Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Virginia Class Submarine - Defense Authorization FY11 Update-2

Originally Published November 20, 2010; Last Updated March 21, 2017; Last Republished March 21, 2017:

The Navy's September 30, 2010 December 31, 2012 selected acquisition report (SAR)  latest SAR has rebaselined the Virginia-class submarine program at $93,207,300,000.00 (read $93.2 billion dollars) $91, 847, 400 for 30 submarines or $3,106,910,000.00 $3,061,580 per submarine1 platform (30-402 years of weapons, men, and maintenance are extra).
USS Virginia SSN 774
The September 30, 2010 SAR for the Virginia-class submarine program is reporting a $1,813,400,000.00 increase over the June 2010 SAR.

The "rebaselining" reflects a transition from development to production (Milestone III) notwithstanding the SAR attributes a substantial proportion of the $1,813,400,000.00 increase over the June 2010 SAR to an extension of the Virginia-class development program through 2027.

Stated differently the contractor is in rolling production on the Virginia-class submarine program, notwithstanding declaration of Milestone III. The "rebaseline" is for Block I submarine platforms while development continues for Block II (SSN 778-783), Block III (SSN 784-791), IV (SSN 792-803), and V (SSN 804-807) submarine platforms.

The benefit of using rolling production is that you can field a weapon system while you design it; the burden is that it's very expensive, as the eye popping price tag of today's weapons system attest. Additionally, managing total life cycle costs becomes very difficult and expensive as each succeeding block design is retrofitted or backfitted into the preceding block design.

If the contractor cannot retrofit or backfit preceding blocks (because of design or costs constraints) then the Navy must manage multiple submarine platform configurations, rarely if ever desirable.


Res:

UPDATED 02/27/2017 Navy, SCN Book
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 03/31/2016 NavSea, Technical Capabilities of Warfare Centers Manual
UPDATED 03/18/2016 NASA-STI, ApexExpoIPX Slides: Counterfeit Electronics: Current Threats and
Detection Methodologies

UPDATED 02/18/2016 CRS, Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress

Ongoing general discussion, woefully limited in details, on the impact(s) of the estimated $530M NavSea FY17 detail design, Platform and Payload Integration,Code 40VPM modifications (e.g. impacts on: direct and indirect costs; trade-offs; build and operational schedules; hydrostatics; hydrodynamics; deployments; and missions etc.)

UPDATED 02/10/2016 SecNav, Proposed 2017 Obligation Authority, Virginia-Class

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 [January 2016] (courtesy FAS)

UPDATED 06/10/2015 CRS, Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, dated June 01, 2015; Cut-n-Paste

UPDATED 03/19/2015 FAS, Naval Nuclear Propulsion: Assessing Benefits and Risks

UPDATED 07/05/2014 CRS, Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress dated June 25, 2014 and CRS, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress dated June 25, 2014 (Courtesy FAS Secrecy Blog)

UPDATED 04/28/2014 Wikipedia, Virginia-class Submarine

Proponents of a 300+ navy shipbuilding plan appear to be expressing "hopes, wishes and aspirations" under the "Future Acquisitions" and "Improved Virginia" sections.

Typically, "improved" platform refers to upgrading platforms in an existing class, not the production of a new class (i.e. follow-on class) characterized as "improvements" to the platforms in an existing class!

Not sure if this "marketing" is clever or confusion or clever confusion?

UPDATED 12/21/2013 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 12/17/2012 CRS, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, Dec 2012

Alternative force structures for submarines—currently one 2014 VCS is being pushed out to the 2018 period—uncertainty in the Ohio class-replacement program persists.

The Cato and Sustainable Defense submarine structures seem entirely reasonable—a lot of luck and leadership might combine to eliminate sea based ballistic missile weaponry altogether!


UPDATED 08/07/2012 CRS, Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, April 2012

In an era of increasingly sophisticated autonomous vehicles11 and expectations that nations synergistically partner to protect and patrol our global commons 37 American SSNs is not a trough.

Of course, it's not necessarily the job of our Congressional Research Service to analyze whether proposed submarine missions and force structure reflect collaborators or cowboys.

UPDATED 07/27/2012 CBO, An Analysis of the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2013 Shipbuilding Plan (navy comments on some aspects of CBO's analysis here)
UPDATED 07/22/2012 CRS, Defense: FY2013 Authorization and Appropriations

Unfortunately, our Congress and navy continue their wasteful and unnecessary efforts to build two VCS per year10—restoring $723 million for long lead procurement for a second VCS in 2014.

UPDATED 12/10/2011 RAND, Learning from Experience: Volume I: Lessons from the Submarine Programs of the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia (other volumes MG 1128.2-4) deal individually with each nation's submarine program).

Volume I is a general summary for how to manage a major weapons system program. Things every experienced program manager learns, understands, but does not always implement. If the intention is to document best practices for the inexperienced this volume is too general to be of much use—each chapter needs a comprehensive "cookbook" companion.

