Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Which Presidential Candidate Would Be Better For The Submarine Force?

By this time, most people have decided who they're going to support for President on Tuesday. There are probably very few people who vote on the single issue of "Which candidate would be better for the Submarine Force and Submariners in general", but just in case there are some, I figured I'd list what I see as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Sen. McCain is the first career Navy officer to gain a major party nomination for President, so we can assume that he'll know more about how the Navy really works, including submarines. Of course, he was an airdale, so we don't know if his support for the Navy goes beyond supporting Naval aviation. I would think that he would have a special place in his heart for submarines, though, because his father commanded two submarines -- USS Gunnel (SS 253) and USS Dentuda (SS 355) -- during WWII, taking both on combat patrols. Sen. McCain has submarining in his blood. Plus, we know he supports Navy nuclear power. As someone who understands the military, he'll be more likely to let submarines do what they're capable of doing in support of the Global War on Terror.

Sen. Obama, on the other hand, hasn't really said anything about submarines -- other than refusing to comment about whether he thinks submarines should have been included in the recently announced arms sale to Taiwan. As a general rule, Democrats have been better during the Naughties about trying to get the SSN build rate increased to 2 submarines per year -- not because they love what submarines do, but because they're mostly built and maintained in states with strongly Democratic congressional delegations. I expect that Sen. Obama would, as President, be eager to show (at least during his first term) that he's not really anti-military, so he'll look for some areas where he can increase defense spending while helping his congressional allies, and submarines are a good place to start. Democrats have also made a big deal out of supporting veterans with increased money, because that's another way they can show "support" for the military without actually having to support what the people at the end of the spear are really doing; this would make life easier for those of us who get veteran's benefits.

As far as how Sen. Obama would react upon learning about what submarines really do, I worry that he'll have the same knee-jerk reaction shown by the newly-elected President Clinton after the 1993 collision between USS Grayling (SSN 646) and RFS Novomoskovsk (K 407). I'm afraid Sen. Obama, who has likely never had a briefing on what submarines are doing in the real world, will get all lawyer-y and peacenik-y and unilaterally remove some of our capabilities from the board once he finds out about them.

Overall, I think that Sen. McCain would be better from the point of view of the U.S. Submarine Force; as I said, though, I think there are very few people who are casting their vote based on this. I look forward to hearing your ideas on who you think would be the better President for the Sub Force -- hopefully without resorting to personal name-calling. After all, when it's all said and done, we really are all on the same side.

31 Comments:

Anonymous TJ said...

During the final debate I'm pretty sure I heard Obama say that nuclear power could be good if we could figure out how to make it safe. I think he meant how to store the waste, but that's not what he said.

As far as Obama goes - submarines are built by union workers for the most part right? And unions support Obama, so there should be some safety and job security there.

If he wins, and then becomes eligible for a security clearance by default (I'm not sure he could get one otherwise) I think a lot of his pixie dust ideas of the world will change to better reflect reality. He is not a dumb man.

10/31/2008 5:14 PM

 
Blogger Anna said...

This is off topic but submarine related. I-58, USS Indianapolis, and USS Ohio. Thought you might be interested.

http://annapuna.blogspot.com/2008/10/rejoining-shipmates.html

10/31/2008 7:21 PM

 
Anonymous Tom said...

Barney Franks is making noise about cutting the defense budget by 25%. Thats the democrat plan; thats Obama's plan.

tom
http://www.dare2believe.com

10/31/2008 7:43 PM

 
Blogger Vigilis said...

Sticking with Virginia build rate guesses presented at Molten Eagle in May:

.... President Obama - One sub per year for the duration.

.... President McCain - One-half boat per year for the duration (short of a declaration of naval warfare).

One might expect Senator McCain to be more a friend of submarines, but over his congressional career he has been exactly the opposite.

Whatever the reason for this disdain, it could also explain why McCain chose to become a naval aviator. Psychologists might guess it is his way of trying to outdo the career successes of his father and grandfather.

10/31/2008 9:22 PM

 
Blogger Jay said...

