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, December 31, 2010

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em...

...except if you're on a submarine, as of today.

Happy New Year to all the Submariners and their loved ones.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Submarine Science School Demo

A reader writes in and says:
I "volunteered" to do a science demonstration for my son's elementary school. When they found our I was an ex-submariner (642B) they requested something sub related. I've thought about the following:
**steam cycle demo, but am having trouble coming up with a way to make steam safely at a high enough pressure to turn an old computer fan (simulating a turbine)... the whole condenser part would need to be on the white board.
**buoyancy demo using pen caps in a sealed 2L bottle - squeeze the bottle, increase the pressure, reduce the bubble size, cap sinks... lacks a certain pizazz
**the old blindfold them and let them play submarine hunter with wet sponges sonar demo - fun, but lacking ideas on where to take it after the first couple kids get smacked with a wet sponge.
Any ideas - either improvements on the above, or new ideas? (I'd like to keep the cost under $50.)
Every idea I came up with -- except for the old "raisin in a glass of water with vinegar and baking soda" idea to demonstrate buoyancy -- cost a lot more than $50, so I figured I'd throw it out to the Peanut Gallery for comment. Have any of you ever done something like this? What ideas do you have?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Check out this photo of Santa Claus on the bridge of a Virginia-class submarine:

You can find more pictures of Pearl Harbor-based submarines all dressed up for the season here.

From my house to yours -- Merry Christmas.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." -- Luke 2:11

Friday, December 24, 2010

Night Before Christmas -- Submarine Style

Here's a Submarine-themed poem that's been running around the 'net this year...
T'was the Night Before Christmas-Submarine Style
By Sean Keck

T'was the night before Christmas, and what no-one could see,
The men with the dolphins were under the sea.
Most of the crew was flat on their backs,
Snoring and dreaming all snug in their racks.

Those men on watch were making their rounds,
Some manning the planes or listening for sounds.
Back in maneuvering or down in the room,
They all hoped the oncoming watch would come soon.

I'd finished some PM's whose time was now due,
And hoped for some sleep, even an hour or two.
Against better judgment I took a short stroll,
And found myself wandering into control.

The Nav had the Conn, the COW was in place,
The COB had the Dive and a scowl on his face.
The helm and the planes were relaxed but aware,
The QM and ET were discussing a dare.

To comply with the orders the Nav told the Dive,
To bring the boat up with minimum rise.
The orders were given and soon they were there,
At periscope depth with a scope in the air.

The QM confirmed our position with care,
The broadcast was copied, we brought in some air.
The Nav on the scope let out a small cry,
He shook his head twice and rubbed at his eyes.

He looked once again to find what it was,
That interrupted his sweep and caused him to pause.
Try as he might there was nothing to see,
So down went the scope and us to the deep.

I asked what it was that caused his dismay,
He sheepishly said, "I'm embarrassed to say."
It could have been Northern Lights or a cloud,
Or a meteorite he wondered aloud.

But to tell you the truth I guess I must say,
Whatever it was it looked like a sleigh.
And though it passed quickly and never was clear,
I almost believe it was pulled by reindeer.

We laughed and teased him and I got up to go,
When our moment was broken by "Conn, Radio."
They told us a message was just coming in,
We looked at the depth gauge and started to grin.

"Radio, Conn, I feel safe to say,
Your attempt at a joke is too long delayed.
If it had been sooner it might have been neat,
But I doubt we're receiving at four-hundred feet."

"Conn, Radio, you can come down and see,
We're not playing games to any degree."
I headed aft with nothing better to do,
Surprised by the fact it was still coming through.

It stopped and was sent to control to be read,
The Nav read it slowly and scratched at his head.
Then again he began but this time aloud,
To those that now waited, a curious crowd.

"To you Denizens of the Deep and men of the sea,
Who risk your life daily so others stay free.
I rarely have seen you on this, my big night,
For far too often you are hidden from sight.

But purely by luck I saw you tonight,
As your scope coaxed the plankton to glow in the night.
And lucky for me I've finally won,
The chance to say thanks for all you have done.

I know that you miss your families at home,
And sometimes you feel as if you're alone.
But trust what I say and I'll do what's right,
I'll take something special to your families tonight.

