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SEA WOLF Cancellation

  • THE WALL STREET JOURNAL – January 7, 1992. “Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, carrying out budget cuts ordered by the White House, told the Navy’s top civilian official to slash plans for a multibillion-dollar fleet of advanced submarines, Pentagon officials said. “

‘The decision, which officials said was conveyed to Navy Secretary Lawrence Garrett amid unusual efforts to control leaks, is expected to cut about $6 billion from Pentagon spending plans through the end of 1995 and more than twice that much through the end of the decade.”

WASHINGTON POST-January 29, 1992. ”The $50 billion in defense savings outlined in President Bush’s State of the Union speech last night would include canceling the $2 billionper-copy SEA WOLF submarine and indefinitely delaying the Army’s next-generation ‘Block nr tank and RH-66 Comanche Light Helicopter, the largest weapons programs in the Army’s budget, according to lawmakers briefed on the president’s plan.

“Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney told key lawmakers in a closed-door briefing at the Capitol last night that future defense budgets will reflect a new emphasis on developing weapons technology but will stop short of production in many cases.”

  • INSIDE THE NAVY – February 3, 1992. “The legal dispute between Newport News Shipbuilding and the Navy over the award of what was to be the second SEA WOLF submarine to Electric Boat will continue despite Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney’s cancellation of the program, a source close to the lawsuit said. Cheney’s move has no immediate affect on the lawsuit because Congress has the final word on the cancellation, he said. There still are issues that have to be decided regardless of the cancellation. For example, the source said Newport News still will try to recover bid preparation costs.”
  • WASHINGTON TIMES – February 18, 1992. “President Bush’s attempt to cancel the governmenes order for two SEA WOLF submarines is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill. But the $2 billion SEA WOLF isn’t likely to go down without a fight.

“Rep. John Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat and chairman of a House Appropriations defense subcommittee, said he’s leaning toward approving Mr. Bush’s proposal because of the rapid change in the world military situation. ”

  • HARTFORD COURANT – February 25, 1992. “In the tumultuous month since President Bush said the Groton-built SEA WOLF submarine should sail into oblivion, backers of the once-sacrosanct ship and its Connecticut manufacturer have suddenly found themselves on the defensive.

“To shore up their support, they are preaching what amounts to a SEA WOLF Gospel.

“But they are being confronted with a growing group of skeptics, nonbelievers who now include members of Congress who once were unquestioningly on their side. “Those skeptics are challenging the assumption – and what ultimately may be the myths – that the SEA WOlFs backers are using to try to persuade their congressional co11eagues to keep the attack submarine.” Industrial Bose

  • NAVY NEWS & UNDERSEA TECHNOLOGY – February 3, 1992. “The Navy has 60 days to decide what impact the cancellation of the SSN-21 SEA WOLF will have on the submarine industrial base, and create a plan to preserve the ability to design and build subs in the future.

“The project was officiaUy canceled on Jan. 29 with the release of the Pentagon’s fiscal year 1993 budget request. ”

Almost two weeks earlier, the deputy secretary of defense wrote the secretary of the Navy and told him ‘the preservation of key nuclear-powered submarine design, production and maintenance capabilities is an important priority.’

“Donald Atwood Jr., in the Jan. 17 memo to Navy Secretary H. Lawrence Garrett Ill, wanted to know how to ‘maintain nuclear-powered submarine systems for the planned fleet; or design and produce such systems in the event of a need to reconstitute larger naval forces in the future, and that could not reasonably be re-established in a timely fashion to meet that need.’ Garrett was told to start preparing a plan ‘to achieve the appropriate, affordable preservation of essential, unique capabilities.’

“Atwood’s memo was based ‘on an assumption for analytical purposes of a decision not to proceed with the SSN-21 SEA WOLF program! He used identical language five days later in a memo to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the undersecretaries of defense, and the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence.

“The Jan. 22 memo calls upon the assistant secretary to prepare ‘an assessment of future threats to American interests for which submarine forces are needed, in light of other forces available.’ ”

‘It calls on the JCS chairman to ‘identify the size and capabilities of the submarine force essential to meet the threats identified in the above assessment’ and ‘review operational uses of existing submarines for adjustments that could if necessary safely extend their useful lives.’

