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New Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ship Due to Stand Up in July

New PEO focused on the focused mission ship

Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Sean Stackley realigned the structure of surface ship programs to better support the littoral combat ship program early in May 2011.

“The LCS program, its mission systems, and its mission modules include many organizational interdependencies that through improved alignment would lead to improved program execution and effectiveness,” Stackley wrote in a May 5, 2011 memorandum.  “To ensure that we deliver this program to the fleet successfully, I am establishing a new Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ship (PEO LCS) that will align several program offices into one consolidated PEO, focused entirely on delivering the LCS program.”

The realignment will move programs currently within PEO Ships and PEO Littoral and Mine Warfare (LMW) into the new PEO.  “It will include the LCS Ship program office, plus necessary mission module and mission systems program offices, fleet introduction program offices, and functional offices, such as Test and Evaluation, all under a single PEO,” the memo said. Previously the mission modules and seaframes were being developed separately.

LCS 1 Freedom

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) conducts joint counter-illicit trafficking operations with the guided-missile frigate USS McInerney (FFG 8) in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility in 2010. PEO LCS will supervise the procurement of both LCS variants. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Ed Early

The capabilities required by the warfighter increasingly rely on complex systems of systems, such as missile defense, and NIFC-CA (Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air), and littoral warfare, he says.  “We need to guard against gaps in our program structure becoming gaps in our systems’ performance.”

“Over the last several months, we’ve been taking a hard look at the way we’re organized, the way we manage, and the way we acquire our major platforms and weapon systems,” Stackley said.  “After some assessment, I’ve decided to establish a single Program Executive responsible for the littoral mission capabilities of LCS from end to end: beginning with the ship and mission module procurement, and ending with Fleet employment and sustainment.”

Stackley said that the establishment of Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ship will coincide with the disestablishment of PEO LMW, and will be accomplished as “zero sum.”  The PEO LMW LCS-mission system/module programs and staff will be assigned to the new PEO.  Those LMW programs not LCS-related will be transferred to other PEOs or directorates within the systems commands.

“LCS and its mission modules have been developed under a different strategy for shipbuilding – modular capability, minimal manning and new sustainment concepts.  This strategy and these unique aspects of LCS lend themselves to a PEO structure that takes into account the complexity of a systems-of-systems approach,” Stackley said.

LCS 2

The littoral combat ship Independence (LCS 2) under way during builder’s trials. The new PEO will also oversee the development and procurement of the mission modules that will go into both seaframes. General Dynamics photo by Dennis Griggs

“I intend to have the new organization assume responsibility for delivering our required mission capabilities of mine countermeasures, antisubmarine warfare, and surface warfare,” Stackley said.

“This reorganization is not a reflection on our respective performance to date in the individual ship and mission module programs.  Far from it – our delivery of ships and capability has generated momentum that puts more good ideas on our plate and leads us to tackle the challenge of fleet introduction and sustainment,” he said.  “The time is right to move ahead with a new focus.”

Stackley said the PEO will also act as the focal point to assess and develop emerging roles for LCS.  “I also envision the new PEO managing maintenance and sustainment for LCS initially, to reflect the manning, training and sustainment strategies that OSD has approved for this program.”

This takes efforts that are currently managed across three organizations, and integrates both design/development and tests/trials/evaluations under one roof.  One PEO has authority across all program planning and execution.  From an acquisition perspective there will be one line of accountability.

Rear Adm. Jim Murdoch will be the first PEO LCS.  He previously served as the program manager for LCS seaframe and is currently serving as director of Fleet Maintenance for U.S. Fleet Forces.  Anne Sandel, currently PEO LMW, will be the executive director of PEO LCS.  The target for standup of the new PEO is July 1.

The littoral combat ship (LCS) is a new warship concept, designed to address asymmetric anti-access threats in the littoral waters of the world.  The ship itself is referred to as the “sea frame,” while much of the combat capability resides in interchangeable modularized mission packages that rely heavily on manned and unmanned offboard systems.

LCS can be configured to meet one of three anti-access focused missions of antisubmarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (SUW), and mine countermeasures (MCM) with the installation of the modularized mission packages.  Together, the LCS seaframe and required mission packages are designed to defeat such “anti-access” threats as fast, armed boats, quiet diesel submarines and mines. USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Independence (LCS 2) are already in service; Fort Worth (LCS 3), and Coronado (LCS 4), are expected to commission in 2012. Names of the next four littoral combat ships have already been assigned: Milwaukee (LCS 5), Jackson (LCS 6), Detroit (LCS 7), and Montgomery (LCS 8). Thus far odd hull numbers have been assigned to the Lockheed Martin monohull design, with the General Dynamics/Austal trimarans given even hull numbers.

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Capt. Edward H. Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is a senior-level communications professional with more than...