Along with the gifts I'll take to your kin,
I'll visit their dreams and leave word within.
They'll hear of your love, and how you miss them,
I'll tell them that soon you'll be home again.

It might not be much I know that is true,
To thank you for all the things that you do.
But I'll do what I can, while you do what's right,
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight."
Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Submarine Rating

Remember submarine rating consolidation? It seems to be a thing of the past. According to NAVADMIN 406/10, they're coming out with a new submarine rating in April 2011. From the Navy website:
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy released NAVADMIN 406/10, Dec. 17, announcing the creation of the Information Systems Technician Submarines (ITS) service rating and providing active duty Sailors with guidance on how to request an ITS conversion.

"The establishment of the ITS rating will provide the Submarine Force with an infrastructure of information assurance and network professionals who will be fully equipped to resolve future issues and implement new technologies on board our submarines," said Lt. Dan Morrison, Submarine, Non-Nuclear, Enlisted Community Manager. "Overall, the ITS rating is an excellent choice for Sailors who seek challenges in new and emerging technologies, and the opportunity to be submariners

The primary source ratings for ITS conversions will be from Sailors assigned to jobs in submarine Local Area Network divisions and those from ratings in the information assurance workforce, but all non-nuclear trained Sailors are eligible to request conversion. Information System Technicians (IT) with Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) codes of 2780, 2781, or 2735 will be eligible for direct conversion to ITS.

Describing the benefits of converting to ITS, Morrison explained, "Currently, submariners working outside of their source rating in support of submarine LAN requirements are at a disadvantage when taking promotion examinations. Sailors who convert to ITS will participate in ITS examinations and compete with other ITS professionals in their paygrade."

Any E-4 to E-6 active duty Sailor who wants to be part of the initial 180–200 selected for conversion must ensure they are eligible for submarine service prior to submitting their request (NAVPERS 1306/7 form) to Naval Personnel Command (PERS-811) by the Feb.1, 2011 deadline. Sailors possessing a Microsoft (MS) A+ or Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) certification are highly encouraged to apply and should note these certifications on their conversion request form.

Dependent upon their source rating and previous training, Sailors selected for conversion may require additional schooling and potentially incur additional obligated service. For example, Sailors who require an IT NEC may attend A-school as part of their conversion and Sailors from non-submarine ratings will need to attend Basic Enlisted Submarine School (BESS) prior to being assigned to a submarine as an ITS. Applicants are encouraged to speak with a Navy Career Counselor about the conversion process.
What do you think? Is this the change we need to win the war?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

USS Boise Returns Home For Christmas

USS Boise (SSN 764) returned to Norfolk today following a 6 month deployment to the European Command AOR. Excerpts:
During its deployment, USS Boise conducted operations in the European Command area of responsibility while supporting national security interests and maritime security operations. In executing the chief of naval operation's maritime strategy, Boise further demonstrated the submarine force's great capability in providing global presence.
"We were attached to the European Command, which is supported by the Navy's 6th Fleet," said Cmdr. Brian Sittlow, USS Boise commanding officer. "We were assigned exercises and operations by 6th Fleet. These events were conducted with our NATO partner nations in the waters of the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea."
Upon returning to its homeport in Norfolk, the submarine will have traveled approximately 23,000 nautical miles. Port visits included Portsmouth, England; Faslane, Scotland; Bergen, Norway; and Brest, France.
Here's a story and video from a Norfolk TV station:

Welcome home, guys!

Did you ever return from deployment in the week before Christmas?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Guest Post: USS Secota YTM-415 Incident

[An earlier post, with video, of the incident is here.]

Guest post from Tango-14:

March 22, 1986 the U.S. Navy tug USS Secota YTM-415 – which was crewed by a contract crew consisting of a U.S. tugmaster and a Sri Lankan deck and engineering crew. The Secota YTM-415 lost power and collided with the starboard vertical stabilizer on the stern planes of the Ohio Class TRIDENT submarine USS Georgia SSBN-729 and sank off of Midway Island.

The remarks below are from my perspective as a tug captain and are written down in this manner to promote thought and discussion in regards to Safety and Emergency Ship Handling.

