Saturday, February 08, 2014

What George Washington (CVN-73) Will Mean for BRAC

One or two years ago

As part of the Navy's FY 2015 budget, Pentagon officials have hinted at the possibility of taking the USS George Washington (CVN-73) out of service due to budget reductions.  The George Washington is due for its midlife refueling and overhaul in 2016, at a cost of about $4.7 billion, according to Navy officials.

Bryan Clark, a defense analyst at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said it makes sense to reduce the fleet by one or two carriers and invest in new submarines or stealthy aircraft and bombers. But he said far more money could be saved by slowing procurement of new Ford-class carriers, which require fewer crew members and can launch planes more quickly, rather than retiring the George Washington 25 years early. Current plans call for the Navy to build one of these new carriers every five years, at a cost of about $13 billion each. Source

Note: The cost of putting the ship in mothballs would be $1.2 billion, says the Journal.

If Submarine Base New London ends up on closure list, it would be the third time. Groton’s sub base was targeted for partial closure in 1993 and total closure in 2005, but congressional leaders and the local community organized and prevented the cuts. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced last month that the president would request authorization from Congress for another round of reviews. 

Note:  Groton had also been spared permanent closure in 1912 by a Congressman from Norwich.

FEB 23, 2012  -Base Realignment and Closure Commission, and the defense department said recently it would request base reviews in 2013 and 2015. The commission makes recommendations about which bases should close. Former Congressman Rob Simmons said he is sure one will go through. This time will be harder, he said. He said the base has fewer submarines than it had in 2005, there’s been a shift from East Coast to West Coast bases, and two other bases in the east - in Norfolk, Va., and Kings Bay, Ga. - will not close.  Source

AUG 22, 2013  -GrotonSequestration means Submarine Group Two will report to Norfolk 
The attack submarines on the East Coast soon will report to the submarine force commander in Norfolk, Va., instead of to an officer in Groton.  Source


Feb. 3, 2014  Attack submarines on the East Coast will begin reporting to the submarine force commander in Norfolk, Va., instead of to a rear admiral in Groton in the fall.  Source

Feb. 6, 2014  WASHINGTON—The Pentagon has dropped a plan to retire one of its nuclear-powered aircraft carriers after the White House intervened to head off a brewing political fight. The military had proposed an early retirement of the USS George Washington, reducing the U.S. carrier fleet to 10, as part of plan to deal with cost cuts imposed by Congress. That touched a nerve among a bipartisan group of lawmakers, who called on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a letter last week to block the move and preserve what they argued is a potent symbol of American power.  Source

______________SubBase Groton______________

The next Base Realignment and Closure Commission will definitely target Sub Base Groton, again.
The battle to keep it open will be the toughest yet for a variety of political reasons. Unfortunately, the writing is almost legible on abandoned walls. Where will the Submarine School be moved?

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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