Battleland

The Navy’s New Class of Warships: Big Bucks, Little Bang

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Navy photo / Lt. Jan Shultis

The first two Littoral Combat Ships: the USS Freedom, rear, and the USS Independence, off the California coast. The ships primarily are designed to engage in combat close to shore.

The Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is not only staggeringly overpriced and chronically unreliable but — even if it were to work perfectly — cannot match the combat power of similar sized foreign warships costing only a fraction as much. Let’s take a deep dive and try to figure out why.

The story so far:

– Congress has funded the LCS program since February 2002. Its publically stated purpose was to create a new generation of surface combatants able to operate in dangerous shallow water and near-shore environments.

– By December 2009 the Navy had built two radically dissimilar prototypes, the mono-hulled USS Freedom (LCS-1) and the trimaran-hulled USS Independence (LSC-2).

– A year later it adopted both designs and decided to award block buy construction contracts for five more ships of each type.

– Since neither design had yet proven either its usefulness or functionality it seems that the Navy’s object was to make the LCS program “too big to fail” as soon as possible.

– It may be working: the 55-ship fleet is slated to cost more than $40 billion, giving each vessel a price tag north of $700 million, roughly double the original estimated cost.

Both LCS designs were supposed to be small (about 3,000 tons displacement), shallow-draft coastal warships that relied on simplicity, numbers and new technology to stay affordable and capable throughout their service lives.

Navy photo / Lt. Jan Shultis

The new technology was mainly robotics (unmanned air, surface and underwater vehicles) and modular weapons and sensors. The modular systems were a series of mission payload packages or modules; each designed to fit a common cargo/weapons bay or slot and focus the ship on a specific mission.

When the ship’s mission changed it could quickly swap its current module for one that supported the new mission. This was a way to combine the advantages of both single and multi-mission platforms.

Foreign navies had already applied the concept successfully. The Danish Navy’s “Standard Flex” series of weapon modules had in particular grabbed the U.S. Navy’s attention.

Each LCS also has a flight deck and hangar able to accommodate up to two H-60 helicopters or up to four MQ-8B helicopter drones (one helicopter and two to three drones would be a typical mix). In addition, an LCS can carry and operate surface and sub-surface drones. Current modules in development are for mine warfare (MIW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASUW).

The MIW and ASW modules are mostly sensors with only drone or helicopter launched weapons. The ASUW module is focused mainly on defeating speedboats and offers only two 30mm MK-46 guns and some short-ranged low payload Griffin missiles. None of these modules will even be testable until well into FY13 and none will be operational before FY16.

Outside of the modules an LCS has a permanent armament of a 57mm MK-110 automatic gun, some 0.50-caliber machineguns and a close defense missile system (RIM-116 SeaRAM).

Even with its modules the LCS compares poorly with similar-sized but much less expensive ships in foreign navies.

The new Russian Steregushchy-class frigate, for example, is (at 2,200 tons) about 30% smaller than an LCS and cost only 20-25% as much. Yet, it carries a 100mm automatic gun, 14.5-mm machineguns, close-in defense “Gatling gun” systems (AK-630), medium range surface to air missiles (S400 series), SS-N-25 anti-ship missiles (sub-sonic and shorter ranged than the US Harpoon but far more capable than the Griffin), 533-mm (21”) torpedoes, 324mm anti-submarine torpedoes and a helicopter. The ship is not only in production for the Russian Navy but also for the navies of Algeria and Indonesia. A version is also being built for China.

The Swedish Visby-class corvette was one of the models on which LCS was based. It carries the same 57mm gun plus antisubmarine rockets and torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, a radar-deflecting hull, and a helicopter pad (but no hangar, apparently). It can also reach 35 knots but it is only a fifth as large.

The Chinese have more than 80 Houbei-class fast-attack boats in service. Each costs only $40 million to build and displaces only 220 tons (one-fifteenth as much as an LCS). Yet they carry C-801 series anti-ship missiles that greatly outrange any weapon the LCS has.

About the only threat the LCS might handle is the “swarms” of Iranian machinegun and RPG-carrying speedboats in the Persian Gulf. Apart from the fact that the Iranian crisis will have been resolved for better or worse before most of the LCS fleet can be built, these Iranian small craft lack weapons big enough to menace any serious warship.

