Trump promises more subs – even though there’s no one to build them

❝ Donald Trump loves submarines. And America’s submarine industry has every reason to love Trump back. The hawkish, protectionist president has vowed to grow the US Navy, particularly its submarine force, to its biggest size in decades.

But experts agree there’s no realistic way the Trump administration can add the extra subs in time for the former reality television star to plausibly take credit for the build-up. Submarines are just too expensive and complex to build fast…

❝ To produce extra subs, Electric Boat in Connecticut and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, the two shipyards that make all of America’s undersea combat vessels, will need to expand their facilities and add thousands of highly-skilled workers. Congress will need to approve much larger annual shipbuilding budgets, possibly for decades on end. Potentially several presidential administrations will need to sign off on those budgets…

…”More than unrealistic,” in the words of one Congressional insider who works on naval issues but spoke on condition of anonymity. “It would be impossible.”…

And, of course, The Donald lies about the comparative size of our Navy and how and why we need to grow it.

❝ For starters, Trump can’t exactly order a submarine all on his own. Congress writes budgets and appropriates money. And lawmakers might balk at the pricetag of Trump’s sub plan. Buying just one submarine sets taxpayers back around $3 billion. Getting to 66 attack subs could end up costing around $60 billion, according to the Congressional insider.

And that’s only counting construction costs. Operating those subs adds hundreds of millions dollars more per year. Every submarine the Navy adds grows the fleet’s overhead—and Congress knows it.

To build more subs, you not only need space at the shipyard. You also need workers…It can take up to seven years to train a welder qualified to work on nuclear-powered subs…

Trump could outsource the construction. China, India, France and Russia have – for one reason or another – shipyard space that could fill the bill. Hilarious as that would be, I don’t expect it. I do hope the next sensible administration we have – starting with a build-up in the 2018 midterm elections to the 2020 elections – we can start returning funds to useful projects. Instead of fondling the diseased ego of Donald Trump and his fellow travelers in the Republican clown car.

6 thoughts on “Trump promises more subs – even though there’s no one to build them

  1. eideard says:

    🙂 Though the US Navy usually has the best chow, some of the most leathery roast beef I ever ate was on American subs at Electric Boat. Someone’s handing out the wrong cookbook.

    OTOH, the best military mess I ever sampled was on a sub being fitted out at EB for the Iranian Navy. Yes, long ago and far away.

  2. Anchors Aweigh says:

    “America’s New Nuclear Missile Submarines Might Have a Problem” “The Government Accountability Office is raising concerns about the technological maturity of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine. The new boomer, which must become operational by 2031, will feature a host of new technologies that are supposed to increase the vessels’ survivability into the foreseeable future. However, as the GAO notes, many of those features are unproven and no prototypes have been built or tested.
    …“The Navy is not required to provide Congress with an update on the program’s progress, including its technology development efforts, until fiscal year 2020—when $8.7 billion for lead ship construction will have already been authorized,” the report reads.”

  3. Offing says:

    The U.S. Navy wants to add 10 new attack submarines to its fleet, but according to a scathing government report, it can’t maintain the 56 attack submarines it has as of late 2018.
    “The Navy has been unable to begin or complete the vast majority of its attack submarine maintenance periods on time resulting in significant maintenance delays and operating and support cost expenditures,” the Government Accountability Office concluded in its November 2018 report.
    “GAO’s analysis of Navy maintenance data shows that between fiscal year 2008 and 2018, attack submarines have incurred 10,363 days of idle time and maintenance delays as a result of delays in getting into and out of the shipyards,” the GAO continued.
    See Nov. 19, 2018 Government Accountability Office report, “Navy Readiness: Actions Needed to Address Costly Maintenance Delays Facing the Attack Submarine Fleet.”

  4. Priorities says:

    Dec 2, 2019: General Dynamics Corp. has received a $22.2 billion contract from the U.S. Navy to build nine more nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarines, the largest shipbuilding contract in the service’s history.
    “The contract includes an option for a 10th vessel over five years, the Navy said Monday. Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. is the top subcontractor.
    The Virginia-class submarines are designed to attack both land and sea targets with Tomahawk cruise missiles and other weapons.
    Eighteen of the attack submarines have been delivered to date, including $17 billion for the prior installment that had been the Navy’s largest contract.
    If exercised, the option for a 10th sub would bring the value of the new contract to $24 billion, James Geurts, the Navy’s acquisitions chief, told reporters.”
    Congressional Research Service,November 13, 2019: “Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress”
    World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of the total. U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined. U.S. military spending dwarfs the budget of the #2 country – China. For every dollar China spends on its military, the U.S. spends $2.77.

  5. Ahoy says:

    “Pentagon finds flaws in reporting of readiness of ships that are crucial in a crisis”
    “America’s Surge Sealift: What Are They Not Telling Us?”
    “Audit of Surge Sealift Readiness Reporting.” Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, January 22, 2020 (declassified/redacted)

  6. 3CardMonte says:

    The Pentagon is bolstering the number of warships the Navy will seek in its fiscal 2021 budget request after the White House complained an initial proposal was too low to meet President Donald Trump’s long-term target, according to officials.
    In the budget proposal expected Monday, the Navy will request funding for eight ships, up from seven in a draft service request in mid-December. The new request for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 includes two DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyers built by General Dynamics Corp., one more than the service proposed seeking in the December draft.
    The Navy’s proposal indicates it was unable to add a second Virginia-class submarine, for a total of two, instead of the additional guided-missile destroyer. That move to swap the sub for the destroyer came after the Pentagon, under pressure from the Office of Management and Budget to bolster funding for the agency that manages nuclear weapons, shifted about $1.6 billion in proposed funding away from the submarine program for that effort, according to officials.
    The overall request will help the Navy get marginally closer to Trump’s long-term goal of creating a 355-ship fleet.
    Trump’s 355-ship pledge complicates the Navy’s budget dilemma
    …The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Michael Gilday, has stated that the Columbia class submarines that will replace the Ohio subs is his service’s highest shipbuilding priority. The Ohio cost about $3 billion in 2020 dollars. The first of the new Columbia class subs will cost nearly $7.5 billion. Gilday argues that the cost of the Ohio class represented 20 percent of the Navy’s budget, and accounted for 1 percent of the total DOD budget.

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