The US Navy’s lack of a credible plan for its future naval forces has become a growing problem for the service. In Congress, the leadership of the HASC Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee has weighed in from both sides of the partisan aisle, with Navy plans squarely in their sights. Beyond, independent think-tanks and analysts (vid. Information Dissemination’s maritime strategy archive | FY 2009 budget analysis), and even official reports like the CBO’s Dr. Eric Labs (2005 testimony [PDF]), the late Vice-Adm. Cebrowski’s Alternative Fleet Architecture Design study [PDF] (q.v. also derivative 2005 CRS analysis: HTML | PDF), et. al. have been expressing grave doubts for several years now concerning the Navy’s ability to finance or implement its existing “313-ship navy” plan. Which is itself a major step down from the Reagan era’s 600 ship Navy.
Securiguard, Inc. of McLean, VA received a $95.4 million firm-fixed price contract to provide armed security at Cape Canaveral, the US space program’s premier launch facility. The contract covers Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, including the Kennedy Space Center, and its associated Florida annexes – the Jonathan Dickinson Missile Tracking Annex, Cocoa Beach Tracking Annex, Fort Pierce Microwave Relay Annex, Malabar Transmitter Annex, Melbourne Beach Optical Tracking Annex, Stuart Microwave Relay Annex, Port Canaveral Cable Terminal Annex, Wabasso Microwave Relay Annex). Patrick AFB in Florida, which hosts Cape Canaveral, manages the contract (FA2521-08-C-0011).
Securiguard’s force will be fully trained, armed, and uniformed, and its capability and quality must meets USAF standards under Air Force Instruction (AFI) 31-101 and AFI 31-20. They will be responsible for protecting Cape Canaveral’s government and commercial space-lift resources, and protecting the facility’s apability to launch. Associated efforts include dedicated response to protection level 1-4 resources; managing and operating the Security Force Control Center; marine security operations; developing installation security plans and procedures; protection services; and services during crisis and contingency.
The August 2008 issue of the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings Magazine includes “Admiral Allen’s Blue Tsunami,” by Art Pine. The $25 billion Deepwater meta-program has undergone significant changes during Allen’s tenure, and is not out of the woods yet. The Proceedings article deals with the flip side of an acquisition effort that will define the Coast Guard’s future for a generation, placing it within the context of a larger set of structural and operational changes.
The on-line version of this article includes Commandant Allen’s recommended music playlist, but does not include the listing and current status of his 10 Commandant’s Intent Action Orders (CIAOs) issued in May 2006. The PDF version does include the CIAOs and status; Allen’s CIAOs were:
# Set Up Deployable Operations Group for rapid reaction
# Develop USCG Maritime Strategy
# Revamp Logistics System with centralized Coast-Guard-wide structure.
# Adapt Numbered Staff System For HQ, to bring them into line with the systems used by other services.
# Revamp Acquisition Systemwith new directorate, retake control of Deepwater
# Revamp Financial and Accounting Systems, replacing them with a centralized arrangement to improve transparency
# Revamp Command And Control framework
# Set Up New Human Resource Strategy
# Strengthen Reserve Component
# E-CG Version 2.0 to improve the use of information technology for C4 (command, control, communications, and computers)
Medium caliber naval guns confront naval planners with a divergence of opinions: mount large caliber, slower-firing 5″/127mm guns used mostly for naval fire support, or smaller caliber 100-57mm guns with far more rapid rates of fire that can be used against smaller boats, UAVs, missiles et. al. as well? In recent years, a 3rd option has entered the scene: 155mm guns adapted from Army platforms. Key advantages include potential commonality of ammunition stocks, greater destructive power, and better leveraging of R&D into long range and specialized variants with some land/sea commonality. Hence projects like the American AGS system for its Zumwalt Class destroyers, and Germany’s aborted MONARC that would have mounted a turret from their PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer on the new F125 expeditionary frigates.
AGS is rather large, however, which leaves the question of what to do with ships smaller than the DDG-1000 Zumwalt’s Graf Spee sized 14,500t. The Royal Navy has become the latest navy to jump into this fray, undertaking a relatively low cost research program that looks at the AS90 Braveheart howitzer’s potential for future warships, and for refits to the existing fleet.
They’ll have a number of significant challenges to overcome before they can declare success, but a recent release says the project is moving on to Phase 3 now…