Effective substitutes for an enthusiastic, experienced, and exceptional program manager (navy and contractor) are rare, but transparency comes closest and can mitigate much ineptitude,  inexperience, and indirectness:
"Full disclosure during the program is necessary to obtain government, industry, and public support. There should be periodic feedback to government decisionmakers and to the public on how the program is progressing. Such feedback is especially important when there are unanticipated problems. In this regard, a good media management program is necessary. Effective communications with the press, academia, and government must be proactive, not reactive. Program managers must proactively ensure that all parties are well informed in advance of positive and negative developments and their associated implications."--Lessons, Volume I--
As an aside it's unclear why the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada do not develop, operate, and maintain integrated submarine platforms complete with interchangeable submariners?

UPDATED 10/21/2011 CBO, An Analysis of the Navy's Fiscal Year 2012 Shipbuilding Plan (June 2011)

OSD, Table of Links to Past SARs

UPDATED 04/06/2011 GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs. GAO is out with its proforma March 2011 Assessment of Selected Weapons Systems. GAO is reporting among other items that4: the Navy thinks the contractor GD/EB is on a cost trajectory for achieving its $2 billion (2005 dollars) per VCS target; VCS program is 40 percent overrun; some performance and cost reducing design changes have been accomplished, others delayed, one abandoned; in-process (anechoic coating and torpedo room racks) problems have been solved.

Web:

UPDATED 03/21/2017 HudsonInst, American Seapower Speaking Tour (Full Version) and HudsonInst, The Trump Navy: Getting to 350 Ships

Hudson Institute roadshow for its proposed 350 ship Forces Structure Assessment (FSA). It seems incongruous for our "new" alt-white-house to simultaneously advocate an unprecedented and dangerous nationalistic isolationism and a bloated (48, 51, 66 fast attack platforms) sea power build up!?

 

Also, CSBA, statement by Bryan Clark in support of Restoring American Seapower: A New Fleet Architecture for the United States Navy (i.e. 66 fast attack platforms).

The Hudson roadshow and other promoters need measurable metrics and data for their eye-popping proposed  sea power budgets outside the traditional echo chamber (i.e. Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces et al.)

Our "new" alt-white-house's oxymoronic nationalistic-isolationism platitudes "America first" and "make America great again" are not measurable metrics or data!

UPDATED 12/17/2016 USNI, Dec. 14, 2016 executive summary of the Navy’s 2016 Force Structure Assessment  and CtMirror, Navy boosts projections for Virginia-class submarines and BreakingDefense, The 355-Ship Fleet Will Take Decades, Billions To Build: Analysts  and MarineLog, New Force Structure Assessment calls for 355 ship Navy

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 has budget and funding limits!

But, evidently SecNav's bloated boat announcement is conservative because to counter "all the threats out there" would take a 653 ship navy! Whew, that's a relief...did we stop random drug testing of our sailors and analysts?

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


Navy (N97 and PEO Submarines) discuss block changes for Virginia-class platform.

UPDATED 03/30/2016 USNI, Navy Sub Build Strategy: Electric Boat Will Focus On Ohio Replacement While Newport News Delivers More SSNs

UPDATED 03/29/2016 NT, Secret weld: How shoddy parts disabled a $2.7 billion submarine and TFT, How a $2.7 Billion Submarine Was Crippled by Defective Parts and UPDATED 12/17/2016 Breaking Defense, Welding Problems Fixed For Virginia Subs; Carter Tours Electric Boat

Whether a steam leak failure in the submarine's power plant primary loop12 is "catastrophic" depends on the platform's operational profile at the time of the failure. Suffice it to say no submariner wants to experience a power plant primary loop steam leak, even with a platform operational profile of Beaufort state zero, positive platform buoyancy, flank speed, and periscope depth!

The word "hot" in the context of a submarine’s nuclear power plant refers to temperature and radioactivity. Suffice it to say a primary loop elbow's (by definition up to an approximately 90o redirection of a "hot" pressurized fluid) fatigue and brittleness do not improve during the power plant's 30-40 years estimated life-cycle.

This article is woefully lacking in the details necessary for an interested public to adequately and accurately estimate the total impacts of the "elbow" subcontractor's performance failure, which may be the result of the ongoing (criminal?) investigation.

UPDATED 02/29/2016 Brookings, Uncharted seas: Maritime strategy for a new era of naval challenges (video - SecNav, CNO, Commadant)

Asking SecNavs and CNOs if the navy has enough attack submarines is like asking children if they have enough ice cream!

USNI, Navy Revising Force Structure Assessment In Light Of Increased Attack Sub, Other Ship Needs and USNI, Stackley: Funding Levels Creating Risk In U.S. Navy Attack Submarine, Surface Combatant Fleets

UPDATED 01/14/2015 Riverhead, Making history: Riverhead grad will be one of the first female officers to serve in Navy submarine force

UPDATED 11/25/2015 UPI, General Dynamics receives Virginia-class submarine contract modification and DoD, Contracts, Navy

"Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut, is being awarded a $102,876,417 modification to previously awarded contract N00024-10-C-2118 for additional lead yard services and development studies and design efforts related to Virginia-class submarines."