“Atwood’s memo calls for the undersecretary of defense for acquisition to ‘review the capacity available in public and private shipyards for submarine overhaul, repair, missile conversion and refueling’ and make recommendations for greater efficiency.

“The Navy has 60 days to complete its part of the effort; the other three tasks will be integrated by the joint chiefs of staff into a ‘comprehensive plan’ and submitted to Atwood within 180 days.”

  • U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT- February 10, 1992. “The Bush administration’s effort to cut defense spending by $50 billion by 1997 is in effect an attempt to mothball much of the nation’s defense industry. The administration wants to stop production of today’s planes, helicopters, tanks and nuclear attack submarines but to continue developing the weapons of the future, including the Strategic Defense Initiative. The Pentagon, in other words, is betting that if the nation calls them again, America’s shipbuilding, aircraft and tank industries will still be there to answer. Now that the arms race with the Soviet Union has ended, that makes sense for the Pentagon. But it does not necessarily make economic sense.

“The Defense Department wants to fund research and development of ‘next generation’ weapons such as the Army’s Comanche helicopter and Block ill tank and the Navy’s A-X aircraft and Centurion submarine without guaranteeing that it will ever buy any of the weapons. Historically, however, defense contractors have used profits from weapons production to help pay for research and development ‘The expectation of profitable production runs has kept companies in the defense business,’ a report by the congressional Office of Technology Assessment concluded recently.

“So for the Pentagon’s strategy to work, research and development will have to be made profitable. And that will cost money. ‘The Pentagon must be willing to pay companies for systems that may not work,’ says Gordon Adams, director of the independent Defense Budget Project. Adds one congressional expert: ‘Paying enough for research will give people sticker shock!

“‘A radical departure.’ Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney acknowledges that the approach needs more work. ‘The new acquisition approach will require us to go back and take a new look and require industry to take a look at research and development,’ he told reporters last week. ‘This is going to be a radical departure from the way we’ve done business in the past.’ “So far, however, the Pentagon appears to be relying ‘on the ability of individual companies to convert from defense to consumer production – and then back again, when required,’ as a recent Pentagon report on the defense industrial base put it. Many industry executives doubt the transition back and forth can be made smoothly. ‘Defense companies that have ventured into the commercial market have met with dismal and costly failure across the board,’ says Bernard Schwartz, chief executive officer of the Lora) Corp., a defense electronics manufacturer.

“Moreover, stopping production of major weapons will affect not just prime contractors but also thousands of smaller firms. Canceling production of armored vehicles will hurt not only General Dynamics Corp., which makes the M-1 Abrahms tank, but also the smaller components for the tank’s laser range finder. Cancellation of the SEA WOLF could mean closing one of the nation’s two nuclear shipyards, General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Division in Groton, Conn., but it also could endanger the makers of the specialized nuclear reactors that power submarines. ‘The Pentagon will need an industrial policy is the upshot,’ says Stephen Daggett, a defense budget analyst at the Congressional Research Service”

  • INSIDE 1HE PENTAGON – February 13, 1992. “Spelling out his plan for preserving the defense industrial base, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Les Aspin (D-WI) yesterday (Feb 12) said the Pentagon must build on its new acquisition plan to create a more “comprehensive resource strategy” to ensure key production elements of the base are kept in tact.

“Aspin praised the Pentagon’s new thinking reflected in the latest acquisition strategy, which he said is based largely on his own ‘rollover’ plan of two years ago, but said it fell short of assuring the longevity of the U.S. defense base. He laid out a four·point plan to keep research and development programs strong while also keeping open key production elements of the base through limited production.

-“The plan calls for:

  • Selective upgrading of existing weapons systems;
  • Selective low·rate procurements;
  • A so.-called ‘rollover·plus’ strategy of keeping technology fresh through continuous research and development programs that incorporate a greater utility of prototypes and manufacturing technologies; and
  • Small·volume ‘silver bullet’ procurements of revolutionary weapons, such as the F-117, that can alter battlefield operations.

