SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10638]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2001H.R. 4205
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
JUNE 27, 2000
MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
DUNCAN HUNTER, California, Chairman
FLOYD D. SPENCE, South Carolina
BOB STUMP, Arizona
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JAMES TALENT, Missouri
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MARY BONO, California
JOSEPH PITTS, Pennsylvania
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
NORMAN SISISKY, Virginia
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
JOHN M. SPRATT, Jr., South Carolina
LANE EVANS, Illinois
ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, Illinois
TOM ALLEN, Maine
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBERT BRADY, Pennsylvania
Steve Thompson, Professional Staff Member
Dino Aviles, Professional Staff Member
J.J. Gertler, Professional Staff Member
Jesse Tolleson, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
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Tuesday, June 27, 2000, Fiscal Year 2001 National Defense Authorization ActNavy Submarine Force Structure and Modernization Plans
Tuesday, June 27, 2000
TUESDAY, JUNE 27, 2000
FISCAL YEAR 2001 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTNAVY SUBMARINE FORCE STRUCTURE AND MODERNIZATIONN PLANS
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative from California, Chairman, Military Procurement Subcommittee
Sisisky, Hon. Norman, a Representative from Virginia, Ranking Member, Military Procurement Subcommittee
Davis, Rear Adm. John P., U.S. Navy, Program Executive Officer for Submarines
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Fages, Rear Adm. Malcolm I., U.S. Navy, Director, Submarine Warfare Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (N87)
Konetzni, Rear Adm. Albert H., Jr., U.S. Navy, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
O'Rourke, Ronald, Specialist in National Defense, Congressional Research Service
Padgett, Rear Adm. John B., III, U.S. Navy, Commander, Submarine Group Two and Navy Region Northeast
[The Prepared Statements submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Fages, Rear Adm. Malcolm I.
Hunter, Hon. Duncan
Konetzni, Rear Adm. Albert H., Jr.
Padgett, Rear Adm. John B., III
Sisisky, Hon. Norman
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted for the Record.]
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers are pending.]
FISCAL YEAR 2001 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTNAVY SUBMARINE FORCE STRUCTURE AND MODERNIZATION PLANS
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Military Procurement Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Tuesday, June 27, 2000.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:00 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. HUNTER. The Subcommittee will come to order. This morning, we will receive testimony from two panels consisting of witnesses from the U.S. Navy and the Congressional Research Service on the adequacy of the Navy's nuclear-powered attack submarine force structure and modernization plans for the force.
The first panel's witnesses will provide the Navy's perspective from the point of view of operational commanders and the senior officers charged with determining the Navy's requirements for submarine programs and the development and procurement of these programs.
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The second panel will consist of a single witness from the Congressional Research Service who is a recognized expert in Navy force structure and modernization programs, and who has studied extensively the issues associated with Attack Submarine (SSN) force modernization. And that is, of course, Mr. O'Rourke, who has been battered and beaten in many set-tos here on submarine requirements and development. But he performs a great service for the nation and has been a great resource for not only this Subcommittee but for all of Congress to draw upon.
Ron, we're glad you're still standing.
Today, the U.S. Navy operates a force of 56 SSNs, down from a cold war era high of 99, which is a reduction of about 43 percent. The cold war mission of this submarine force was primarily one of locating and tracking the submarines of the Soviet Union. While the Soviet Union is now gone and the submarine force of its successor states is much smaller, the Navy's SSNs have been tasked with many more missions than during the cold war. SSNs today perform intelligence, surveillance, and recon missions; they provide direct support in the protection of aircraft carrier battle groups and other surface ships; support special operations forces; and provide a covert land attack cruise missile capabilitya very important capability.
Complicating the performance of these tasks is the proliferation of advanced submarine technologies, principally from the states of the former Soviet Union, that enable regional powers to pose a credible submarine threat to our deployed naval forces.
The most dramatic example of this problem was Russia's sale of advanced Kilo class submarines to Iran, creating almost instantly a modern submarine threat to U.S. naval forces in a very critical region where none existed before.
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SSNs are the most survivable Naval platform available today. When employed properly, they can operate almost undetected in even the most hostile environments for long periods of time. The vessels are very valuable national assets. They are likely to become more precious as the widespread availability of advanced sensor technologies, such as high resolution commercial satellite imagery and inexpensive cruise missiles, hold surface ships increasingly at risk.
