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Life support: The Navy’s struggle to define a LCS bare minimum

In the meantime, the Navy has maintained that it needs at least 52 small surface combatants, ultimately made up mostly of littoral combat ships, to do security cooperation exercises with allies and the low-end missions the LCS was purchased for in the first place, said Bryan Clark, a retired submariner and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.  Having the LCS in the fleet would allow the Navy to work through deferred maintenance on its larger surface combatants.  “The Navy needs these ships for security cooperation missions,” Clark said. “You want to talk about the readiness crisis; they keep deploying cruisers and destroyers to do missions that could easily be handled by a ship with less capability. These are the ships that you'd really want for that.”

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