-“The Pentagon announced two weeks ago its new acquisition strategy, which emphasizes r&d programs and ‘prototyping’ while deferring decisions to produce systems unless certain criteria are meL Namely that the technology of the system has been proven out, that there’s a threat-based need for the system, or that the systems would offer a revolutionary advantage in battlefield operations.”

  • INSIDE THE NAVY – February 17, 1992. “The new acquisition policy being implemented by the Department of Defense (DOD) – placing more emphasis on research and development than on production — will not allow for the production of weapons just to support the industrial base above inventory needs, according to DOD Comptroller Sean O’Keefe. The support of the submarine industrial base is the key argument of the Connecticut congressional delegation in their fight to save the second and third SEA WOLF submarines.

“Reaction to the new acquisition strategy has been positive, O’Keefe said. ‘We’ve gotten good early returns but not all of the polling sites have reported in; he said. It does make some operational sense for certain weapon systems to move into low rate initial production, he said, and DOD is looking at limited production numbers for some items. The shift in acquisition strategies clearly presents an industrial base problem,

O’Keefe conceded. ‘But it will be tough to sell a 1970s acquisition strategy (low production numbers with high per unit costs) to the American public,’ he said. The Connecticut congressional delegation is arguing the loss of technological capability between the completion of the first SEA WOLF and the next generation of submarine will be irretrievable if the additional SEA WOLFs are not built. “O’Keefe does not think the loss of suppliers on major defense programs will lead to higher production costs. (If items are not being produced, the vendor base will dry up, according to many defense-industry analysts.) He does see definite problems with certain supply areas particularly with Navy nuclear reactors. Outside of nuclear submarines there is no market for the vendor to sell to, he said.”

  • INSIDE THE PENTAGON-March 19, 1992. “Adm. Bruce DeMars, head of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program, last week took his fight for the Navy’s submarine program directly to Capitol Hill, sending lawmakers a report that recommends restarting production of the SSN-688 attack submarine – a proposal that runs counter to the Administration’s defense plan submitted in January.

“‘The March 3 report states that, with the cancellation of the SEA WOLF submarine program, the Navy will irretrievably lose a significant portion of its submarine industrial base before construction of the next-generation submarine, the Centurion, begins in FY-98. Consequently, DeMars recommends drawing down the attack submarine force from 85 to 60 boats through the early retirement of SSN-688 submarines, and then applying the savings toward building improved SSN-688s until the Centurion comes on line. The plan calls for building five SSN688s, one per year, until FY-98. ‘

“A hiatus in the submarine construction program until then would make it virtually impossible to design or build Centurion,’ the report states. ‘It would effectively foreclose the ability to reconstitute a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine design and construction capability later.’

“Although the report was written for Deputy Defense Secretary Donald Atwood, who tasked the Navy to study the submarine industrial base, DeMars also sent a copy last week to key members of the House Armed Services Committee, including Chairman U:s Aspin (D-WI).” Collision.

  • WASHINGTON POST-February 19, 1992. “‘The Pentagon disclosed yesterday that a U.S. submarine on an intelligencegathering mission near the Russian port of Munnansk collided last week with a submarine operated by the Commonwealth of Independent States.

“Moscow authorities said the collision occurred inside Russian territorial waters and blamed the United States for the accident, which apparently caused no injuries. Pentagon officials gave a different account, saying the LOS ANGELESclass attack submarine, the USS BATON ROUGE, was operating in international waters above the Arctic Circle in the Barents Sea at the time of the accident. ”

‘The officials said the submarine was at periscope depth when it was struck by a Russian SIERRA-class submarine as the Russian sub surfaced 14 miles from the Kola Peninsula, home of the former Soviet Union’s Northern Fleet. The BATON ROUGE was not damaged and is expected to return to its home port of Norfolk next week, officials said.”

  • JOURNAL OF COMMERCE – February 19, 1992. “U.S. Defense Secretary Dick Cheney said Tuesday he was not surprised by the collision of American and Commonwealth of Independent States attack submarines in the Barents Sea and saw no reason to change U.S. Naval operations. “

‘We have a number of subs operating out of there,’ he said. ‘It’s an important part of our security and I don’t have any reason to believe there”s any fundamental problem here that requires any change in our policies!

