My anger has been stewing. The honor of the the officer corps has been weakened.
Over the weekend, Galrahn at Information Dissemination broke the news that the new DDG-1000 Zumwalt class of destroyers were designed without capability for area air defense, a fatal flaw in the design of the ship. I have been silent on this topic for a couple of days, hoping my anger to settle somewhat, but it hasn’t.
This is a massive failure of the American officer corps.
I’m not going to recount here (read Galrahn’s post for that) what exactly happened, save for the following:
- The Navy has decided to release publicly that the new DDG-1000 class of destroyers is not Standard Missile capable. This is a drastic change to what has been stated for years about the design of the ship. This is a big deal, because the new ship would not be capable of self-defense against air threats. This means that there has been a campaign of deception by the Admirals to congress and the American people.
- $13,000,000,000 was wasted. (I know that it’s possible to be cynical about this, because money is wasted everywhere in the DOD. But that’s still 13 billion dollars!)
- The Navy actually wanted to build this class of ships, until two weeks ago. Such a ship would have placed the lives of it’s Sailors and the lives of Marines, who the ship was designed to support, at risk. That the Navy would consider such a ship worthy of construction under any circumstances is an utter failure of the ethic of the officer corps. This is onconscienable, unethical, and absolutely wrong.
- At least one admiral, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Vern Clark lied to congress. It is unknown how many other officers lied in service to this deception.
The Navy needs a John Boyd figure: Someone who is willing to sacrifice their career to hold the admirals accountable, who is willing to work tirelessly on building survivable, useful, effective, and economic ships, and someone who can generally re-energize the ethics, morals, and morale of naval service. I’m not sure who this person is, but the Navy is in desperate need of a dynamo of an officer to restore honor to the Navy.
We, as officers of the sea services need to debate exactly WTF happened with this, and scrupulously work to ensure that disgusting series of events like this never happens again. Some blogs, notably Information Dissemination and Danger Room are already helping with this, but the blogs cannot restore the honor of the officer corps and the military profession. Hopefully the US Naval Institute, as the independent forum of the sea services, will help to facilitate a debate on this. (All naval–‘naval’ meaning Navy and Marine–officers ought to be members of this organization, just as all Marine Officers should be a member of the Marine Corps Association).
Senior officers need to council their junior officers that this boondoggles like this are wrong and that they are a blot on the record of the entire corps of officers.
We, as officers of the Sea Services need to heed the obligations of our profession. We need to hold our flag officers accountable, protect our charges, and honor our oaths to protect and defend the Constitution. When shit like this happens, the Constitution is weakened, and the honor, good name, and reputation of the officer corps is imperiled.
Oh, and I forgot. There are some folks who need to be fired.
I am pissed, as all American officers ought to be.