TAG In The News: 2022 Naval Outlook, Heavy Weather, and DDG(X)

Over the past month, Themistocles Advisory Group CEO Craig Hooper published his 2022 overview of naval shipbuilding with the Marine Link publication network:

“Aside from the U.S. Coast Guard’s recent award of a second tranche of Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutters, the U.S. government remains laser-focused on procuring undersea platforms…Outside of emergent requests for small, expendable or “munitions-like” surface craft, America’s surface ship suppliers must be content with the projects or contracts they already have in hand..”

In the July 25 Portland Times Record, TAG discussed the fast-moving DDG(X) program, warning:

“…that the Navy needs to focus more on defining the future destroyer’s tactical role than on packing the ship with new technology, or another BIW could face another Zumwalt-sized setback..”

In the past five months, the U.S. Navy has shifted at least $70 billion towards large surface combatants, moving the future force targets from 60 to 96 large surface combatants by 2045. But nobody has offered any justification for the shift. After years of fretting that larger ships offer little more than larger targets, the Navy may be realizing that larger ships have certain innate advantages–like the ability to function in higher sea states.

The U.S. Navy seems to be looking to get more experience in tougher weather. After a summertime Norfolk thunderstorm damaged several helicopters and heavy weather swept a F-18 off a carrier, Craig Hooper spoke to Popular Mechanics on July 13, reminding the Navy:

“We forget that a simple storm can be more effective than a hail of missiles in mission-killing a fleet. Aircraft are not the only things that can be lost at sea—heavy seas can break antennas, radars, and other sensors that matter far more than a basic fighter aircraft.”

And, after recalling Typhoon Cobra–the infamous 1944 disaster that became known as “Halsey’s Typhoon“–he cautioned:

“We have done so well in mitigating weather,” Hooper warns, “that far too many people in the service fail to respect it.”

As always, you can catch Dr. Hooper’s latest commentary over at Forbes.com.