WASHINGTON -- Full speed ahead and damn the drawdown --
that's the confident note that the Navy's top admiral
"We're not downsizing, we're growing," declared Adm.
Jonathan Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations, at the
National Press Club. "The ship count is going up and the
number of people is going up."
Adding up new ships commissioned minus old ones retired,
"we started the year at 285 ships and we've grown to 287
ships," Greenert said, and "we will grow the navy from
roughly 287 today to 295 ships by 2020."
Caveat emptor, however: Those figures still fall well
short of the 313 "battle force" ships the Navy has long
said were necessary. (Adding to the ambiguity, what
counts as a "battle force" ship has changed over the
years). They also count on current budget plans coming
to fruition -- including, for ships to be bought after
2017, the Navy's notoriously optimistic 30-year
construction plan -- despite the political
near-certainty that defense budgets will be cut further,
either under sequestration, to which the Navy is
especially vulnerable, or as part of a deal to avert it.
So while the CNO talked up long-term growth, he also
admitted the Navy's near-term strains. "Optempo
[operational tempo] has been a little higher than I
expected at this time a year ago," he said. "We need to
reconcile how we're going to continue to support that."
In particular, the Navy is assessing whether it needs to
keep two aircraft carriers and their support ships in
the Persian Gulf at all times -- an increasingly
difficult task now that the 50-year-old USS Enterprise
is about to retire while her replacement, the
unfortunately named Gerald Ford, will not be
commissioned until 2015.
"We need 11 carriers to do the job [worldwide]; we have
ten carriers today," said Greenert. That mismatch
requires longer deployments at sea -- at least seven
months instead of the traditional six for the
foreseeable future -- and a comprehensive reexamination
of how the Navy can man, maintain, and station its
warships most efficiently.
No wonder, then, that the CNO emphasized not just fleet
size but a global reshuffling to meet the new
Pacific-focused strategy: "It's not just the number of
ships, it's the number of ships forward and what type."
Except for its aging Perry-class frigates, the last of
which was commissioned in 1989, the post-Cold War Navy
has invested heavily in small numbers of high-cost,
high-performance, "multi-mission" ships, from carriers
to Arleigh Burke destroyers, Virginia attack submarines,
and various amphibious warfare ships to deploy Marines.
In recent years, however, the Navy has begun building
less expensive, more specialized ships again.
Most controversial is the LCS, the Littoral Combat Ship,
which critics charge is too fragile for major wars and
too short-ranged for trans-oceanic missions. But
Greenert emphasized the LCS "will deploy and operate
forward, and we'll rotate the crews" from bases in the
United States while the ships themselves remain in
friendly ports overseas, close to their intended areas
of operation; the first experiment with this concept
will come next year with LCS-1 Freedom in Singapore.
"That'll free up some of our larger surface combats --
our destroyers -- to operate elsewhere."
Likewise, the LCS's smaller cousin, the Joint High-Speed
Vessel (JHSV) has a helicopter pad and troop
accommodations to take on missions in Africa, Latin
America, and elsewhere for which the larger amphibious
warfare ships are over-qualified, Greenert continued.
Also taking on less-demanding missions will be the
Afloat Forward Staging Base, converted from an obsolete
amphib, and the Mobile Landing
Finally, the Navy is exploring new approaches to mine
warfare in the Middle East, where anxieties run high
that the Iranians will try to mine the Strait of Hormuz.
(That China also has about 100,000 mines tends to get
overlooked). While Greenert declined to predict what
Iran would do, he reiterated he is "confident" the Navy
can reopen the Strait as needed.
"We have made some great strides in countermine warfare
over the last year," said the CNO, citing new
investments in that traditionally neglected speciality,
from remote-controlled mine-hunting "neutralizers" to a
massive multi-national exercise in and around the Gulf.
One thing the fleet's learned from these wargames is
that "you don't need a mine countermeasures ship and a
large helicopter drawing a sled to clear these things
out," Greenert said. "Smaller ships [from foreign
navies] can become very effective."
So where do all the big ships "freed up" by these
expedients go? The Pacific.
"The Asia-Pacific has been a long-time focus for the
U.S. Navy," Greenert emphasized.
"About half of what we deploy annually is in the
Asia-Pacific and about half of those are homeported
there," primarily in Japan. The Navy is now adjusting
its West Coast:East Coast ratio of ships from the
current 55:45 to a planned 60:40, and that Pacific 60%
will include the Navy's most advanced and powerful
But, Greenert went on, "there's much more to this
rebalance than ships." At the Navy War College, Navy
research programs, and other intellectual centers that
shape the future fleet, he said, "the benchmark will be
what is needed in the Western Pacific."
