Jeff Schogol of Task & Purpose details the battle between the Department of Defense and Congress over the future of the Littoral Combat Ship program. The Pentagon is seeking to scrap five of its LCS, including four ships that are less than five years old. However, some in Congres are seeking to prevent the ships from being scrapped.
The Littoral Combat Ship USS St. Louis was just commissioned in August 2020, but the Navy wants to decommission the vessel in September 2023, just after the ship’s third birthday.
For the moment, Congress is blocking the Navy from decommissioning the St. Louis and four other Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships: USS Fort Worth, commissioned in September 2012; USS Billings, commissioned in August 2019; USS Wichita, commissioned in January 2019; and USS Indianapolis, commissioned in October 2019.
Ergo, the Navy is in a quandary. The service remains locked in a forced marriage with its newest Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships even though the Navy is so fed up with the vessels that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday has suggested giving or selling the ships to South American countries.