Navy photo / MCS 2nd Class Rosalie Garcia

However the LCS itself may be more vulnerable to these speedboats than the ships it is protecting from them. This is because the ballooning LCS construction costs caused the Navy to try to save money by ordering that future ships be built to commercial standards.

This will reduce their survivability level (protection of ship, crew, and vital systems) to (or below) the lowest level (of three) the Navy recognizes. Survivability testing has been cancelled, as it would cause too much damage to the test ship. Instead, the LCS is rated as not survivable in a “hostile combat environment.”

Worse, the Navy has admitted that, unlike the foreign systems they were modeled on, LCS modules will not be swappable within day or two as originally envisaged. Instead, the process can take weeks. Practical and political limitations on storing modules and supporting them overseas are likely to make module swapping possible only in U.S. shipyards. An LCS entering a combat theater will have to be in a single “come as you are” configuration that cannot adapt to mission changes.

The LCS does lead its foreign competitors when it comes to speed. At the Navy’s insistence, each LCS carries a set of diesels for cruising. It also has a suite of gas turbines that can at least for short spurts propel it at speeds as high as 50 knots.

By contrast the LCS’ foreign competitors rarely exceed 35 knots (the heavily-armed Steregushchy is only good for 26). However, speed at sea is a terribly expensive capability. Except for large nuclear-powered ships, very high speeds are only possible for limited times and in good weather. Incremental speed increases require geometric horsepower increases. Gas turbines generating more than 100,000 horsepower and their associated fuel tanks must leave the LCS little space for armor, weapons, sensors or crew accommodations. Though the Navy has not said so, it is likely that these gas turbines have been the source of many of the LCS’ mechanical problems.

Why is high speed so important? Even high-speed minesweeping does not require more than 25 knots or so. For chasing small boats the LCS’s size advantage will let it catch nominally faster craft if any kind of sea is running. If this is not enough, the LCS has its helicopters and drones. The LCS may need speed to deploy quickly over long distances but is unlikely to need it for tactical maneuver. Without its gas turbines the LCS could be small (and cheaper), like the Visby, or powerfully-armed, like the Steregushchy. Instead, it is neither.

When asked why the LCS has sacrificed so much for speed, Navy spokesmen tend to become vague. In a recent interview, Rear Admiral Thomas Rowden, the Navy’s chief of surface warfare, could only explain the LCS’ speed requirement with clichés such as “speed is life” (is the LCS really an airplane? Does it outrun cruise missiles?) or “more is better” (more speed but less of everything else?). He even quoted John Paul Jones asking for a fast ship to go “in harm’s way.” Such fatuous statements might satisfy a fourth-grade civics class but this contemptuous dismissal of legitimate taxpayer concerns speaks volumes about what the Navy thinks of the people who ultimately pay its bills.

The surface-warfare chief went on to say that the Navy had yet to settle key LCS issues regarding missions, tactics and the design features to support them. In a sane world, such issues would have been ironed out before any ships were built. Once they are settled, the results will have to be applied to existing ships (to the extent that is possible) at enormous cost. Such are the effects of a “build first, design later” shipbuilding policy.

The level of incompetence the Navy has displayed with the LCS is truly breathtaking.

The LCS was supposed to be small and cheap, able to relieve larger more expensive ships of secondary tasks and to dominate coastal “brown water” environments. Yet, it is not cheap. Construction costs have ballooned to more than triple their original estimates. It is incredibly extravagant for some of its missions (those than any Coast Guard cutter could do), and very inadequate for most of the others. Its MIW and ASW capabilities are only those of the aircraft it carries. Even with its ASUW module, its firepower falls far short of foreign ships one-fifth the size. Its RIM-116 lacks the range to protect other ships. Its 57mm gun is short-ranged and cannot support troops ashore.

Taxpayers – and Navy personnel, past and present — may better appreciate the scope of the LCS disaster when reminded that current plans call for these pseudo-warships to comprise more than a third of the Navy’s surface combatants by 2020.

Nevertheless, the Navy is not worried. Congress will bail them out and ensure the LCS program yields some sort of product, even if it is a terribly overpriced and only marginally meets program requirements.