“Mr. Cheney refused to discuss any previous collisions but told reporters traveling with him from Guatemala City that the Feb. 11 undersea accident occurred ‘several miles’ away from the 12-mile international limit off the Russian coast.

“Mr. Cheney said Washington later informed Moscow only as a post-Cold War courtesy that an American submarine was involved.”

  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE- February 20, 1992. “‘The Navy said Wednesday it will conduct a one-officer investigation into the nuclear submarine USS BATON ROUGE’s collision with a Russian sub near Russia’s Arctic coast.

“Rear Adm. Howard Haberrneyer will conduct the informal investigation into the Feb. 11 collision as the BATON ROUGE was cruising at periscope depth close to the shoreline at the mouth of Kola Bay.

“Haberrneyer is commander of Submarine Group 2, which includes the BATON ROUGE. His appointment prompted criticism from some former naval officers that the inquiry does not meet the test of independent investigation.

“Independent U.S. analysts said the U.S. attack submarine probably was on an intelligence-gathering mission near the Russian coastline, monitoring the activities of Russian submarines operating out of their main base opening to the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic.”

  • WASHINGTON POST- February 21, 1992. “QUOTES OF THE WEEK. 7he seas are free for everybody to operate in -our, theirs, everybody else’s.’ Admiral Frank B. Kelso, chief of U.S. naval operations, on the collision of the USS BATON ROUGE submarine and a Russian sub off the Russian Arctic coast last week.”
  • SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER- February 24, 1992. “When the nuclear attack submarine BATON ROUGE arrives in Norfolk, Va., tomorrow, naval investigators will begin a probe into its collision with a Soviet-built sub on Feb. 11 in the Barents Sea near Murmansk.

“The key question will be why the collision occurred, not why the BATON ROUGE’s mission took place.

“Although it may seem ironic that disclosure of the collision occurred while Secretary of State James Baker was in Moscow last week concluding an agreement with Russian officials to set up a joint early warning system against missile attack, Navy insiders say the voyagf! of the BATON ROUGE is more than a relic of the Cold War.

“Despite the thaw in relations, U.S. intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance efforts aimed at the former Soviet Union will continue to have a high priority, senior Navy officials and others say.

“The BATON ROUGE incident is in the context of a 30-year history of top-secret surveillance by the Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet. ‘

“That’s’s what John Paul Jones got his name for – driving ships in places of the world where people might not have expected American ships to go; Adm. Frank Kelso IT, chief of naval operations, said last week. “I don’t think this incident is going to change that.'” Submarine News

  • BALTIMORE SUN – February 9, 1992. “U.S. military intelligence analysts believe that Iran will take delivery of its first Russian-built attack submarine by June, despite recent U.S. attempts to persuade Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin to drop the sale.

“That raises the possibility that Iranian submarines in the straits leading into the Persian Gulf will threaten commercial shipping, drive up oil prices and trigger a naval arms race that could ignite another war in the region, a senior Pentagon official said.

“Intelligence analysts have taken seriously Iran’s expressed intention to control the Strait of Hormuz, although they don’t think Iran will be able to use a submarine force effectively for several years, he said.”

  • SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER February 12, 1992 “Federal and state environmental inspectors are looking into the possible airborne release of toxic asbestos at Bremerton’s Puget Sound Naval Shipyard following complaints from workers, officials said.

“Inspections have been underway since Jan. 30, but state and federal experts have yet to gain access to several key areas because they have not obtained Navy security clearances, officials said.

“The security issue has delayed testing and a final report that could result in fines against the shipyard under federal environmental regulations.

“The alleged exposure involved materials being removed from a deactivated nuclear-powered submarine being scrapped, shipyard spokesman, Donald L Ricks said Monday. One site under investigation included two cargo pallets containing pipe sections that had been removed from a submarine.

“The shipyard is involved in a program to dispose of deactivated nuclear submarines. In a complex process, radioactive spent nuclear fuel is removed, reactor compartments are sealed and cut off the submarine hull for barge shipment to Hanford for land burial, and the rest of the submarine is dismantled.

“Since 1986, 21 nuclear subs have been dismantled and their reactors buried at Hanford, Ricks said. Currently, four submarines are being disassembled.”