These are my unsolicited thoughts in regards to an incident which is somewhat haunting to say the lease as I’ve been alongside both submersibles such as the USS Dolphin AGSS-555 and a wide variety of submarine classes both U.S. and friendly foreign navies. My intent is to submit the Secota video in DVD format to a U.S. Navy contractor charge with Navy ship handling training.

My experience level on U.S. Navy tugs started as a BM-1 NEC-0162 Craftmaster on Harbor Tugs Small (YTL’s). The command I was assigned did not allow anyone starting out on tugs to go to a “Big Boat,” which then were Harbor Tugs Medium (YTM’s) at this particular command until the BASICs were learned on a YTL. The YTL was single screw, 300 s.h.p. and the steering was manual with a five foot diameter helm. If you’re rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself, “…oh, that’s nothing…,” I bet you can’t operate the tug efficiently right off the bat. The object of placing someone new to tugs on the YTL was first to see if there was any level of boat handling skills and as stressed by the Chief Pilot how to use the engine power in conjunction with the correct utilization of the rudder. In other words, for example, if you were in a maneuvering situation and were running at full speed and attempted to put the rudder over full, good luck as one was trying to manually position the rudder against the force of the propeller discharge. That is, 300 s.h.p. against you “boney butt.” The object lesson to be learned was to momentarily reduce speed to an idle, put the rudder hard over then immediately reapply the speed. Therefore learning how to get the most out of the vessel’s maneuverability and perform competently as the Chief Pilot required for successful vessel movements. A most important lesson I’ve never forgotten, because while learning that lesson the hard way and trying to put brute strength into turning the helm, the propeller force would win and the helm would be yanked out of my hands. I have the cracked wrist bone and still broken nose to prove it. The Chief Pilot saw the blood on my chambray shirt and just laughed and said, “…are you learning yet?...” That lesson learned, and I still employ it today, always put your rudder over before applying speed. Before one comments on this I need also to say with the submarine’s telltale rudder poking up from the surface of the water I note more often than not that the “blast” of the 56,000+ s.h.p. of the “boomer’s” propeller is seen well in advance to the placement of the rudder. All the pilots I’ve known over the years tell me “…those sewer pipes don’t steer worth a damn…,” so I’d imagine if the rudder isn’t places as it should be prior to the order for “Warp Factor 8” steering in the direction intended is even more difficult. So, as I’ve been taught I believe most strongly in learning how to use the rudder and engine in concert for optimum maneuverability is most important regardless of the vessel.

Learning that lesson and many others I was later promoted to BMC NEC-0161 Tugmaster and graduated up to the “Big Boats.” With the Big Boats came a whole other set of circumstances, skill sets and responsibilities where I was most fortunate to be in the (unofficial but allowed) Tugmaster Closed-Loop Community and again was most privileged in being a Plank Owner of the N/V Skenandoa YTB-835. All in all I served as a Navy Enlisted Tugmaster for fourteen continuous years going from BM-1 to Senior Tugmaster BMCM on Navy Harbor Tugs which was up to the time the U.S. Congress killed the Navy’s YTB-839 Class new construction tugs In 1984. Ultimately I witnessed the Navy Tugmaster program slowly faded away. With the new tug program eliminated I finished out my Navy career as Command Master Chief, Major Command, underway.

Upon transferring to the Fleet Reserve I sat for and obtain a Master of Steam or Motor Vessels 1600 g.t. with First Class Radar Observer and Towing Endorsements including STCW, GMDSS and AB Unlimited. After 21+ years all are still current and renewed and I am still employed as a Tug Captain for a contractor at the Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor, WA.

As stated above I’ve worked nearly every class of U.S. Navy submarine with the exception of those which were only on the East Coast. Additionally, I had the privilege of being the first Pacific Northwest Navy Tugmaster to conduct a personnel transfer to the then brand new USS Ohio SSN-726 on her first arrival, at night in the Straits of Juan de Fuca with COMSUBPAC and his staff on board my tug and enter into the escorting security convoy. I made the port side of the Ohio and PUT UP A SAFETY LINE on cleat 3 port side and using the SAFETY LINE as a sea-painter riding line with the engine engaged ahead at idle prior to putting over the transfer brow. That is the TRIDENT quartered the swells off of the opposite bow to create a lee for the tug. Cleats 3 rigged for the tug’s riding line and 5 for safety in the event the tug lost power so as to have a possible “second chance.”

