Building a Small Surface Warship: Mission Impossible?
(See W. J. Holland Jr., pp. 14-19, February 2008; K. Lee, D. Criner, p. 6, March 2008 Proceedings)
Michael T. McNerney-I could not agree more with Rear Admiral Holland's statement that "emasculating the technical competence of the Naval Sea Systems Command" by placement of the responsibility for shipbuilding with the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research Development and Acquisition was "an arrangement that put the administration of a highly technical process in the hands of officials who were schooled in accounting and budgeting and overseen by political appointees with short tenures and little experience."
During my tenure at Naval Sea Systems Command, I reported to the last three NAVSEA commanders (before I retired in September of 2003) and we recognized with much frustration the above view expressed by Rear Admiral Holland, but expressed it in a much simpler fashion: "If we all agree that painting by the numbers never produced quality art, why does the Navy continue to believe that building ships by the numbers will ever produce quality war ships?"