In Hearing at Groton, Talk of Peril to Sub Fleet

 

Hit Counter
Since 06-18-05

 


From: Waspscpo@aol.com [mailto:Waspscpo@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2005 4:08 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: In Hearing at Groton, Talk of Peril to Sub Fleet



http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/14/nyregion/14groton.html


By WILLIAM YARDLEY
for NY Times
June 14, 2005


In Hearing at Groton, Talk of Peril to Sub Fleet


GROTON, Conn., June 13 - The effort to keep the Pentagon from closing the naval submarine base here was recast Monday into a broader push to save submarines in general, with Congressional representatives echoing a top Navy submarine commander who warned that plans to reduce the fleet could weaken the military. Speaking at a special field hearing of a House Armed Forces subcommittee that was held at the base, Vice Adm. Charles L. Munns said worrying about the fate of submarine operations "keeps me awake at night," according to a copy of his remarks to the committee.

The Navy has 54 attack submarines in operation but has said the number could decline to 41. Admiral Munns said submarine commanders already lacked the vessels to complete some operations. The admiral is working to preserve the fleet as the Pentagon undergoes a review of military operations known as the Quadrennial Defense Review. But members of Congress hoping to keep the Groton base open said his testimony also supported their goal.

The Pentagon has proposed closing the base as part of a nationwide restructuring that would include shutting 33 major bases. An independent federal commission will recommend to President Bush by Sept. 8 whether to adopt the Pentagon proposal. "Clearly the more subs you have, the more sub bases you need," said United States Representative Roscoe G. Bartlett, a Republican from Maryland who is the chairman of the Projection Forces subcommittee.

Mr. Bartlett and other members of Congress said it would be premature to close the base given the conflicting projections of how many submarines will be necessary. "I think the jury is still out on what the future military will look like," Mr. Bartlett said. The chairman of the House Armed Forces Committee, Representative Duncan L. Hunter, a Republican from California, has criticized the Pentagon plan to close the Groton base. But an Armed Forces Committee spokesman, Josh Holly, said the hearing was scheduled before the Pentagon announced its proposal on May 13.

He said that Representative Rob R. Simmons, a Republican whose district includes the base, had requested the hearing during the winter and that invitations were sent in April to Admiral Munns and Admiral Kirkland H. Donald, the director of the Navy nuclear propulsion program. In addition to Mr. Bartlett and Mr. Simmons, the hearing was attended by Representative Gene Taylor, a Democrat from Mississippi who has been critical of the Pentagon proposal; Representative James R. Langevin, a Democrat from Rhode Island; and Representative Thelma Drake, a Virginia Republican whose district includes the naval submarine base in Norfolk.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Contributed,
YNCS Don Harribine, USN(ret)