First off, I expect, under McCain, we'll see the build rate for Virginia's stay at 2/year. You forget that his best friend is Joe Lieberman, who I think would continue to see a good VA build rate.

Secondly, the guy finished in the bottom 5 of his class at the Academy. He wasn't going subs. He was lucky to get aviation.

Finally, McCain hasn't been a great friend of corrupt contractors throughout his career. We still don't have a KC-135 replacement largely because McCain made that process a case study in corruption. As long as EB continues to deliver on budget, on time, I think we'll see a decent build. I don't think, though, that he'll be subject to accepting Congressional meddling in the construction program, so speed-ups as we saw the last 2 terms to get VA construction at 2 before the Navy wanted, are unlikely to occur in a McCain administration (but with 250 Dems in the House and 58-60 in the Senate, he may have no choice - with Webb in Va, and Courtney and Dodd in CT).

10/31/2008 10:53 PM

 
Blogger Jay said...

Let me extend my remarks, talking about Obama.

I will relate a story one of my classmates told me about a trip his boat took (this would have been 90-91 ish) and their two guests were B-1 Bob Dornan (you may recall, he was the most right-wing Congressman from CA) and Al Gore.

According to my buddy, Gore was railing about how great submarines would be in mapping the polar ice, to track global warming, and what not. He said B-1 Bob was all over Gore the whole time for how stupid he was.

Anyway, this is the kind of crap we actually, at least, paid a little lip service to (let's face it, since the fall of Soviet Russia, we spent a lot of time looking for missions), but, it is the kind of thing, I expect, an Obama would find also interesting.

We probably don't need a fleet of 50 subs for that. Oh, and we won't be testing any active sonar. And, those pesky nuclear deterrent patrols - who needs those? But - and this is giving Obama the benefit of the doubt - subs are generally non-provocative, so they can deliver firepower without rousing our allies ire - so maybe we will keep using the force for interesting and useful missions, and save the money by cutting CVN production.

Now, of course, we will have a heavily democrat Congress at least until 2010, so I'd say the guys who got the speed up to 2 VA's/year (Courtney, Dodd, Webb) would likely hold sway and keep the building up.

So, my guess is 2/year under Barack, and 1.5 under McCain until the Navy's 2/year plan kicks in.

The difference will be in how they are used.

Bottom line - probably not too much difference.

10/31/2008 11:03 PM

 
Blogger Chap said...

I'm responding in a nonpartisan, still on active duty kind of manner:

IMO Nothing will change quickly because of bureaucratic inertia unless some bizarre game changer shows up (Kucinich as DoD; war, etc.).

As a smart guy in the military told me once: Over the years R presidents tend to fund the military more at the start and then taper off, while Ds tend to start with less funding and then build up. We've just gone through the high side of that cycle, and Army and Marines need rebuilding.

My guess? The build program's effective work is saving the weapons system (if Virginia were like the Seawolf or CGX programs, then bubbleheads'd be sucking wind), but we'll continue to "make it up in the outyears" as it were.

10/31/2008 11:58 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The things I'd like to see Congress (really how much control does the President have over this specifically) make happen with the submarine force mostly have to do with making a serious effort to retain good personnel and include:

- get rid of anti-gay and anti-woman policies, even if it means retrofitting boats for more private bathing areas (why is this not being done during the SSGN conversions, anyway?) When you automatically eliminate more than half your potential pool of talent you're not getting the best people, period.

- provide better resources for people to know about and make the best use of their Navy benefits. Improve Tricare so people don't end up in massive debt and at risk of losing their security clearances because they had to go outside Tricare to get healthcare promptly. (yes this happens and it is absolutely tragic)

- double crew SSNs already! SSB/GN crews are better rested and better trained and have better morale, and the boats provide far more at sea time.

- stop moving ships/bases to fundamentally uninhabitable places like the King's Bay. I can't stand the political pandering that puts pleasing a senator or two over both the needs of the Navy and the wishes of the troops.

- and for that matter make a better effort to be supportive of spouses' careers. Lawyers, doctors, and educators have trouble moving from state to state easily, and those in highly specialized professional fields might only be able to find work near one or two bases. Is it really so much trouble to help them stay there for more than a couple of years at a time?