  • UPI February 20, 1992. “Electric Boat may close its Quonset Point, Rl plant as early as 1993 if President Bush succeeds in scuttling the SEA WOLF attack submarine program, EB general manager Roger Tetrault told Congress yesterday. Tetrault asked a House subcommittee to help spare the second and third SEA WOLF submarines, already authorized by Congress, from the budget axe and buy the shipyard three more years of time. “
  • INSIDE TilE PENTAGON – February 13, 1992. -nte number of submarines possessed by potentially hostile Third World nations is expected to decline by 10 percent by the end of the century, according to the director of Naval Intelligence. Testifying last week before the House Armed Services Committee, Rear Admiral Edward Sheafer said increasing costs of diesel submarines and tighter budgets are putting the squeeze on developing nations, reducing significantly the submarine threat to the United States. ‘Other than Iran, which has Kn..O class submarines on order from the Commonwealth oflndependent States (CIS), few, if any, other developing countries are expected to become new seagoing submarine operators over the next decade,’ he said.

“In addition, he said that submarine production in the former Soviet republics will likely decline by about 60% during the next several years — from nine submarines to between three and three and one-half submarines each year. ‘Fleet Admiral Chemavin recently stated the CIS Navy hopes to produce two general-purpose nuclear-powered submarines per year but that the likely foreseeable rate will be one to one and one and onehalf per year,’ Sheafer told lawmakers. ‘He also indicated that only one diesel boat could be built for the Soviet Navy each year with a second boat each year for export.’

“Shearer’s testimony highlighted the declining submarine threat world wide and indirectly underscored the Pentagon’s reason for terminating the SSN-21 SEA WOLF program. The SSN-21 was designed primarily as an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) platform to counter Soviet submarines. But the Soviet threat, and the threat form non-Soviet nations, wiD decline dramatically during the next decade.

“Sheafees testimony also caps a year-and-one-half debate within the Navy regarding Third World submarines Qnside the Penta&on. Sept 20. 1990. pt). Navy leaders at one time claimed that 41 nations besides the United States and Soviet Union possessed about 400 submarines, and up to 30 of these nations posed a potential threat to the U.S. interests. But Sheafer strongly discounted the threat from non-CIS nations.” Miscellaneous

  • WAVES (Formerly SUBNOTES)- January/February 1992. “Vice Admiral Yogi Kaufman, USN(Ret) presented a brief photo-essay on the Soviet TYPHOON class SSBN in the November 1991 Proceedings of the Naval Institute. He, along with a Discovery Channel crew that is doing a 1V documentary on the history of submarine warfare, was given access to the largest submarine ever built in Severodvinsk. His color photographs of the TYPHOON are truly amazing. An experienced submarine officer himself, Admiral Kaufman said when he first got alongside of the ballistic missile sub, ‘It’s not a sub, ies a … mountain!’

“The USS GUITARRO (SSN-665), one of the first STURGEON class nuclear attack submarines, has been decommissioned. She was commissioned in September 1972 and has many firsts in her distinguished career. Built at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, she suffered an embarrassing moment when a batch was left open and she sank dockside prior to commissioning. The joke was at the time that Admiral Rickover rushed to the stricken vessel, stood on the dock and said, ‘Arise!’

“The Royal Navy will have to take out of service or stand down its new diesel subs until a flaw in the torpedo tube launch system is corrected. Using a completely new system, HMS UPHOLDER, first of the class, discovered while on trials that water could inadvertently flow into the torpedo tubes. UK officials blame the design fault on the Admiralty Research Establishment and not on the prime contractor, VSEL. It will take about £10 million to correct the problem on UPHOLDER, UNSEEN and URSULA. UNICORN, which is presently under construction would have the corrected design incorporated before it become wet.

“The first French nuclear submarine, LE REDOUT ABLE (SSBN) will be scrapped after 20 years of service. During 58 missions, LE REDOUT ABLE has spent 83,000 hours under the sea, sailed over 400,000 miles, with 20 different commanding officers and 2,500 crew members of all grades. The Brest shipyard has spent 6.6 million work hours for the three drydockings of this sub and 4 million move hours on maintenance work on this submarine.”

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