(See M. Brilakis, pp. 37-40, January 2006 Proceedings)
Commander Dick White, SC, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired)-Colonel Brilakis conveys a position I admire-start with good enough, keep it good enough, and use it until it is not good enough. This approach controls initial cost, extends replacement cycles, and provides near-term operational effectiveness. However, there are other considerations.
First, our industrial base must be maintained, exercised, and upgraded if we are to enjoy continued military success. Engineers must dream and shipyards must build continuously and to the newest standards.
Second, our requirements are reduced if our allies can meet threats with indigenous force, so we support allies and others with still-viable systems, as in the transfer of Kidd-class destroyers to Taiwan. We lower our total defense costs by transferring significant remaining useful life to others, while introducing new systems for our own use. These systems are expensive but can offer reduced life-cycle costs, sometimes offsetting increased acquisition cost, while adding combat capability and potentially permitting lower force levels.