Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Submarine Quotes and probably the most informative summary of their modern context most of us will ever read

Former Senator John Warner once said that when he was Secretary of the Navy, his biggest fear was a phone call announcing that one of our nuclear armed submarines — a "boomer" — had not come home. - Peter Huessy, June 16, 2010, Nuclear Deterrence: Painting a Bull's Eye On the US. [Please read Mr. Huessy's entire article; for most readers it should be very worthwhile. Selected excerpts follow.]

"For fifty years we have had a bi-partisan national security policy in areas where the survival of the United States was at issue. Ten administrations agreed that we would deter the nuclear threat with…a policy of deterrence with a surely survivable triad of nuclear forces, that no potential enemy could have any hope of survival if they unleashed an attack on us. I am afraid," he continued,"we may be seeing that unanimity of policy…begin to slip away. I hope I am wrong because the world is more dangerous, not less; there are more nuclear foes, not less." - Sen. Strom Thurmond, 1994. [ibid]

Implicit in the new report, therefore, is that without a future plan for the modernization of our Triad that is agreed upon, the US might cut our nuclear deterrent force eventually to just two submarine bases: Kings Bay, Georgia; and Bangor, Washington -- with four submarines at sea at any one time. Six targets. That's it. Over time our submarines at sea could be attrited by an adversary. At some point, the vulnerability of our remaining two submarine bases could be an open invitation to a pre-emptive attack in a crisis --especially if such an attack could be sufficiently hidden to prevent accurate attribution. Putting all our nuclear deterrent eggs in one basket is thus fraught with peril. - [ibid]

In this day and age of terror masters and terrorists, of potential misunderstandings and uncertainty, a secure, protected and stable deterrent that includes 450 Minuteman and 12-14 strategic submarines and the requisite number of bombers remain America's best shield against many nuclear dangers. This was so in 1994; and in 2002. It is also the right thing in 2010. Deterrence remains a top security requirement -- especially tomorrow, as we glimpse only the outlines of an uncertain future. - [ibid]

Every 30 days, we are increasing our debt the equivalent of what it would cost to modernize our entire strategic nuclear deterrent for the next three or four decades. [ibid]

Submarines are always silent and strange.



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