Friday, April 28, 2017

Report Recommends Ban On Submarine Smoking

Originally Published July 28, 2009; Last Updated April 28, 2017; Last Republished April 28, 2017:

Our National Academy of Sciences Committee on Smoking Cessation in Military and Veteran Populations; Institute of Medicine is out with a new publication on Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations 2009.
"Recommendation: Tobacco use should be banned on military installations, and in all military aircraft, all surface vehicles, and all ships and submarines."1

Cigarette smoking on a submarine is no trivial matter due to a submarine's closed environment; recirculation of scrubbed atmosphere; smoke aerosol; 3,800 chemicals found in cigarettes2; and harm to our submariners' health3. A submarine's central atmosphere monitoring system (CAMS) continuously samples4 the submarine's atmosphere using infrared spectrometer to measure carbon monoxide and a mass spectrometer to measure oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, water vapor, and freon5.

Click for larger color cut-out of Los Angeles-class
UPDATED 02/09/2012 The CAMS IIA (manufactured by United Technologies Hamilton Sundstrand) will be retrofitted into active Los Angeles-class, Seawolf-class and Block I and II Virginia-class submarines.   Beginning with Block III Virginia-class submarines the CAMS IIA units will be original installed equipment.

Of course cigarette smoking is not the only source of potentially harmful chemicals on a submarine—other sources include cooking; human body; equipment; power train; weapons systems; batteries; sanitary tanks; air-conditioning; refrigeration systems; and a variety of maintenance and repair activities. ... you have to cook the Cajun blackened red fish slightly different than you would at home—lest you create an atmospheric emergency instead of an epicurean delight!  


UPDATED 11/01/2016 NavyMed, Navy & Marine Corps Public Health Center, Tobacco Free Living
UPDATED 04/02/2012 NAP, Scientific Standards for Studies on Modified Risk Tobacco Products

Hopefully, our submarines will not use the modified risk tobacco products having reduced or eliminated cigarette smoking during deployment.
...Smoking is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States, contributing to approximately 443,000 premature deaths each year nationally(CDC, 2008). Smoking-related disease causes more deaths than alcohol, illicit drug use, homicide, and suicide combined (Mokdad et al., 2004). Another 8.6 million smokers in the United States live with a smoking-attributable illness (CDC, 2009a). In total, tobacco-related mortality amounts to approximately 5.1 million years of potential life lost per year (CDC, 2008). Smoking also imposes enormous costs on the U.S. health care system and economy, with an estimated $193 billion in losses due to health care costs and productivity losses per year (CDC, 2008).
UPDATED 04/02/2012 EHP, New Device Measures Atmospheric Isocyanic Acid

...researchers calculated mainstream cigarette smoke may contain 40–140 ppmv HNCO [isocyanic acid]. Urea is added to cigarettes to enhance flavor.

UPDATED 11/05/2010 CDC, State-Specific Prevalence of Cigarette Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Adults --- United States, 2009.

...Several states were identified with high prevalence of both cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use. Additionally, co-use of smokeless tobacco among men who smoke cigarettes, a behavior that might hinder successful smoking cessation (5,6), was common in several states..."--CDC Cigarette Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco--

UPDATED 05/13/2010 CDC, Adult Tobacco Survey (ATS). Report includes data collected during February 2003--November 2007.

UPDATED 04/15/2010 When announcing the recent ban on smoking below deck on all navy submarines ComSubFor referenced a 2009 Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) nine submarine secondhand smoke study. However neither NSMRL nor ComSubFor appear to have released the study? Presumably the study was conducted by Gertner et al.?

UPDATED 04/09/2010 CDC, Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs 2007

UPDATED 01/27/2010 NAP, Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence (2010)

UPDATED 01/27/2010 The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General

NAP, Emergency and Continuous Emergency and Continuous Exposure Limits for Selected Airborne Contaminants, Vol 1

NAP, Emergency and Continuous Exposure Guidance Levels for Selected Submarine Contaminants, Vol 2


UPDATED 04/28/2017 NavyMil, Navy Suspends Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) on Ships, Subs, Aircraft and NavyMil, Tobacco Free Living
UPDATED 11/01/2016 NavyMil, Navy Medicine Encourages Sailors and Marines to Quit Tobacco  and NavyMil, Live Tobacco-Free: The Time Is Now and Wired, This Robot Chain Smokes Cigarettes So Rats [and you] Don't Have To

Until clinical medicine is able to reliably block an individual's molecular addictive pathway(s) related to nicotine, tobacco usage will be a difficult habit to "kick"...but stopping is possible, even if it requires repeated attempts over prolong periods of time.

"There is no safe tobacco product and no safe level of use,"--Dr. Long--

Tobacco smoke has ionizing Polonium 210, which has a half-life of about 138 days, alpha decaying to stable Lead 206. Submariners and others should avoid tobacco smoke as if it were ionizing radiation.

Also, it's worth noting that smoking impairs the molecular mechanisms that routinely repair our intercalated DNA helical base pairs (mutations), which prevents normal cellular DNA replication.

Kudos to the submariners who've endure long periods submerged without smoking!

UPDATED 07/01/2013 LBNL, Berkeley Lab Confirms Thirdhand Smoke Causes DNA Damage

Baleful cigarette weaponry continues to menace, molest, mutate, maim and collaterally kill members of our civil society while our judiciary considers (see below) whether requiring prominent pictograms on "product packaging" is permissible. You can't make this stuff up!

