25 May 2005

More New London updates

Thanks again to Bubblehead for the tip-off to this article in the New London Day (registration required after 5/25 to read).
Important points:

"The Pentagon has finished a study of military requirements that concludes the Navy needs at least 45 to 50 submarines, not the 37 to 43 that the Navy found in an internal study," Navy sources said Tuesday.
The Pentagon study followed up on a study by the Navy's assessment division, which concluded the submarine fleet could drop from 54 today to as low as 37 and still meet all warfighting requirements.
But Navy and congressional sources said the Navy's internal study was driven more by budgetary considerations and a belief that some tasks now done by submarines could instead be carried out by surface ships.

This is one of the two points that I think have really been overlooked in the New London closure plan (the other being where will they find pier space for the homeported boats), so I am glad to see it getting attention. I have never understood how the Navy justified the proposed sub drawdown. Sub OPTEMPO rate is, I believe, the highest, or close to it, in the Navy right now. And why is that? The Sub force is overtasked. So much so that they have consistently had to turn down tasking or ask that it be delayed. Now, I don't know what tasking they think other units can do in the place of subs, but I would be pretty skeptical of those plans, keeping in mind the unique abilities of our boats. And even so, drawing down some of the sub fleet's missions will not significantly solve the tasking problem, especially if you are drawing down the number of boats at the same time. The fleet has been cut back too far as it is for current tasking. It is about time someone started highlighting that point. Here is hoping this gets emphasized more as the New London fight ramps up.


At 5/25/2005, Blogger submandave said...

I don't think the "as low as 37" was really a requirements based evaluation, but rather a "reality based" number naturally resulting from a one-per-year build plan. I suspect someone in N87 was tasked to determine how the sub force will handle its warfighting requirements with what we are projected to have and someone else read that as "we only need X number of boats." In fact I have seen some studies of this nature and in some cases a complete absence of National tasking is an assumption made to allow the fleet to meet other requirements.

At 5/26/2005, Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Sad commentary, on several points. 1) Sad that we would completely ignore National tasking - that was the majority of tasking that I saw when deployed. 2) Sad that the CNO's office would misread, either deliberately or on purpose, a study such as you said. I can easily imagine the scenario you describe as well. Why is it that submariners in DC all too often forget the fleet they came from? I know we often say nukes eat their young, but that is just supposed to be on the boats, not when we are representing ourselves to higher command in DC. *sigh*

At 5/26/2005, Blogger submandave said...

<personal opinion>
Based upon 1120 CO/XO screening boards I worked on a few years ago, I don't think the submarine community does as good a job of preparing and nurturing well-rounded senior officers as it can/should. In many cases "nukism" still dominated the group-think (e.g. ENG=good, WEPS=not as good) and too little emphasis given for those who broke out of the community on shore (joint duty, non-traditional foreign staffs, etc). Many of the Commodores were more than happy to choose the guy who did back-to-back sea tours and worked at Prototype and NR and throw away the fellow who did time at DTRA, CINCEUR and SSG.
</personal opinion>

At 5/26/2005, Blogger submandave said...

Also, I wouldn't say that National tasking was ignored, but rather that it was a stated assumption in order to accomplish the tasked mission. If my boss tasked me to tell him how we were going to cover the Navy mission with 40 boats I'd tell him one of my assumptions is that there are no assets available for National tasking. Unfortunately, in the sound-bite world the press likes little things like assumptions and preconditions often get completely ignored.


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