Again this was the early ‘80’s so in regards to the Secota incident Safety measures should have already been in place for Navy tugs anywhere.


Search as I may in regards to the Secota incident, I have not been able to find the “Official” report of the incident. I would very much like to know what was said and “…just the facts…” All I heard was unofficial and that the tug captain was blamed. However, I believe that there was plenty of blame to go around from the commanding officer of the submarine, the tugmaster, the Base Services Contract Company’s hiring practices, the Navy Contracting practices and as seen in the video an apparent disregard for “Safety” on all sides.

There are numerous interpretations as to what is happening in the video and depending on whether one might be a “Boomer” crew member, a Safety Officer, or a tug captain one’s personal perspective is primarily based on their position, perspective and experience level.

Before reviewing the DVD (video) please note that I believe the tugmaster of the Secota may have been unlicensed with little experience operating around submarines of any class. This is to say, with the various Base Services Contracts overseas during the time period of the video, someone in BUPERS without official permission released the names of retired Navy Enlisted Tugmasters (NEC-0161) to contractors bidding on the overseas Base Services Contracts. The scam, as I believe it to be, one was hired at the then rate of around $60,000 a year tax free Out-of-CONUS and since the tugmaster would be running a Government Vessel (Public Vessel), in accordance with the Code of Federal Register a license is not required. Therefore, an unlicensed tugmaster is paid under the Department of Labor Wage Determination which is far less that a maritime union’s tug captain’s wages. By far less. Additionally, if the individual agreeing to work for the base services contractor didn’t ask “all” the questions, when he arrived at the island or overseas base he learned that approximately $20,000 dollars was subtracted from the $60,000 for “room and board!”

This isn’t to say that “all” unlicensed tug captains are anything one way or the other. I know of one in particular who did an exemplary job at Diego Garcia for many, many years.

However, in the case of the Secota one possible scenario, submitted for review here is the tugmaster by U.S. law had to be a U.S. Citizen operating a “Public Vessel” while the rest of the crew was made up of Sri Lankans who were paid on an all together different pay scale.

To me, one very telling event regarding the tugmaster’s experience or lack thereof working with submarines is while the Georgia is making bare headway, the tugmaster attempts to back away from the submarine. One most important thing someone new to tug working around submarines is taught regarding operating alongside of a submarine is that 99.9999% of the time “You Never Back A Conventional Tug Away From The Side Of A Submarine Moving Ahead!” Never! Most especially with a conventional single screw tug which backs to port. Not that it can’t be done, but rather when things go wrong, they go wrong quickly with very bad results. In my opinion, as in this case.

You’ll note in the video that the wash of the tug, just before the alarm sounds, appears to be a full backing bell. One can see the wash and hear the engines rev up. I believe this was one of the precursors to the Secota’s death. This is to say that almost immediately after the backing bell is put on and the wash starts with the engines revving up, then quiet and then the alarm sounds. The alarm sounds possibly because either the DC electric motor tripped off the line and/or the main engines tripped off the line.

Please note the Secota is a USS Sassa YTM-364 Class tug and being in the 400 Series is a twin diesel engine, DC electric, single screw tug of approximately 1200 h.p. when new.

A possible answer as to why the alarm sounded just after the backing bell is obviously there was no engine room watch stander.

Why is that point important one might ask. Having myself run several types of U.S. Navy diesel electric YTM’s, namely General Electric and Westinghouse where there were differences in the excitation and time delay for rung up orders to actual propeller rotation. My preference was always for the General Electric diesel electric YTM’s as there was finer and more responsive controls. Regardless, the real success in running any diesel electric YTM’s was setting the “Restricted Maneuvering Doctrine” when operating around ships, submarines, barges and making landings or during various maneuverings. This means that an Electricians Mate, when the Restricted Maneuvering Doctrine was set, was at the DC Electric Switchboard in the engine room and had the Rheostats knobs (2), one in each hand standing by to answer all power demands. That is, while maneuvering the Electricians Mate’s primary mission at the switchboard was to keep the Rheostats Red-Lined at 1500 Amps. Additionally, there were 2 Rheostat repeaters mounted in the overhead of the pilot house just forward of the helm station so the tugmaster could monitor the settings. Keeping the Rheostats Red-Lined provided the full power requirements for whatever bell was being utilized during maneuvering, but most importantly kept the over speed tripping breakers from tripping the DC electric motors or main engines off the line. Meaning a reset was immediately required. Resetting the breakers wouldn’t be much of a problem if there was a watch stander at the switchboard. Also, restarting the engines requires someone in the engine room.

