Saturday, March 26, 2005

Fleet Response Plan

The US Navy has been reorganized.

Joe Katzman of Winds of Change sent me this link discussing the change in the way our operational Navy is organized.

The Cold War model designed in response to the needs of the Cold War and the lessons learned from the Pearl Harbor attack was to have 1/3 of the ships deployed, 1/3 being refitted, and 1/3 training for deployment. This was designed to prevent a sneak attack from destroying our Navy while at the same time giving the sailors enough time at home to maintain a semblance of family life for career officers and enlisted.

For some time since this war started I have been saying that given the Cold War deployment schedules we would need at least two and possibly three more CBGs (Carrier Battle Groups). Well we have them without increasing the size of our Navy.

The Navy League reports on how this is being done:

Developing upon the lessons learned during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the global war on terrorism, the Navy has enacted substantial revisions of its force structure. One of those revisions includes Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Vern Clark’s Fleet Response Plan (FRP), a new way of planning and organizing fleet assets for deployment.

The FRP provides the nation six aircraft carrier strike groups deployed or ready to deploy within 30 days and another two aircraft carrier strike groups ready to deploy within 90 days. Commander Fleet Forces Command, based at Norfolk, Va., is leading the implementation of FRP across the Navy.

U.S. Fleet Forces Command leads the implementation of the FRP, which has replaced the Cold War-era 18-month interdeployment training cycle and deployment schedule with a flexible training and deployment schedule lashed to “real world” events and requirements.
What does that mean in terms of war fighting capability? The Navy League explains:
As the Navy evolves to adapt to the demands of the global war on terrorism, Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England has called upon the service to maintain its relevance by providing more immediate, persistent combat power, “to seize the initiative rapidly in joint operations as we will not have the luxury of time to prepare in advance.”

England is committed to leading the service in alignment with a National Defense Strategy that measures success based on the “10-30-30” metric. That measurement defines the goal for closing forces within 10 days, defeating an adversary within 30 days and resetting the force for additional action within another 30 days.
That means the Navy is comitted to fighing a major war every 30 to 40 days. No other Navy in the world has ever been capable of such planned sustained effort.
During the exercise Summer Pulse ’04, the Navy proved it could employ forces based on the FRP. With no more than 30 days notice, the Navy deployed seven aircraft carrier strike groups.

“The national strategy that has evolved over the course of the last couple of years is all about quick response,” Clark told a Current Strategy Forum at the Naval War College in June. “Speed of response is almost more important than anything else we deal with. Together with the U.S. Marine Corps, we are going to be able to provide twice the combat power in one-half the time.”

Clark is a champion of the Sea Basing concept, through which the Navy and Marine Corps will exploit their maritime maneuver space. A new generation of transport and logistics vessels, aircraft and fleet formations is in the offing to make sea basing a reality.

The change in embracing sea basing and other new concepts will come at the expense of old paradigms, Clark notes, arguing that the proposed fleet force structure goal of 375 vessels no longer is relevant.

“We have learned to run this company a lot more efficiently, we have become a lean and mean organization,” Clark told Navy League leadership at the conclusion of the 2004 Winter Meetings Nov. 6 in Arlington, Va. “We are getting more utility out of the platforms and we are more ready to go and more responsive than any time in our history.

“My 375 number is going to change; it is going to come down,” he added. “The number of ships is not relevant, and our task is to be relevant.”
What will be required is an unprecidented effort from those who repair and maintain our ships in port - similar to what was done for the Yorktown before the battle of Midway on a regular basis. Surge has become the norm.

I'm sure Rumsfield has had a hand in this since the changes started in 2001 - before 9/11. In those days Rummy was roundly criticized for upsetting established norms. Well he seems to have done a pretty good job of that.

Welcome Instapundit readers.


RKV said...

"“My 375 number is going to change; it is going to come down,” he added. “The number of ships is not relevant, and our task is to be relevant.” Not sure that I agree with this statement. Defense logistical base does matter, and in today's world it gets complicated fast. Just a for instance from my own experience - I worked on a job where we waited a year to get certain components certified, then ultimately had to get a waiver because no manufacturer, US or otherwise would certify to the specifications the USAF imposed on us. Related experiences include being in a situation where the sole producer of a given component was a company in Taiwan - so what would happen to us if we had to resupply while Taiwan was under blockade? My point here is that it is much better to err on the side of caution, in spite of the cost consequences, than to be caught short when sizing the fleet.

Anonymous said...

Lord help us. I was on an NRF ship in the late 80s and early 90s, and the "more with less" meant we were starved for crew. I vividly remember having only one enlisted man to run the ship's store and laundry, and I had no DK in the disbursing office. This was on a OHP-class ship with a billet of 5 under normal circumstances. People just got burned out faster and we flunked inspections. It was a CF. If they're going to devlop their "more for less" concept they absolutely have to change the way the ships are run and even how they're designed. Otherwise it's just squeezing more blood from a stone.

M. Simon said...

Just to give my bonafides.Naval nuke from the mid/late 60s.

One of the things you do to an organization where you want to reduce personell is to starve it for people and then look for creative responses.

And yes it is going to hurt. It is going to look like a CF. It may actually be a CF.

It all depends on the leaders ability to figure out quickly what works (sharing info across units is critical) and what doesn't.

In my civilian job for an aerospace company we had a mil project in trouble. Behind schedule - badly behind.

I was told to put in as much overtime as I wanted but "get the sucker fixed ASAP". The recovery program was supposed to last 3 months. The overtime bit was more an order than a request. In my usual insubbordinate way I said I wasn't going to kill my self with more effort. However, I did promise that I would fix the problem. I fixed it in one month by thinking outside the box. I didn't do things the usual aerospace way - throw $$$$ at the problem. I figured out how to get back on schedule in one month at 1/10th the cost estimated.

We had another program that required extensive testing and no test eqpt. The normal testers required an army of programmers and a $1.2 millon tester which took a year to build. The tester was needed in no more that two months preferrably less. I got the job done in 1 1/2 months with a tester cost of $ 1/2 million for the first unit and $100,000 for each follow on unit. It was done with one programmer, one systems engineer (me), one hardware engineer (me), and one lab tech. I was going to do the programming too but I was a little streched with project management and hardware design.

Under normal circumstances I would never have been given the opportunity because I'm not what is known as a "team player". I have a bad attitude. Because of that attitude I was given a lot of impossible assignments so they would have a "bad actor" to blame when things went bad. Hah. I came up covered with roses.

Organizations under stress can produce extrodinary results. However, you first have to destroy the "business as usual" mode.

BTW I understand that our latest carrier on the ways is being designed to require 1,200 fewer personel for manning. That is a crew reduction of about 1/3. It can be done.

All significant change is painful to established routines. Hang in there. Think outside the box. Believe.

And thank you for your service.