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.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Attack Subs Moving West

More examples of secrecy going down the tubes today. On the same day that announces that the "United States Navy plans to secretly transfer submarines from its Atlantic to Pacific fleet" we see announcements from Congresspersons that the boats are going to be transferred... maybe it's not as big a secret as the overseas papers would like us to believe.

Anyway, the news is full today of stories talking about the Navy's plans to move six attack boats out west; the first two Seawolf-class boats to Washington State, three LAs to San Diego, and an additional LA to Pearl; Guam will apparently stay at 3 boats.

The move of USS Seawolf (SSN 21) and USS Connecticut (SSN 22) to the Puget Sound was expected, although I admit I was taken by surprise by the initial announcement that the boats would be going to Bremerton Naval Base, rather than the Sub Base at Bangor. The Congressman's later "clarification" that the Navy hadn't decided between Bangor and Bremerton made me think that the Congressman had messed up his announcement, and was trying to save face.

This Seattle P-I article says that the other boats that are moving, sometime before 2010, are USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) from Groton to San Diego, USS Jacksonville (SSN 699) from Norfolk to Pearl, and USS Hampton (SSN 767) from Norfolk to SD. The 3rd boat moving to San Diego hasn't been identified yet, but since all the PacFleet VLS boats are stationed there, it could easily be one of the newer boats -- maybe a Virginia named after a Pacific Ocean state?

The articles all mention the same final numbers of attack boats at each port -- Guam 3, San Diego 7, Pearl 18, and Kitsap County 3, for a total of 31 on the West Coast, leaving 21 on the East Coast -- Groton dropping from 17 to 14, and Norfolk from 11 to 7. Since the East Coast is losing one more boat than the West Coast is gaining, and we'll still be bringing Virginia's into the fleet, I think this is telling us that the number of attack boats we'll be decommissioning in the next four years is one more than the number we'll be commissioning.

My opinion --it's a good move. I've said before that the most likely locations for wars involving submarines that we don't start are off Korea and Taiwan, and having boats closer to the action makes sense -- but maybe not too close, which might be why Guam didn't plus up. Also, if something happens in the Straits of Hormuz, it's nice not to have to think about transiting the Suez Canal...


Blogger Chap said...

Yeah, no way would this be a secret. Takes, what, $100 million for a homeport change; hundreds of families affected long term; pier loading changes; shipyard loading is affected both steady state and surge; both congresscritters from the gaining and losing state get a say, et cetera, et cetera.

It only took, what, ten years?

2/28/2006 11:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh geez! There's no more room in San Diego!

2/28/2006 1:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have e-mailed you this, but I need anonymity!
Please blog about the USNAAA board vote of retired sub Admiral Carlisle Trost versus BGEN Draud.

2/28/2006 2:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter from Tom Draude '62 requesting your write-in vote for Chair