Meanwhile, foreign — not necessarily friendly — navies are building better and cheaper ships.

John Sayen retired from the Marine Corps in 2002 as a lieutenant colonel. He currently works in the defense industry and occasionally writes on current and historical military and naval issues.

U.S. Navy / Lt. Jan Shultis

95 comments
Palladium
Palladium

I'm not even going to ask why a 60 ton tank from every other nation on this planet outguns this 3000 ton piece of joke.

dcacklam
dcacklam

The old Perry class ships (nicknamed 'Hellen Keller' because of poor radar/sonar capabilities) were more capable than these things...

The Israelis, the Danes, and the Germans all produce better corvette-class ships that actually can dish it out in a fight...

LCS is the Navy's equivalent of the Army's Stryker: It can get 'there' quickly, but can't do anything beyond move around & show the flag once it arrives...

Armed like a Coast Guard cutter & scores more expensive... Sorry, skip it....

DDodge42
DDodge42

They should have just built upgraded 70s era Pegasus class hydrofoils with limited stealthiness (while not at high speed) and upgraded systems.  Maybe an lcs ship would work as a mothership/tanker to support a squadron of upgraded Pegasus class hydrofoils (using helicopter etc for asw and search), but as a patrol craft its horribly overpriced and undergunned.  The pegasus was far smaller, just as fast if not faster, had a similiar main gun and 4 harpoon missiles to boot.   We could probably build 3-4 pegasus type boats for each lcs.

Fatesrider
Fatesrider

In today's money, the USS Iowa (A BATTLESHIP displacing 65,000 tons with the largest surface guns ever mounted on a U.S. man-o-war) cost about 1.2-1.3 billion dollars to build.  Based on the armament of the LCS, the Iowa could take them ALL on and never break much of a sweat.  Even at close range, the Iowa's twin 5 inch batteries are bigger than anything the LCS's can fire off at them.  And if the LCS isn't configured for surface action, well, guess it's out of luck in hitting back with anything like effective fire.

Take the 40 billion earmarked for the LCS's construction and build a few more battleships.  At least then we'd get some REAL bang for our buck.

njunk
njunk

If you really want to make an argument about how expensive this ship is going to be over the current ships in service. You need to look at the support cost. Cost of housing the contractors in foreign countries and sailors while doing turnover and inport periods. 

This program is just starting and the costs have just begun.

glof
glof

I am sure Northrup-Gruman and Lockheed Martin will be happy to learn they will receive 700 million  when they signed a fix-price contracted to build LCS for about 430 million. And of course that their worker will be pleased to work for the same wage as Russian ship builder get. And etc.

Those who want to compare US built ship too foriegn ships on price never remind people that it is much more expensive to build ships in the US, which is why we don't build that many.

Let also remember the LCS is not a frigate, and was never intended to be a major surface combat ship. It is intended as a support ships, like WWII patrol ship, minesweepers, subcasers, and gunboats. They are not ment to fight larger warships.

Should the LCS be better arm? I wish they were equipt with Harpoon missile and a second RAM launcher, but the USN does not even have enough Harpoons to provide all their destroyer with these missile, let alone providing any to other ships, and the RAM launcher are also in short supply.

As for other of their short commings, remember we only have two prototypes to work with until recently. They won't know what they can do until the first production LCS join the fleet in mid decade.

obbop
obbop

No cost is too great to ensure corporate USA maintains the wealth flow from overseas into its coffers.

Defend the USA?

Yeah, right....  (as many-millions of unlawful invaders across our wide-open borders scamper throughout society).

aka_mythos
aka_mythos

The author refers to several ships used by other nations... the Houbei-class, the Steregushchy-class, and the Visby-class... The LCS has accomplished the feat of being as large as the largest and as fast as the fastest. The LCS has greater range and endurance than any of those ships as well. It maybe fair to say those assets aren't tangible enough and come at too high a cost, but it should be acknowleged as a technical achievement

I believe its unfair to compare the price of the Steregushchy-class and LCS, the author is cherry-picking his figures taking the manufacturing cost of the Steregushchy-class and comparing it to the program unit cost of the LCS. The difference is that the Steregushchy-class' cost doesn't include Ramp;D expenses as the Russian's utilize a means of book-keeping where by Ramp;D costs are more rapidly absorbed as sunk cost. An example of this is how they're already moving onto the Gremyashchy class which is 99% the same ship, but allows them to issolate the higher costs. If the US were treating the LCS the same way it'd be the some how more proudly touted $460M per ship. Still higher, but less hyperbolic.