As noted in the video “something” trips off the line requiring two crew members to go aft apparently down to the engine room. Something “tripping off the line” could be the DC breaker(s), one or both diesel engine’s over speed trip or other such problem.

I also have a problem with the two crew members seen going aft and down into the engine room because that access is an Escape Trunk with a vertical ladder. I’m willing to bet that they didn’t secure, close and dog down, the Escape Trunk water tight door on their way down into the engine room. This may very well have exacerbated the rapid flooding of the engine room after the contact of the tug’s hull with the vertical stabilizer. Additionally, may very well have been the main cause of those two crew members going down with the tug.

The original video which was on VHS tape and appears to be underway documentation of repairs and events until the moment of the incident. After the incident the video runs for seemingly a long time while the USS Georgia SSBN-729 is attempting to recover the tug’s crew.

I recommend viewing the DVD (video) three times and also looking for three separate sections or events. The first event is the “Sky Diving” personnel, Mail and Guard Mail transfer; second is the sounding of the alarm and that approximate 60 seconds of time until “contact” and then the finale where the tug is on the vertical stabilizer prior to being entrusted to Davy Jones’s Locker. In all, depending on the video player an approximate time lapse of 3 minutes 20 seconds.

First it is recommended to watch the DVD (video) through just for content once, starting just prior to the “Sky Diving.”

During the second viewing however, it is recommended to have a pen and paper and list all the Safety Violations. That is, no cleats rigged on the submarine. The transferring of the departing sailor by the “Sky Diving” method plus tossing of the Mail and Guard Mail over to the tug is of particular note. Why did anyone allow that to occur? So, how many violations can one list? Please note that this includes the fact that the submarine wasn’t “quartering the swells” taking the seas on the port bow in this case which would have created a lee on the starboard side while moving ahead at approximately 5 knots which may have made things somewhat easier for the tug to be “in-step” to conduct the personnel transfer. From my past experiences this “quartering” works well and does help.

View the DVD (video) a third time with a stop watch handy. At the sound of first tone of the tug’s siren start the stop watch. You will note the two engineering crew members heading aft on the tugs port main deck. The tug captain is hanging out of the port window and there really doesn’t seem to be any urgency to the alarm as if, “…oh, this happens all the time…” From my experience this is how the scene struck me. Note also that the submarine is on a slow ahead bell and the tug is sliding aft. This portion takes almost a full minute with, as stated with seemingly little or no concern BY ANYONE.


Why no “real” concern from anyone?

Again, please note that the Secota is diesel electric. Did the “tripping-off-the-line” of the main engines constitute a routine event?

Then, all of a sudden, into the second minute after the alarm is the “…oh SHIT …” moment where you can hear, I believe, the submarine’s commanding officer issue the order, what sounds to me as, “…right full rudder. Ahead full.”

It is my firm opinion, as a prior Senior Navy Enlisted Tugmaster and now a licensed tug captain working Ohio Class submarines on a regular basis, that the order for a full ahead bell and full rudder was the death sentence for the Secota.

That is, look closely at the starboard quarter of the submarine and notice with the full bell and full right rudder ordered there is a tremendous suction at the starboard quarter of the submarine which physically sucks the Secota into the vertical stabilizer.

Keep in mind also that the Ohio Class beam is 42 feet and the aft diving planes with their vertical stabilizers extend out from the side of the hull an additional 4 feet on either side. In the tug community working the Ohio’s those are referred to as “Can Openers” and “we’re” ever mindful of the fact that not only they’re there, but they also stick out further than the side of the hull.

Again, and most importantly, this is submitted for review, consideration and discussion. I don’t have all the answers.

However, with all the new advancing technology and simulators this incident is still most relevant not only to submarine crews but also for tug captains and harbor pilots working in close proximity to submarines.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Caption Fun!

