The Navy currently operates four dedicated command ships, which also serve as the flagships for four of the five numbered fleet commanders – USS LASALLE (AGF-3) for COMSIXTHFLEET, USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC-19) for COMSEVENTHFLEET, USS MOUNT WHITNEY (LCC/JCC-20) for COMSECONDFLEET, and USS CORONADO (AGF-11) for COMTHIRDFLEET. COMFIFTHFLEET, headquartered in Bahrain, does not routinely have a dedicated command ship, but there are plans for USS CORONADO (AGF11) to swing to the CENTCOM AOR should circumstances warrant. The current ships have been in service for 28 to 35 years. By the time replacement ships could enter the fleet, USS LASALLE (AGF3) will have more than 45 years of service.
Although the aging of current command ships is the catalyst for considering a replacement capability, any replacement will operate in a much different world than the one that existed when these ships were built. The information revolution is changing the way that civilian and military organizations operate. In addition, the international scene is much different than in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Military operations have also changed; not only are they more joint, but also involve increasing interaction with other governmental and non-governmental agencies.The Navy is conducting a study to determine the potential need for a new class of command ships. The new vessels, initially designated Joint Command Ships (JCC(X)) or Joint Forces Command and Control ship, would replace the four existing command ships, which range in age from 30 to 36 years. The JCC(X) would provide a platform for performing joint command and control functions in forward areas. The first phase of the Navy study, completed in spring 2000, assessed alternative methods of performing these functions to determine whether the required capabilities could be provided by systems other than command ships. The alternatives include relying on land–based facilities (in both the United States and forward areas); using a mix of existing ships, such as aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, and cruisers; or employing some combination of these approaches. Pending completion of the initial phase of the study, the Department has programmed funds to acquire two JCC(X) ships—one each in FY 2004 and FY 2005. The Integrated Power System (IPS) will provide total ship electric power, including electric drive, for all future surface ships including surface combatants, amphibious, auxiliary, and command ships. Near term ship targets include but are not limited to DD21, CG 21, JCC(X), and LH(X), with potential application to future flights of LPD 17. The electric power system must meet individual ship requirements, support all ship systems, and be able to support operations for as long as the ship remains afloat. These ships must operate wherever required, particularly in littoral waters, to enable joint maritime expeditionary force operations and project precise strike power ashore.
|Power Plant||Integrated Power System (IPS)|
|Unit Operating Cost|