The problem was that the LCS orginally wasn't intended as the type of ship it's become. It was envisioned as something physically smaller and as ship only replacing a number of smaller ships but then it was sold as a cost effective means of replacing larger ships, something it was never inteded to be. That change stole critical developement money away from the things that mattered. The LCS was originally intended to replace 2 wooden hulled ships that each only had a pair of .50cal machineguns while also allowing for the transport and recovery of small boats and helicopters; for something of this original size the crew complement, the minimal armament, and the emphasis on speed makes sense. With what its become these things are more liabilities.

The LCS is indicative of a problem critics and even the author fail to recognize. The LCS is the end result of decades of over emphasis on surface warfare capabilites, like the Arleigh Burke-class, that has left the Navy few resources to deal with all the threats of the other sorts. Little or no ability to provide fire support close to shore; little ability to deal with mine threats; no ability to operate a small fast autonomous response; no surface ability to support fleet operation with submarine detection... The end result is LCS where the Navy painted itself into a corner and forcing it into going all-in on a program to do it all with a ship that costs more than a number of specialized classes. The need imposes a time senesitivity that won't allow for new programs and thats why this program won't die. At the current price of the contracts, they can build 2 LCS' for every Arleigh Burke-class... and with the newest higher bid for the next batch of Arliegh Burke-class the Navy can build at least 3 LCS. Between the numbers game of congressional mandates on the shear number of ships and the requirements from treaty obligations for ship presence, they'll keep making the LCS even if it isn't what it was suppose to be.

Dursun Sakarya
Dursun Sakarya

but if we hadn't spent the $40 billion, the Terrorist will have won 

IonOtter
IonOtter

I served aboard the USS Reuben James from 96' to 2001.  She was a kick-butt little ship?  FFG-57.  Technically, she was classified as a "missile/torpedo sponge", meaning it was supposed to either take out incoming missiles/torpedos, or just get hit by them in order to protect the carriers.

The thing is, it was *well* designed to do just that.  The SM-1 launcher on the front was damn good at taking out incoming missiles, and because it was so good, the Russians had to follow a policy of "MOAR DEKKA" in order to get through.  (For those don't know the lingo, it means 'fire all five-hundred missiles') The anti-submarine defenses weren't spectacular, but against Iran and North Korea, it would more than have sufficed?  And it too, carried two SH-60B LAMPS-Mk III helicopters.  We were small, but we were *fast* and we could pull in and out of port without any help, thanks to the Retractable Auxiliary Propulsion Units.

We also had 4 Harpoon missiles onboard, and those could sink anything short of a carrier in just one or two shots.  Just before I left, we added the Penguin missiles to the torpedo magazine.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention?  We could fire the Mk 46 torpedoes, too.  And there was the 76mm, the 25mm chain gun and the 20mm CIWS Block II.

We performed rescues in 26' seas that broke the USS John Young and forced her to turn back.  We slipped up into the North Arabian Gulf and played "Ghost in the Graveyard" with Iranian gun boats, in and among the sunken tankers from the Tanker War.  Our comms suite wasn't ultra-modern, but we could talk longer, farther and with *more* foreign naval allies than the newer ships.  (We were an HF/VHF/UHF ship, no SHF or UHF.)

In short, the USS Reuben James FFG-57, built in 1985, could WIPE THE SEA FLOOR with this pathetic piece of plastic.

But no.  They took off the SM-1 launcher.  No more missile killers, no more ship-sinkers.  The Russians are all gone, and there's *coughCHINA* no other threats *coughIRAN*out there for us *coughNORTHKOREA* to be worried about.

