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ALEXANDRIA – Good … Tuesday morning?

That’s right, I decided to release The Drift early this week because it’s New Years! This morning I took inspiration from that old Navy tradition of writing the first deck log entry of the year in verse, only in this case it will be The Drift’s last deck log entry. So without further ado, I present:

The U.S. Navy in 2019: A Poem

By: David B. Larter

And so here we are, at the end of the year,

At the end of a season of wine and good cheer,

Steaming days behind me, I sit on the couch,

Pecking on a laptop with coffee and a slouch,

New Year’s Eve is a day when we often look back,

So, let’s see if our service is proceeding on track,

For our beloved Navy, 2019 has been hard,

I propose we review, in the style of a bard.


Right off the bat, a fraught story to tell,

It’s the story of leadership tossed down a well,

First there was Moran, and his email,

That caused his selection as chief to fail,

Confirmed by the Senate, but the press got a handle,

On comms that the Navy thought were a scandal,

So, Moran stepped aside, and now there’s Gilday,

And how he’ll do, time will tell, as they say.


Read more here: Here’s why Adm. Bill Moran didn’t become the Navy’s next CNO

And Here: The US Navy’s new top officer issues his orders


Then SECNAV Spencer, three years at the wheel,

Crossed President Trump over a convict SEAL,

But everyone figured it was the Ford (First name: Gerald),

Her broken elevators, the firing of Spencer did herald,

After a crazy damned weekend, Trump said in a tweet,

“Contracting is screwy, now vacate your seat.”

And now we have Modly, who came in the door,

Said he: “I’ll deploy Ford before 2024!”


Read more here: For the US Navy, it’s ‘all hands on deck’ to fix the Ford

And Here: Analysis: Spencer’s firing is latest in string of disasters for US Navy leadership


Way off in the straits to the Gulf we call “Persian,”

Our old friend Iran went on a wild excursion,

Blowing up tankers, squaring off with GB,

The U.K. was forced to surge its Navy,

But it took quite a while because help was lacking,

Even though the U.S. said it could aid with the tracking,

Now there’s a mission, with an open end,

The RN will need to find more ships to send.


Read More Here: In a naval confrontation with Iran, Great Britain can find neither ships nor friends

And Here: Iran threat has not gone away, warns Royal Navy head


And … oh, this again: The F-35,

Becomes erratic in a steep climb or dive,

Pilots worry about control, in a dog fight,

(But it was designed to engage beyond line of sight,)

Now it’s one of the issues that Lockheed must solve,

Because we all know this program’s too big to dissolve,

And we’ll cover it all, here at Defense News,

So, follow @ValerieInsinna, if Twitter you use.


Read more here: When US Navy and Marine F-35 pilots most need performance, the aircraft becomes erratic

And here: The Pentagon is battling the clock to fix serious, unreported F-35 problems


For the subsurface Navy, it has been a year,

Delays and QA problems have heightened the fear,

That the system ain’t ready, to build that big hull,

That’s eating the shipbuilding budget in full,

The Columbia will begin construction this year,

In 2031, it must be ready to deploy from its pier.

We’ll keep an eye on the problems and how they are solved,

More Drifts on this topic I’ll compose, I’ve resolved.


Read more here: US Navy to slash the number of Virginia-class attack subs in long-delayed contract

And here: Submarines are poised to take on a major role in strike warfare, but is that a good idea?


And our friends on the surface think this is their hour,

To really contribute in this era of great power,

Competition, of course it’s China we means,

(Russia’s OK, but mostly with submarines),

They’ll distribute their forces across a wide ocean,

Hoping the Chinese will be confused by the motion,

They’ll augment their forces with vessels unmanned,

If they can just convince Congress their idea is well-planned.


Read more here: US Navy moves toward unleashing killer robot ships on the world’s oceans

And here: US Navy to get large unmanned surface vessels in 2020 — with strings attached


And so that’s it for this poem of mine,

I was kind of nervous, but I think I did fine.

But I bet among Drift readers, better poets there be,

So, if you can think of new stanzas, send along, let me see!

I’ll compile them and add them to a future Drift,

To The Hotwash, I’ll add them, as a special twist,

So, for now I wish you calm seas and skies clear,

And for all my Drift readers: A Happy New Year!


Send your stanzas to dlarter[at]