Caption this photoshopped image of a Seawolf-class boat hanging ten!

While you're thinking of a good caption, check out this classic Rickover funny over at 'Phib's place.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

DADT Repealed

President Obama says he will sign the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" when it reaches his desk next week, and the new policy will be implemented in a few months.

For all those who oppose the change, like this guy, please provide specific predictions of all the bad things that will happen, along with a timeline, so we can come back later and see if you were right. "A plague of locusts o'er the land" is too general -- please predict something like "10% reduction in legume production in the southeastern U.S. due to Orthoptera infestation in 2011". Likewise, rather than "re-enlistment rates will drop like a rock" say "re-enlistment rates will be down 45% by the end of 2012" or something to that effect. (Anecdotal, non-statistical predictions like "I'm going to be molested by a phantom pole-smoker in April" are also accepted, but please be prepared to provide verification if your prediction comes true.) Anyone on active duty who plans to leave the military because of this are especially invited to comment -- let us know your EAOS, and please check back in when you follow through.

On the other hand, if you think the military will adapt to this change as it has all others, you can say that too.

Bell-ringer 1411 20 Dec: Here's a statement from the CNO on the Senate vote.

Update 1743 21 Dec: Closing comments.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Submarine Sailor Injured

A quick post from my son's roommate's computer as I'm packing my son out of his dorm...

There are reports of an injured submarine Sailor out in the Atlantic. Excerpts:
The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush was ordered Wednesday to make "best speed" to assist an injured sailor onboard a U.S. Navy submarine conducting operations in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Mayport, Fla.-based USS Boone was also dispatched to aid the submariner...
...The Navy says the sailor has a head injury and, according to the last medical assessment, appears to be stable.
Here's more information from Navy Times. Galrahn discusses some of the OPSEC concerns from this announcement.

Do you have any MEDEVAC stories?

Staying at PD...

Update 0850 18 Dec: The injured Submariner has been flown to Charleston:
A MH-60S Knight Hawk assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 26 transported a Sailor from a U.S. Navy submarine operating in the Atlantic Ocean to USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) for medical evaluation Dec. 16.
A Navy neurosurgeon, assigned to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, assessed the Sailor to be in stable condition and both have been transported to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C., for further evaluation and treatment as necessary.
"Mariners at sea take care of each other," said Vice Adm. Daniel P. Holloway, commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet. "There is no better way to show our Sailors and their families the extent the Navy will go in order to take care of their own."...
..."The saying that we never leave a shipmate behind was proved today," said Capt. Chip Miller, George H.W. Bush commanding officer. "There was a Sailor out there who needed our help, and we were honored to receive the call. I am very proud of the professionals on board this ship and our families at home who provide constant support."
Bush was scheduled to return to its homeport of Norfolk Dec. 15 when the ship was tasked by Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet to return to sea.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wikileaks Guidance

A message recently went out in the Navy community about how servicepeople should deal with the urge to read the Wikileaks website. Excerpts:
Per ALNAV 055/10, DON personnel are directed not to access the WikiLeaks website to view or download the publicized classified information.
Doing so would introduce potentially classified information on unclassified networks.
There has been rumor that the information is no longer classified since it resides in the public domain. This is NOT true. Executive Order 13526, Section 1.1(4)(c) states "Classified Information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information."
The subject information was neither properly nor improperly "declassified" by an appropriate authority and requires continued classification or reclassification. It is "apparently classified information" that appears to have been disclosed without appropriate review and authority. The information posted needs to be reviewed by the appropriate Original Classification Authorities (OCAs) to:
determine if it is classified, conduct damage assessments, and make a determination regarding continued classification.
Despite circumstances surrounding the WikiLeaks, all DON military, civilian, and contractor support personnel must continue to protect similar or identical information commensurate with the level of classification assigned per SECNAV M-5510.36, until the information is assessed by the appropriate OCAs. DON personnel shall:
A. Not confirm or deny the existence of potentially classified NSI in the public domain, and report the incident per SECNAV M-5510.36, Chapter 12.
B. Not contribute to the further dissemination of potentially classified NSI on DON unclassified IT systems by accessing websites or any other internet based capability (IBC) (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to view, copy or forward this information.
C. Ensure classified NSI is only shared with personnel with an authorized clearance, access, need to know, and only via authorized channels and systems.
D. Protect classified NSI commensurate with the level of classification assigned per SECNAV M-5510.36, until the information is declassified by the appropriate OCA.
E. Adhere to the services systems authorization access request form (SAAR; i.e., user agreement form) for the protection of information residing on DON networks.
F. Adhere to their non-disclosure agreement (SF-312) when granted a security clearance.
Please remember, Government information technology capabilities should be used to enable our war fighters, promote information sharing in defense of our homeland, and to maximize efficiencies in operations. It should not be used as a means to harm national security through unauthorized disclosure of our information on publicly accessible websites or chat rooms.
Attempts to the WikiLeaks site are being monitored by the OSD Computer Network Defense Service Provider (CNDSP).