And now she's deploying for one last time.  Heading out to the Gulf for...*retch*..."security" detail.  *sigh*  At least they didn't take away the 76 and the torpedo launchers.  She's gone from medium-weight to light-weight. At least she'll still be able to defend herself against the small attack boats, and the 76mm will still mess you up, but that's all she's got against missiles. God help her.

God-damned bean-counting, lilly-livered, brown-nosing, limp-wristed, never-been-in-a-fight congresspukes screwin' with my shipmates, givin' em' ships made outta tissue paper.

But wow, they SURE DO LOOK GOOD!

dsh_nva
dsh_nva

>> Its publically stated purpose was to create a new generation

Publicly, not "publically."

alexgafford
alexgafford

John Sayen is being far too kind about this class of warships. Since we are no longer in the Cold War there is no point in claiming the construction of these warships is a treasonous act against the national security of the United States of America. We can just point to iodicy and corruption. What disturbs me the most is that no patriotic ( in the true sense) member of Congress has blown the whistle on this. Where is Lindsey Graham when you need him?  This program makes the F35 look like a well founded and managed business. At least the F35 will  be able to launch real weapons that really work and kill our enemies.

Rumionemore
Rumionemore

Are they a metaphor for the U.S. military? Or what it is quickly becoming?

Ron Little
Ron Little

We need to dig up President Truman he took care of this kind of corruption in WW!! THE CONTRACTORS WERE SHAKING THE GOVT. DOWN.Truman ws on top of them ,because his biggest supporter was a crook that did the same in his town so he was experienced.  

frostfire451
frostfire451

Just a way to keep government contracts in congressional districts.  It is just government pork for no reason than to keep a politician elected.

John Grabowski
John Grabowski

Funny how the U.S. can afford this, but can't afford student loans or Big Bird.

willardschoeffling
willardschoeffling

What a terrible waste of money, All the navy wants are hulls in the water and congress wants " pork "I hope the day never comes when young Americans have to man these ships into harms way.

willardschoeffling
willardschoeffling

This entire class of ships are a joke. Over priced and under armed, Without a single surface to air missle or surface to surface missle they are the laughing stock of the world. A speedboat with a 50 cal. could put them out of action. Wait until the final costs are in, They will be 750 million each.

matthew.east.1989
matthew.east.1989

@Palladium  Should be noted the original design put forth as well as for International markets has both classes fitted with much bigger weapons, Why the USN chose not to go for them I dont know...

matthew.east.1989
matthew.east.1989

@dcacklam What is not taken into account is that the construction costs have actually being decreased with each follow on vessel so the $700m a ship is misleading. While there are corvette class ships out there with more bang none of them have the speed that is needed because one of there role is against small fast attack craft where speed is key.

matthew.east.1989
matthew.east.1989

@Fatesrider That is a little wrong. While allowing for inflation would mean the money would equal a little over a billion, You dont take into account cost of material increasing more then inflation, wages going up more then inflation etc etc so in reality the cost would be north of $4b minimum. 


That being said sure the have more guns but would they be of any use against small fast attack boats or submarines? Not in the slightest. In fact they would not be able to operate in the littoral waters because there draft is too deep, 36ft. So the ship they want to fill that role would not be a battleship.

johnybizzaro
johnybizzaro

@njunk The idea behind the ship is to bring down maintenance costs. Hopefully that does happen.

Valcan321
Valcan321

The LCS has a 57mm gun with a range messured in a few miles. Has no other longer range weaponry. Can go 55kt.....for a few hours then its out of fuel. OH yea nad it cant do this with its load out of mission modules, fuel, crew, and stores, it only reaches this speed in test.

In other words a single arleigh burke class destroyer can do somewhere north of 500% more than a fleet of LCS.

IT has NO modules. Its only armaments are its pop gun up front some 50's . Amd a helicopter.

BTW all of that cost isnt counted with the modules and such thats seperate.

Darius Dpas Deepazz Smith
Darius Dpas Deepazz Smith

Could be a reason why she was mentioned in one of my favorite books, Red Storm Rising, by Tom Clancy. And I thank you, sir, for your serving my country.

glof
glof

Yes, that SM-1 sure help the USS Stark a whole lot, after two Exocet missiles hit her and killed 37 crewmen.

And I sure US sailor would love to live and work on ships built to Russian naval standards.