UPDATED 08/07/2015 DefenseNews, US Navy Sidelines 3 Newest Subs

NavSea must publicly release additional information on this Virginia-class submarine platform's potential power and propulsion plant piping failure, including platform operational limitations pending completion of the supplier investigation and corrective actions.

UPDATED 08/03/2015 USNews, New paint, water-resistant grease: Navy finds ways to squeeze more life out of attack subs
UPDATED 12/08/2014 FBO, Long-Range Research and Development Plan (LRRDP) of Today and DefenseOne, Why Does the Navy Still Not Have Enough Money for New Submarines?

A question the recently nominated SecDef, Ashton Carter will often ask (or mumble) over the next several years.

In the unlikely event of a non-DoD component donating or reprogramming $80B of their budget, solutions will likely mean fewer separate common class (i.e. SSN, SSN-X, SSGN, SSBN, SSBN-X) submarine platforms.

Increased reliance on combinations of uncommon, non-traditional and alternative submarine and other platforms seems likely.

UPDATED 10/29/2014 USNI, Navy Starting Work on New SSN(X) Nuclear Attack Submarine

Post Virginia-class, Block VII platform exploratory project, SSN(X) announced at this years sub-league symposium.

The announcement is about as meaningful as announcing a preliminary project for the purpose of exploring a redesign of a navy coffee cup.

Our submarine designers are continuously projecting (no pun intended) and pitching all matter and manner of next generation submarine platforms, with or without realistic threat parameters—that's what submarine designers do. However, it's a bit unusual for these pitches to go public 30 plus years pre-IOC—guess today's eye-popping platform price tags demand earlier starts?

The good news is that next generation platforms increasingly require first principle understanding and advancement as opposed to purchasing more and larger displacements and throw weights. Such will no doubt be a focus of session two (Technologies for SSN(X)) at next years APL Submarine Technology Symposium.

UPDATED 10/29/2014 NavyTimes, Virginia subs to get berthing changes for female crew

UPDATED 10/25/2014 DoDNews, Navy to Commission USS North Dakota, Newest Attack Sub and NavyLive, Inside North Dakota (SSN 784) and NavyMil, USS North Dakota (SSN-784) Commissioning (stream)

UPDATED 05/07/2014 AviationWeekly, U.S. Navy Continues Virginia-Class Sub Investments

The navy and contractors are putting some thinking and effort into cross class design and procurement, which may impact the estimated total cost of ownership for both VCS and Ohio-class-replacement platforms?

As if it wasn't difficult enough to accurately measure and track the acquisition target costs of a single class submarine platform.

UPDATED 04/29/2014 GD, General Dynamics Awarded $18 Billion by U.S. Navy for 10 Virginia-Class Submarines and Courant, Navy Awards $17.6 Billion Contract For Sub Work at Electric Boat, Newport News and Jane's360, USN lets contract for Block IV Virginia submarines

NavSea awards General Dynamics, Electric Boat (GD/EB) a fixed price incentive contract for Block IV Virginia-class submarine platforms (qty 10). The contract's incentive targets and amounts to be shared between prime contractor (GD/EB) and major subcontractor  Newport News were not disclosed?

Jane's 360 reminds us that changes to the original baseline design and configuration, typically referred to as "improvements", have been made for Block IV platforms. These "improvements" again realign any "cost growth" with existing expected budgets. The navy, contractor and congress simultaneously pronounce the "improved program", which typically change an expensive coach platform into a relatively more affordable pumpkin platform the Cinderella of military procurement programs.

UPDATED 11/14/2012 NavyLive, Ohio Replacement Class – a Collaborative Effort

Rear Admiral Barry Bruner commingles Virginia-class and inchoate Ohio-replacement-class (ORCS) submarines (VCS and ORCS, respectively)  in support of our navy's desire of funding a two VCS and one ORCS per year shipbuilding program. Presumably the admiral intends the reader to use current VCS program performance as simultaneous evidence, threat and incentive in support of the inchoate ORCS?

To put it kindly the admiral is comparing apples to oranges or stated differently he's comparing a descoped, restructured, redesigned, and rebaselined VCS program to the inchoate ORCS. Only those unfamiliar or uninformed about the origins and history of our VCS program would seriously credit such a comparison.

Of course, the admiral's sensitivity to VCS and inchoate ORCS submarine platform milestones, costs, and commonality are welcome, if short of any meaningful details. We can only hope to hasten our navy's transition to a single submarine platform with a variety of mission modules (tactical and strategic) in inventory.

UPDATED 08/03/2012 BusinessInsider, Step Aboard The Navy's $2.4 Billion Virginia-Class Nuclear Submarine Some nice below decks images.