UPDATED 04/12/2012 Thomson Reuters, U.S. appeals court hears case of graphic tobacco ads

Cigarettes have two attributes that distinguish them from most, if not all other products—when used as the manufacturer intends they addict and prematurely kill a significant portion of our citizens.

The lower court judge ruled that our FDA could use increased the taxes or factual information but not graphic images (see below) to discourage smoking. Wonder if the FDA or congress could determine cigarette manufactures lack standing whenever any cigarette user sues them?

Curiously, the lower court logic appears to grant strict scrutiny to commercial speech. Moreover, the logic seems to ignore fact that cigarettes are highly addictive and may not be responsive to higher prices or additional textual information (i.e are required but insufficient to eradicate smoking).

UPDATED 03/30/2012 SMH, Tobacco firms told to come clean

It's amazing that our FDA is only requiring tobacco firms to disclose 20 of the estimated 3,800 chemicals thought to be in cigarettes—guess if the first 20 chemicals kill you the remaining 3,780 are redundant.

In related good news our CDC's recent anti-smoking ad campaign more than doubled the number of calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW and more than tripled the visits to website

UPDATED 01/01/2011 NYT, As of Friday, No Fire Down Below.

UPDATED 11/15/2010 NavyMil, Groton Submarines Create Fresh Starts, Prepare for Dec. 31 Smoking Ban.

UPDATED 10/22/2010 NavyMil, Smoking Lamp Grows Dim On Submarines. Twenty-one submarines have already met the tobacco-smoke-free deadline and others are on schedule to beat the deadline. Kudos to our smoking submariners and those helping them to quit this super-addictive, difficult to eliminate habit.

UPDATED 04/08/2010 NavyMil, Smoking To Be Extinguished On Submarines. Commander, Submarine Forces (COMSUBFOR) has announced a total ban on smoking inside all U.S. Navy submarines, effective not later than December 31, 2010.

UPDATED 03/29/2010 NavyTimes, CNO: Smoking ban for subs in the works. The Navy Times article is unclear on how the ban will be implemented, but will likely include significant resources and assistance to help our submariners kick this very addictive and harmful habit. Repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking usually precede successful smoking cessation over an extended period. Perhaps a little intra-inter-submarine competition, rewards, and recognition will help our submariners adopt and maintain a tobacco free (not just cigarette smoking) lifestyle?

UPDATED 02/05/2010 UPI, Individual risk helps smokers quit. Research indicates that giving our submariners that smoke cigarettes specific data from their medical tests indicating impairment to their health will help them quit (e.g. data from their lung capacity tests).


1. This is not the first time an Academy committee has recommended a ban on submarine smoking—clearly the trend is toward encouraging cessation and an eventual ban. Currently submarine smoking is permitted in accordance with SECNAV Instruction 5100.(5) Submarines, July 31, 2008:
"Tobacco-use areas may be designated aboard submarines following the guidance of reference (e) [NAVSEA S9510-AB-ATM-010, Nuclear Powered Submarine Atmosphere Control Manual; Volume 1(U), Rev 2]. These spaces must be well ventilated and not in the vicinity of stationary watch stations. Berthing spaces, messes, lounges, and exercise areas shall not be designated as tobacco use areas. The number of smoking tobacco users authorized to use a designated tobacco use area at one time shall be limited by the clearance capacity of the ventilation system."
Jackman et al. (2004) found that exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke on submarines was minimal during a 10-day deployment (Jackman et al., 2004). Seufert and Kiser (1996), however, found that after 62 hours in a nonventilated submerged submarine the end-expiratory carbon monoxide (EECO)levels of nonsmoking crew members were equal to the initial EECO levels of crew members who smoked suggesting that nonsmokers were exposed to elevated levels of carbon monoxide.

2. Including CO and CO2—each smoked cigarette produces 0.026-0.07 grams of CO (carbon monoxide).

3. The percentage of submariners smoking cigarettes has declined over the last twenty-five years from ranges of 30%-40% to 20%-30%.

A recent survey across a number of submarine crews and patrols found the average self-reporting smoking rate to be 11%. (see Terry L. Thomas et al., "Health of U.S. Navy Submarine Crew During Periods of Isolation". Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 74, No. 3, March 2003)

UPDATED 07/28/2009 Commissioned smokers 2.2% (N=1,389); Non-Commissioned smokers 14.4% (N=11,952); Smoking status Unknown 2.6% (N=36) and 2.9% (N=344), respectively.

These low percentages are very encouraging: they are overall much lower than the general smoking population; low among non-commissioned submariners; and very low among commissioned submariners (encouraging directly and indirectly cessation of smoking).

There are some data to suggest that smoking and radiation exposure are augmentative with respect to lung cancer—of course it is well known that each independently cause lung cancer, too.

4. The CAMS samples air from different locations in addition to monitoring the main fan room containing the huge blower. The blower can be configured to intake, exhaust, or recirculate air atmosphere. (as an aside it can also be used to blow air into the ballast tanks!)

5. Other chemicals, substances, and compounds may be monitored using simple techniques such as calibrated color-metric tubes.

6. Post is substantially based on information from these publications—a wealth of information on the topic of submarine atmosphere.

Also Our National Academy of Sciences Committee on Smoking Cessation in Military and Veteran Populations and Institute of Medicine Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations 2009.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Deployed Unmanned Underwater Vehicles Persists

Originally Published July 30, 2013; Last Updated April 26, 2017; Last Republished April 26, 2017:
NavSea concludes a week of deployment training for sailors operating its unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV)1 Sea Glider (Seaglider and Remus2) variants3. These UUVs form a developing and potentially beneficial network of ubiquitous autonomous undersea nodes4 for real-time data collection and analysis.