And course the only minehunting those foreign ships are good for is by blowing up the first one they sail over.

johnybizzaro
johnybizzaro

@alexgafford Lets wait and see and hope that it aint corruption. All we need is a few good men and women ;)

johnybizzaro
johnybizzaro

@Rumionemore Yes. Gay friendly. Well did anyone notice there are open stalls on this LCS and that men and women sailors will share. I suppose with all the military prosecutions of sexual assault the ship will never leave port.

Ziv Bnd
Ziv Bnd

 I don't want to borrow money from China to pay for big bird.  Come to think of it, federal subsidies for a corporation that is paying the actor in the big bird suit $300,000 a year probably isn't the best use of funds.

Sesame Street is big business and incredibly profitable, let them pay for their own programming. NPR won't go out of business if the funding is removed, and big bird will continue to do fine. A few of the less profitable stations will close and that is all.

Greg Schmidt
Greg Schmidt

I don't want to count on Big Bird to protect my country!

Robert
Robert

Paying for defense is defined in the constitution as the job of the Federal government.  You may not like the military, but its most definitely falls into the purview of the federal government to do such things.

Paying for a private individuals education is not the job of the federal government, nor is paying for a serperate broadcasting corporations operating expenses.  If its such a great idea, with such great returns to the country, then let the States pay for it as outlined in the 10th amendment (yes it still exists).

Casey
Casey

 ...and no torpedoes...

sparky42
sparky42

 And the pricetag for the modules aren't even known yet as they are still a few years from introduction let alone being produced for the whole buy.

Given the costs you have to wonder what was going through there minds when this was declared a good idea.

Phoenix31756
Phoenix31756

750 million each huh ?

Don't quote me on this but if a ship with a crew of say over a 100, how much is that per crewmen life is worth ?

Am being sarcastic here but How much are we really spending on to protect each crewman on each ship or is that not a TOP priority these days ?

johnybizzaro
johnybizzaro

@matthew.east.1989 @Fatesrider  yes and no. a fleet of drones or squadron of them hovering above a battleship could negate the air vunerability of these large ships. As i have commented else where ,the legacy of Gerald Bull ( RIP) on extending the range of artilitery could give the battleships are turn as a front line ship. The ability to rain down death cheaply is very important to have it on tap to support ground forces.

Ziv Bnd
Ziv Bnd

 The Mk 110's on both the LCS-2 and LCS-4 have an effective range of 8.5 km and a maximum range of 17 km, but the Griffin mounted on the LCS-2 has a whopping range of 20 km or 12.5 miles, but LCS-4 doesn't have the Griffin so that must not be working out too well. Plus LCS-2  has two bushmaster 30 mm guns. So yeah, the offensive punch sucks. But they are being built to replace mine warfare ships and to also function like an ASW corvette not a frigate.  And now that the price for the new flight of Burkes has gone up, the Navy can get 3 LCS for the price of one Burke. 3 LCS would never stand a chance against a Burke but that isn't what they are for. With a 13 foot draft they can go places no Burke can, and with a 15,000 sq ft mission bay and a huge flight deck large enough for a CH-53 to land on, these ships are going to be able to do things that a corvette simply couldn't do.

 And the LCS-4 has a 4300 nm range at 20 knots, which isn't half bad, especially compared to the boats/ships listed in the article above.

  The crux of the matter is, if the Navy is going to send these ships into possible hostilities, they have to find a replacement for the cancelled NLOS missile system. Whether it is a tactical length MK-41 VLS or bringing back the cancelled navy version of the ATACMS, (though that isn't too likely), they have to find some sort of long range weapon for the LCS classes. But it doesn't seem like they think their ships are going to need to fight, which is beyond bizarre.

sid
sid

The problem wasn't a failing of the SM-1 glof...

It was the failure to take littoral threats seriously.

When I was there were "lit up" the Iraqi Entendards.

Just to let them know we were there.

sparky42
sparky42

 Wasn't the Visby originally planned to have such features, a quick look at it's wiki suggests the Swedes plan an upgrade package for the ships to include it.

Isn't the current Mine hunting package for the LCS a helicopter towed system?

