The Navy is citing the 2018 National Defense Strategy's dynamic force employment concept as the reason behind the decision to limit to three months the deployment of some units of the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group. Three months is less than half the typical time for deployment, but changing the length of deployment keeps America's military unpredictable and challenges competitors "by maneuvering them into unfavorable positions," the Navy said.
The 12-day Breeze 2018 exercise in the Black Sea involves up to 25 combat and auxiliary ships and cutters, four aircraft, five helicopters and 2,340 service members. The NATO event, which began Friday, involves naval forces from Bulgaria, Belgium, Greece, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Turkey, France, the Netherlands and the US, as well as NATO.
Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems will be producing and supporting the Navy's AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 Surface Ship Undersea Warfare System under a $25.4 million contract modification. The contract also includes work for Japan.
Damaged turbine blades were discovered in the stealth destroyer USS Michael Monsoor as its acceptance trials wrapped up, requiring an engine replacement. "We're working very closely with Bath Iron Works, with Rolls-Royce to get that engine changed out" before the ship heads to San Diego to start its combat system activation availability, said Rear Adm. William Galinis.
Glitches in new systems deployed aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford will be a major focus as the carrier undergoes a year of planned upgrades. Problems aboard the Ford have drawn criticism, but the Navy notes that difficulties are to be expected with the first in any new class of ship.
The USNS Burlington will begin acceptance trials now that it has completed builder's trials. The expeditionary fast transport vessel "performed very well," said Capt. Scot Searles of the Navy's strategic and theater sealift program.
Investments in shipbuilding and life extension will ensure the Navy reaches its 355-ship goal, says Rear Adm. William Galinis, head of the Navy's surface ship program. He says $100 billion in work has been committed to various programs, and 35 ships will be built.
The future USS Wichita will be delivered this year, having completed acceptance trials in Lake Michigan last week. The Wichita, the Navy's 13th littoral combat ship, and seven more LCS vessels are under production or being tested.
Hard construction solutions to preserve the nation's coastlines are beginning to yield to natural alternatives, including among individual seaside residents. Notable in this regard is Florida, where laxer permitting rules last year have led to the approval of 34 small living shorelines, most under 500 feet long.
Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler is refraining from criticizing his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, but nonetheless is trying to restore relations with EPA employees, the press and Democrats. Although he's focusing anew on environmental and public health missions, Wheeler still plans to continue easing regulations on industries.
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