- Quit it with the IA and stop loss already. If we need people so badly, start a draft rather than screwing over people who stepped up for their country.


I think any of these would be likelier to be accomplished by Democrats, but the Republicans are welcome to step up and prove me wrong.

11/01/2008 1:44 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

In his years on Congress, McCain has shown a distinct dislike for submarines and submariners. He's an airedale acting like an airedale.

What he might do for defense spending is anyone's guess, something we'll never know...

11/01/2008 6:58 AM

 
Blogger Jay said...

Rubber Ducky - do you have some specific examples you would like to cite? I would really be interested in them.

Otherwise, it's invective.

11/01/2008 7:13 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great analysis! Especially Bubblehead, Vigilis, Chap and Rubber Ducky.

I'm an active duty lurker with some somewhat unique insight. In the interest of full disclosure, I voted for McCain absentee (but mostly due to a loose connection with him having met on a few occasions).

McCain is no friend of the sub force. The "binary" build program (1-0-1-0.....) of half a sub per year is the most like outcome.

Two Virginias a Year is a Fantasy-- with either Candidate. All of the comments about presume that just because there are 2 VA's/yr in FY11 and out in the FYDP means that's where we're going. ANYTHING beyond the next FY budget is just a plan and is subject to change. One could argue that the 2/yr plan was merely lip service to the CT and VA codels and was never going to happen.

Obama will keep the build rate a 1 VA/yr. The above poster who noted that VA is a good performing program that looks even better when compared to DDG-1000, CG(X)!!, LCS, etc....
is exactly right. Obama and a dem. controlled congress will keep VA going at 1/yr to employ VA's and NC's and show he's strong on defense but fiscally smart.

Obama will put gays and women on submarines. Richard Danzig SECDEF. Mark my words. Expect DADT to go away and women supply officers by the end of 2009-- enlisted coner women and nucs/nuc officers to follow.

Obama will FREAK OUT about any class A mishap. Joel is exactly right. "A NUCLEAR submarine was WHERE doing WHAT??!?!?!?!"

Sooo......

Obama will be "better for the submarine force" in terms of build rate and basic funding. McCain will be better in terms of doing the cool missions we all love.

SSBNs will be unaffected by either-- the cuts that happen will be independent of who's in the WH or congress.

11/01/2008 7:28 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am surpised that Mike Mulligan has not put in his two cents on this yet. Not that I necesarily agree with him, but it sure sparks more debate on here when he makes a post.

11/01/2008 8:21 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Jay: sorry, but this goes back a bit when I was in The Building and around town. Not meant to be invective - was just struck from several incidents and anecdotes that this guy was a classic airedale and not a friend of submarines. BTW, this was the general feeling among bubbleheads working the Hill and the POM at the time.

Only 'invective' I have for the guy isn't to him, but to his campaign. He didn't control it (a task for a leader, would say) and it really ran his run into a ditch (along with his honor, sad to say).

Palin was the last straw: judgment - zero; cynicism - 100. Anyone thinks she could run this country has got paper for brains.

11/01/2008 9:47 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the submarine build rate will be affected one way or the other by an Obama Administration. My hunch is that the total DOD budget will get reduced based on pulling out of Iraq ASAP, however not by much. Too much Army and USMC hardware needs to be replaced/overhauled, etc. Navy missions in Indian ocean will be on the increase as will importance of Diego Garcia given the potential for collapse of Pakistan government and their probable drift into the "failed state" category. That may well be the first real international test for the incoming president.

I doubt seriously that an Obama administration will concern itself with the social issues identifed in this thread. Just to many major challenges economically, diplomatically and militarily to even be concerned about that stuff.

I'd be willing to bet that during the next 4 years we'll pull combat troops out of Korea, open up diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba (Raul will be out of business in a week once the Dollar Store and WalMart set up shop in Havana), draw down USMC presence in Okinawa (already started by the way), and undertake a major build up of USN/USMC/presence in Indian Ocean.

No, I don't see any real reduction in $$$ for USN/USMC in next four years given the problems lurking in Pakistan.

