WASHINGTON: If you think the military doesn’t listen to critics or friends, then you haven’t read one of the most interesting blog posts ever from the Pentagon. It’s by the Navy admiral in charge of the nation’s submarines. The piece, by director of undersea warfare Rear. Adm. Richard Breckenridge, popped up on Navy Live, the… Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: Tracking the winners and losers of this year’s House authorization markup — the draft bill produced by the House Armed Services Committee — is one of Washington’s most exhausitng pastimes. The final bill often does not appear until 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or even later in the morning the day… Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: It’s been a rough 48 hours for the US Navy. Yesterday, the Littoral Combat Ship was battered by House appropriators and questioned by a leaked report. Today it was the Senate Armed Service seapower subcommittee’s turn to grill the Navy about its aircraft carrier and submarine programs. While the automatic 10-year budget cuts known as sequestration played a major role… Keep reading →
PENTAGON: The Navy would get the largest budget share among the three military services in the 2014 budget submitted Wednesday, but would still see a drop in total funding from what Congress provided for this year in the final version of the continuing resolution.
The $155.8 billion requested for the Navy Department in the president’s proposed defense budget of $526.6 billion is level with the president’s 2013 request but is $11.4 billion above the request for the Air Force and $26.1 billion larger than that for the Army. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Every senior civilian leader and the Navy agree that America needs replacements for the Ohio-class nuclear missile submarines if our nuclear deterrent is to remain credible. But the SSBN-X, as the program is known, is at risk from the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration, the influential head of CAPE, the Pentagon’s budget and cost estimation shop, Christine Fox, said yesterday evening.
CAPE, known formally as the office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, not only does program evaluation for the Defense Secretary but it also builds the Future Year Defense Program (FYDP), a key part of the defense budget process. I asked Fox at the end of the McAleese Associates/Credit Suisse conference what the Pentagon can do to protect new starts if sequestration remains in force and it must cut such large amounts from existing programs. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Right now, the Navy is designing the ballistic missile submarine that will provide 70 percent of the nation’s nuclear deterrent until 2080. Yet even as the service prepares to award research and development contracts this December, the submarine community is deeply worried that the rest of the military is neglecting the program — which has already had to make some painful trade-offs on schedule, numbers, and capability. And the service has not even started work on whatever nuclear missile the new sub will end up carrying for the latter half of its life.
The SSBN(X) program to replace the 1980s-vintage Ohio missile subs is a massive effort that few non-submariners talk about. “People are assuming it away,” said Rear Adm. Robert Thomas, a submarine officer who is now head of the strategic plans and policy section (J-5) on the Joint Staff. Keep reading →
There is broad bipartisan agreement that few national security issues are as critical as how to deal with America’s crippling debt. This means we should spend scarce dollars on the weapons we need for current threats and not on programs with diminishing strategic relevance.
Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee, however, apparently are still stuck in the Cold War. Keep reading →
Sequestration: it’s a term only Washington could love. Behind the bland euphemism lie dramatic cuts to the U.S. military, shipbuilding and aerospace manufacturing jobs, and in communities across America.
Washington politicians insist a half trillion in defense cuts — and the attendant degradation to our national security — is a reasoned belt tightening. In reality, sequestration is nothing more than seat of the pants management, a lurch from crisis to crisis. No reasoned, thoughtful process brought this on; it was simply the last minute debt ceiling deal. Now that the cuts are baked into the cake, President Obama has threatened to veto any efforts to unwind sequestration that do not include tax increases. Keep reading →
The Navy’s proposal to delay construction of new ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs) meant to succeed the current Ohio class is both good and bad news for America’s shipbuilders, according to the program manager for the new “boomer” sub. But key members of Congress -– already at odds with the Administration over delays to the Virginia-class submarine — remain skeptical.
Pushing construction start on the 12 so-called “Ohio Replacement” subs to 2021 from 2019 could raise costs, though by how much is not clear, Brian Wilson from General Dynamics’ Electric Boat told Breaking Defense. On the other hand, the delay could give designers more time to refine the new subs’ blueprints, potentially avoiding costly complications in construction, Wilson said. “It is two more years of design effort, so there is the possibility of ensuring we have the most mature design in place.” Keep reading →
Omaha: The White House plan to cut the size of the Ohio-class replacement submarine fleet just doesn’t hold water, according to a senior defense official and several Navy officers.
The Office of Management and Budget wants the SSBN-X purchase to shrink from 12 to 10 boats. To compensate in part for the reduced number of boats, OMB has proposed increasing the number of launch tubes from 16 to 20 to allow the smaller fleet to strike a larger number of widely scattered targets. Keep reading →