If these data collection nodes are operated transparently they'll credibly benefit our our nation and global commons.
Synthetic Aperture Sonar Scans

Ocean mapping, searching, and grid making made easy:


Ocean R/V:

NOAA,  Okeanos Explorer
UniversityWashington, OOI Interactive Oceans
Woods Hole and Navy, Exploration Now
SOI, Falkor

UPDATED 04/26/2017 Arxuv, An Extensible Benchmarking Infrastructure for Motion Planning Algorithms and Kavrakilab, Planning Feasible and Safe Paths Online for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles in Unknown Environments


...Therefore, the Committee directs the Secretary of the Navy to provide, no later than February 1, 2017, a report to the congressional intelligence committees—in addition to the congressional defense committees—that details the Unmanned Systems roadmap strategy (not to be confuse with SecDef, Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap FY2013-2038)   and the program objective memorandum 2018 investment strategy to obtain such a capability....

UPDATED 04/20/2016 NAP, Mainstreaming Unmanned Undersea Vehicles into Future U.S. Naval Operations (2016) and Project Working Group Meetings
UPDATED 03/24/2016 USNI, Document: U.S. Navy’s Autonomous Undersea Vehicle Report
UPDATED 03/24/2016 Wikipedia, Autonomous underwater vehicle


UPDATED 04/11/2017 DoD, Navy Announces Launch of Task Force Ocean
UPDATED 04/09/2017 DefWebTV, Sea-Air-Space 2017 Day 2 - ASW & Underwater Technologies

UPDATED 12/16/2016 Reuters, China's Navy seizes American underwater drone in South China Sea
UPDATED 10/11/2016 UCTV, Ocean Exploration - From Genes to Geology

UPDATED 08/13/2016 UPI, U.S. Navy to team with Germany on undersea mine detection and Navy, US Navy Collaborates with Germany for Technological Advances
UPDATED 06/22/2016 Atlantic, GPS Doesn't Work Underwater The Positioning System for Deep Ocean Navigation (POSYDON), mentioned in the article is a DARPA project.UPDATED 05/18/2016 AV, United States Navy to Deploy AeroVironment Blackwing Reconnaissance Systems on Attack and Guided Missile Submarines
UPDATED 03/24/2016 USNI, Navy: Future Undersea Warfare Will Have Longer Reach, Operate With Network of [Autonomous,]Unmanned Vehicles
UPDATED 03/21/2016 Wired, Boeing’s Monstrous Underwater Robot Can Wander the Ocean for 6 Months
UPDATED 01/01/2015 BBC, The search for Australia's lost hospital ship Centaur found at a depth of 2059m:
Article contains other images, including of a commemorative plaque attached to the torpedoed ship.

UPDATED 10/30/2014 USNI, CNO Greenert Bullish on Unmanned Underwater Vehicles
UPDATED 06/26/2014 WT, Marine sanctuary hosts underwater robot event
UPDATED 03/26/2014 WHOI, FAQ: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

REMUS will likely soon begin scanning the remote Indian Ocean seafloor searching for Flight MH370 debris.

UPDATED 11/12/2013 NYT, Ocean Drones Plumb New Depths
UPDATED 08/23/2013 PopularScience, Robotic Search for WWII Airmen
UPDATED 08/23/2013 NSF, Underwater robotics competition helps students build skills for ocean occupations
UPI, U.S. Navy personnel trained on Sea Glider underwater drone
NavyCIO Chips, Advances in Synthetic Aperture Sonar Transform Mine Countermeasures and Undersea Warfare


1. Also referred to as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

2. Hydroid, a small subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime, manufactures Remus and is a leading manufacturer of AUVs.

3. Other AUV, UUV, ROVs (Remotely Operated) and Towed vehicle variants exist limited only by mission profile (e.g. Air France Flight 447 search), imagination and available funding (e.g. Slocum, Spray, Hugin [video] Seabed, Kiel, and Towed etc).

4. UPDATED 12/06/2013 There are an increasing number of DIY groups contributing to serious ROV kits (e.g. OpenROV).


Monday, April 17, 2017

Pirouetting InTo The Past

Our global challenges will not get solved when the United States and Russia are doing clumsy pirouettes on regional stages like two overweight pensioned prima ballerinas reminiscently reliving earlier performances.

Cooperation will more effectively respond to our global challenges than pirouettes into the past.

UPDATED 03/30/2017 C-SPAN, Senate Intelligence Committee, Russian Interference [aka "active measures"] in the 2016 Election and Its Capabilities to Impact Elections

An early start to Senate hearings after the House Intelligence Committee Chairman immolated the committee's credibility and immobilized its current work.

In addition to the Senate hearings Congress must launch a select committee, commission, and special prosecutor to investigate Russia's active measures effecting our 2016 Election.

UPDATED 03/23/2017 Vox, From Spy to President: The rise of Vladimir Putin

UPDATED 03/20/2017 C-SPAN, House Select Intelligence Committee, Russian Election Interference FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers

UPDATED 03/10/2017 EurasiaNet Op-Ed, Russia: The 1917 Revolutions and the Ambiguity of Post-Soviet Identity

UPDATED 02/27/2017 NewYorker, Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War
UPDATED 02/17/2017 Courant, Coast Guard Tracking Russian Spy Ship Near Submarine Base In Groton and Russian Spies Off The Coast Are Nothing New For An Old Sub Hand and ABCNews, Russian spy ship 30 miles from US Navy sub base


Our media should not combine reports of Russia loitering and snooping in international waters with Russia's possible technical (or worse?) violation of the INF Treaty! The later activity, if accurately reported and accurately verified2 (i.e. deployment of GLCM launcher and violating missile), is orders of magnitude more significant than a bunch of Russian spooks harmlessly floating off Long Island recording signals and images, generally being a nuisance!