UPDATED 04/13/2012 EpochTimes, Navy’s Submarine Building Plan Could Fall Short

A significant benefit of a reduced submarine force structure is that our navy will not sink money into submarine platforms searching for yesterday's obsolete Cold War missions or awaiting an infinite variety of China war game scenarios (one scenario is currently playing out in the South China Sea, Spratly Islands between Chinese fishing and surveillance vessels corralled by Philippine ships—both nations have wisely withdrawn their military vessels as diplomats resolve the playground dispute) .

Instead, our navy can focus its limited resources and considerable research and development prowess on maturing next generation technology. Technology that will be required to economically build platforms responsive to tomorrow's missions.

Notwithstanding the considerable efforts by some of our politicians, tomorrow's missions will require Russia and China's participation as responsible partners, not political whipping boys.

UPDATED 03/31/2012 Reuters, Internet search yields bogus arms parts from China Two of the 16 suspected bogus electronic parts are used on the Ohio-class and Los Angeles-class submarines.

A recent GAO report that describes GAO's request for purchase of 16 electronic parts. The purchase orders divided the parts into three categories--authentic parts that are rare or obsolete (7); authentic parts with manufacture date codes beyond known last date of manufacture (5); and parts with completely bogus part numbers (4).

Hundreds of Chinese and a few non-Chinese vendors responded. GAO accepted low bids from the Chinese vendorsand sent the part for testing to an independent laboratory.

The two parts used in submarines (GAO assigned identifiers MLL1 and YCC2) failed macroscopic and microscopic tests.

All 16 parts described in the GAO report are suspected counterfeit parts. These types of inspection and analysis must become built-in features of international trading protocols. Including provisions for allocating company and country responsibility for every counterfeit product (not just military) entering the stream of international commerce.

UPDATED 03/28/2012 DefNews, Fleet Size Hovers Around 300 Ships in New U.S. Navy Plan

It remains a mystery why our navy's 2013 shipbuilding plan (pdf) is proposing to build 46 Virginia-class submarines8 (VCS, SSN Attack) between the years 2013-2042. Perhaps congressional inertia in transitioning to an equivalent non-military jobs programs and enhancing our multilateral cooperation with like-minded peer nations.

The bottom row, SSN-Alt is not part of our navy's proposal but included to show a total (30), if one VCS is built each year between 2013-2042.

Our navy's 2013 shipbuilding plan proposes dismantling eight Los Angeles-class submarines (SSN 688) between 2014-2017 and conversion of two SSN 688s to moored training submarines during this same period.

UPDATED 03/25/2012 CRS, China Naval Modernization RL33153 dated February 2012 (Courtesy of FAS Secrecy Blog)  (Posted under  Chinese Jin Class Type 094 SSBN)

UPDATED 02/08/2012 CSIS, The Acquisition Implications of the DoD Strategic Guidance and the FY2013 Budget

Interesting comments on acquisition processes by Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall—cost caps, life-cycle-costs budgeting, (un)affordability, contracting types, value maximization, data driven management, workforce quality, industrial base, industry performance improvements and professional development, etc.

Related post Navy’s Science Chief Targets Practical Fleet Concerns to reduce the cost of platform life-cycle ownership.

UPDATED 01/28/2012 NJ, Pentagon Unveils New Plan for Conventional Submarine-Based Ballistic Missiles

UPDATED 01/26/2012 Defense, Major Budget Decisions Briefing from the Pentagon and  Major Budget Decisions Media Roundtable at the Pentagon

Related post Navy’s Science Chief Targets Practical Fleet Concerns

A test balloon for the upcoming 2013 defense budget—the pentagon floats a precarious proposal for a precarious posture—no change to the current VCS posture; SBSD (aka Ohio-class replacement) delayed a couple of years.

More after the release of the actual 2013 budget and proposal (RFP) for the  next block of VCS.

UPDATED 11/27/2011 Defense Secretary Panetta and Congressman Courtney (R-CT) visit Electric Boat (EB) to express support and appreciation for those building our VCS. Also, the recently appointed debt- reduction committee's inability to reach an agreement is expected to trigger sequestration, which will likely impact the VCS submarine construction (see NOSINT,Virginia-class Sub Program Likely To Survive for another VCS impact view).

Further legislation could alter the sequestration before it takes effect in 2013. The President has expressed his preference for Congress to reach agreement on debt reduction and indicated he'd veto legislation aimed at circumventing the sequestration.

It's probably unrealistic, if not down right delusional to assert that our navy and submarine builders should stop doubling then halving budgets in response to simple changes in our government?


UPDATED 08/18/2012 How Politicians and the Press Overstated Military Budget Cuts by $100 Billion These headlines may shock our citizenry, but our experienced defense and congressional budgeteers and bean-counters gave up long ago trying to accurately determine our Pentagon's budgets or its actual expenditures!