My two cents.....

Keep a zero bubble.......

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

11/01/2008 5:50 PM

 
Blogger paul said...

McCain has not done anything positive with the submarine force given many opportunities. He has not visited the submarine forces namesake for his state USS Tucson. His academy mates will tell you flat out he does not like submariners. He will pull money away from subs, hence 1/2 per year for VA. I think Obama will be better for the sub force if we prove we are effective. I am voting for mccain anyway.

11/01/2008 10:27 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One correction to above: HE DOES like submariners. Just not submarines. Chuck Larson is one of his best friends.

11/02/2008 3:39 AM

 
Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Chuck was also an airedale...

11/02/2008 5:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point duck-- I forgot that he was bi!

11/02/2008 5:53 AM

 
Anonymous Droppedrod said...

Obama won't "freak out" when he finds out what subs really do. He'll freak out if one has an incident doing what subs really do. Dems love things like subs and spec forces because using them typically does not end up on CNN and there is less risk of offending the extreme left if it doesn't no you're committing an act of war. Look for the mission to expand as long as the sub community doesn't botch it up.

11/02/2008 9:23 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point-- he'll freak out when he finds out what the sub was doing when the class a mishap occurred. And then turn to Secretary Danzig and say "!?!?!" and he'll say "Yes, sir. But it won't happen next mission. That ship is getting women and sensitivity training immediately upon return to port. That will improve their navigation, contact management and engineering skills."

11/02/2008 3:15 PM

 
Anonymous MM1/SS said...

I absentee voted for McCain. He is the lesser of two evils. Obama is untrustworthy in my eyes. At least McCain has experience under his belt and understands the Military machine.

Either way, we're f'd. McCain will likely die or be forced to step down. Then we'll get Palin in Charge. While a MILF, she leaves alot to be desired.




I read the quoted portions of the post below, and just cannot help myself. The entirety can be read a few posts ahead of mine.

It is obviously written by somebodies spouse with no real understanding of why these policies are in place.

Posted by Anonymous on 11/1 @ 1:44
"get rid of anti-gay and anti-woman policies, even if it means retrofitting boats for more private bathing areas (why is this not being done during the SSGN conversions, anyway?) When you automatically eliminate more than half your potential pool of talent you're not getting the best people, period."

that is a pipe dream. You obviously have never served aboard a Submarine.


Women have no place onboard a Sub. They only cause problems. Call me what you will. Women in Uniform are a headache that never ends.

If such a poorly made decision were to occur, I can foresee a rash of incidents.

Shortly after implementation, Subs would be tied to the Pier while NCIS combed the crew/boats.

Just look at the Citadel. Now take 120-150 guys aged 18-25 yrs (on average) and isolate them for 4-6 months with a handful of women onboard.

Tailhook cubed anyone?


"double crew SSNs already! SSB/GN crews are better rested and better trained and have better morale, and the boats provide far more at sea time.

your entire statement is innacurate. SSBN/SSGN boats are none of the above. After being on both, I believe a SSN lifestyle is easier and better.

SSBN crews are neither well rested nor is their morale high. I would venture to say that the exact opposite is true. A mysterious shroud surrounds the SSBN community. SSN guys beleive all and any rumors they hear. Let me dispel these rumors.

1. Average of 3-4 months at sea with no port calls. Every 6 months.
2. 1 month prior to deployment, and 1 month after deployment, the boat is in Refit. You are effectively gone at this point. Inport...yes, at home...not a chance.
3. No Port calls
4. While the Offcrew, that Crew is shoved into a tiny office space for 2 months with 0630-1600 working hours M-F.
5. You don't go home early anymore.
6. You get to wear a Deterant Patrol Pin


SSBN life was good in the olden times. As usual, big Navy figured out a good deal was in progress and squashed it with a vengance.

SSBN boats are no longer a good deal. They have become a 5 yr hell just like a SSN is. Only difference is that you know your schedule of deployments.