In the near term, the Navy is also working ever more
closely with both traditional allies in the Pacific --
like Korea and Japan -- and new partners -- like
Vietnam, which he hopes to visit next year. (When
pressed, the CNO also reiterated his support for the
politically doomed Law of the Sea Treaty as a basis for
That engagement, Greenert said, also has to include
China. "We need to continue the dialogue and build upon
the dialogue that we have today," he said, noting that a
longstanding series of talks between U.S. Navy captains
(grade O-6 in the military ranking scheme) and their
Chinese PLA Navy counterparts has recently expanded to
include some lower-ranking admirals (grade O-7 and up).
He even put in a good word for Chinese naval forces that
are operating against pirates in the Gulf of Aden,
albeit outside the international counter-piracy
coalition to which the U.S. belongs.
So while many Navy-boosters beat the drum loudly on the
potential Chinese threat, the Chief of Naval Operations
is clearly hoping to avoid a new Cold War in the
optimistically named Pacific Ocean. ^
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus Names the Next
Virginia-Class Submarine USS Delaware with Dr. Jill
Biden as the Sponsor
Office of the Assistant
Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Nov. 19
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today that the
next Virginia-class attack submarine will be named the
USS Delaware. Dr. Jill Biden will sponsor the USS
Delaware. A longtime Delaware educator and military mom,
Dr. Biden started Joining Forces with First Lady
Michelle Obama to encourage all Americans to recognize,
honor and support military families.
Mabus named the future USS Delaware in honor of the
first state in the Union. The name honors the great
contributions and support Delaware has given the
military through the years and pays homage to the
state’s more than two centuries of naval heritage.
“I chose the name Delaware to honor the long-standing
relationship between the Navy and our nation’s first
state,” said Mabus. “It has been too long since there
has been a USS Delaware in the fleet and this submarine
will remind future deployed service members and state
residents of their strong ties and many shared values
for decades to come.”
“As a proud military mom, and a proud Delawarean, I am
honored to sponsor the USS Delaware,” said Dr. Biden.
“Our men and women in uniform and their families
represent the very best of America, and wherever the
Delaware goes, it will take with it the strength,
resilience, and bravery of military families in Delaware
and across the country.”
In 2011, Dr. Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama started
Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative to encourage all
Americans to recognize, honor and support military
The Virginia-class submarine will be the seventh ship of
the U.S. Navy to be named the USS Delaware. Previously
named ships include a frigate launched in 1776, a
merchant ship guarding convoys during the Quasi-War with
France, a ship-of-the-line decommissioned during the
Civil War, a side-wheel steamer decommissioned at the
Washington Navy Yard in 1865, a screw-steamer renamed
Delaware in 1869, and a battleship that served during
WWI and was decommissioned in 1923.
This next-generation attack submarine will provide the
Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the
nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century.
It will have enhanced stealth, sophisticated
surveillance capabilities and special warfare
enhancements that will enable it to meet the Navy's
The USS Delaware will have the capability to attack
targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise
missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of
land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces.
Other missions include anti-submarine, anti-ship, and
The Virginia-class submarine is 7,800-tons and 377 feet
in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at
more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a
reactor plant that will not require refueling during the
planned life of the ship reducing lifecycle costs while
increasing underway time. The USS Delaware will be built
by Huntington Ingalls Industries in partnership with the
Electric Boat division of General Dynamics in Newport
Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of
Information at 703-697-5342. For more news from
Secretary of the Navy public affairs, visit
http://www.navy.mil/SECNAV . ^
Petraeus case, FBI detoured from usual path
Lardner - The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Nov 18, 2012 16:36:12 ES
WASHINGTON — The way the FBI responded to Jill Kelley’s
complaint about receiving harassing emails, which
ultimately unraveled or scarred the careers of ex-CIA
Director David Petraeus and Marine Gen. John Allen, is
the exception, not the rule.
The FBI commonly declines to pursue cyberstalking cases
without compelling evidence of serious or imminent harm
to an individual, victims of online harassment, advocacy
groups and computer crime experts told The Associated
But in the sensational episode that uncovered the spy
chief’s adulterous affair, the FBI’s cyberdivision
devoted months of tedious investigative work to uncover
who had sent insulting and anonymous messages about
Kelley, the Florida socialite who was friendly with
Petraeus and Allen — and friends with a veteran FBI
counterterrorism agent in Tampa.
The bureau probably would have ignored Kelley’s
complaint had it not been for information in the emails
that indicated the sender was aware of the travel
schedules of Petraeus and Allen, the top U.S. commander
in Afghanistan. Instead, the FBI considered this from
the earliest stages to be an exceptional case, and one
so sensitive that FBI Director Robert Mueller and
Attorney General Eric Holder were kept notified of its
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