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.)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I'll Give 5:1 Odds This Admiral Retires Soon

Rather than the O-5s and E-8s that normally make the news for getting relieved of their duties for some moral failing we're used to seeing, we've now got an O-9 making the news: Submariner VADM Timothy Giardina is being prohibited from doing any part of his duties as Deputy Commander of STRATCOM that require a security clearance, reportedly due to a problem with counterfeit chips being used at a western Iowa casino. Vice Admiral Giardina previously commanded USS Kentucky (SSBN 737)(Gold) and SUBRON 17, and was XO on USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 709).

While this investigation seems to be focused on the felonious nature of the alleged charges, it got me to thinking about the various reasons people can get their security clearances denied or pulled. I've always figured that anything that left someone open to possible blackmail (adultery, puppy molesting) or more likely to sell secrets (really bad indebtedness, being philosophically predisposed to support an adversary's political system) was fair game, but I wondered what they'd do in the case where someone was clearly a moral cesspool but everyone knew about it. ("Yeah, he's a whoremonger on deployment, but everyone including his wife and girlfriends know about it, so he's good to go for that TS/SCI"...)

While I hope it's all a big misunderstanding and Admiral Giardina can clear his name, it's a cautionary tale for everyone in the military -- if you're ever accused of making a mistake, expect it to be splashed all over the front page.

Update 1030 10 Oct: VADM Giardina was relieved of his post yesterday.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Foreign Submarine Articles

Here are some recent articles from the international press about submarines:

1) An interesting article on the Israeli submarine force.

2) A discussion on the future of the Australian submarine force, along with a report of some problems with their existing boats.

3) Another submarine shipyard fire, this time in Russia.

4) The 70th anniversary of one of the great British submarine exploits during WWII.

Who are your favorite foreign Submariners?

Update 1802 26 Sep: Once again, I completely forgot about my blogiversary. TTSBP started 9 years ago this month with this post. Thanks to all the commenters for making this community what it is. Hopefully I won't forget my 10th next year.

Update 1903 29 Sep: In U.S. submarine news, CDR Richard N. Massie, Commanding Officer, USS Maine (SSBN 741)(Gold) was named the PACFLT winner of the 2013 Stockdale Award.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Navy Yard Attack

While we don't have all the information yet, including the full list of the victims or a motive behind the attacks, our prayers to out to all the families of those hurt in the cowardly attack at the Washington Navy Yard yesterday.

It was almost surreal seeing my friends -- including one old shipmate who works in the next building over -- checking in safe on Facebook. When we joined the Submarine Force, we knew there was inherent danger in what we did; we just didn't figure that working in an office building could be one of the dangerous things.

I don't want to get started on the politics of the situation too soon, but I'm hoping that this, along with the Ft. Hood terrorist attack, will start a movement towards an understanding that active duty military personnel should be allowed to be armed at all times when on active duty during wartime.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Submarine Funding

Yesterday was Submarine Day at the House Armed Services Committee; some stories about the testimony given by RADM Breckenridge (N87) and RADM Johnson (PEO SUBS) are here and here. Highlight:
“With the accelerated retirement of Los Angeles-class submarines, our nation will drop below the 48-boat goal starting in 2025,” said Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., chairman of the HASC Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. “We need to ensure strategy drives our budget and that we give a voice to our combatant commanders. We need to be sure that we provide them with every resource.”
The Navy’s current fleet of 55 attack submarines, or SSNs, will drop down to 42, Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, director of undersea warfare said in written testimony . Four guided missile submarines, or SSGNs, will retire and the Navy’s current fleet of 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, or SSBNs, will drop to 10, Breckenridge wrote.
“The total submarine force will drop from 73 to 52 ships — a cut of 29 percent – before rebounding in the 2030s. The vertical strike payload volume provided by the undersea force will drop by well over half. This trough is borne of the submarine shipbuilding hiatus of the 1990s, and no realistic build plan could now prevent it,” said Breckenridge.
Other discussion centered on how the Navy was basically assuming Congress would come up for the money for the Government-Furnished Equipment (GFE) for new submarines in time, rather than paying for it up front.

Where do you see the Submarine Funding wars going? Are we Congress will generate more funding to be able to stay above the 45 boat threshold, or will we actually bottom out at 42?

Saturday, September 07, 2013

USS Minnesota (SSN 783) Joins The Fleet

Welcome aboard, USS Minnesota! Here's a link to the video of the commissioning ceremony.