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, January 30, 2009

Kings Bay May Get An Admiral

A Department of Defense report spurred by the Air Force's recent problems with nuclear weapons security found that, while the Navy is doing a good job, we should split the "Trident Command" established in 2006 and have a separate Admiral and staff in both Bangor and Kings Bay for the Tridents on each coast. Excerpts from this article:
"That will have big implications for Camden County," McNeill said. "That means 15 or more people on the admiral's staff, and splitting the squadrons will bring more staff. We'll see the community more enmeshed with the Navy.
The report also notes that the Trident Training Facility is at 50 percent of its manning level, reduced from 340 instructors and staff to 150. The report recommends reversing the personnel decision because the cuts limited submarine crews' ability to build high-performance teams in skills including navigation, sonar and communications.
"Submarine commanders were uniformly concerned that the Trident Training Facility was near a tipping point in this regard," the report states.
Investigators also objected to the "manpower drain" resulting from Individual Augmentation assignments in which Navy personnel are used to supplement armed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism. It has taken away instructors, the report said, but does not affect nuclear weapons security forces.
Additionally, investigators pointed to a lack of intelligence personnel at Kings Bay and noted "commanding officers at Kings Bay said they had to resort to open-source information as substitute for classified intelligence information of mission importance."
A wise old CO once told me that every decision of this type is based one how the Submarine Force uses the Flag positions they have, and whether or not they can possibly take a Flag position away from some other part of the Navy. The original decision was obviously based on opening up another Admiral slot at the Pentagon; the question now is whether the Sub Force will have to give up the D.C. spot they got, or if they'll take a spot from the skimmers or airdales. The worst possible option, of course, would be for Big Navy to create another Admiral slot -- Lord knows we have enough Flag Officers around.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former CSG-10 staffer it saddens me to not have a full time flag officer and staff there. The hay-day was great.

BUT.... an Admiral at a base with 4 or 5 ships?! Hmmm,,,,

1/30/2009 6:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yet again the truth comes out about these BS IA "assignments." I wonder just how much impact this is having on personnel re-upping? If I'd had any desire to pound the ground, I wouldn't have spent two years in the nuke pipeline and then volunteered for sub duty. Call it what you will and say that, "It's an all volunteer force," but this IA crap IS a defacto draft.

1/30/2009 9:50 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

A recent article in Navy Times says the Navy needs to pay more attention to its nuclear weapons responsibilities. That would be bolstered by restoring Trident West and Trident East, but I seriously doubt that big Navy is really all that interested.

So bubblehead, it would appear to me that the sub force will wait and see if they have to 'take it out of hide' or will get someone else's billet. I guess it depends how important the nukes really are.

1/31/2009 5:00 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

KB needs a flag like a fish needs a bicycle.

1/31/2009 6:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more things change, the more they stay the thing you know, QM's will come back!

1/31/2009 10:38 AM

Blogger RichG said...

There has definitely been a dance of the submarine nuclear weapons flags in the past 5 years. At the same time the number of boats has gone down so there is less need for operational flag officers in the SUBGRUs. As I remember things and a bit of googling:

- Mid 90s, SUBGRU 5 in San Diego shuts down when most of the boats move to Pearl, SUBGRU 9 in Bangor takes over (5+9). But the other PAC Tycoms are in San Diego (AIRPAC, SURFPAC). I think this allows SUBGRU 7 to get an O-7
- ~2000 1120s gets COMNAV Marianas (Guam) –not sure if this was always 1120 (maybe)
- ~2004 Groton Flag takes over Kings Bay as well (2 + 10). Plus SOPA for the NorthEast
- 2005 Center for Submarine Anti-Terrorism started, expanded to Center for Expeditionary Counter-terrorism Operations, and now (2008) Navy Irregular Warfare Office = new submarine flag billet that had to come from somewhere
- June 2006 Group Trident (9+10)
- Oct 2006 Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Command in San Diego stood up with a 2-star 1120 (guaranteed sub flag in San Diego)

By comparison in the operational nuke weapon end of things, the USAF has a flag in charge at Minot, FE Warren, Barksdale (B-52), and Whiteman (B-2). 4:1 Even if the Navy doesn't care, the USAF does.

A couple of the specific Flags involved in this are Frank Drennan and Mark Kenny. If you look at their Navy Bios you can trace this.

I skimmed the entire Jan 10 “Defense Task Force on Future Nuclear Deterrence” press conference a week ago. Another hidden nugget says Navy SP is doing such a great job with a 1-star that he should be a 2-star (Sub EDO billet). The Navy stuff is mild compared to the commentary on the USAF (broken) and USSTRATCOM (too many missions).

Maybe a Norfolk/KB Flag?

1/31/2009 10:39 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

COMNAVMAR has not always been 1120. RADM Johnson, an aviator, was CNM before Joe Leidig (1120).

Also, clearly having flags in charge for the USAF didn't make a hill of beans difference in how they managed their nukes. I can only imagine the number of Navy heads that would roll, from internal measures, if, oops, a real TLAM-N was loaded instead of a mockup. But in the Air Force, oops is just that. Oops. Oh, and fine a non-pilot to blame. Like that poor bastard air controller they blamed when F15s shot down UH-64s that were vis-IDd to be MI-24s.

Status quo for USAF..probably why so many got fired for the recent nuke mistakes.

2/01/2009 4:13 AM

Blogger Brine said...

Hmm. . . I don't know about the extra flag, but splitting SQN 16 and SQN 20 is a big deal: Their commodore was at sea for truly ridiculous amounts of time with 7 boats: i.e. 14 crews. There is a lot of certs most of us with SSN time would think happen at sea going on in the trainer, so the additional staff at TTFKB is hopeful, but with 10% cuts coming down the turnpike I wouldn't hold my breath.

2/02/2009 4:42 AM

Blogger David said...

"Individual Augmentation assignments"

Who came up with that description?

I saw it start up when I got out at the end of 2003. A new batch of instructors(some had not even reported to SubScol on paper yet) were told one of them had better volunteer to go to Iraq or the Master Chief was going to pick somebody.

All of them had the network geek NEC.

2/02/2009 3:42 PM

Blogger Chap said...

My comments here.

2/04/2009 12:43 AM

Anonymous said...

Quite effective info, lots of thanks for the article.

11/13/2011 1:24 AM


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