The Afterguard

07 June 2004

This looks like a job for the LCS

Gregg Easterbrook may have been right when he suggested back in September that the Littoral Combat Ship would be used to defend new oil fields on the Western coast of Africa. Although the Pentagon hasn't confirmed specific plans, the BBC's Nick Childs reports that a US defense official has acknowledged the US Navy is planning to deploy an aircraft carrier off Nigeria and neighboring countries in the Gulf of Guinea (see his June 4 article, US navy 'plans W Africa exercise'). Apparently there may be emerging terror threats in the "ungoverned areas" in the region. Childs only hints at the possible reason for the deployment: he mentions the oil, he mentions "Summer Pulse 04" (the Navy's current exercise to prove it can respond quickly to world events), and he makes the rather enigmatic statement "A senior navy official said recently that a deployment to the Gulf would send a message."

What message is that?

That the region's oil will be easier to defend than oil in the Middle East? That an aircraft carrier is a bad tool to use in defending coastlines? With Congress still unsure of the program, this exercise could be just the push the Navy needs to get the LCS back on track.
Posted at 08:38:11 by The Editor - - link

06 October 2003

The Littoral Combat Ship

I just discovered Gregg Easterbrook's recent web log post about the United State's Littoral Combat Ship program. Easterbrook is a senior editor for The New Republic, and writes the blog Easterblogg. His post The End of the Procurement Holiday, Part Two suggests that part of the appeal of the LCS program is that it's a fundamentally new class of surface ship, so funding might be easier to justify in a world where the US already has "ten times the carrier strength of the rest of the world combined." He also suggests that the Littoral Combat Ship won't be used to protect the American coastline, but rather to "prowl the waters off the Western coast of Africa," where significant new oil fields are being found.

Whether or not you agree with Easterbrook's analysis, isn't it safe to say that defense policy drives military procurement — at least to a certain extent? And if the current Administration has decided that Western African oil will be easier to defend than Gulf State oil, couldn't one also say that the industrial base the US is currently maintaining, which builds large vessels, may not be the appropriate industrial base to support the policy?

And, isn't the UK facing some similar issues?
Posted at 17:14:50 by The Editor - - link

08 August 2003

Welcome to The Afterguard

Welcome to The Afterguard, a web log created for the international maritime industry. Please take a look at the page About The Afterguard for an introduction, and quick links to the current authors.

If you're unfamiliar with web logs, take a look at the examples, and articles, listed on this page, or just search on "web log" in your favorite search engine.
Posted at 13:42:00 by The Editor - - link