Connecticut Counterattacks BRAC
The New London Day has had the best coverage of the continuing efforts by various groups in Connecticut to save the Submarine Base in Groton; I'm hoping that they might relax their "registration required after one day" policy to let more cybervisitors read their coverage. While Governor Rell is focusing on the "we don't want to lose our jobs and all the federal money" angle that frankly sounds a little whiny, Senators Lieberman and Dodd seem to be going more for a "why do we need such a steep reduction in overall submarine numbers" that I think is more likely to sway BRAC commission members. (Yes, I know "BRAC commission" is like "ORSE exam" or "CAT team", but it sounds better.) [Update: Yes, I also know that the "C" in "BRAC" doesn't stand for "Commission", which renders my whole little comment irrelevant. I don't think it's fair to edit my stupid mistakes out, though, so I'll keep it in.] Excerpts from Bob Hamilton's latest article:
"U.S. Sens. Christopher J. Dodd and Joseph I. Lieberman, both D-Conn., fired off a letter to Navy Secretary Gordon R. England on Friday requesting “the justification for this force level,” which was apparently approved in March, two months before the release of the list of bases to be closed...
"...Critics of the closure plan are questioning the 192-page Navy document's outlining of how Navy officials arrived at the conclusion that Groton should be closed, in particular the section where it says it revised the force-structure plan that it delivered to Congress in March 2004, which was supposed to guide the BRAC deliberations.
"The report says it is reducing the number of aircraft carriers from 12 to 11, an 8 percent drop, and the number of battle-force ships — cruisers, destroyers, frigates, submarines and other warships — from 378 in 2004 to between 341 and 370, which would be a cut of 2 percent to 11 percent.
"The only element of the battle-force ships that was broken out separately was submarines, which it noted have been reduced by 21 percent."
Of course, they're also going with the "the base is so old and polluted that we'll force you to spend any projected savings in cleaning it up before we take it back" argument that approaches whininess as well. [Money passage on Sen. Dodd: "He also asserted that the environmental cleanup at the vacated New England base would be enormous, saying that Navy officials who calculated the cost at $29 million were 'living in Disneyland.'"]
Hopefully this whole exercise will result in a national debate on the important role submarines play in our defense and why we shouldn't cut their numbers, but I predict it'll just degenerate into a "mean neo-cons want to take money from blue states" sh*t-slinging match.
Staying at PD...
Update 1345 21 May: CDR Salamander has a most excellent summary of this thoughts on the Navy side of BRAC.