#'s, #'s, #'s. The Navy can barely man some Submarines right now. Many Submarines are going to Sea undermanned with personnel pulling Port/Stbd duties. You are proposing to effectively double the # of personnel required to man a Submarine. Not to mention big Navy is actively trying to reduce 80,000 personnel...


"stop moving ships/bases to fundamentally uninhabitable places like the King's Bay. I can't stand the political pandering that puts pleasing a senator or two over both the needs of the Navy and the wishes of the troops.

the whole point of isolation is a protective measure. In the event of war, you can be guaranteed that major assests will be first line targets. Kings Bay, Bangor, Groton, Norfolk are sitting ducks with their own personal weapon already targetted.


and for that matter make a better effort to be supportive of spouses' careers. Lawyers, doctors, and educators have trouble moving from state to state easily, and those in highly specialized professional fields might only be able to find work near one or two bases. Is it really so much trouble to help them stay there for more than a couple of years at a time?

the spouse didn't join the armed forces. If it is such an issue, the active member needs to seperate. Needs of the Navy are far more pressing than someone's spouse having an issue finding a job.

It sounds mean and unfair, but this is Reality.

11/03/2008 2:26 AM

 
Blogger Jay said...

Ducky,et.al.,

I could buy these "McCain is no friend of submarines" statements if you could back them up with some substantive facts, and not anecdotes.

The guy has been in Congress for 26 years. If he had a legislative history of opposing submarine construction or missions, you should be able to cite some specific pieces of legislation. So far, it's all "He's friends with so and so."

McCain has a record that also includes trusting the commanders on the ground, unlike Obama, where you do have to make inferences from who his friends are.

11/03/2008 5:06 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, I voted for McCain and I am an active duty submariner.

But, he is no friend of the submarine force.

While I know as a fact that McCain has openly expressed disdain to OLA and SECNAV re: submarines, I provide the following article from the NYT c.1995 to independently confirm:

"The New Submarines Can Wait Published: March 13, 1995

As House Republicans slash money for job training, education, homeless youths and dozens of other domestic programs to save $15 billion this year, it would be salutary if someone in the leadership had the gumption to mention the Seawolf submarine. The Republican Senator John McCain, hardly a dove on defense spending, would save $2.3 billion this year alone by barring construction of one of these new, unnecessary attack submarines.

With or without a balanced budget amendment, Congress is not going to put the Federal ledger in equilibrium by 2002 unless it starts now to make reductions in Pentagon spending, which is $264 billion this year and is projected to total $1.2 trillion over the next five years. A good place to start is expensive new weapons that are no longer needed, and a good example is new attack submarines."

Maybe Liebermann will moderate his position...

11/03/2008 6:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Daily Press in Newport News did an article about this subject. Sounds like subs are safe no matter whom is elected.

http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-local_shipbuilding_1101nov01,0,4113999.story

11/03/2008 10:07 AM

 
Blogger domernuc said...

