It's Been Four Years Since The Last One
No, I'm not talking about mid-term elections -- it's time for the newest Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) to come out! While the actual draft won't be out until next month, advance copies have leaked out, so some people are talking about the general thrust of the document. Navy-wise, it looks like the Pentagon is (correctly, in my opinion) planning on continuing a shift of Navy assets to the Pacific. (As I've said before, really the only two places in the world where a naval war that we don't start are likely to happen are Korea and Taiwan.)
Regarding submarines, it looks like the Navy is once again calling for new submarine construction rate to be pushed up to two boats per year -- after the next QDR cycle:
"... it calls for doubling procurement of submarines-from one per year to two-by 2012 and reducing costs to $2 billion per sub. The Navy has long sought to increase submarine production and cut costs, only to see costs soar and production plans postponed."
Excuse me if I don't hold my breath. Looking back, the 1997 QDR called for moving sub construction up to 2 units per year by FY2005. From this 67 page Adobe CRS report (on page 12, for those interested) we learn that the Five Year Defense plan submitted in Feb 2003 pushed the beginning of the "2 boat per year buy" back to FY2007; the one submitted in Feb 2004 pushed that date back to FY2009. Now, in 2006, they're pushing it back to FY2012. You can kind of see where the trend is heading...
I'll discuss the plans more when the actual QDR comes out, but Lubber's Line at Hundreds of Fathoms has much more right now.
Staying at PD...