The Navy's two amphibious command ships can't go 40 knots, don't carry batteries full of surface-to-air missiles, and they can't launch fighter jets -- but they're still some of the most important warships in the fleet. As CDR Salamander points out, even though the USS Mount Whitney and its sibling, USS Blue Ridge, are both 40 years old or older, they've both served critical roles in the Navy's missions in Japan and Libya. But even though the Navy re-learns every few years that it needs its command ships, and as such will soon need new ones, service officials keep canceling, delaying or deferring its plans to add them.
Those who like the concept of "Sea Basing" understanding the function and need of Command Ships. Those who understand the difficulty and danger of land-based Operational HQs in most scenarios understand. Those who can look at a map understand the utility. Navy leadership and their shipbuilding plan? Nosomuch. How can we put "Transformational" on something that is big, slow, and has people in funny looking uniforms running about? Even making it "Joint" can't jazz it up .... no shock, as everything is "Joint" now.What are some other examples of lesser-known weapons or capabilities that the services need but which are hard to sell because they don't make as big of a splash?
Few ships are more unsexy than Command Ships - so of course their replacement continues to be ignored. Thought about now and then - or strangled in the crib. I don't care if you are a hard-power, soft-power - forward presence or home-based-global-reach proponent. Having good, survivable and robust Command Ships should be on your short list.