The U.S. Navy is Screwed OR is it?

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KamenRiderBlade

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Unread post13 Jun 2017, 10:48

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-u- ... 1795662679

What is up with journalists who write about our military like it's Doom & Gloom.

Seriously, our Navy can generally improve and get to where it needs to be.

But these guys make it sound impossible to do.
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juretrn

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Unread post13 Jun 2017, 11:19

The sky is falling!
If this goes on, the USN will only have 4 times the tonnage of the PLAN instead of 5 times! Woe is you :(
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hornetfinn

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Unread post13 Jun 2017, 13:16

Or more than 10 times the aircraft. Much more so if actual naval aircraft are calculated and if we calculate USMC aircraft...
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talkitron

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Unread post13 Jun 2017, 22:50

I found the article fairly helpful for a broad overview of major ship issues facing the Navy. The following four issues sound pretty serious to me:

1. Skilled worker availability at ship yards
2. Submarine repairs taking too long
3. Cruiser replacement
4. Issues with the Littoral Combat Ship

There are other articles on each of these topics individually but this overview was fine so I don't know why we are piling on this author. This is far from a hack article.

As this is an aviation forum, in an article not restricted to ships I would have added more on the well known maintenance issues with Hornets and Super Hornets. It is amazing that the Navy wants to buy more Super Hornets when they have well over 500 in inventory already, not counting regular Hornets and Growlers.
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chriz

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Unread post26 Jul 2017, 22:49

But you know, that it is only a voice of an entity? :)
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arian

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Unread post26 Jul 2017, 23:47

juretrn wrote:The sky is falling!
If this goes on, the USN will only have 4 times the tonnage of the PLAN instead of 5 times! Woe is you :(


Yep. Basically every argument on the internet about the USN is like this.

I understand the need for limiting the level of thinking to counting number of ships. It makes it easy for laymen, politicians and Foxtrotalpha authors to package the issue into 1 easy to understand number. But I don't understand why serious discussion should be had on such a simple and pointless metric. Yes, number of ships matters. But it is far from the only thing or even the most relevant thing that matters. A Burke class destroyer is 30 times more capable than a Farragut class destroyer.

talkitron wrote:1. Skilled worker availability at ship yards


Compared to whom? Compared to what? This is a relative argument, and one which just about every industry in the US always makes. Usually what they mean is: we can't get people to move here for the wage we pay.
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sferrin

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Unread post26 Jul 2017, 23:51

KamenRiderBlade wrote:http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-u-s-navy-is-screwed-1795662679

What is up with journalists who write about our military like it's Doom & Gloom.

Seriously, our Navy can generally improve and get to where it needs to be.

But these guys make it sound impossible to do.


"Foxtrotalpha" There's your problem.
"There I was. . ."
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35_aoa

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Unread post27 Jul 2017, 03:39

arian wrote:
talkitron wrote:1. Skilled worker availability at ship yards


Compared to whom? Compared to what? This is a relative argument, and one which just about every industry in the US always makes. Usually what they mean is: we can't get people to move here for the wage we pay.


Probably true, but inherently tied to that statement is "the Navy negotiated and accepted yet another horrible contract". Same could be said about the depot/FRC situation for Hornets/SH's. It isn't about "we can't get people to move here for the wage offered" as much as it is "we didn't agree to pay for the manning that we actually need to do the job". Pay might be right, open jobs aren't.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post27 Jul 2017, 15:40

KamenRiderBlade wrote:http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-u-s-navy-is-screwed-1795662679

What is up with journalists who write about our military like it's Doom & Gloom.

Seriously, our Navy can generally improve and get to where it needs to be.

But these guys make it sound impossible to do.


Pssst they don't know what they are talking about.

These are big complex and complicated subjects that balance several disciplines and even people who do it for a living must have knowledge and experience to make sense of it and assess it all.

The navy wasn't even "screwed" after pearl harbor... or iron bottom sound, or after they moved a fleet into a hurricane, or after the forestal fire, or after the Maine blew up in Havana.

The gals at foxtrot alpha are clueless panicky children, writing for the same audience
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durahawk

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Unread post27 Jul 2017, 16:55

talkitron wrote:I found the article fairly helpful for a broad overview of major ship issues facing the Navy. The following four issues sound pretty serious to me:

1. Skilled worker availability at ship yards
2. Submarine repairs taking too long
3. Cruiser replacement
4. Issues with the Littoral Combat Ship


Wut!? The EMALS and AAG issues on the Ford class don't even get an honorable mention?
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arian

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Unread post27 Jul 2017, 22:46

35_aoa wrote:
arian wrote:
talkitron wrote:1. Skilled worker availability at ship yards


Compared to whom? Compared to what? This is a relative argument, and one which just about every industry in the US always makes. Usually what they mean is: we can't get people to move here for the wage we pay.


Probably true, but inherently tied to that statement is "the Navy negotiated and accepted yet another horrible contract". Same could be said about the depot/FRC situation for Hornets/SH's. It isn't about "we can't get people to move here for the wage offered" as much as it is "we didn't agree to pay for the manning that we actually need to do the job". Pay might be right, open jobs aren't.


You're talking about government jobs through. Government jobs don't normally attract the best anyway (no offense to anyone who has a government job). But these shipyards are private companies.