the issue is what is the mission for the submarines and how many are needed to do it. in a combined warfare environment with less than the Air Forces 350+ F-22s the submarine force offers a can opener (tomahawk) to dump enemy air defense in concert with F-22 and stealth Bombers so that non stealth aircraft can get in and do SEAD, bombing and close air support missions. So how many SSNs do you need to do that? If 4 SSGNs are available, not very many. In the Clinton years, casualty averse Democrats used subs in "tomahawk diplomacy". This made the US look weak and encoraged terrorists to strike at us in the US. Look at the statements that Al Queda used to encorage their followers. Tomahawk diplomacy is a negative (not that Obama might not go back to it). As far as the Seawolf is concerned, it should have been killed. Like DDX it is a dumb design for the wars we are in today. That brings us to ISR, the bread and butter of the SSN fleet. The number of subs needed is in proportion to COCOM requirements for ISR. Right now, the COCOMs want more sub days than we have subs, but what do you sacrifice to get them. Defense spending as a portion of GDP is not at a high point, but neither candidate can fund what they are promising. McCain wants to cut pork and military procurment pork is his specialty. Justify it or lose it. Obama is looking to fund big government programs and is working WITH a congress that allows a leader like Barney Frank to call for a 25% reductionin military spending. Will Virginias get built? yes, but it will be a huge battle without regard to the president. The battle will happen in congress. The president has a great bully pulpit to use informational power, but it will be Murtha vs. Frank in the House. The real question is about Trident and the reliable replacement warhead. The D5s are getting old. The warheads are getting ancient. Google the RRW and read the debate. Life extensions only work so well. THere is NO program to replace the Ohio which is as old as the 688s. There are two iterations for replacements for the 688s. We may end up running the Ohios around like the Kam as she ended her life..shallow and slow. Obama is on record as being very skeptical about military procurement (philosophically not pragmatically like McCain). Listen to his speach for Caucus4Priorities on YouTube. Missile defense sucks up 13 billion dollars a year, but with multiple countries developing ICBMs and SLBMs do we want to cancel it. Assured mutual destruction only works if you know who to nuke back. With multiple countries SLBMs in the Oceans (India, Russia, China) who do we nuke? Do we cut ABM funding and build more SSNs to chase all of them? There are a lot of programs out there sucking money beside the Sub force. The airforce needs a ton of money, too. I fully expect a President Obama to deploy the Army or Marines as peacekeepers to Congo as soon as he can free up troops. That takes airplanes, not subs. I am a serving submariner selected for XO attending the Army School of Advanced Military Studies. So maybe I've been slipped someone else's coolaid. I also voted (uselessly in Oregon) for McCain. Don't ask Don't tell doesn't go away with a presidential decree. Homosexual acts are illegal under the UCMJ. That takes an act of Congress to change. I couldn't care less, except that sexual politics and stupidity go hand and hand, and it will make my job harder. I enjoy hiding from the complications of Coed working on a sub, but it is really kind of cowardly and it can't last forever.
The bottom line, as Vice Admiral Konetzni said in 2002 at the sub ball in Groton, (and I paraphrase) "the sub force has to find a mission to justify its existance". Sub build rates will be based off of things that haven't happened yet and priorities that the candidates have scripted out of their speeches. My advice is to take it one billet at a time.

11/03/2008 6:05 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy, for your sake I hope that they don't grade papers at War College based on no-run-on-sentences.

Or facts.

1. SSBN(X). Commenced with UK investment. US goes in starting in FY10 to the tune of about $1B/yr with construction starting in FY19 to allow IOC in time to replace ALABAMA.

2. RRW. Not a concern for a long time. RRW now is nothing more than a make-work program for nuclear bomb labs. D5 LE is well under way and the current warheads will do fine. If we need follow-on warheads then the world order will have changed and we'll buy follow-on warheads. Beautiful thing, America: if you offer $ for it, someone will build it and sell it to you.

3. ISR is a presence mission. You build ships (and other things) to fight wars (with notional war plans defining the #'s you need). Don't drink the sub force kool-aid (no offense to Guyanans intended). ISR is an interesting thing we do in peacetime but can't be allowed to define the size of our force. Even though it drives a higher #, it doesn't make it right.

And finally, PLEASE learn to write coherently before you become an XO. Or fall on your sword. Either way, I can't live in a fleet with (even) more poorly written evals and correspondence.

11/03/2008 6:18 PM

 
Anonymous ex ssn eng said...

I have no axe to grind with McCain, though I certainly voted my conscience via a "None of the Above" vote this year. However, all the statments here to the effect that he is no friend of the submarine force are spot on.

Just Google for the words/phrases: McCain, Seawolf, "cold war" to find some solid anti-submarine quotes from McCain. The guy absolutely slobbered on himself while killing the Seawolf program, and all under the (self-delusional) justification that the Cold War vis-a-vis the Soviets was over.

I've voted for a Republican for many years, but McCain is just flat-out dumb and does not process reality well...thus his appeal to the left side of the aisle.

Lest the point be missed: Obama is a complete abomination. No self-respecting intelligent person can logically justify voting for this empty suit.

May God bless America.

11/03/2008 9:05 PM

 
Blogger domernuc said...