In a rapidly evolving threat environment, there may come a time in the not too distant future when a submarine is the only Naval vessel that can operate with complete freedom of action in response to international crises.
The Quadrennial Defense Review of 1997 recommended a force level of 305 ships for the Navy, including an SSN force of 50 submarines, and recent budgets have supported that number. However, the budget request for fiscal year 2001 included additional funding that could be used to increase the SSN force structure by refueling four Los Angeles class submarines that were scheduled for early retirement or to refuel retiring Ohio Class boomers, ballistic missile submarines, in concert with a program to convert them to nuclear powered cruise missile submarines, or SSGNs.
While the additional funds in the budget are a step in the right direction, the amount provided is insufficient to complete both the additional SSN refuelings and the SSGN conversion program. Moreover, these programs are only short-term measures intended to address a critical situation. The long-term probably with SSN force structure can only be addressed by buying more submarines than currently planned in the Administration's budget.
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In addition to procuring more SSNs, efforts must be made to ensure that these vessels incorporate the most advanced technologies available. Development and procurement of the Virginia Class SSN will span three decades, and must necessarily incorporate new technologies, as many of the components and much of the software used in that program today will almost certainly be obsolete before the last unit of the class is procured.
Moreover, since the Navy is operating a much smaller SSN force than it did during the cold war, it's critical that this force maintain its technological superiority over potential threats.
I believe that we are now at a critical decision point with respect to the Navy's submarine force. Weboth the Congress and the Administrationmust commit to buying more attack submarines than the current budget envisions. Buying a single Virginia Class submarine a year and then planning a rapid increase in submarine procurement at a time when it must compete with other critical ship-building programs, such as DD21 and CVNX, will almost certainly lead to a submarine force that is too small to meet the national security needs of our country in the 21st century.
And with that, I'd like to welcome our first panel of witnesses to discuss the Navy's nuclear powered attack submarine force requirements and modernization plans. And with us today we have Rear Admiral Albert H. Konetzni, Jr., United States Navy. He is Commander of Sub Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet. And thank you, Admiral, for being with us today.
We have also Rear Admiral Malcolm I. Fages, who is Director of Submarine Warfare Division (N87), Chief of Naval Operations.
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We have Rear Admiral John B. Padgett, III, Commander, Navy Region Northeast, Commander, Submarine Group Two. Thank you for being with us today.
We have with us also Rear Admiral John P. Davis, United States Navy, Program Executive Director for Submarines, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, Deputy Commander for Submarines.
So we really have operators here who can tell us a little bit about the effectiveness and efficiency and adequacy in terms of numbers of the force and also the gentleman who can tell us a little bit about requirements and also where the Navy plans to go here with this with the submarine force. So we have basically all the components to get a pretty good snapshot today of where we are with respect to our submarine force in terms of today's capability and tomorrow's programs. And we're going to look at that and perhaps get some insights that will allow us to set some budget priorities.
Our second panel is going to provide us with an independent analysis and critique of the Navy's submarine modernization plan and its adequacy in leading the Joint Staff requirements that I talked about. That panel consists of our single witness from the Congressional Research Service, who has appeared before this Subcommittee beforeagain, Mr. Ron O'Rourke, National Defense Specialist, Congressional Research Service.
And before we begin this first panel, I'd like to call on my colleague, the gentleman from Virginia. And we couldn't have a finer ranking member on this Subcommittee, a person who is intimately acquainted with the unique capability and responsibility of the submarine force, Mr. Norm Sisisky.
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So, Norm, any remarks you'd like to make.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be found in the Appendix.]
STATEMENT OF HON. NORMAN SISISKY, A REPRESENTATIVE OF VIRGINIA, RANKING MEMBER, MILITARY PROCUREMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. SISISKY. Keep talking, Mr. Chairman. I like what you said, and I thank you. Some people may wonder why does Norman Sisisky need an opening statement at a hearing about submarines; why doesn't he just shout ''hallelujah'' and move on? Mr. Chairman, it's been said that for you and me, too much is not enough. But when it comes to submarines, more and more voices agree that not enough is not enough. And what we have today is not enough. We not only don't have enough boats in the fleet now; we aren't building enough. The Joint Chiefs agree, Congressional Research Service agrees, and increasingly Members of Congress agree. Submarines, as you said, are stealthy; submarines are long endurance; submarines provide supporting fire; submarines support special operations; submarines can operate in the littoral; and submarineswell, I shouldn't talk about the intelligence operations, but you know where I'm going.