As for the other hulls I agree they aren't designed for mine hunting, I would presume like the other NATO navies this is still done by dedicated Minehunters.

sparky42
sparky42

 What Allied naval vessels have been blown up by minehunting?

Given the price tag of the LCS designs and the added costs of the modules, I think it's legitimate to ask about what other NATO members are getting in terms of combat power for the same amount of money

Sand_Cat
Sand_Cat

@Greg Schmidt  

He might do as well as these ships.

Intelligent and educated people are the nation's best defense.

johnybizzaro
johnybizzaro

@Greg Schmidt what about Bert and Ernie and the cookie monster and gay marriage?

Darius Dpas Deepazz Smith
Darius Dpas Deepazz Smith

 Robert, would you rather have more students like myself, pay for their education through debt (some racking over  100,000 for grad school), or would you rather have the European model, where the state pays for the college (and also ensures a two or three-track model, as in Germany)? I read an article somewhere where we can pay for EVERYONE able to go to college for about $70 billion. $70 BILLION! To put that in perspective, our base defense budget is 10 times that. I believe that you can EASILY shave off about that much and then some to pay for that and reducing the deficit without sacrificing national security (research the Sustainable Defense Task Force 2010 report for more). In regards to public broadcasting, you mentioned the 10th Amendment, which states that all powers not expressly reserved in the Constitution (I assume the 18 enumerated powers of Congress) are reserved to the states and the people. You conservatives use this too damn much to argue that we should just defund many popular programs, like Social Security, Medicare, Amtrak, PBS, USPS, the Department of Education and so on, but you guys cleverly forget the 9th Amendment, which states that you can't use the powers reserved for Congress to deny or disparage rights retained by the people. One of those is the power to tax for defense and the common welfare. Let me give you, sir, some pause on public broadcasting. In 2011, a bipartisan poll was done regarding defunding of public broadcasting. 69% of those polled opposed that measure. On that same note, PBS/public broadcasting is the 2nd most trusted institution in America next to defense. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which PBS is part of, received $446 million from the government. That's a lot of money you say? To put that figure in comparison, the oil companies have subsidies totaling about 10 times as much. To defund public broadcasting to reduce the deficit is akin to wanting to stop a Mack truck with a Yugo. And by the way, while it would be possible to get the leftover money through private sources, that money is rather critical and it is a worthwhile investment, because one, it supports local stations; two, it reaches to rural communities, who may otherwise not have anything to connect to; and three, it is an objective source of information in an otherwise increasingly subjective news era. For every $1 in public investment of public broadcasting, there is a $6 return on it through leverage of public and private resources. If you want to find an example of PPP (public-private partnership), look no further than there.  BTW you can go here for more: http://www.cpb.org/funding/;  http://www.cpb.org/appropriati... http://valuepbs.org/

That is why I will defend ANY program that gives me a great return on my tax dollars, increases the educational standards of children, and gives me a source of objectivity that otherwise wouldn't be there. I implore you, sir, next time you listen to NPR or view PBS, remember that your money is going to a good cause. That cause is called America.

IonOtter
IonOtter

 No, it's not.

But countries that *DO* think it is the government's responsibility to invest in the future by investing in education, are all wiping the floor with us.

"The three-yearly OECD Programme for International Student Assessment

(PISA) report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds

in 70 countries around the world, ranked the United States 14th out of

34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a

below-average 25th for mathematics."

We *SHOULD* be #1.  Wanna take a guess as to why that's not the case?

Hint:  John gave you a clue.

johnybizzaro
johnybizzaro

@Ziv Bnd beyond bizarre. So well said. I think the folk on the line are becoming less and less important in the decision making of the brass. So front line folk die. We got more of them to send out and if they die in combat, it is becoming irrelevant that they could of been saved by a better design, we have heros and a reason to go to war.

Go USN.

Blacktail
Blacktail

The USS Samuel B. Roberts tripped over a mine in 1988,  and the USS Princeton and USS Tripoli struck mines in the early 1990s.

Yet, the US military brazenly ignores the threat of mines, even though no less than three of it's ships were crippled by them in recent history. And this is proof that they don't care;

http://www.usnwc.edu/getattach...

http://www.navy.mil/n85/miw_pr...

http://strausscenter.org/hormu...

http://www.nationaldefensemaga...

http://www.history.navy.mil/wa...

http://www.globalsecurity.org/...

