A Case for Propeller Guards & Cutters–Marine Link

Having had a towing hawser foul a prop shaft once, I found this post from MarineLink very interesting.

We don’t do as much towing as we used to, but it is still an important and frequently used skill. Getting a line in the screws is never a good idea, but it happens. There is also the danger of running afoul of a drift net. This offers a possible cure for the problem.

More on the FY2019 Budget—and—Killing the Crew Rotation Concept?

NSC 5 James on builders trials in the Gulf of Mexico March 30, 2015.

Homeland Security Today gives us the best summary of the proposed Coast Guard budget, and it had an interesting small item.

$32 million in savings associated with the elimination of the Crew Rotation Concept (CRC) pilot program, which standardizes NSC fleet operations and avoids costly and ineffective implementations in two other NSC homeports.

I presume this means they will close down the multiple crewing experiment in Alameda (looks like a nice building) and make no attempt to implement it in Charleston and Honolulu.

I’ve been arguing against this for almost eight years. Its nice to see sanity prevail. Certainly the provision of more Bertholf Class cutter has helped make this more acceptable.

Inland (tender) Cutter RFP

USCGC Smilax (WLIC-315)

The Coast Guard has issued a Request for Proposal for a solution to our inland cutter needs. I have copied and pasted the brief description below.

Solicitation Number:
Notice Type:
Special Notice
Added: Feb 14, 2018 3:52 pm

The Coast Guard has a statutory mission to establish, maintain, and operate maritime aids to navigation to serve the needs of the armed forces and commerce of the United States. This Request for Information (RFI) is the first of several planned industry engagements aimed at developing the data the Coast Guard needs to make informed decisions about potential solutions to carry out this mission. The Coast Guard has historically accomplished this mission via a fleet of Coast Guard inland vessels. However, this RFI does not presume a specific solution and is not a statement by the Coast Guard that a final solution has already been identified; it is only one part of an overall effort to better understand the decision space.

Responses to this RFI shall be submitted to Jennifer Sokolower at Jennifer.G.Sokolower@uscg.mil.
This special notice is for market research and planning purposes only. It does not constitute a solicitation and shall not be construed as a commitment by the Government to award a contract from responses to this announcement. Any information submitted by interested parties is strictly voluntary and no monetary compensation will be provided for response preparation.


30 Year Shipbuilding Plan–Where Is Ours?


The Navy has provided their 30 year Ship Acquisition Plan. Here is their news release.

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Department of the Navy submitted the long-range ship acquisition plan to Congress Feb. 12.

The 30-Year Ship Acquisition Plan is a Congressionally-mandated report which describes the Department of the Navy’s long-range shipbuilding plans for 2019-2048. This year’s report focuses on meeting the Navy’s baseline acquisition requirements needed to build the Navy the Nation Needs (NNN) and sustaining the domestic industrial base to meet that aim.

In support of the National Defense Strategy’s stated goal of achieving a more lethal, resilient and agile force, the plan serves as a roadmap to reach a 355-ship fleet by the early FY2050s, potentially quicker with an aggressive investment of resources. The plan pursues acquisition strategies to build ships more quickly and affordably and places top priority on sustaining the industrial base now and for the future. Ultimately, the plan supports the Navy’s overall effort to build the Navy the Nation Needs to protect the homeland, defend the interests of America and its allies abroad, and preserve America’s strategic influence around the world.

This plan addresses the Navy’s most critical shipbuilding needs by:
* Building CVNs four years apart after CVN 82 instead of five to support a 12-ship CVN force.
* Building 12 Columbia-class SSBNs in support of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and STRATCOM deterrence requirements.
* Establishing a stable profile of two per year Attack Submarines (SSN).
* Establishing a stable profile of 2.5 per year Large Surface Combatants (DDG), plus an additional ship in FY2022.
* Establishing a stable profile of two per year Small Surface Combatants (LCS, FFG) starting in FY2022, accommodating the transition to FFG(X).
* Increasing the pace for amphibious ship production to support a 12-ship LHD/LHA force and modernized lethality in FY2033, FY2036 and FY2039.
* Addresses the candidate long-term replacement for the NNN payload-based submarine, filled mid-term by Virginia Payload Module (VPM).

The plan can be viewed in its entirety here: www.secnav.navy.mil/fmc/fmb/Pages/Fiscal-Year-2019.aspx.

I have to ask, where is ours? Perhaps Congress should mandate one for us, but we don’t always respond to Congress anyway. There is a mandate for a 20 year plan, but I haven’t seen that yet either. Really Congress is trying to help us communicate our needs without having them filtered by DHS and GAO. Maybe it is DHS and GAO that are the roadblocks, but the Navy seems to find ways to get their needs to Congress.

An important part of the “Acquisition Plan” is really what they plan to decommission. Which constituencies are going to lose an asset? This is something we also need to pass to Congress, and we need to mean it. It is also where we have an advantage because our assets impact so many constituencies. We should not be operating 50-year-old ships.

The Navy does not always get everything they ask for, but at least they ask.


FY2019 Budget

USCGC Polar Sea

Military.com has some information on the Coast Guard budget.

“Overall, the Coast Guard budgeted $7.8 billion for operating expenses, including pay; $1.9 billion to recapitalize equipment; and $1.9 billion in mandatory spending and fees.”

It includes $750M for the first new heavy icebreaker; $400M for the second OPC and long lead time items for the third; and $240M for four Webber class.


In the February 2018 Proceedings

The February 2018 issue of US Naval Institute Proceedings has a couple of articles of interest. You can access the first on line, Coast Guard Defines “All Hands On Deck,” by Capt. Bruce Jones, USCG (retired)

Neither catastrophic disasters nor the national need for a Coast Guard with the capacity and capability to respond vigorously and effectively are going away. The next few decades likely will bring the challenge of multiple, simultaneous major events.

The Coast Guard repeatedly has demonstrated it has the unique skills, organizational culture, and legal authorities to move swiftly into a disaster zone and take effective action at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels, but no longer can it take disaster operations out of hide. It is time to recognize and fund disaster response as a core Coast Guard mission and build the bench strength—in people and assets as well as experience and qualifications—to sustain surge operations without degrading readiness and normal operations unacceptably.

I had an online discussion with Bill Wells in which he pointed out to me that Disaster Response may be a Department of Homeland Security mission through FEMA, but that it is not specifically a Coast Guard mission. Even the Navy has embraced this mission. They call it Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR).  Note the pdf linked here is probably out of date. It also does not mention the Coast Guard.

“Now Hear This: EW Remains at Bare Steerageway in the Coast Guard,” by Michael Milburn. Unfortunately it is behind the pay wall, but if you are interested in the topics on this blog, you really should be a member.

Milburn contends that the Coast Guard is missing opportunities both for training and operational employment of their EW systems and suggests several steps to make better use of the systems.