Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"John Wick didn't kill all those people because they broke his toaster." -MickAK

"Everything is easy if somebody else is the one doing it." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Unfit to Fight

The U.S. Navy.

I wish I could say that I'm surprised about any of this, but I'm not. Warships take a lot of TLC to keep in good condition. A decade ago, the Navy went to a concept called "optimal manning", which was a bureaucratic way of saying "not enough sailors to keep the ships up." From what I've read, a Burke class DDG had a complement of 290, yet the Navy sent those ships to see with the the crew size of a Knox class FF (or a Perry class FFG). Those two frigate classes displaced 4,100 tons, but a Burke class DDG displace between 8,300 and 9,500 tons.*

The Burkes are much larger ships. Those who thought that the Navy could send them to sea with the crew size of a smaller ship and not eventually pay a price had to have been drinking the Ft. Fumble Kool-Aid. The practice of not sending enough sailors to ships to properly man the ships was a factor in the grounding of the USS Port Royal.

As the article also noted, the Navy cheaped out on maintenance and now has to make it up (in an era of tightening budgets). You have to wonder what retard genius came up with the idea of "just run it until it breaks" as a way to save on doing preventative maintenance. That defies a couple of centuries worth of experience with mechanical systems. You can't not maintain things, not if you are going to count on them to work when you most need them.

I have to imagine that this is the sort of shit that happens when the black shoes who have real experience with sailing and maintaining ships are either too afraid for their careers to speak the truth or are ordered not to. This smacks of the sort of stupid shit that Rumsfeld would have dreamed up.

The ships don't get maintained, they sail with over-tired and stressed crews. Bad things happen when people are standing watch and they are too exhausted to think. When their tour of duty is up, the good ones, the ones that the Navy wanted to keep, will get out.

Fucking admirals. Not one of them apparently had the integrity to stand up and say "this shit ain't right." And so the men and women on the deckplates have to pay the price.

There are times when maybe it's possible that Stalin did the right thing when he had almost all of the top brass shot.

(H/T via email)
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* Of the 230 or fewer sailors on a Burke-class DDG, that includes those who are away for schooling, on medical leave, those detailed ashore to do security and other shit for the base (gotta support the shore establishment), and those who were sent as "individual augmentees" to Iraq or Afghanistan.

5 comments:

Nangleator said...

How can running government like a business work, when you can't actually fire people for stupid mistakes?

And as for running the military as a business... what could possibly be a business incentive to maintain (or heaven forbid *use*!) equipment? Or protect employees? Or to win any skirmish, battle or war? Sending munitions downrange for free?! Insanity!

Peter said...

Robert Macnamara must be laughing from beyond the grave . . . Didn't the US armed forces learn anything from the debacle he caused in the Department of Defense?

Ruckus said...

Stationed on an Adams class DDG in the early 70's. We were supposed to have a complement of 350 but I don't believe we ever had more than 300. But the problem was only bad for some rates, like boiler tenders. They stood 6 on 6 off from light off to shutdown. My crew stood 4 on 20 off with a 24 hour trouble shooter watch every 5 days.
The place a short crew showed best though was underway refuel/replenish. One day we were taking on fuel fore and aft, munitions amidships and the call came out for helicopter drop. Everyone looked around and asked what do we do, leave our posts already hooked up, or wave off the copter? From the look and sound of it I don't think any of the officers had the slightest clue what the problem was. I'm pretty sure of that because a second call came out for the drop crew. At that point there was open laughter among the crew. We got it from the start, those in charge had to have it explained to them. So I see that nothing has changed for the better in 40 years. Which is not surprising as not much had changed in the previous 150.

Anonymous said...

...Anyone remember '70s Saturday Night Live skit in which the business model was applied to running a family?

Spud said...

So typical of the way all business is conducted in todays world. The top brass are stealing the goods.

Not enuff Injuns....