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An Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.

KINGS BAY NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, GEORGIA: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel came here Wednesday to celebrate the Navy’s nuclear deterrence force. But just 20 minutes in, a petty officer second class stood up in front of almost 200 of his comrades and pointed out the $95 billion elephant in the room: Can the Navy afford to… Keep reading →

Navy Tests Converted Guided Missile Sub

Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, during a two-day round of base visits to highlight top budgetary concerns, told an all-hands gathering of nuclear submariners today that America’s military has let its focus on nuclear issues “drift” under pressure from the last 13 years of land wars. “Over the years we’ve let our focus on the nuclear… Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

The U.S. defense industry, being reshaped by declining post-war budgets, globalization, and the increased pace of technological change, must work with the Pentagon and take proactive steps to maintain our historic preeminence on the battlefield. Our industry does not easily embrace change. In fact, history demonstrates that shifts in the defense industry have largely been… Keep reading →

An Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine (SSBN).

WASHINGTON: “Unsustainable.” That’s the Navy’s own official assessment of the spending rates required to keep the fleet large and modern enough to do its missions. For the service to state this in writing ratchets up not just the rhetoric but the likelihood of future budget battles in the Pentagon and on the Hill — especially… Keep reading →

Trident D5 launch with ATK boosters

CAPITOL HILL: “Failure to launch” isn’t a metaphorical concern when you work on nuclear weapons. That’s why the director of the Navy’s euphemistically named Strategic Systems Program (SSP) is a worried man. What has Vice Adm. Terry Benedict worried is something neither he, nor the Navy nor the entire Defense Department directly control. It’s the… Keep reading →

Rep. Randy Forbes vows to preserve the USS George Washington, seen here at the center of its battlegroup

[UPDATED with details from the subcommittee mark] WASHINGTON: Just hours before the House Armed Services Committee rolls out its mark-up of the 2015 defense policy bill, the chairman of HASC’s seapower subcommittee is vowing to save the USS George Washington from early retirement and to preserve the nation’s fleet of 11 aircraft carriers. [Updated: The seapower subcommittee’s… Keep reading →

An Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine (SSBN).

NATIONAL HARBOR: This is rocket science. As the US Navy tries to keep its crucial 1990-vintage Trident D5 nuclear-capable missile viable for decades to come, it’s working with everyone from the Royal Navy to the US Air Force to NASA to keep costs down and technology up to date. Meanwhile, the design team for the… Keep reading →

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The House Appropriations defense subcommittee pressed the leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps today about how they could meet the national security challenges with shrinking budgets, questioning the survivability of the Littoral Combat Ships, the status of the costly and controversial Joint Strike Fighter and the Navy’s plan to take seven cruisers and possibly… Keep reading →

First thermonuclear bomb test

Bob Butterworth knows nuclear weapons. He know cyber weapons. He knows space. He knows intelligence. And Butterworth cares enough to take public risks, to speak plainly in hopes others will do the same and thus help the country find the best answers to tough problems. While the American public has little idea it’s happening, a… Keep reading →

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PORTSMOUTH, VA:  Go ahead and cut our budget across the board if you really have to. But please, then give us authority to move money around to save our top priorities — and give it to us soon. That’s the message, in a nutshell, from the Navy’s top officer. [Editorial note: Just to be clear,… Keep reading →

Joint Chiefs at HASC 1 MTW

CAPITOL HILL:  Even the cameras stopped clicking in a hushed Armed Services hearing room today as Rep. Jim Cooper told the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his colleagues on the biggest committee in Congress today that America’s lawmakers had failed the country. “You gentlemen make life and death decisions in the Tank almost every day,”… Keep reading →

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