In short, submarines can do almost every job the Navy exists to do, and if we can just get an airplane on one I think it'll be unanimous. That flexibility is why the Joint Chiefs said we need many more submarines than we have today. And, Mr. Chairman, that's why I so eagerly look forward to hearing our witnesses, hopefully, agree.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Sisisky can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. And we're also joined by the Chairman of the Full Committee, Mr. Spence, and I want to thank the Chairman for sitting in on this Subcommittee.
Mr. Chairman, do you have any remarks you'd like to make?
The CHAIRMAN. No.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. At this time, then, we will proceed. Admiral Konetzni, you've got the floor, and why don't you tell us a little bit about operations and we'll follow that with Admiral Padgett and Admiral Fages and then Admiral Davis.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. ALBERT H. KONETZNI, JR., U.S. NAVY, COMMANDER, SUBMARINE FORCE, U.S. PACIFIC FLEET
Admiral KONETZNI. Yes, sir. Mr. Chairman, gentlemen, thanks, it's truly a pleasure to be here, although it's a bit humid in Washington. It's always beautiful in Hawaii, and I just came from San Diego and it was beautiful out there.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ten years have gone by. We've studied submarines more than probably anything else we've studied, I suspect, in this government. And I'm hurting right now. I look at the bottom-up review in the early part of the decade. I look at that JCS study in 1992. I look how it was updated. That was intellectually based.
I take a look later at a type commander, a fleet study. That was intellectually based. I look then, later, at the Quadrennial Defense Review. I look at that sentence that was put on the bottom line by Dr. Hamre when he said, let's go ahead, Joint Chiefs and Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) and Navy, let's look at this intellectually to make sure 50 is the right number. And every one of those intellectually based studies, every one of them, basically said the same thing: somewhere between 65 and 75 fast attack submarines. And here we are today moving down to 50 submarines.
I am the commander, sir, as you said, of the Pacific Submarine Force. I've been doing this for 34 years38 if you want to count that Naval Academy timeand I love it. But we're hurting, and hurting big time. I have 26 submarines, fast attack submarines, out there, and I have seen some things over the last couple of years that I never saw during the cold war. My operating tempo of the deployed young fellows is up much higher than it should be. It's planned to be 65 percent for these ships when they're deployed for six months. It's upwards of 80, and ships like Pasadena and Cheyenne are at 90 percent. For a six-month deployment, that equates, quite frankly, to being in port for two weeks. It's amazing. Those ships are supposed to get 28 percent maintenance when they're deployed for six months. They're lucky to get half of that. And the youngsters join this Navy to see the world, and some other things that are awfully patriotic, and they're not seeing it. We're hurting.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The newer shipswhat an engineering work of art to have a 33-year reactor core. But you know what? Those cores, the way I'm running them, I have 26 fast attack submarines and I've got nine on the watch list right now because they're not going to make it to 33 years because we're running their legs off.
I'm very fortunate. I know the east coast guys are the same way. I've got the highest retention of any armed service of any branch, anything, and I've got the lowest attrition of first-termers. But it won't last. We're stretched too thin. And that's my problem right now, sir; I need more submarines. And it's a tragedy to me that we've gotten to this point, with all of those warnings over the last ten years. And I'll do everything within my power before I retire from this wonderful organization to try to get it on the right course.
Thank you, sir, for having me.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Konetzni can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Well, thank you, Admiral Konetzni, for a very candid statement. That's the kind of testimony that we welcome hereunvarnished by the politics of the day or the constraints of the budget. And, of course, Norm can talk about this a lot, that these reviews that did not address requirementsand I don't think they were intellectually based; I think they were budget-drivenended up with arbitrary numbers being assigned to important elements of our force projection, like submarines, has been a real disservice to our country.
Admiral Padgett, the floor is yours, sir.
