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April 28, 2017 / iDriveWarships

Changes Ongoing for the LCS Program

USS Independence (LCS 2) steams off the coast of San Diego

PACIFIC OCEAN (December 8, 2016) The littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) steams off the coast of San Diego. 161208-N-SI773-0696

Guest Blog By Ensign Emily Judstra, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One Public Affairs

Following the Chief of Naval Operations’ Littoral Combat Ship Program Review conducted in the fall of 2016, the LCS program underwent a complete restructuring. With heads held high and spirits to match, the leadership and staff at the LCS Squadrons (LCSRON) – LCSRON One in San Diego, California and LCSRON Two in Mayport, Florida – brainstormed and implemented several key changes. As a member of the program, both on the crew and the staff level, the current program in no way resembles the program I joined in early 2015, with the most dramatic changes occurring over the last six months.

One of the most noticeable changes within the program is the shift in crewing construct. The program review called for increased simplicity, stability, and ownership, and ultimately did away with the 3-2-1 crew construct and separate mission detachments. Ships are now crewed in either a Blue-Gold format or by a single crew. USS Jackson (LCS 6), for example, is the first ship to be successfully crewed by a single crew, composed of the former LCS Crew 212 and Surface Warfare Detachment Three. Additionally this summer, USS Montgomery (LCS 8) will be the first ship to transition to blue and gold crews with LCS Crew 209 composing the gold crew and LCS Crew 208 composing the blue crew.

NSWC Dahlgren Conducts Restrained Missile Firing Test for LCS Surface-to-Surface Missile Module

PACIFIC OCEAN (Oct. 6, 2016) – Littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) patrols the Pacific Ocean during flight operations in the 7th Fleet area of operation. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer Second Class Michaela Garrison/Released) 161006-N-MW990-109

In support of restructuring the Independence variants on the west coast and the Freedom variants on the east coast, LCSRON Two officially took command over USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Detroit (LCS 7) in December of 2016, marking the transition of the Freedom variant to the east coast. As the future USS Little Rock (LCS 9) and USS Sioux City (LCS 11) commission later this year and early next year, respectively, LCS will have quite the pier presence in the Mayport basin, much like they do in San Diego now.

All in all, the program review instilled a change in thought process throughout the entire LCS program. The ships are being realigned with a single mission and then assigned to a division of four ships with that same mission. The squadrons are working on plans to put this in place and get the first division, a surface warfare division, online as early as this year. Additionally, LCS crews are being combined with mission module crews into a single crew that focuses on one mission. Furthermore, ships are being delivered to the fleet at a brisk pace, with the newest ship, USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) due to commission this June. At the current rate, LCS will be the second largest class of ship currently in operation, behind the Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer, by 2018.

While the growth of the U. S. Navy LCS class has not been a simple one, they’re heading in a new and focused direction! LCS Sailors are dedicated to making this program great and seeing it succeed. Changes are brewing, growing pains are lessening, and the LCS is about to become a staple of our fleet; so hop on board!

 

Ensign Emily Judstra is currently serving as the Assistant Public Affairs Officer at COMLCSRON One in San Diego, California. Commissioned from the Naval Academy in 2015, she reported to LCS Crew 104 in May of 2016, after completing the LCS training pipeline. During the summer of 2016 she deployed onboard USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) and in the winter deployed to USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) where she earned her Surface Warfare Officer qualification.

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