A bad attempt to knockoff a good "Saturday Night Live" skit?

UPDATED 02/09/2017 Army, Atlantic Resolve and Reuters, Baltic states seek more NATO help ahead of Russian exercise and Reuter, Russia calls NATO moves in Baltics, Poland and Germany a Threat: RIA and Reuters, Factbox: Minsk agreement on Ukraine

Operation Atlantic Resolve is President Obama and Europe routinely engaging with our NATO Baltic allies before leaving office.

Wonder how our "new" alt-white-house and comrade Putin or is it nemets Adamov are going to work this into their active misinformation-disinformation campaign?

UPDATED 01/27/2017 SI, Fast Attacks and Boomers: Submarines in the Cold War
UPDATED 12/17/2016 USNI, Dec. 14, 2016 executive summary of the Navy’s 2016 Force Structure Assessment
UPDATED 12/16/2016 USNI, Navy Wants to Grow Fleet to 355 Ships; 47 Hull Increase Adds Destroyers, Attacks Subs and Navy, Secretary of the Navy Announces Need for 355-ship Navy

The Navy's 2016 Force Structure Analysis (FSA) did not come with the SecNav's FSA announcement—for now all we can say is our navy is asking Santa Claus to deliver a lot of Christmas presents! Even Santa Claus is constrained by budget and funding levels!

UPDATED 12/02/2016 Telegraph, Vladimir Putin says Russia wants to normalise relations with US

A Security Council vote is not required to steadfastly support or increase and extend the sanctions imposed on an infandous (odious beyond expression) government.

Normalized relationship with the United States must require Russia's compliance with the Minsk II protocol. Changing or maintaining national borders by use of force or an infinite variety of thuggery is a twenty-first century anathema and affront to all peaceful nations.

UPDATED 11/23/2016 WP, These maps show how Russia has Europe spooked
UPDATED 11/21/2016 WT, Russia withdraws from International Criminal Court after being called out over Crimea invasion
UPDATED 10/13/2016 CSM, Gorbachev calls for peace: Is there a path forward? and  IPI, Interview with Mikhail Gorbachev at the Reykjavik Summit

“Worst Thing” Collapse of Trust Between Major Powers" --Mikhail Gorbachev--

Even worse than mistrust between nations, is the twenty-first century chaos created when any nation's government seeks to impose ad hoc changes to international rules or order by threat, intimidation, force, and coercion, 

UPDATED 08/19/2016 UPI, Russia's military buildup in Arctic plays into global strategy

The sooner all global citizenry live under representative type governments, the sooner nations can get on with doing things that matter!

UPDATED 07/31/2016 CSIS, Undersea Warfare in Northern Europe and CSIS, Report "Undersea Warfare in Northern Europe" (PDF 1.6M) and The Cold War: In Enemy’s Depth - The Submarine War and Cold War Spy Secrets Under the Sea1



1. The turbulent and noisy bubble bursts called cavitation releases enough energy to pit the surface of a polished propeller blade, which further disrupts laminar flow and decreases propeller efficiency (η0)*.

UPDATED 01/19/2017 Some militarists have long speculated that cavitation might change a relatively slow-moving hydro-body into a faster-moving aero-body by enveloping the hydro-body in bubbles (i.e. supercavitition).

A modern sonar women might wonder why you would spend millions on supercavitation to continuously broadcast your submarine's position when you could just turn on the active sonar and ping away?

Modern submarines will typically use pump-jet propulsors (i.e. a shrouded propeller).

* See A.H. Techet, Hydrodynamics for Ocean Engineers: Propellers: Propeller Performance Characterization, 2004 for an introduction to propeller performance.

2. UPDATED 02/18/2017 NATO Defence Ministers take steps to strengthen the Alliance and NATO, Doorstep Statement and Der Spiegel, The Greatest Threat to Security Since WWII (by John Kasich) and Reuters, Trudeau to Trump: NATO is About More Than Spending and NATO Secretary General doorstep statement at the Munich Security Conference, 17 FEB 2017 and NATO Secretary General, Press Conference at Meetings of Defence Ministers, 16 FEB 2017 and  NATO Secretary General, Press Conference at Meetings of Defence Ministers, 16 FEB 2017, 2/2 and AP, Pence: 'We Must Hold Russia Accountable' and VOA, US Defense Secretary Mattis Tells NATO Collective Defense a Bedrock Commitment

Originally Published July 26, 2016; Last Updated April 17, 2017; Last Republished April 17, 2017:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Is Ohio Class Replacement An Investment

Originally Published March 19, 2013; Last Updated April 09, 2017; Last Republished April 09, 2017:

A recent navy post makes the incredible assertion that the Ohio-class replacement platform is an "...essential investment for our nation..."—expenditure of billions of dollars that returns a rusting radioactive steel cylinder after 42 years doesn't have the typical attributes of an investment.

Moreover, after 42 years the "investment" must be sealed, buried and monitored for hundreds of years, incurring additional expenditures!

Surely, this "investment" requires more justification than reasserting standard bogeymen and committing that the Ohio-class replacement team will act responsibly and hold-down expenditures1?

Before incurring additional billions for more stealthiness to ensure survivability we should debate whether our future prosperity and survivability depend more on transparency than stealthiness?


