Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pentagon Wants Inexpensive, Less Complex Ships - Blog

Pentagon Wants Inexpensive, Less Complex Ships - Blog: The Defense Department is placing more emphasis on affordability over capability when it comes to ship procurement, according to a top acquisition official.

“In the ship community, we’re looking at mass," said Katrina McFarland, assistant secretary of defense for acquisition. “We are looking at numbers, quantities.”

It is counterproductive to build ships with a multitude of “Swiss army knife” capabilities if the cost severely limits the amount of vessels the military can purchase, she said Oct. 27 at a National Defense Industrial Association expeditionary warfare conference in Portsmouth, Virginia.

“If I can only buy and afford one great Swiss army knife … [I can’t put it] in three places at the same time,” she said. “So I have to have scalable capability.”

McFarland’s remarks come at a time when some officials worry that the U.S. Navy is too small, and high-profile shipbuilding programs have run into trouble.

The Pentagon is also concerned about cost ratios when it comes to defeating enemy threats. Electronic warfare, long range air-to-air missiles, counter-space capabilities, undersea warfare and cyber are all areas where potential adversaries are making technological advances, McFarland said.

“We’re looking at how to build low-cost options” as we advance our own capabilities, she said. “I’m trying to put the burden of cost on my adversaries.”