Navy CNO Defends LCS Shipbuilding Program
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program has come under the microscope after news of an electrical problem resulted in a brief loss of power for USS Freedom (LCS 1) over the weekend and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a critical, 72-page report today scrutinizing the cost of the program.
However, top Navy leadership including the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert view the performance problems as common for any first-in-class platform--especially in an innovative platform such as the LCS with its interchangeable modular payload design enabling the ship to conform to its battle space.
Greenert spoke about the GAO report that was leaked days in advance during a Pentagon press brief held July 19 to discuss the status of the Navy with the Pentagon Press Corps. In his comments Greenert compared the LCS with debuts of previous first- in-class ships and said there was initial skepticism with those platforms too.
The CNO toured the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard July 24 to observe the progress of several Freedom-class variants of the LCS currently under construction. During his tour, Greenert walked through several of the $74 million improved Marinette Marine shipbuilding facilities to see firsthand future LCSs: (LCS 5) Milwaukee, (LCS 7) Detroit, (LCS 9) Little Rock, and (LCS 11) Sioux City not only being built, but being built better with integrated feedback from industry and Sailors in the fleet.
President and CEO of Marinette Marine Chuck Goddard said efficiencies in the building process resulting from upgrades to the shipyard will drive down costs per unit of the LCS over time while the fleetʼs feedback is resulting in a more superior product for our Sailors charged with protecting the worldʼs sea lanes.
"I came here to see how are the changes coming around, what is the relationship more long term," Greenert said to reporters at the conclusion of his confidence visit and tour of Marinette Marine. "We're only in the starting pieces of this long program."