UPDATED 02/27/2017 Navy, SCN Book
UPDATED 10/07/2016 CRS, Navy Columbia Class (Ohio Replacement) Program, Oct 2016
UPDATED 09/13/2016 FissileMaterial, Conceptual Research and Development Plan for Low-Enriched Uranium Naval Fuel and FissileMaterial, Report On Low Enriched Uranium for Naval Reactors' Cores  and NAP, Reducing the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Research Reactors (2016)
UPDATED 03/10/2016 CRS, Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background andIssues for Congress

Includes the text of 10 U.S.C. 2218a, National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund (NSBDF), an off navy balance sheet appropriation and accounting gimmick to fund the SSBN(X). And unsurprisingly a significant amount of estimated cost saving assumes the creation of the NSBDF!

Congress must hold more meaningful4 public hearings and publish detailed data and assumptions, which forms the basis for the SSBN(X) current cost estimates (e.g. 22% cost-to-weight improvement over Virginia-class; Virginia-class commonality cost saving, etc.)

UPDATED 03/01/2016 FAS, Status of World Nuclear Forces
UPDATED 02/10/2016 SecNav, Proposed 2017 Obligation Authority, Ohio-Class-Replacement, Adv. Procurement 2017-2021
UPDATED 02/09/2016 FAS, Declassified: US Nuclear Weapons At Sea
UPDATED 01/16/2016 CSIS, Chinese Strategy and Military Modernization in 2015: A Comparative Analysis#Figure 10.7: Force Structure of the PLA Navy 1985-2015-Part I; Submarines

UPDATED 01/14/2016 CRS, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans:Background and Issues for Congress (courtesy FAS)
UPDATED 01/06/2016 NavyCNO, A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority
UPDATED 08/03/2015 Wikipedia, Ohio Replacement Submarine
UPDATED 03/19/2015 FAS, Naval Nuclear Propulsion: Assessing Benefits and Risks
UPDATED 01/19/2014 BOS, US nuclear forces, 2014 and FAS, New START Data Shows Russia Reducing, US Increasing Nuclear Forces
UPDATED 12/21/2013 CBO, Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2014 to 2023  (check annual updates for latest revisions) and CBO, Long-Term Implications of the 2014 Future Years Defense Program and CBO, An Analysis of the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2014 Shipbuilding Plan

UPDATED 05/06/2013 FAS, Russian SSBN Fleet: Modernizing But Not Sailing Much

"...Rather than opposing further reductions, U.S. lawmakers should support limitations on the growing asymmetry between U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces – an asymmetry that is significantly in the U.S. advantage – to help limit further concentration of nuclear warheads on Russia’s declining numbers of strategic missiles. That would actually help the national security interests of all."2--FAS--


UPDATED 04/09/2017
SeaPowerMag, VCNO Moran: Columbia SSBN On Schedule, But Margin is Tight
UPDATED 04/01/2017 USDEF,Stratcom Commander Speaks at Conference of Military Reporters, Editors Association Conference, March 31, 2017

No, General John E. Hyten our nuclear weapons are not "just high explosives" they are nuclear weapons and your profession is not peace, your profession is war!!! The general fits well within our "new" alt-white-house et al. where up is down; facts are fake; chemical reaction are nuclear; peace is war...5 etc.

...and General Curtis LeMay is not a poster boy for a costly strategic triad upgrade but the need for free press oversight of our military and decreasing our obscene stockpiles of nuclear weapons (or as you prefer to call them high explosives), particularly during the period our "new" alt-white-house is governing or more accurately not governing.

UPDATED 01/27/2017 PopSci, The Nuclear Arsenals of China and the U.S.
UPDATED 01/19/2017 InsideDef, Navy formally announces Columbia-class milestone decision A mini-design decision, which says we kinda know what we're buying, accompanied by a [big] "ballpark" guess about its cost along with many laments over how to "find the money" to pay for their lowball guess.

Here's how the submarine platform's biggest booster, Representative Courtney, (CT-02) describes it: Columbia-Class Achieves 'Milestone B' As The National Sea Based Deterrence Fund Comes Online and the hometown newspaper CTMirror, Navy moves forward on new Columbia-class submarines.

UPDATED 12/17/2016 USNI, Dec. 14, 2016 executive summary of the Navy’s 2016 Force Structure Assessment
UPDATED 12/16/2016 USNI, Navy Wants to Grow Fleet to 355 Ships; 47 Hull Increase Adds Destroyers, Attacks Subs and Navy, Secretary of the Navy Announces Need for 355-ship Navy

The Navy's 2016 Force Structure Analysis (FSA) did not come with the SecNav's FSA announcement—for now all we can say is our navy is asking Santa Claus to deliver a lot of Christmas presents! Even Santa Claus is constrained by budget and funding levels!

UPDATED 07/08/2016 CSIS, Delivering on the Future of Submarine Warfare

Navy (N97 and PEO Submarines) presents some general expectations for the Ohio-class replacement platform.

UPDATED 05/10/2016 SI Opinion, Scale back U.S. nuclear weapons and stop a new arms race

UPDATED 03/30/2016 SeaPower, Navy Selects Electric Boat as Prime for New SSBN and Reuters, U.S. names General Dynamics prime contractor for new submarines

UPDATED 04/02/2016 PBS, As Pentagon overhauls nuclear triad, critics advise caution and PBS Newshour Takes On The Holy Nuclear Triad and POTUS Nuclear Security Summit Press Conference (comments @ ~32:00 on U.S.-Russia sustain or reduce nuclear inventory)

Bill Perry is being very generous when he refers to our present nuclear strategic lunacy as "belt and suspenders for the belts and suspenders". The current nuclear strategic lunacy has more to do with the past balance of petulant service chiefs than any current balance of nuclear terror, retaliatory and probability-of-kill mathematics.