UPDATED 10/24/2011 TheDay, Submarine force is preparing for a changing landscape

Before reading this article I would not have guessed you could quote five admirals (one select) in a ~1200-word article about submarines—admirals that say nothing about the gains implicit in common cooperative strategies.
.
Uncertain what to name the evolving strategy, the admirals' first priority is building 12 new ballistic missile submarine platforms (Ohio-class replacement) between 2019 and 2033, inclusive6.

The second priority appears to be the purchase of 46 new VCS between the years 2011-2041, which is not a "changed landscape" so much as a temporary dip in the existing landscape.

A changed landscape would be the purchase of 32 new VCS between the years 2011-20317 coupled with an improvement program for 14 of the existing VCS platforms, beginning around 2031.

Alternatively, instead of building two VCS for the years 2011-2017, 2019-2022, 2035, 2037, 2039, and 2041 simply level load one VCS for all years between 2012-2041, completing the two VCS already in-process for 2011.

Our navy can designate, as appropriate any of  the new 32 VCS platforms to receive a payload-stretch section.

Begin the non-recurring effort for the VCS-improved platform follow-on, as appropriate.

UPDATED 10/21/2011 The Submarine Review, Submarine Technology Symposium (subscription) Several articles on the challenges and cost of the VCS platform.

UPDATED 10/21/2011 AviationWeek, U.S. Submarine Programs Face Uncertainty


The article discusses the VCS acquisition lessons learned, primarily after the 2005 period—unfortunately those lessons will have minimal impact on the VCS's total life-cycle costs5

An important lesson the article fails to mention is that our major weapon systems are procured in an opaque environment of self-selecting secrecy. Within such an environment it's easy to forget that one man's sweet smell of success is another man's stench of sophistry or spin: 
- sole source monopolist profits (cost overruns) is cost growth; and
- adding a second source (i.e. 2x capital costs) is investment or preserving industrial base; and 
- rescoping unaffordable performance parameters is an impressive idea or production improvement program; and 
- advanced purchase of hardware rendered obsolete by rescoped performance parameters is unexpected material growth (same for any newly purchased or reworked hardware); and 
- decreasing quantities as a result of the escalating unaffordability is failure of economies of scales; and
- program restructure, schedule slippage, and inflation is an acquisition success story that will stand forever;

Reducing or eliminating the opaqueness from our acquisition process of major weapon systems will help ensure that assertions of the sweet smell of success will pass the smell test.

UPDATED 04/23/2011 Time, How to Save a Trillion Dollars.
"...Does the Navy need 50 attack submarines when America's main enemy hides in caves? ...If the Chinese want to slay us, they don't need to attack us with their missiles. They just have to call in their loans. ...For too long, an uninterested and distracted citizenry has been content to leave the messy business of national defense to those with bottom-line reasons for force-feeding it like a foie gras goose. It's long past time, Ike might have added today, for U.S. taxpayers to demand that its government spend what is needed to defend the country — not a penny more."--Time, April 14, 2011--
UPDATED 02/26/2011 Full FY2012 Defense Budget Request.


The next VCS christening (Fall 2011) is the Block II, USS Mississippi, SSN-782 [Builder: GD-EB; Sponsor: Allison Stiller; Officer-in-Charge: Commander John McGrath]. 

 Virtual below decks tour (360o) of some VCS spaces on USS New Mexico SSN-779. UPDATED 12/11/2010 Aviation Week, Navy Hard-Pressed To Meet Sub Numbers

Yet, another article concluding that the expected eye-popping unit platform prices implicit in our Navy's 30-year shipbuilding plan (dream) will not support a 313-platform Navy. Of course this is not news; the interesting part of the article is in the next to last paragraph:
“...It would be a very interesting world if Virginia-class SSNs had the flexibility to serve in either the conventional SSN, SSGN or strategic SSBN roles. That would be a massive force multiplier and a boon for the bottom line,...”--Aviation Week quoting Craig Hooper--
It would be an even more interesting world if these modern-modular-snappable submersibles3 were virtually modeled, configured, tested, manufactured, christened, and commissioned...just in time for its mission and submariners (unless the snappable submersible happened to be crewless).

-----notes-----

1. The original 1995 baseline cost for 30 submarines was $64,040,000,000.00 or $2,134,666,667.00 per submarine. The original estimated price was $1 billion dollars per Virginia-class submarine platform (refer to New Attack Submarine Capability -- Acquisition Decision Memorandum (NASC-ADM) Milestone 0, dated August 28, 1992)!
"...Examine a range of alternative new nuclear attack submarines. Include alternatives with reduced capabilities relative to those of the SSN-21, and designs smaller than that of the SSN-688I. Examine designs smaller than 5000 tons and options with reduced or deleted mission capabilities; e.g., power projection. These designs should be more affordable ($1B), less than or equal cost of the SSN-688I....."--NASC-ADM 1992, Milestone 0--
UPDATED 05/07/2014 The GAO is out with a different set of 2014 numbers which estimates the current VCS program cost at $84,350,000 or $2,811,667 per platform, in the unlikely event the original quantity of 30 platforms are procured. GAO's uses a first full program estimate (different from the first or original estimate) of $63,582,000.