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STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. JOHN B. PADGETT, III, U.S. NAVY, COMMANDER, SUBMARINE GROUP TWO AND NAVY REGION NORTHEAST
Admiral PADGETT. Thank you, sir. Mr. Chairman and Mr. Sisisky, I also appreciate the opportunity to speak with you this morning. I think the pressures of the operational demands on our submarines are significant. I think that the submarines in the Atlantic are performing very, very well in support of the Commanders-in-Chief when they deploy. We see similar operational tempo problems in the Mediterranean, in the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Gulf, and the North Atlantic. We are not doing as much maintenance as we would like. We are not answering all the commitments that wewhich we would like to meet.
I would characterize the challenges ahead, however, in four general areas, and I would preface those challenges by saying that today the ships are performing well. Today, our sailors are performing extraordinarily well. The young men and women that operate and maintain our ships are as fine as they've ever been. But it's a fragile balance. The challenges that I see ahead include the force structure challenge. We need to fix that. We need to make sure that we have a proper view of maintenance for our submarines. We need to make sure that we have a plan for modernization that is effective, efficient, and keeps our ships capable as the threats evolve in the future. And, of course, we need to focus on keeping those fine young men and women that operate and maintain those ships engaged and motivated. That is our challenge.
I talk quite a bit more about those challenges in a prepared statement and, if I could, sir, I would like that submitted for the record.
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Mr. HUNTER. Without objection, we'll take that statement into the record.
Admiral PADGETT. Thank you, sir. And I thank you again for the opportunity to be here to answer your questions. I think that, together, none of these challenges are insurmountable, and I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to coming up with those solutions.
Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Padgett can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. MALCOLM I. FAGES, U.S. NAVY, DIRECTOR, SUBMARINE WARFARE DIVISION, OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS (N87)
Admiral FAGES. Chairman, honored Members of the Subcommittee, thank you as well for the opportunity to appear today and discuss the submarine force. I'd like to open my statement by thanking this Committee for its vital support of the Navy and of the submarine force in 1999. And, Mr. Chairman, your intense interest directed at ensuring that we continually improve the combat capability of the Virginia Class has been instrumental in the program's success. Adequate funding for the advanced submarine technology insertion program is a very high priority for the submarine force and the Navy, and I personally thank you for the focus that your interest has engendered in this very vital area.
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Mr. HUNTER. Well, if we focus any more, we might not be building any. I was just informed by staff we built precisely five submarines in the last 11 years. But we'll keep focusing, Admiral.
Admiral FAGES. My testimony today is on submarine force structure requirements and on modernization programs basically to ensure toprograms to ensure that our submarine force remains the best in the world. The Chief of Naval Operations places the highest priority on providing forward deployed combat-credible forces, and in the last year your submarines have conducted these critically important missions, including the surveillance missions and protections of the battle group against surface and submarine threats and executing strike operations.
Today, the attack submarine force is 56. The attack submarine study concluded that fewer than 55 would leave our Commanders in Chief (CINCs) with insufficient capacity to respond to urgent crucial demands without gapping other requirements of high priority. Over the last 18 months, rapidly mounting evidence has corroborated those studies' findings. Operational commanders have been unable to support some key national missions due to a lack of submarine assets. We must not let our attack submarine force structure decline any further, Mr. Chairman.
In the longer term, we must build towards a total force of 68 attack submarines and 18 Virginia Class in the 2015 time frame, as requested by the unified commanders and substantiated in the 1999 attack submarine study.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We continue to assess the conversion of the four Trident SSBNs to an SSGN conversion. SSGN, arguably, provides the greatest opportunity for the U.S. Navy innovation with an existing platform since the 1920s conversions of the battle cruisers Lexington and Saratoga to large-deck aircraft carriers. Our Tridents are amongst the most capable submarines in the world, without caveat. Striking them from service in 2003 and 2004 would, in my personal opinion, be a travesty. We need the assistance of the Congress in the resolution of both the funding and the arms controls issues that weigh heavily on the decision to move forward with the SSGN conversion.
The modernization of our ballistic missile submarine force is proceeding. The first of four submarine conversions from the C4 to the D5 missile system is under way. We are on track to a 14-ship, all D5 missile capable force stationed in two oceans.
