Building a Small Surface Warship: Mission Impossible?
(See W. J. Holland, pp. 14-19, February 2008 Proceedings)
Captain Ken Lee, U.S. Navy (Retired)—Admiral Holland's article is on point and is rife with valuable lessons to be learned. I sincerely hope the responsible parties mine the littoral combat ship (LCS) experience for lessons learned and respond accordingly.
There was one LCS program technique that I think was quite valid, and I hope it doesn't become the baby in some tossed-out bath water. Having two bona fide competitors prepare competing prototypes and then selecting the best of both for a production model is a good idea. The problem with the LCS was in both the contract structure (i.e. essentially a fixed price with unconstrained change opportunities) and the contract execution (whoever was responsible didn't use at all, or at least didn't execute correctly, the numerous, proven program monitoring techniques that provide early problem detection and corrective action opportunities).