Let's immediately begin eliminating all ground and air based ICBMs and platforms, go slow on scaling down the Ohio-class replacement platform and get serious about the elimination of all nuclear weaponry.

UPDATED 02/29/2016 Brookings, Uncharted seas: Maritime strategy for a new era of naval challenges (video) and USNI, Navy Revising Force Structure Assessment In Light Of Increased Attack Sub, Other Ship Needs
UPDATED 02/03/2016 Reuters, Exclusive: U.S. budget plan includes over $13 billion for new submarine - sources Hopefully, a lot more details and a lot less hyperbole will follow to inform our desire for de-extincting and bulking up these "Cold War" dinosaurs?

UPDATED 01/14/2015 SeaPower, NAVSEA Commander: Navy is 10 Subs Below its Needs

NavSea will always be "X" number of subs below that required to conduct the nation's business.

UPDATED 01/14/2016 Diplomat, Pentagon Approves Request for Proposals for US Navy’s Next-Generation Ballistic Missile Submarine
UPDATED 01/05/2015 USN, The Navy's new leader says a nuclear force second to none is essential to US survival and JT, Top U.S. admiral sees ‘nuclear punch’ from submarines key to America’s survival

Our nuclear budgets must be supported with transparent facts and reasoned analysis, not oxymoronic hyperbole. (A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority@page 6)

UPDATED 08/08/2015 SeaPower, Richardson: New Ballistic-Missile Sub ‘Absolutely Critical’ for the Country (also, Chief of Naval Operations Confirmation Hearing and Advance Questions for Admiral John M. Richardson, USN Nominee for the Position of Chief of Naval Operations)

UPDATED 08/01/2015 PBSNewsHour, Can U.S. afford plan to buy 12 nuclear-armed subs? The short answer is NO!

UPDATED 06/08/2014 NTI, Senate Bill Would Create Separate Fund for New Trident Submarine

The price of navy weapons platforms (and weapons) are on a half parabolic trajectory requiring our navy to seek new and additional funding sources. Instead of addressing these stratospheric prices within its current shipbuilding budget our navy and congressional budgeteers are seeking to off-load the entire weapons platform to another funding source external to our navy's current shipbuilding plan and budget.

Fortunately, those seriously seeking to control or reduce the stratospheric prices of major weapons systems view these budgetary maneuvers as transparent gimmicks. So for now, our navy must fund the long-lead research for its Ohio-class replacement submarine platform from unobligated funds within its current shipbuilding budget.

Navy and congressional budgeteers and Ohio-class sponsors will treat these "unobligated funds" (now obligated to the Ohio-class replacement submarine platform) as a loan to be reimbursed by the new funding source if and when it is created by Congress.

If Congress declines to create a new and additional funding source for the Ohio-class replacement our navy must charge its current shipbuilding budget—requiring it to: increase its current shipbuilding budget: or decrease the number of ships it builds; or decrease the per ship price; or more likely, some combination of all three.

UPDATED 05/07/2014 DefIndustryDaily, CMC Program Defining Future SSBN Launchers for UK, USA

Series of past articles.

UPDATED 04/11/2014 NTI, Navy Maps Out Details of Future Ballistic-Missile Subs and MilitaryDotCom, Admiral: Crimea Proves Nuclear Subs Still Needed and USNI, Navy Has Finalized Specifications for New Ohio-Replacement Boomer

A quasi-base-line3 for an Ohio-class replacement platform is the easy part—finding an estimated $60 billion 2010 dollars (likely under estimated by a minimum of 40%) for 12, sixteen tube platforms will be more challenging.

It's unclear how Putin's behavior as a "shirtless hooligan" over Crimea "proves" a need for a sea-based nuclear missile platform, as Military News and Open Source Naval Intelligence headline implies the rear admiral asserts?

The above attribution was made at the Navy League, Sea-Air-Space 2014 Exposition, which may encourage or induce, if not explain a speaker's hyperbolic expressions?

UPDATED 03/01/2014 NTI, Markey Files Bill to Cut $100 Billion in Nuclear Arms Funds

Includes reducing the number of Ohio-class replacement (aka SSBN-X) platforms to eight—hopefully, just the start of an accelerating trend toward zero nuclear warheads?

UPDATED 01/19/2014 NTI, U.S. to Start Cutting Submarine Missile-Launchers Next Year

It's always a little jilting to read the adverb "only" in articles discussing the number of deployed nuclear warheads.

UPDATED 12/21/2013 Reuters, U.S. nuclear weapon plans to cost $355 billion over a decade: CBO report
UPDATED 06/05/2013 USN, Buying Submarines in an Age of Austerity
UPDATED 06/04/2013 ACA, Nuclear Sub Costs Complicate Navy Plans
UPDATED 05/17/2013 NavyLive, Navy Responds to Debate Over the Size of the SSBN Force

So, let's eliminate all of our nuclear warheads and not sweat the small stuff, like the unknowable optimal number of strategic platforms and warheads for a given deterrent coverage.

Is the admiral really arguing that our probability of attacking Russia and China has increased as a result of their reduced number of patrols or number of strategic platforms?

UPDATED 05/06/2013 WP, Budget cuts could reshape the country’s ship supply, official says

NavyLive, NavyLive, Ohio Replacement Class SSBNs an Essential Investment


1. Our capable submarine designers have made tremendous gains in basic and applied marine research; virtual design; modular manufacturing; and materials processes but a platform requirement of 42 years of continuous stealthiness must await further research.