Before I close, I would like to very briefly address the highlights of our modernization and technology insertion programs. Our most important program is in the area of acoustic superiority, the acoustic rapid COTS insertion program and the TB29 towed array are substantially reducing costs while markedly improving capability. Our unmanned undersea vehicle investment will enable a revolutionary advance in undersea warfare capability, and in 2003 we will introduce the long-term mine reconnaissance system which is an autonomous Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) that will enable long-range detection and classification of the mine threat and provide us knowledge of important ocean bottom features. We are fielding impressive new communications capabilities in our submarines with high data rate antennae. We are also funding initiatives to further enhance intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. This mission area was highlighted in the attack submarine study as a unique and enduring submarine capability, and we are investing accordingly.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our advanced submarine technology insertion effort is on track. We have a formal process to evaluate and make investments in promising technologies, and we eagerly anticipate the outcome of a DARPA-led sensors and payload study due to report this fall.
Sir, I thank you again for your support and look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Fages can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Admiral.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. JOHN P. DAVIS, U.S. NAVY, PROGRAM EXECUTIVE OFFICER FOR SUBMARINES
Admiral DAVIS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I would like to begin by expressing my appreciation to you and Congressman Sisisky and all the Members of the Subcommittee for your continued support of the submarine force. Your commitment has been instrumental in ensuring that U.S. submarines remain the best in the world and continue their vital role of our national defense.
I would like to echo Admiral Fages, Mr. Chairman, also as extending our thanks to you for the role you have played in, I would say, transforming the submarine force. Over the years, with your support and your encouragement, we have broken away from the cookie-cutter approach ship design and are now continuously looking beyond the horizon for new technologies that will make each ship we build more capable and more cost-efficient than before. Your leadership, in particular, has ensured that we will remain the world's most preeminent submarine force of the 21st century, and we're very grateful for that, Mr. Chairman.
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With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to comment briefly on the submarines force and admit a more detailed statement to be included in the record along with Admiral Fages.
Mr. HUNTER. Without objection.
Admiral DAVIS. Less than four years from today, in 2004, we will deliver the first of the Virginia Class submarines. The Virginia is the first procurement specifically designed to meet the post-cold war multi-mission requirements, and will surpass its predecessors in stealth, special warfare, mine warfare, surveillance, battle group operations, and mission flexibilityall for about 30 percent less in procurement and life cycle costs than the predecessor. And, in fact, reducing costs was a key factor in the Virginia design.
In addition to our work on the Virginia, we are completing the third and final Seawolf class ship, the Jimmy Carter, and this unique multi-mission platform is being modified with additional volume and functionality, making it a prototype for evolution of advanced submarine payload deliver in the 21st century. The Jimmy Carter is currently 48 percent complete and it is scheduled for delivery in mid-2004.
Meanwhile, in the near term, the Navy has a tremendous opportunity to increase SSN force power projection by modernizing the Ohio Class Trident ballistic missile submarine to an SSGN configuration. To maintain our force level currently over the next seven years, over 30 Los Angeles Class and four Ohio Class submarines will undergo major depot maintenance availabilities. With an average of seven submarines temporarily absent from the fleet at any one time, it will require a major undertaking to ensure that submarines are available to meet vital mission commitments.
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To meet this challenge, the Navy has established a refueling and overhaul program known as the submarine factory, which emphasizes cooperation and communication between all stakeholders, both in the public sector and the private sectors. In addition, achieving and maintaining a robust submarine force structure requires us to develop sure, stable means to ensureinsert new technologies while simultaneously providing combat power to theater commanders. Once thought to be an option for only expensive one-of-a-kind experimental submarines, the insertion of advanced technologies in the new Virginia Class give us the flexibility to adapt future technologies rapidly and, as I touched earlier, affordability.
Mr. Chairman, as you know, I was with the then Secretary, Assistant Secretary John Douglas when he committed to you that he would deliver those new technologies to the submarines. And when he held that chart up in front of you and said ''mark my words.'' Today, I am pleased to report that we've fully funded 37 new technologies that's actually funded to be inserted on the ships, compared to the 11 in the 1997 Virginia Class technology insertion plan. We have honored our original commitment and are, in fact, continuing to invest in advanced technologies. And the President's FY 01 budget request in approximately 294 million in Research and Development (R&D) and Shipbuilding and Conversion (SCN) funds to support Virginia Class technology insertion.
As the individual responsible for both new construction and life cycle management, I can assure you that we are aggressively forward-fitting and back-fitting technologies in the fleet. Continued innovation and modernization of our SSNs will not only improve our battle space preparation and war-fighting capabilities, but will produce significant savings as we develop common systems for all submarines.