1. Visit the Information Assurance Support Environment website and read the DoD WikiLeaks guidance,
2. Do not attempt to access the WikiLeaks website or access WikiLeaks information using search capabilities.
3. Inform other DoD military, civilians, and contractor personnel of the DoD WikiLeak guidance.
[Emphasis mine] It mostly seems common sense and in keeping with the intent of the classified material handling programs in place -- namely, don't put classified material into UNCLAS systems. That statement I highlighted does sound a little creepy, however.

Regarding the current situation, I'm amused that there are people who are calling for asswipe Julian Assange, an Australian (not an American), to be charged with treason. The real villain is the person who took the classified material and gave it to Wikileaks. If it turns out that PFC Bradley Manning was the person who did it, it seems to me that he knowingly stole classified information that could be of aid to the enemy during wartime, and knowingly gave it to someone he knew would disseminate it to the enemy (by posting it on the Internet). This seems to me to meet all the elements for conviction under the "Giving intelligence to the enemy" section of UCMJ Article 104 (Aiding the Enemy). I believe that he should get the maximum penalty for this charge if found guilty, which would kind of obviate the need for a civilian treason trial.

What I don't like are these calls for censorship coming from the right directed towards the media who published the leaks originally provided through Wikileaks, especially from Tea Party hero Rep.-elect Allen West (he of the "clearance that even the President... cannot obtain"). While there may be times a newspaper should hold off on printing something because it's the right thing to do, I think it would set a bad precedent if they were prosecuted for publishing classified material when they have not signed a non-disclosure agreement. Let's face it -- it's the government's responsibility to make sure classified information doesn't get out, not the press's job.

[Admin note: For those who are wondering why I'm posting the message above , I'm taking the guidance of the last quoted paragraph to heart and informing interested personnel.]

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Fraternization Funnies

It's good that the Navy is open about announcing whenever someone in a ship's senior leadership -- CO/XO/CMC -- is detached for cause, but I bet this one is one they wish they could have kept quiet:
Lt. Cmdr. James Rushton, who commanded MCM Crew Constant aboard the ship Chief, was relieved of command “due to misconduct” following an investigation by his boss, Capt. Robert Hospodar, commodore of Mine Countermeasures Squadron 2 in San Diego, Naval Surface Forces spokesman Cmdr. Jason Salata said Thursday.
Rushton appeared at mast to face charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice of violating a lawful general order and conduct unbecoming an officer. Hospodar found that Rushton “violated the Navy’s fraternization policy by engaging in an unduly familiar relationship with a subordinate female member of his crew,” Salata said.
Hospodar on Wednesday also fired that crew member, Lt. Cmdr. Anne Laird, who has been serving as the XO, for “misconduct.”
Hospodar made the decision to relieve both officers “as a result of an investigation into a violation of the Navy’s fraternization policy,” Salata said.
I guess this gives new meaning to the phrase "The XO is sucking up to the Captain".

Bonus points for any comments that don't use bad words.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Provo, UT Girls

I have two boys in Provo -- one at the Missionary Training Center, another who is finishing up the semester at BYU and reports to the MTC next month.

For anyone who doesn't think us Mormons can't laugh at ourselves, check out this video:

"Silent Strike"

Here's a long video that The Pentagon Channel put out this month about submarines:

I haven't seen it yet (just got home from work, and need some sleep) but I assume it's pretty good. Let me know.