2. At the end of the submarine's life, additional costs are incurred for decommissioning and decontaminating the radioactive reactor compartment, reactor, and reactor core. The decontaminated reactor compartment minus the reactor core is then sealed and securely buried as mixed low-level radioactive waste—for hundreds of years.

3. There's no reason to limit the possible modular designs to snappable submersibles characterized by the SSN, SSBN, or SSGN configurations.

4. UPDATED 04/09/2011 Not included in GAO's proforma VCS 2011 assessment is the recent failure of the oxygen generator onboard the Virgina-class USS New Hampshire. The VCS oxygen generator (i.e. Integrated Low Pressure Electrolyzer) is produced by Hamilton Sundstrand, Sea Systems using integrating Proton Energy Systems' electrolysis cell stacks, which is based on proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology. The recently qualified Integrated Low-Pressure Electrolyzer is next generation technology, so its failure is of some concern. Neither the Navy nor contractors have yet provided a root cause for the mission critical system’s failure.

5. Captain Michael Jabaley (VCS Navy program manager) in a comment to the main article conjectures an increased VCS operation tempo (i.e. more at sea time per platform which is primarily dependent on platform MTBF). Time will determine if this conjecture is proven true?

6. Vice Admiral Richardson seems certain that a new undersea warfare strategy should not be called  "post-Cold War".

Which seems appropriate since a "post-Cold War" strategy will require more than deploying fewer ballistic missile platforms using fewer missile tubes (although a good start)—our nation must also transparently substitute common cooperative strategies and eliminate confrontational strategies.

7. UPDATED 12/24/2011 The remaining Los Angeles-class (688 and 688i) fleet were commissioned between 1985 and 1996—last in  Los Angeles-class is the USS Cheyenne (SSN 773).

A submarine's operation, maintenance, and overhaul history will determine its safe hull life, but rarely will its safe hull life exceed 38 years. Unfortunately, the economics of maintaining our older submarine fleet often dictate inactivation before its safe hull life.

Most or all Los Angeles-class will have been inactivated by this date—many will be decommissioned or scrapped.

8. Hopefully, those familiar with our aircraft carriers and their role in the 21st-century battle space will publish more details about our navy's proposed 11 aircraft carriers.

It's unclear what use 11 carrier battle groups are in the 21st-century battle space—in the congressional battle space, they provide justification for a plethora of additional weapons programs and platforms, including the attack submarine platforms.

9.  It's not clear if GAO exercised any "price sanity checks" before accepting the lowest Chinese bidder. Vendors that are ignorant, corrupt, or criminal are often unfamiliar with a military part's specifications or requirements and will submit obviously silly bids. An experienced purchasing agent will simply ignore an obviously silly bid.

10. Producing two VCS per year may make sense under some circumstances—for example, future plans to sell or lease one or more VCS to another Pacific partner nation.

11. Carting up to 65 cruise missiles (count assumes four vertical tubes modification, currently scheduled for 2019) around the oceans to periodically launch a few salvos in support of Special Ops does not seem like an optimal use of a $4.08 billion dollars (2016 dollars) submarine platform, which is crewed by 137 highly trained submariners.

UPDATED 09/23/2012 The above paragraph would change significantly in the unlikely event that the recently approved quad-pack for the Ohio-class follow-on is swappable with a VCS quad pack—effectively creating one common submarine platform with the ability to snap-in (weld-in for now) strategic or tactical missile quad pack modules.

UPDATED 10/21/2012 DoDLive, The Next Generation In Submarines Our navy must publicly release the referenced study purportedly justifying divergent SSBN-X and VCS submarine platforms.

The post does not state with specificity the exact divergent design constraints, trade-offs, and related cost drivers.

12. The article's usage of the confusingly phrased, "pipe joint near the innermost chamber of its nuclear-powered engine" may refer to a location outside the primary loop and reactor compartment?



Use Ctrl-+ to Enlarge or Open Astute-class Cartoon in New Tab
Virginia-class Cartoon
It would be helpful and useful to specify a component's location (defective elbow) by providing the nearest hull ring stiffener (aka station number) and distance from the submarine's longitudinal center line (see Virginia-class cartoon for approximate component locations).

See above cut-away Astute-class cartoon for a convoluted routing of the submarine's large (approximately 10 inches for the Nuflo elbow) tertiary steam duct piping—number 24.

Monday, March 20, 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.