Anyway, here's some info on the industry: https://www.marad.dot.gov/wp-content/up ... t_2015.pdf

Looks like its doing quite well to me. 110,000 directly employed by the shipyards and ~400,000 people in total providing services to the industry. Average wages for shipyard workers at over $83k (those 110,000) and about $54k for the related services employees.

Doesn't seem like an industry that's doing poorly. Also, it appears they have expanded quite a lot in recent years in terms of hiring
Image

So maybe the "shortages" are simply due to quick expansion.

Another thing to consider may be competition with oil and gas industry which probably attracts qualified people with higher pay (even higher than the $83k/year average of shipbuilding). What's not included in the shipbuilding industry is all the oil and gas off-shore services, for example.

People usually present this "problem" as one of the US losing its industrial base or as if these skills and people are just disappearing. Doesn't appear to be the case if they can expand hiring so quickly so fast, and if people simply move to more attractive industries which require the same skills (which they certainly have been doing for oil and gas)
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Unread post28 Jul 2017, 00:44

While I'm not intimately familiar with the spread of employers on the shipyard docks, my point was assuming it is similar to NAVAIR, where a large percentage of our depot (and even squadron level in some cases) maintenance is conducted by private companies (L3/Dyncorp) on a govt contract. So I was speaking to the "private" part of the industry, at least in the sense that those folks have an employer that is not the government. I've never met a government/GS maintainer......they probably exist somewhere, but I've never run across them. Could be totally different in the yards, so I will give you that.
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Unread post28 Jul 2017, 20:47

35_aoa wrote:While I'm not intimately familiar with the spread of employers on the shipyard docks, my point was assuming it is similar to NAVAIR, where a large percentage of our depot (and even squadron level in some cases) maintenance is conducted by private companies (L3/Dyncorp) on a govt contract. So I was speaking to the "private" part of the industry, at least in the sense that those folks have an employer that is not the government. I've never met a government/GS maintainer......they probably exist somewhere, but I've never run across them. Could be totally different in the yards, so I will give you that.


No I have no idea either. I was just assuming maintenance was done by government personnel, but perhaps as you say, not so at the depot level.

In any case, I think your point is about the customer side (ie the government) not funding the needed expenses. I'm not sure that has much to do with employees or skills. It might, in that if those employees are more expensive then there's less of them to go around. But maybe it has more to do with the government both being tighter on the purse and 16 continuous years of war that have taken too much of a toll on equipment.

My point was simply that, probably, employees and skills are widely available for the right amount of money but shipyards may be suffering because other industries are sucking up similar skilled labor with higher wages. Average salaries in oil and gas in the US are north of $100k/year: https://www.hays.com/cs/groups/hays_com ... 204734.pdf

So that's going to have a big spillover on other industries competing for the same pool of people. Especially since they are attracting mostly people in the 25-40 years of age pool, leaving few newer replacements for other industries.
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Unread post29 Jul 2017, 00:18

arian wrote:
No I have no idea either. I was just assuming maintenance was done by government personnel, but perhaps as you say, not so at the depot level.

In any case, I think your point is about the customer side (ie the government) not funding the needed expenses. I'm not sure that has much to do with employees or skills. It might, in that if those employees are more expensive then there's less of them to go around. But maybe it has more to do with the government both being tighter on the purse and 16 continuous years of war that have taken too much of a toll on equipment.

My point was simply that, probably, employees and skills are widely available for the right amount of money but shipyards may be suffering because other industries are sucking up similar skilled labor with higher wages. Average salaries in oil and gas in the US are north of $100k/year: https://www.hays.com/cs/groups/hays_com ... 204734.pdf

So that's going to have a big spillover on other industries competing for the same pool of people. Especially since they are attracting mostly people in the 25-40 years of age pool, leaving few newer replacements for other industries.


Think we are debating similar, yet, different points. Your point could certainly be true about shipyards. I was just inferring that there may be some similarity to the maintenance overhaul (depot) effort on our aviation side, which has been marred by budget cuts, bad contracts, and general mismanagement of assets (though a lot of that blame could fall on congressional leadership).......the effects of sequestration are still being felt. I think semantics also might confuse some of what I was saying. When I speak to "government", it would either refer to uniformed service members, or it would refer to govt employees on the GS pay scale. Contrasted with private industry being paid to do maintenance on a government contract, which on the aviation side, is generally the case outside of squadron and intermediate (I-level) maintenance (where maintenance is primarily uniformed folks with occasional field techs from the manufacturer for unique situations). My assumption is that the shipyards use similar teams for overhaul and ROH/RCOH (which in my understanding, is done by folks like the employees at Newport News Shipyard, a private firm on a govt contract). When a company underbids, and the govt accepts, it is a recipe for delay, stagnation, and lost value/time in service. Have seen that multiple times on the aviation side during my career. Again, outsider looking in with this debate, but I'd guess there are a lot of similarities.
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Unread post29 Jul 2017, 21:18

I agree with you. I think we're talking about different things, however. I was mostly talking about availability of skills/people.

You're right that that there's a whole other issue of how well the government can manage contracts etc. But then again, its been 16 years of continuous war. I'm not sure it can be managed a hell of a lot better in that situation.

Contracts are a problem, but there's usually only 1 customer (the government) and usually only 1 supplier (in this case likely the original manufacturer). That's been the biggest problem of any military, forever. That's not going to change.
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