If given such a requirement there is no doubt that any Ohio-class replacement team would act responsibly and hold-down expenditures until all the money runs out or relief from the requirement is provided.

The post may be emphasizing 42 years of continuous stealthiness not as a hard requirement but as awkward justification for purchasing a new platform as opposed to modifying an existing platform?

2. Our policymakers and navy leadership must jettison their harmful, obsolete and costly notion that striving to reduce or accommodate the insecurities of our putative, imaginary or real adversaries displays weakness—exploiting putative, imaginary or real weaknesses is simply a circular method that minimizes trust and cooperation while increasing costs for minimal, zero or negative gain!

3. Those familiar with major weapons system development and procurement are painfully aware that a "final baseline" does not exist.

The term "final baseline" is just part of a choreographed congress-navy-contractor tragic-comedy (some might say subterfuge) used to authorize a "low-cost" (yes, $60 billion is the low cost!) weapons system while producing and delivering a "high cost" weapons system!

The term "final baseline" means that the navy, contractor, and congress have agreed to pretend that the total weapons system cost will be $60 billion--nobody, but the uninitiated believes the estimate is true--yet, everybody will continue to pretend it is, until it isn't!

When the weapons system "cost growth" (the term overrun will not be used) exceeds $60 billion the recriminations, joint storytelling and "improvement programs" will begin.

If the overrun costs can be kept to a minimum by changing the baseline configuration or reducing the procurement quantity or both the major weapons system will proceed.

If the cost overrun is excessive the major weapons system is canceled, a very undesirable outcome for the navy (loses assets); contractor (loses revenue and goodwill); congress (loses district jobs).

Rarely, a major weapons system will lose its navy or congressional sponsors or both and will be canceled with or without a cost overrun.

4. Meaningful entails more than asking a SecNav or CNO or NavSea if they could use an SSBN(X); or listening to congressional committee boosters from Connecticut testify while the witnesses listen.

5. The general's misstatement about the equivalency of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons is likely for Russia's consumption? Putin is throwing a temper tantrum and using psychological warfare by deploying tactical (short-range) nuclear missile ground launchers (i.e. 9K720 Iskander), which may also launch strategic (longer range) nuclear missiles. The general is likely indicating to Putin that for purposes of retaliation he'll make no distinction between tactical and strategic nuclear missiles.

China is quietly (i.e. minus the temper tantrums) using a similar tactic (FUD) when it deploys strategic nuclear missile launchers ostensibly as a conventional "aircraft carrier killer". A missile on any ballistic trajectory during conflict may trigger a nuclear response from warring warriors.

Such are the dangerous and foolish physical and psychological games potential adversaries (usually putatively weaker) sometimes play, which makes a strong case for eliminating nuclear weapons.

Junior Submarine Officers Press Conference

Originally Published May 25, 2012; Last Updated April 09, 2017; Last Republished April 09, 2017:

Yesterday, a wonderfully diverse2 group of junior submarine officers held a press conference at the Naval Heritage Center, Presidents Room in Washington, DC—just back from their first long deployment!

The group, including the women submariners seems enthusiastic about their new submarine assignment—one is even looking forward to those "really awesome" fast attack missions:
“All of the history and lore of the submarine community really comes back to those really awesome missions that fast attacks do. If it were to be opened, I think there are some of us who probably would be willing to serve on them despite the tight quarters,”--Lieutenant Junior Grade Vanessa Esch--
Lone Sailor
Junior Submarine Officers' Press Conference1

UPDATED 03/25/2017 UTubeNavyDetailers, PERS 42 Submarine Community Screening Board Video (also, peruse the numerous "how to write" a fitrep for LDOs and URLs; it's an art!)

UPDATED 07/10/2015 NIH, Ionizing Radiation in Pregnant Women: A Review of the Safety and Guidelines

Limited sample size focused only on man-made diagnostic and therapeutic x-rays (i.e. not more energetic gamma rays of nuclei)6.


UPDATED 04/09/2017 BB, Sea-Air-Space Exposition 2017: Cyber Operations in Sea Services

UPDATED 02/07/2017 Navy, TSC Female Sailors Sought for Submarine Service
UPDATED 10/29/2016 NavyLive, Commissioning USS Illinois (SSN 786) The well-done and official "Silent Service" promo video accompanying this page needs to prominently feature female submariners, too (also, Enlisted Women in Submarines Road Shows Hit Fleet Concentration Areas).


and UPI, First lady Michelle Obama welcomes U.S. Navy's most advance submarine USS Illinois

UPDATED 05/18/2016 NPC, Enlisted Women in Submarines

Fast Attack Submarine Segment Begins ~3:30

UPDATED  03/20/2016 SFT, Navy taps first black woman from ROTC for submarine service
UPDATED 01/14/2015 Riverhead, Making history: Riverhead grad will be one of the first female officers to serve in Navy submarine force

Past social dogma and stereotypes lack any positive or neutral buoyancy in today's modern and extraordinarily challenging submarine environments. Unlike, say an idea for new materials, which are capable of performing in the equally challenging environment of a submarine's nuclear reactor compartment while significantly lessening its overall density7.

Stated differently past dogma and stereotypes in a submarine's environment will sink to collapse depth in a positively reinforced loop of greater density (i.e. greater mass in a smaller volume). Professional submariners work in dedicated teams to ensure their submarine never experiences this singularity.

