Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Sinking the Fleet

That's the title of the op/ed piece by Vice Adm. (ret.) Albert H. Konetzni Jr. in today's New York Post. Go read it here.

An excerpt:

That closure will also reduce our strategic flexibility: East Coast submarines deploy to the Pacific via the North Pole. New London is perfectly geographically situated to continue this practice as well as to support operations in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.

What is particularly troubling about the drive to close these critical facilities is the sudden shift in the analysis behind the U.S. military's approach to the structure of our armed forces, and its relationship to the budget.

Our submarine force has been the subject of 14 studies in the last 12 years. These studies are time-consuming, but for the most part they are appropriate and welcome — we should be ready to justify the billions of dollars that the taxpayers spend on submarines; if we can't, the money should be taken away.

Repeatedly, the submarine force has been able to show a solid case — both in real world "peacetime" operations and in speculative wartime usage — that provides a firm basis for the American taxpayer to be comfortable that that money is not being wasted.

But more recent studies are different: The pragmatic and balanced approach favored in the past — one that understood the need to maintain a force ready for war — seems to have been replaced by a "reverse-engineered" analysis that starts with a fixed dollar amount, then finds and attempts to design a force structure that fits the budget.

Good stuff. Read the whole thing.

People like Konetzni and John Markowicz have made far stronger arguments for keeping the subase at New London open and maintaining a strong submarine force than the politicians who will be doing most of the presenting before the commissioners. I hope the pols have been listening to what those men have been saying.

Konetzni testified before the BRAC today. Markowicz will testify tomorrow as part of the Connecticut delegation appearing before the BRAC.


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