I am Tom Draude '62 and have sent you this email as I wish to be
considered for Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the USNA Alumni
Association. I ask for your support as a write-in candidate. I
believe it is time to bring new faces and fresh ideas to the
leadership of the Alumni Association and make its leadership more
representative of, and responsive to, its wide membership. I
respectfully request you to write in "Tom Draude `62" for Chairman on
the tear out ballot in your upcoming March issue of Shipmate. I also
request that you forward this email to as many other USNA alumni as
possible, because I have no way within the current alumni system to
get the word out to many of our alumni. Please allow me a few minutes
of your time to accomplish the following objectives: to explain why I
want to be Chairman of the Board of Trustees; to describe why I think
I should be elected as a "write-in" candidate; and, to tell you
something of myself.
Why do I want to be Chairman of the Alumni Association Board of
In short, I'm motivated to become Chairman because I want to continue
to serve, and believe I bring new leadership talents to this critical
position that will address some fundamental problems with your Alumni
There seems to be a conviction that only a retired four-star admiral
is qualified for Chairman. This was driven home to me when I was
nominated by the former Commandant of the Marine Corps for Chairman
in October, informed I was a candidate later that month by the head
of the Nominating Committee, and then informed by the same Nominating
Committee head nearly three weeks later (and after some prompting
from me) that I was dismissed as a candidate because of the Board's
desire to select a single candidate. (The by-laws allow more than one
candidate and the Nominating Committee put out a call to all alumni
for recommendations for Chairman candidates then rejected me in
favor of a single candidate slate -- after it had approved me. When I
replied that this sounded like an Endorsing Committee of the current
Chairman rather than a true Nominating Committee, its head agreed.)
Concurrently, I received a "peacemaking call" from a senior trustee
of the Alumni Association to explain to me that this is the way
things are always done for the Chairman slot. Under pressure from a
few Trustees the Nominating Committee was dissolved at the December
BOT meeting, and a new one was appointed. The same senior trustee
that made the "peacemaking call" to explain how things are done was
appointed to head the new Nominating Committee. To no one's surprise,
the new committee subsequently sent forward a single name for
Chairman, the incumbent.
This sort of nonsense should not be allowed to continue. The Board of
Trustees should not be a "Good Old Boys Club" of only very senior
retired officers. It's time to bring in some fresh faces with fresh
ideas. When did we become change-averse or tied to the belief that
effective leadership resided only in those who wore four stars? I
believe in diversity and to me that means the leadership of the
Alumni Association should be representative of its membership who are
very diverse in their make up, and include mid-range officers;
civilians; young/old; female/male; etc.
I believe it's time to give the Association back to the alumni rather
than reside in a small, tightly knit group. I do not question their
motives, but I do question their ability to lead without realistic
representation or feedback from the alumni.
Why do I think I should be elected?
First, my success in this endeavor requires you to do more than check
a block. My name is not next to any block. You must write in my name
as a candidate for me to be elected.
I think you should elect me because of who and what I am and what I
bring to the position of Chairman. In the bio at the end of this
email, I fill in some gaps regarding my ties to the Academy. I think
you should also know something more about me.
I believe in commitment. My wife Sandi (a former USMC Second
Lieutenant) and I just celebrated our 39th year of marriage. Two of
our children received NROTC scholarships and were commissioned in the
Navy. Loree was an S-3 carrier pilot, LSO, and instructor pilot who
made two Middle East deployments before she left the Navy. My older
son Patrick is an intelligence officer who returned in October from
an assignment in Iraq.

I believe in leadership. My 30 $B".(B years on active duty reinforced in
me that leadership in combat and in peacetime requires a focus on
accomplishing the mission and on taking care of your troops. That
focus served me well in my three stints in Vietnam and during Desert
Storm. I carried that focus with me as I joined another great outfit
after my Marine Corps retirement in 1993 USAA.
I believe in customer service. In over ten years with USAA, I also
acquired an appreciation for one of its strongest attributes:
customer service. I saw this in action while I was at the Home Office
in San Antonio, at its Federal Savings Bank, and at the Western and
Southeast regions of its Property and Casualty Division that I
headed. Our representatives simply put themselves in the place of the
member and asked themselves, "What would I want to happen to show
that I'm valued?" Then, within laws and regulations, the rep did it.
A leadership that cared about them and their families also reinforced
our culture. We showed we cared by showing up, by being there, and we
were very successful.
My experience with the Alumni Association's Board of Trustees and
both Nominating Committees leads me to believe that the caring part
of customer service, of leadership, is largely missing in our Alumni
Association. Frankly, any meaningful change must start at the top.
That's why I want to be Chairman. I intend to bring the USAA culture
of customer service to the Alumni Association, and you are its
I promise to do a thorough review of our By-Laws and Operating Manual
to ensure the processes of nominations and selection of candidates
will be inclusive of all alumni, not exclusively a small, select
I promise to engage the Board in a governance process to ensure
closer involvement in the interests and needs of constituencies that
need to be heard.
If elected, I promise to employ the leadership skills that have
served me well. I promise to listen and to lead a Board that will
listen. I promise to return the Association to its Alumni.
I respectfully request that you look for the tear out ballot in the
March issue of Shipmate as soon as it arrives, and write-in "Tom
Draude `62" for Chairman. I also request that you forward this email
to as many other USNA alumni as possible, because I have no way
within the current alumni system to get the word out to many of our
An Informal Biography of Tom Draude `62
I don't plan to replay my bio in different words, but would like to
fill in the gaps with information not normally found in a bio.
6 June 1962 was the day of two great accomplishments in my life: I
graduated from USNA and I became a Marine. Both were dreams I had as
a boy growing up in Kankakee, Illinois, the son of a German immigrant
and grandson of an Irish immigrant. My appointment came through Rip
Miller, Assistant Director of Athletics at the time, who assisted me
in entering as a Qualified Alternate and playing football as a 165
lb. guard/linebacker. Because my shoulder suffered recurrent
dislocations in my plebe year, my playing days were soon finished,
but my dreams came true!
Since only 7-$B".(B % of my class could become Marines (and I had no
previous service in the Corps), I knew I had to graduate high in my
class. I studied hard, graduated with distinction, and became one of
the 59 Marines in my class.
I was asked to stay at the Academy after graduation to serve as a
drill and marksmanship officer along with four other Second
Lieutenants and delayed my start at The Basic School until December
Seven years later would find me in Vietnam for the third time,
advising a battalion of Vietnamese Marines. While in the field, I was
informed by radio that my next assignment was a three-year tour at
Marine Barracks, Bermuda. I knew this was a choice assignment, one
that most Marines would relish. But I believed that since the Academy
had done so much for me that I owed it something in return my
service. Therefore, I requested that my orders be changed to allow me
to be a Company Officer. My request was granted and I became 14th
Company Officer for two years and the Performance Officer in the
Office of the Commandant my last year. I never regretted my decision.