As opposed to the snarkey reply to my post, I will present facts.
1) SSBN-X: The Navy requested no money in the FY-09 budget for development of the SSBN-X. Money was added to the FY-09 appropriations bill to begin studies that would lead to the development of SSBN-X by congress based on a RAND study. The Navy has decided to extend the life of the Tridents instead of pushing for a new design. There is no sense of urgency to get anything deployable until 2029. Therefore my Kam comment about extending the life of ships.
The British involvement, likewise, is extremely preliminary. It is based on the desire to maintain capability, not seriously design a submarine. The idea that the Brits are into design and that the US will follow with 1bn/yr is conjecture at best. It ignores the reality that the dollars haven't been asked for by the Navy or given by congress. There is no design process. The contractors aren't even done hiring facilitators to start the design. There is a twinkle in someone's eye and nothing more.
2) RRW: The warheads are old and their reliability is not proven beyond design parameters. Can anyone prove the warheads won't work? No. Can anyone prove that they will? No. Both sides of the issue are working on conjecture. The issue with the current warheads is that the effects of the natural decay could lead to unpredictable reactions. The point of RRW is to add predictability to the aging of the weapon and to design a warhead that is easier to work with and more reliable. The drawback is that the RRW is envisioned to be fielded without explosive testing. Either way, blowing off the discussion by saying the current warheads are "fine" is simply sticking your head in the sand. D5 LE may be great, but as far as warheads go, you don't just offer $ for new nukes. As nicely flippant as that is, it doesn't quite work that way.
3) ISR: When your most visible, concrete contribution is ISR you better figure out how to sell it. As the Air Force found out with the F-22, no one is apropriating money based on concerns about going to war with a peer competitor right now. Certainly the sub force wartime numbers aren't based on tomahawk launches, yet no one has fired a torpedo in anger since WWII. What then is the mission that defines the force? Why was the Virginia built as a multipurpose submarine? Maybe we should check your coolaid. The cold war is over. The missions that are left are the misions we have. If we have a COCOM requested mission, it is a force requirement. If that leads to appropriations, that is a good thing.
Finally, when you get on a blog, don't insult other people's grammer. People blog as they have time. They don't create military review articles to post. If you are too good to read it, go to a different page. Try to keep your responses with the theme of the thread. My post may have rambled, but it showed how I think the debate should be framed. You added nothing to the thread but a flip attempt at correcting my thoughts. Where are yours? If you want to be a jerk, at least post under a durable name and not anonymous. That is blog speak for cowardly.

11/03/2008 10:11 PM

 
Blogger domernuc said...

An interesting topic for the differences between presidential candidates (that I forgot to mention in my first post) is Obama's independant commision to evaluate the defense budget. He seems to have backed off of this recently. Never the less, the original idea was to have a group study the defense budget submitted to the president by the DoD. The assumption is that this group would be able to pare the fat out of the budget before the President sends it to Congress. That way the budget will have only what is really needed, not what the DoD desired. It seems like a good idea, but assumes that the DoD would try to trick the President into submitting a budget with unnecesary expenditures. The adversarial relationship presupposed by this effort goes a bit beyond McCain's assertions that he "knows where the pork is in military acquisitions".

11/03/2008 10:48 PM

 
Blogger Jay said...

Dom,

Thanks for defending yourself. Nothing chaps my ass more than anonymous posters who throw firebombs and insults.

Wikipedia and the media are decent sources as far as they go, but, a little professional military education provides a more balanced, and military-focused view and I appreciate your thoughts.

Goldwater-Nichols brought a big change in the way we fight, the way we procure, and just in the last 10 years are the services reaping the benefits in the new way of thinking it has fostered(with the Navy being the LAST service to get on board).

And, I will say that ISR and precision strike are the two biggest requirements that COCOMS probably have that submarines can fulfill, but...we're going to have to compete with other services to prove we can fulfill those missions in the most effective manner.

Anyway, get out and vote so you can at least feel good about complaining about the next 4 years.

11/04/2008 7:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard who the new SECDEF is going to be?

I heard that former SECNAV Richard Danzig is in charge of the Pentagon transition team.

From an anonymous (non ass-chapping) active duty guy.

11/05/2008 11:53 AM

 

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