DoD Buzz

Army gives Navy its high-speed transports

So much for the Army's speedboat dreams -- the Pentagon announced on Thursday that after months of discussion, the Army would let the Navy be responsible for its Joint High Speed Vessels, an acknowledgement that it'll be easier to let the experts handle all that water stuff.

Per the announcement:

“This agreement with the Army demonstrates our commitment to reducing redundancies and saving money for the taxpayer,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “This is a responsible step that will ensure our military remains the most formidable fighting force the world has ever known.”

Initially, the JHSV program was envisioned to have five of the first 10 JHSVs assigned to the Army and the remainder to the Navy. However, at the Army/Navy Warfighter Talks in December 2010, both services agreed to transfer the Army’s five JHSVs ... all 10 JHSVs will now be assigned to Navy.

"The transfer of the JHSV is about aligning our core competencies, while at the same time realizing a measure of managerial efficiency,” said Army Secretary John McHugh. “We look forward to continued cooperation with the Navy as we determine how to ensure this capability can best support the combatant commanders.”

The JHSV isn't a warship -- it's a fast, modified ferry that commanders want to be able to carry Army or Marine units wherever they're needed. The ships have a slewing ramp on the stern that enables the troops to drive their own vehicles ashore, as well as space for helicopters, troops and all their gear. The JHSVs will be operated by Military Sealift Command and crewed by civil-service mariners, not active-duty sailors, just like larger, traditional transports or the support ships that resupply and refuel Navy warships at sea.

Navy spokesman Lt. Paul Macapagal tells Buzz that the first JHSV will keep the name the Army gave it -- Spearhead -- but the Navy has the right to rename the second and third ships, Vigilant and Fortitude, if it wants. Mabus announced last year that the fourth ship will be named Fall River.

Should the Navy rename JHSVs 2 and 3 -- if so, what?

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