In 1992, I served on the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of
Women in the Armed Forces. I was one of 15 Commissioners and one of
two active duty officers. We spent nine months interviewing and
visiting a cross-section of civilians and military personnel
including cadets and midshipmen. This experience was a revelation to
me regarding the capabilities of women and the value they could add.
I had served with women in Desert Storm and became more convinced of
their value if given a chance. I saw a better Marine Corps
developing during my final years on active duty because of diversity.
In 1997, I headed USAA's Southeast Region in Tampa and was asked to
serve on a special committee reporting to the USNA Board of Visitors.
This was a challenging period for the Academy (e.g., car theft ring,
drugs), and my group focused on professional development. We were
able to interview Academy staff and midshipmen and provided
recommendations that resulted in addressing and solving some of these
After my retirement from USAA in 2003, I succeeded in focusing the
efforts of our USNA Alumni Tampa chapter on helping the local Blue
and Gold Officers. Our members were able to assist at high school
presentations and college nights by our presence and our ability to
answer initial questions of students and their parents. I also was
honored to speak to those students selected for appointments and
their parents at Navy League dinners.
I am a Life Member of the Alumni Association, a member of the USNA
Foundation (Athletics and Scholarships), and a member of the
President's Circle. I have donated a seat at the Stadium dedicated to
the Marines of the Rifle Company I commanded in Vietnam.
In sum, I am a committed alumnus who has actively sought to serve the
Academy while on Active Duty and while retired. I will continue to do
so. I respectfully request you to write in "Tom Draude `62" for
Chairman on the tear out ballot in your upcoming March issue of
Shipmate. I also request that you forward this email to as many other
USNA alumni as possible, because I have no way within the current
alumni system to get the word out to many of our alumni. Thank you
and may God bless you and your family.

Semper Fidelis,
Tom Draude `62
BGen, USMC (Ret.)

2/28/2006 2:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The decisions are being driven by infrastructure costs, both Guam and Bangor/Bremerton.

As for Guam, there was enough excess infrastructure for three boats moved there, due to other Navy AND Air Force functions shutting down on the island. So there was family housing, barracks, schools, etc. And these boats would otherwise have been decomed, so no loss to any state (all first flight 688s scheduled for decom).

The Surface Navy looked at basing ships in Guam too (like a carrier - I had to point out to them that a carrier wouldn't fit in the Navy's inner Apra Harbor, and you can't remove coral). The bottom line is there is no support in Congress to move ships from a state to a territory, given the infrastructure costs. The sub force might be able to squeeze in one more boat, but that is it. Then you have the maintenance capacity of the tender, adding in 2 SSGNs for every other refit (or 2 of 3).

More boats in Guam is probably best for the nation, but it won't get through Congress. As I heard a Congressman state in 2001, Guam doesn't have a vote in Congress.

Next, Bangor. The original design was for two Delta Piers. Only one was built. The 1980ish EIR is no longer valid, so with the salmon and orca issues in the Puget Sound, they are not going to build another pier. Yes, there is EHW and Marginal Piers. The only way you can put more boats at Bangor is to upgrade the infrastructure (mostly power, my data could be old on this, maybe it has been done). This isn't that expensive. It also helps that the local congressman (Norm Dicks) has been referred to as the third Senator of Washington (by a Washington Senator). But Bremerton, 15 miles by road away, has pier space.

And yes, San Diego has lots of room, but little maintenance capability these days.

3/01/2006 1:23 AM


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