying to rectify this for future hulls citing the ROC-POE for the WMSL (signed by both USCG and USN), but it obviously will take some time.

      • All good work and needs to proceed at full bell, but my points stand as I think the COMDT confirmed in his answers to questions during House Approps budget defense. USCG blue water cutters are complimentary not duplicative. The counter-argument for continuing to build NSC, and dare I say it will also arise with OPCs, is that they are too large and built to perform USN missions. There are many and perhaps a few USCG active or retired that believe a FRC sized vessel is the right size for the USCG. If so, how much more so those outside the service who don’t see or understand the full environment and area of operations. The WPB and the WPC (FRC) are the right size for many of the things the USCG does but not the solution for all. The USCG must continue to assert and support capibilities required for unique missions.

  2. a couple of points:
    1. the C4 suite onboard WMSL is, as stated above based upon part of the Aegis: the CND Command and Decision software. But it is Not based upon anything to do with Ships Self Defense System SSDS.

    2. the idea mentioned about replacing the WMSL stand alone CIWS, with an integrated RAM really sounds like an excellent idea. It’s such a good idea that perhaps that could become a CG BLOG topic next week all on its own ?

  3. Pingback: Rewrite of Seapower 21 Coming–Opportunity for More Clarity? | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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