UPDATED 12/03/2015 NYT, Pentagon Will Open All Combat Roles to Women and NPR, Pentagon Says Women Can Now Serve In Front-Line Ground Combat Positions

UPDATED 10/03/2015 KitsapSun,  Shipyard converting USS Michigan for enlisted women

Article includes rough time frame for integrating noncommissioned women into both Ohio and Virginia class submarine platforms.

UPDATED 07/10/2015 NavyLive, Enlisted Women in Submarines Application Package Milestone Achieved

UPDATED 12/07/2014 UPI, Navy: Submarine women were secretly filmed in shower (UPDATED 10/03/2015 NavyTimes, Tofalo takes reins of submarine fleet and UPDATED 11/17/2015 NavyTimes, 10th sailor disciplined in submarine shower video case)

There's a big difference between submariners viewing the adolescent movie "Porky's" and secretly producing or distributing a "Porky's" starring submariners5.

Surely, all "Porky's" producer(s) or distributor(s) have exited our submarine service and unreproving viewers identified and counseled or reprimanded, at a minimum?

Adolescent shenanigans should not deter or impede our nation and submariners from building a strong world-class 21st century professional submarine service that includes coeds.

UPDATED 05/23/2014 Navy, Six Female Officers to Integrate into Fast Attack Submarines (Atlantic first followed by Pacific around first quarter 2015)

UPDATED 05/24/2013 NavyMil, Naval Academy Graduates Class of 2013 Includes 13 females selected for submarines.
UPDATED 04/11/2013 NavyTimes, Exclusive: Sub boss on op tempo, plans to integrate women
UPDATED 01/25/2013 NavyTimes, Mabus: First women selected for attack subs

Kudos to our SecDef, SecNav, CNO and submariners on speedily moving to a gender neutral professional submarine force!

Responding to the seemingly perpetual "close quarters" argument is as simple as specifying minimum attire4 and encouraging all submariners (male and female) expressing such "contact concerns" to seek career enhancing gender identity training or just incorporate such training into the basic submarine school curricula.

It's bizarre logic that explicitly or implicitly argues that our highly trained and professional submariners must constrain their sexuality with physical barriers—those (male or female) requiring such constraint must not be permitted to become or remain submariners.

UPDATED 12/09/2012 NavyNews, Female Sailors Receive Submarine 'Dolphins'

UPDATED 12/07/2012 NavyNews, First Qualified Female Submarine Officers Receive Dolphins

UPDATED 10/04/2012 Time, More Navy Women Joining the Silent Service

Kudos to the CNO for speedily integrating our female submariners into all submarine platforms and billets—our female submariners will professionally contribute to the success of submarine missions while improving the overall readiness of our submarine force.

UPDATED 08/23/2012 Day, Admiral says USS Miami will be repaired; hints at timing for women submariners at base Article based on recent CNO All Hands Talk at Sub Base, Groton (below):

UPDATED 06/18/2012 KitsapSun, First female submariners find few obstacles

Any submariner qualified to stand your watch while underway does not represent an obstacle, but a sleep potential.

UPDATED 05/31/2012 WH, Women Chart a New Course Onboard U.S. Navy Submarines President, First Lady, SECNAV, SECDEF, VCNO and female junior submariner officers visit at White House.

Female Junior Submariner Officers at White House
UPDATED 05/31/2012 NavyTimes, Women on subs talk mission, working with men

U-T San Diego, Women on Subs Very Successful The article states that Vice Admiral John M. Richardson, Commander, Submarine Forces is close to a decision on whether all submarines will be open to women.

It will be most unfortunate if the a silly3 "close quarters" argument is permitted to impede or delay women's speedy integration into all submarine billets and submarine classes platforms for which they are qualified.

Of more concern is the tall submarine sonar officer (pictured center) who may find very few places on a fast attack submarine (especially Los Angeles-class) to stand up straight!


1. President Theodore Roosevelt is pictured behind the submarine officers.

2. Kudos to our Navy, which is continuing significant efforts to build a fantastically diverse, strong and well trained 21st century submarine force in today's challenging budgetary environment.

3. It's as silly as arguing that women should ride in the back of a spacious pick-up truck, but not its close quarter cab.

In fairness to those whose traditions have routinely excluded women, these are fast evolving and dramatic changes to our submarine force. Shocking customary sensibilities can be destabilizing, particularly if you're an older and aging white congressman.

However, a professional submariner is nothing if not skilled at shocking customary sensibilities and responding to same—in fact the ability to routinely shock customary sensibilities and respond to same is a very good definition of "tactical advantage" that is so vital to success in submarine warfare.

4. For example skivvies and a T-shirt, although some submariners (male and female) may prefer to wear more and privacy barriers (e.g. curtain).

5. It's not like there's a dearth of existing pornography to match any submariner's preferences.

6. Navy policy is to assign or transfer pregnant women to shore duty (Navy Pregnancy FAQ) and (HPS, Factsheet, Radiation Exposure and Pregnancy).

Additional general information on Nuclear Radiation and Health Effects.

Deep divers on the effects of low-level ionizing radiation will eventually peruse: Health Effects of Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR V (1990) and Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII Phase 2 (2006) and Medline, Radiation Exposure and UNSCEAR, Biological Mechanisms of Radiation Actions at Low Doses (pdf) and EPA Radiation and Risk Assessment.

UPDATED 09/12/2016 NatureCommunications, Mutational signatures of ionizing radiation in second malignancies

7. It's not uncommon for professional submariners to estimate the percentage of total weight and volume allocated to fast-attack submarine propulsion at thirty-five and fifty, respectively.