NavWeek: LCS Luv’n


If the U.S. Navy can untangle some of the rather significant acquisition, operational, logistical and programmatic knots still tying up its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) efforts there are plenty ready to court the vessel for missions – providing the LCS works as advertised.

The latest would-be LCS-lover is Gen. James Amos, U.S. Marine Corps commandant.

“I like the LCS,” he says. “I’m a big fan.”

He is also enamored with the LCS cousin ship, the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). “We ought to create ways to use the JHSV and LCS.”

Now, I grant you, that folks at the level of a Gen. Amos are somewhat honor-bound to be diplomatic. He’s not about to say nasty things to a reporter about one of the U.S. Navy’s prized programs.

At the same time, the commandant has a – well-earned – reputation for being a straight-shooter, of being honest sometimes to a fault. If he likes something you know it – and if he doesn’t, well you will always get the idea.

If he truly didn’t like the LCS, he would have found a truly diplomatic way of saying so, but left little doubt of how he truly felt.

Instead, he was quite adamant about his affection for the LCS – or at least the concept of the LCS.

But, for the moment, that is the point. We are all talking concepts here. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus talks about the idea of moving Marines around in an LCS or JHSV and the commandant understandably likes such a plan. The Marines are getting back to their expeditionary roots now and what better way to get a small reconnaissance team ashore quickly and quietly than with an LCS?

You can just picture Marines zipping out the stern door of a Freedom-class ship under the cover of darkness in a rigid-inflatable boat toward some remote coast.

Providing, of course, the LCS does all the Navy promises it will be able to do.

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