Res:

UPDATED 11/21/2016 Wikipedia, Truman Doctrine and Turkish Straits crisis (past is prologue albeit with a hint of irony ... Reuters, China says would consider Turkish membership of security bloc)

 

UPDATED 10/14/2016 HI, Cold War Archive
UPDATED 07/30/2016 LSE, Cold War Studies Project
UPDATED 07/30/2016  gBooks, The Cambridge History of the Cold War, Volume 1 (also, Volume 2 and 3)

Web:

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

  


-----notes-----

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 March 23, 2017; Last Republished March 20, 2017:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Academy Struggling To Eradicate Sexual Harassment

Originally Published April 21, 2012; Last Updated March 17, 2017; Last Republished March 14, 2017:


Our Naval Academy is struggling to eradicate sexual harassment, assault and rape from its definition of 21st century professional midshipmen esprit de corps.

A lawsuit should not be necessary to compel our mostly cerebral Naval Academy to teach1 tomorrow's naval officers how to balance testosterone with estrogen and brains with brawn, especially our future submarine officers.

Web: 

UPDATED 03/17/2017 NavyTimes, Sailors targeted at more than a dozen Navy commands in growing military nude photo sharing scandal

CNO John Richardson on the Navy's spreading nude photo and video sharing SNAFU (need link to entire original memo) :
"...I’ve heard hundreds of times that 'these actions are being taken by only a small minority...Prove that. If that’s true, then the vast majority of men and women need to stand up and smother this behavior. To become intolerant. To act to put a stop to this. And if you’re one of that minority that just won’t get it, then it’s time for you to leave the Navy..." --NavyTimes quoting CNO, John Richardson-- 
UPDATED 03/17/2017  Newsweek, Nude Photo Scandal Exposes Marines' Culture of Misogyny and  C-SPAN, Marine Corps Social Media Nude Photos Investigation (Video 2:19:35) and AP, Top Marine Briefs Senators on Nude Photo Scandal

General Neller et al. continues to refer to the Marine Corps ethos chiseled into memorials, spoken in speeches, and printed in presentations, which dramatically deviates from a misogynistic Marine Corps ethos on the ground.


General Neller et al. must change our Marine Corps' deviant on the ground ethos. Pleading for marines to accept our marines regardless of their sexual desirability, genitalia, or gender identity is laughably meaningless3! The commandant is asking marines confronted with a misogynistic closed culture to report someone with whom they may go to war tomorrow!

General Neller must appoint a platoon or company of, preferably multi-gendered marines to publicly investigate and prosecute, in partnership with civilian authorities the entire SNAFU from first photo to last.

UPDATED 03/10/2017 NavyLive, Department of the Navy Leadership Reinforces Importance of Core Values and NavyLive, A Team of Winners and RevealNews, Hundreds of Marines investigated for sharing photos of naked colleagues and MarineTImes, A nude photo scandal has shaken the entire Marine Corps

"When we fight [i.e. maim, kill, and die], we will depend on each other with our lives. The binding energy that allows that to happen is trust. Trust in a teammate’s competency to do things right. Trust in their character to do the right things...Go beyond just treating each other with dignity and respect – that’s the bare minimum. We must [commit and] work hard to make each other better. To build a team of winners."


One step forward and several dozen backwards. Lots of work and research required from both men and women on the long road to extend a professional Marine Corps into the 21st century.

UPDATED 01/05/2017 WH, It's on Us Campus Sexual Assault Summit


UPDATED 05/23/2016 Guardian, US senator says military sexual assault cases show 'troubling command culture'
UPDATED 04/19/2016 WT, Pentagon misled lawmakers on military sexual assault cases

An Associated Press analysis reveals cherry-picked or omitted data was submitted to Congress to give the impression that the military was more willing to prosecute sexual assaults than civil authorities.


It is thought the deception is part of the military's efforts to ensure sexual assault prosecutions remained in the military's "chain of command".

UPDATED 04/07/2016 WP, Why sex assault reports have spiked at the Naval Academy, West Point and the Air Force Academy

 

and Twitter, It's on US and It's on US dot org

UPDATED 06/16/2015 YahooNews, As activists graduate, campus sexual assault remains in the spotlight
UPDATED 12/08/2014 Reuters, More work needed to end U.S. military sexual assault: Hagel and  Report - Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (28M pdf))

UPDATED 08/04/2014 ProPublica, Campus Sexual Assault: What Are Colleges Doing Wrong?
UPDATED 05/01/2014 NYT, Sex Assault Victims in Military More Likely to Step Forward, Report Finds (50% year on year increase in reporting) and SAPR, DoD FY13 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military (pdf)2  and SAPR, DoD FY13 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military Press Briefing (pdf)


Navy, 21st Century Sailor Office Director Briefs Sub Community, Senior Leaders


Also,  UPI,  55 colleges under review for mishandling sexual assault and harassment and ED, U.S. Department of Education Releases List of Higher Education Institutions with Open Title IX Sexual Violence Investigations and NotAlone, CDC Survey of Evidence Based Methods for Preventing Sexual Violence on College Campuses: Lessons from Research and Practice (pdf) and WH, FACT SHEET: Not Alone – Protecting Students from Sexual Assault

UPDATED 03/20/2014 Reuters, U.S. Naval Academy midshipman acquitted in sex assault case
UPDATED 01/23/2014 UPI, Obama names task force focused on college sexual assault
UPDATED 12/28/2013 VOA, Pentagon Sees 50% Rise in Reported Sexual Assaults in 2013

If an estimated 26K military personnel periodically experience unwanted sexual contact then significant under reporting still exists.

