Captain Tarquin is a retired submarine officer who ls currently President of Sargent Controls and Co-Chairman of the Submarine Industrial Base Council. He is a member of the Naval Submarine League Board of Directors.
I joined Sargent Controls in January 1991. At that time, the company had a long history, since the early 1950s, of supplying hydraulic hardware for the U.S. nuclear submarines. In January 1991, Sargent Controls had a healthy $40 million backlog which consisted of the final four 688s, two of the last three Tridents and USS SEAWOLF (SSN 21). The future looked bright, since the Navy planned to build several Seawolfs before the turn of the century. The total number was in question at that time; anywhere from 12 to 29 … enough business to feel secure in my new job.
Then came President Bush’s State of the Union address a year later, and suddenly this booming business turned into a disaster overnight. The President announced cancellation of the Seawolf Program with only one ship authorized. Since Sargent was a company with one product line (quiet hydraulic components) and one end user, U.S. Navy submarines, it did not take a brain surgeon to understand the nature and extent of the problem. We could not export-technology too sensitive and we could not commercialize there is no market for hydraulic valves that produce a noise level below background! So, I did the only thing I could do-I updated my resume.
As it turned out, there were many other companies that faced the same situation. They are, in general, all manufacturers of submarine-unique equipment and all faced extinction by the President’s decision. Without even considering the shipbuilders themselves, the nation’s capability to build submarines also faced extinction.
With this scenario in place, and out of necessity-not only for individual company survival, but for the survival of national resource-the Submarine Industrial Base Council (SIBC) was founded. To be more exact, the original name was the Submarine Industrial Base Preservation Council (the word Preservation was removed in 1995 after the second and third Seawolfs had been authorized and the New Attack Submarine Program initiated). The initial meeting occurred in April 1992, and we have met annually, each Spring ever since.
The SIBC provides a platform for its members-more than 250 companies nationwide-to tell their unique and individual stories to U.S. policymakers and the American public. The council represents the more than 3,000 businesses, large and small, that make up the nation’s submarine industrial base.
This ad hoc organization of contractors and subcontractors that design and manufacture a broad range of components for nuclear submarines educates policymakers about the necessity of preserving the nation’s ability to design, build, and maintain submarines-a unique and vital part of the nation’s overall defense structure. If Congress had canceled the Seawolf Program, critical technology and industrial capability would have perished.
Operating under- the umbrella of the SIBC, individual companies launch joint efforts that reinforce the message that we must not allow short-term considerations to weaken our long-term defense capabilities.
The council serves as a forum for arguing, in practical terms, that continuing to build nuclear submarines is essential to the maintenance of the defense industrial base, and that the cost of terminating or reconstituting those programs exceeds the cost of continuing production.
Council membership is ongoing and open to individuals and companies, including submarine contractors and subcontractors committed to or concerned about the preservation of the submarine industrial base. Member businesses range from the smallest specialty shops to Electric Boat Corporation of General Dynamics, which provides funding for administrative support. All activities are voluntary, there is no membership fee, and expenses are borne by each individual company.
Advancing positions through the news media and interested third parties, the council issues media statements and other documents and encourages dialogue with decision and policy makers.
At the local level, council members in key states and congressional districts serve as spokespersons, meet with the media and public officials, and solicit support from local business and civic
In short. the SIBC achieves its goals through a program of public policy advocacy, development and distribution of educational and policy materials, and facilitates debate on defense priorities in the post Cold War era. Based on the fact that submarine construction continues, I believe we have been successful in achieving our goals. But, since this will be an issue with each budget before Congress, the need for this organization continues into the future.
The 1998 Dolphin Cartoon Calendars are now available. This year marks the 35’h Anniversary of the calendar’s publication. This special edition is highlighted with two color photographs on the large calendar’s cover and a sampling of cartoons on the inside pages of the pocket-sized version.
The talent and humor displayed in the anniversary issue highlights aspects of submarine life ranging from rough seas tribulations to a child’s view of Dad’s comings and goings. The cartoons continue to be a quirky window into the unique life we all lead as members of the submarine community.
As always, proceeds from calendar sales benefit the 100 sons and daughters of current and former submariners and support personnel who have been selected as Dolphin Scholars. Currently. The Dolphin Scholarship Foundation provides a total of $250,000 in annual assistance to these bright and talented student.
The wall-sized calendars are $5.75 and the pocket-sized calendars are $2.55 which includes shipping. Checks should be payable to Dolphin Calendar Fund and mailed to:
National Calendar Chairman
Dolphin Scholarship Foundation
1683 Dillingham Blvd.
Norfolk Naval Station
Norfolk, VA 23511