Of the Tripoli, it's also worth noting that;

1- She was the Coalition counter-mine task force flagship.

2- She had no mine-sweeping equipment, a steel hull (sets-off

magnetic influence mines), a displacement larger than a few-hundred tons (sets-off pressure-fuzed mines), no sonar, and only helicopters to perform

counter-mine tasks --- just like the LCS.

glof
glof

This artical talk specifically about the Steregushchy class frigate, the Visby class missile corvette, athe the Houbei class missile boat.

Which of these classes is designed to carry mine hunting sonar to warn it of mines, let alone carry mine clearing system?

johnybizzaro
johnybizzaro

@Clarkward Spending per student ? What is it by the way? US spends less per student then other countries and that is why the USA imports Phds and others because we don't have them.


As usual the ship has ballooned out because too many fat cats are on board. The possible answer is they are using funding through this for secret projects. Maybe  I am giving them too much credit.

Sand_Cat
Sand_Cat

@Casey Yeah, let's return schools to the good old days of Creation Science, etc. under local control.

Did it ever occur to you that the problem is not too much spending for education or teaching methods (though that could no doubt be improved), but the attitudes of people who devalue knowledge and education in favor of crude vocational preparation. Maybe lack of parental involvement or concern for education (maybe because they don't have jobs and are wondering where the next meal will come from). I'm glad at least you returned to the topic of the article, but people like you and Robert  below talking about "sick Liberal culture" and deriding the intelligent contribute mightily to the bonehead image our military tends to "enjoy" among the intelligent and educated, i.e., the "sick Liberals."

IonOtter
IonOtter

 Robert Tulloch:   I disagree.  It is people like YOU, with your sick intolerant culture of racism and fascism which are destroying the entire *world*.  Just look at every state below the Mason-Dixon line?  Filled to the brim with obese rednecks scraping by on welfare.  Just look at "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo!"

If you're going to stereotype, then I tell you, "Enjoy your roadkill with Go-Go-Juice."

Robert Tulloch
Robert Tulloch

 If you remove the influence of most minorities, poor and kids from single parent families, the remaining kids score right up there if not at the top.

The breakdown of the family and our sick liberal culture are destroying American. JUst look at most of the trash in Hollywood  and sports.

Casey
Casey

 I don't suppose the simple fact that the performance of our high school students has gone down in direct ratio to increases in the budget of the Department of Education has imposed itself on your consciousness yet?

A simple test for Federal funding of schools, with the hypothesis being "greater funding results in better performance." All we have to do is examine the highest per-capita student spending, and compare to performance.

Alas,  even  a cursory investigation gives examples such as Washington, DC; one of the highest spending rates, and worst results. Similar examples abound all across California, which used to have one of the best education systems in the country.

The truth is that with all the extra spending education has gotten worse in this country, not better. Yet some quarters ignore this, and call for even more Federal spending, in the same vein as the $750 billion failed stimulus. It didn't work because it wasn't enough. Feh.

Return schools to local control. Emphasize STEM. Include a branch to vocational schools for those so inclined.

Getting back to the article, the LCS should be killed. Now. Anyone O-1 or above should be prohibited, by law, from working for a defense contractor for at least 10 years after leaving the armed forces. I'm tempted to call for making flag officers in charge of projects financially responsible for them. At the very least we should see a healthy number of heads roll for a pooch-screw of this magnitude. As if that will happen. :-/

Clarkward
Clarkward

Hint: It's not for lack of spending.  We blow way more money per student than many countries with better rankings on that list.  I'm betting the true cause lies somewhere in the teaching methods.

aka_mythos
aka_mythos

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution reads: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties,Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;To... Provide and maintain a Navy...."

The Constitution says the Government can tax only to support the listed reason and then lists the Army and Navy in addition to a bunch of other stuff. Its because of this wording and specificity that in pushing for welfare and Education programs, the gramatical structure has been butchered in interpretation to lump them collectively as justified as the first part of the section, which was written as the purpose and not the justifications which followed. 

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