UPDATED 12/23/2013 DefenseGov, Statement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, December 20, 2013

Includes an attachment describing DoD initiatives, as if December 01, 2013 focused on reducing or eliminating sexual assaults involving military service personnel.

UPDATED 10/09/2013 WP, Naval Academy superintendent doesn’t have to recuse himself from sexual assault case

Our U.S. Navy, more often a leading indicator, is lagging while stumbling through its systemic sexual harassment, assault and rape problem—a response, to date more indicative of 1950 than 2013.

UPDATED 08/26/2013 NavyLive, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response at U.S. Naval Academy Program manager for sexual assault prevention and response discusses U.S. Naval Academy's efforts to address sexual harassment, assault and rape.

UPDATED 06/02/2013 Philly->AP, Military's sexual-assault problem has deep roots

It may be necessary to temporarily transfer reporting and responses for all sexual harassment, assault and rape events outside the chain of command until our services develop a fundamental understanding of the problem (i.e. conducts the research).

Expressions of outrage, condemnation, commands or implementation of punitive measures and prohibitions however necessary or well intentioned only demonstrate a profound lack of understanding of the problem.

Expressions of outrage, condemnation, commands or implementation of punitive measures and prohibitions are not substitutes for effective solutions.

UPDATED 05/24/2013 BBC, Obama tells Navy class culture of sex assault must end
UPDATED 05/07/2013 NYT, Pentagon Study Sees Sharp Rise in Sexual Assaults and SFGate, Military sex assault reports up, changes ordered 

Evidently our Air Force is leading the way in demonstrating how not to eradicate our military services' sexual harassment, assault and rape epidemic.

UPDATED 01/09/2013 NavyNews, Readout of SECNAV, CNO Jan. 7 Visit to U.S. Naval Academy

SecNav, CNO, and Superintendent must stop expressing outrage  preaching (cheap but ineffective) and sponsor the novel research required to guide our future naval officers toward a perceptive parity in sexuality—no mean feat.

UPDATED 12/22/2012 NavyLive, Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies

SecNav, CNO, and Superintendent express shock and condemnation over the latest annual report (pdf) that finds no statistically significant changes in prevalence rates of sexual harassment of women at the Naval Academy.


UPDATED 12/09/2012 NavyNews, Sexual Assault Prevention And Response - Fleet (SAPR-F) Master Mobile Training Teams Prepare To Deploy

UPDATED 12/01/2012 NavyNews, Haney Directs Pacific Fleet To 'Stamp Out' Sexual Assault

A stand against sexual assault is necessary but not sufficient to move our professional sailors to a personal perceptive parity in sexuality—it's much different and more complex than the typical, traditional and relatively simple (but still difficult) transition from a civilian to military ethos.

Our navy must sponsor the novel research required to teach and train our professional sailors (especially our submariners) how to develop a personal perceptive parity in sexuality—novel research that may well discover that current military and sexual conquest ethos are mutually enabling codependents!

The prophylactic measures described by COMPAC (i.e. avoid circumstances and events related to poor judgment) will be helpful pending our navy's implementation of a personal perceptive parity in sexuality program.

UPDATED 11/16/2012 NavyLive, Combating Sexual Assault—An All Hands Evolution
Thomson Reuters, Two women say were raped, punished at US military academies

-----notes-----

1. An unimaginative course title of: "Beers, Boobs and Boners".

Boobs are midship(wo)men that have not yet mastered the relationship between naval missions and esprit de corps—Boobs that progress to our submarine force, for whatever reason are potentially harmful and dangerous.

A Boner is a Boob triggered event, which by definition is unrelated to either a naval mission or espirt de corps (e.g. sexual harassment, assault and rape).

Beers catalyze Boobs' Boners.

2. There were no restricted or unrestricted reports in the category cadet/midshipmen for the FY2013 reporting period. One aggravated assault case (Art. 120) from the October 2007 to June 2012 reporting period in the category cadet/midshipmen was dispositioned during the FY2013 reporting period.

3. The existing Marine Corps ethos conflicts with changing societal notions of gender identity and roles. The commandant and Marine Corps will need help and time to evolve an improved ethos consistent with changing societal notions of gender and roles. The commandant is likely to learn that an existing ethos is not helpful in changing to another ethos.

The commandant can just say the crazy civilians have ordered a professional gender neutral Marine Corps and we will have a professional gender neutral Marine Corps.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Is Ohio Class Replacement An Investment

Originally Published March 19, 2013; Last Updated January 27, 2017; Last Republished January 19, 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?

Res:

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--

Web:

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

-----notes-----

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.