USS Cowpens (CG 63) returns to San Diego following a deployment to the western Pacific in 2014. US Navy PhotoThe first in a planned series of contentious modernizations to the Navy’s guide missile cruiser fleet formally began in a Friday ceremony in San Diego, Calif.The ceremony inducted USS Cowpens (CG-63) into the CG Phased Modernization Program — a plan that the Navy says well extend the service life of the fleet of 22 cruisers to preserve capabilities for Navy carrier strike groups into the 2040s.“We are saving money, preserving force structure, and generating options for leadership,” said Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet in a Navy statement.The Navy plans to have a similar ceremony for USS Gettysburg (CG-64) later this week.
Bye and large, the Navy is doing a terrible job of managing the life cycles of its cruiser fleet. On the other hand, they’re not getting funded at a level that will allow them to do a good job. Further, the fleet is being deployed with 270 ships at rates similar to the 600 ship Reagan years. That’s just not sustainable.
In the meantime, one hopes this mid life modernization will remove the snakebit curse that has been following USS Cowpens since Holly Graf was her captain. She’s seen a series of senior leaders fired, and appears to be somewhat cursed.