The first cause of a navy is ships. The number of its ships provides the first-order measure of its significance. U. S. Navy men must begin to think in these terms for the first time in 30 years. Every conceivable artifice has been used to breathe additional life into World War II ships, but now about half the Active Fleet can be discounted except as short-lived ciphers in force tables. As time is counted in the 6 to 10-year process of ship acquisition, it no longer matters much just when they are retired. They will belong to history before increased ship acquisition rates could offset the sharply downward trend in force levels that is now the inescapable lot of our Navy.
Since the writer is serving in an assignment associated with ship acquisition, it is necessary to disclaim any authoritative basis for this paper other than references specifically cited. Not only is the proposed strategy of the writer’s interpretation, but the broad characterizations of the DoD systems acquisition management philosophy and conventional Navy practices are the writer’s interpretations as well. None of the contained material is known to be at odds with existing policies or policy intentions.
1. DoD Directive 3200.9 dated 26 Feb 1964, superseded by current version dated 1 July 1965, Initiation of Engineering and Operational Systems Development.
2. Charles J. Hitch and Roland N. McKean et al, The Economics of Defense in the Nuclear Age (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960).
3. Charles H. Hitch, Decision-Making For Defense (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1965) p. 23.