Update 1225 08 Dec: The submarines featured in the video are USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) and USS New Mexico (SSN 779).

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Future Submarine Numbers

Here's a decent overview of the issues surrounding submarine new construction budgeting and planning over the next 30 years. Excerpt:
The Navy operates 53 attack submarines, 44 of which are Los Angeles-class boats, with another 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and four Ohio-class guided missile submarines (SSGNs). Beginning in 2015, the service is embarking on a massive retirement plan, with remaining Los Angeles-class subs mothballed and replaced by Virginia-class attack vessels.
The Ohio-class SSBN’s will reach the end of their service life in 2027. Plans call for replacing 14 Ohio SSBNs with 12 new SSBNs starting in 2019. The Navy doesn’t plan on replacing the four SSGNs, converted from SSBNs after the Cold War, when they retire in the late 2020s...
...When it comes to replacing SSBNs, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated earlier this year that “the lead ship of the Ohio replacement class in 2019 will cost $13 billion,” with each successive ship coming in at about the $6-7-billion range, bringing the cost of the 12-ship replacement to about $99 billion. “That may leave scant room in the Navy’s stretched shipbuilding budgets to afford other vessels [on its] wish list,” the CBO stated. That $6-7-billion price tag comes to about half of the Navy’s annual $15-billion shipbuilding budget, which means that during the 15-year period (Fiscal 2019-33) when the Navy plans on building these ships, its ability to build other vessels would be severely restricted.
Under the Navy’s 2011 30-year Shipbuilding Plan, the service says it requires 48 attack submarines and four SSGNs “to sustain our capabilities in these areas.” Still, the service’s current plan puts it on course to purchase 44 attack submarines through 2040, which would not reach its desired number. According to CBO estimates, the number of attack submarines would sink to a low of 39 in 2030 before rising to 45 in the last five years of the plan. The number is expected to drop so dramatically due to the retirement of the Los Angeles-class submarines, while the Virginia class will not be built fast enough to replace them.
What do you think will happen? I expect that we'll see the 2 sub/year buy rate go away quickly as budgetary pressures increase, and eventually an SSBN based on the Virginia-class hull -- which will require a much smaller missile and concomitant R & D costs, along with a decision that we'll have to keep the subs closer to their targets to make up for the decreased range of the smaller missiles. (Here's a CRS report from last year with some detailed background information.)

What do you see in your crystal ball for how the submarine force will look, hull-wise, in 30 years? (If we can avoid talking about the gender or sexual orientation of the crews of said submarines for the purposes of this discussion, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Submarines In Media -- Good And Bad

This weekend, there was an article in the Virginian-Pilot about a new book that's coming out about the raising of the Soviet submarine K-129 back in the mid-70s. It looks pretty good.

On the bad side, here's a trailer for a new direct-to-video movie that re-imagines the Moby Dick story wherein Captain Ahab commands a submarine:

Starring the guy from Rocky Horror Picture Show, this could conceivably be the worst submarine movie of all time, supplanting Full Fathom Five.

What do you think is the worst submarine movie of all time?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Submarine Memorial Hits Snag

Efforts to put the sail of the USS Mariano G. Vallejo (SSBN 658) in a park in Vallejo, CA, have apparently hit a snag. Excerpts:
Before the city can consider a plan to move part of a former nuclear submarine to Alden Park, the island's master developer must report on the park's setting to determine the appropriateness of any proposed changes.
Lennar Mare Island and city officials say the report is being prepared. City officials say it is anticipated in March, but a company spokesman said no schedule for its completion has been set..
Meanwhile, the Mare Island Historic Park Foundation's proposal is on hold. It was submitted to the Vallejo planning department in August, when the requirement was discovered.
The project involves placing a 43-foot-long, 18-foot-tall section of the Mariano G. Vallejo -- estimated to weigh 65 tons -- in a corner of the park. The sail, its periscope and control room are all that's left of a submarine that was longer than a football field when launched in 1965 and mothballed in 1995.
The article goes on to say that they hoped to have the sail in place by the boat's next reunion in July, but that now looks problematic. Here's the crew website for more information on the Save Our Sail project.

Have you ever been involved in an effort to get a memorial established?