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Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, with your continued support we will continue to build, deploy, and service the most advanced, technologically sophisticated submarines in the world. Thank you for the opportunity for making this statement.
[The prepared statement Admiral Davis can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Admiral Davis, thank you. Gentlemen, thank you all for your opening statements there. Let me start out with requirements, or with the operational folks here because that's obviously a major part of this debate as to whether the 50 number is anywhere close to reasonable and whether or not we're going to have to extend other priorities or set other priorities aside to do the conversions we've spoken about or the refuelings that will give a little more life to our 688 force.
Admiral Padgett and Konetzni, you folks can answer whenever you want to and shift back and forth if you want to, but I'd like you to address from the operator's point of view what you consider to be the inadequacy of a 50-boat force. With respect to your obligations and your responsibilities to project power, what kind of a mission can you carry out, or could you carry out, with a 50-boat force?
Admiral KONETZNI. I'll start with that, sir, if I may, Mr. Chairman. With a 50-boat force, and assuming thatand that's worldwidethat the force is split 50/50, which is where we are headed right now, there are many, many things that we can't do. I'd like to give you an example. I have 26 fast attack submarines under my command right now. Two of them are specialthe Parche and the Kamehameha, which is one of our special operations forces insertion ships, in fact, the last one the Navy has for a while.
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Today, when I take a look at what I am called on to do, I'd like to use 1999 as a year. We all have to understand, I believe, that when a ship deploys for six months, about 45 percent of that time is used on surveillance work. These 360-foot ships are operating, for the most part, during that 45 percent of the time deployed in 200 feet of water. It's kind of like back to the future.
With that force level I have right now, operating tempos in the last five years have gone up from aboutthis is deployed65 percent to about 80 percent. On top of that, we're not getting half of the maintenance that we really, really need. With that force level, another metric that I think is important is turnaround ratio. That's a measure that, after the six months, how many individual six-month periods does a ship have before it has to go back. Five years ago, that turnaround ratio was about three and a half. It was about right. We left them home for some time, for training, to be with their families. And right now it's going down. It's less than three, and in two or three years it'll be about two and a half, and less.
What are we missing? Last year, in surveillance alone, we missed scheduledand as you know, Mr. Chairman, I and the fellows here, we don't set what surveillance this country does; I have nothing to do with that; I follow the rules. We missed 365 days of surveillance worldwide. My share of that was 246 days. That's on-station surveillance.
Now, it begs the question: What are we willing, as a country, to miss? That JCS study says it right. Sixty-eight submarines. Sixty-eight submarines to meet the criticalthat means critical to the survival of the United States of America. Sixty-eight. And here we are going down to 50.
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Mr. HUNTER. Admiral, let me ask you a question I think everybodyit comes to everybody's mind. You've laid this out very clearly, and yet you said that the study that rendered us up with a number of 50 submarines, which clearly from your common sense analysis is inadequate, you said that that was an intellectually based study. Well, how intellectual was it?
Admiral KONETZNI. Oh, let me say this, sir. The studies that I would call intellectually based over the last decade would be the Joint Chiefs of Staff studies in 1992, as updated in 1993.
Mr. HUNTER. And that one called for what?
Admiral KONETZNI. That called, at that time, for 52 to 67 submarines. That's a little upsetting for me intellectually because submarines are the only thing that seem to get a band. But when that study usedand you have to understand, sir, that during the cold war we didn't understand turnaround ratio. We had a Navy that was sized for war. The good news about that, it took care of everything else. It was a beautiful umbrella for our peacetime needs.
But, quite frankly, when you use the right K factor, which is how many submarines it takes or how many surface ships to have one deployed, and the right turnaround ratio, it comes on up to the same number. That was a year 2000 study. It comes out to about 68 to 72.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This last study that we did, the Joint Chiefs of Staff study, that study says 68 to meet the critical needs. Now, that 55 number that gets passed around is very upsetting to me because, intellectually, that was taken from somewhere that had nothing to do with intellectual argument, I guarantee you. It's 6868. Now, that study looked at the year 2015.
Why did we get to 50? I blame us. I don't blame the Administration. I blame us. I don't think we educatedI mean, meI don't think we educated the American people well enough as to what we needed. And here, right nowI'll be honest with you, and I don't want to be that dramatic about itI put my young fellows in 200 feet of water. Congressman, I'm just getting your ship back. She operated 50 percent of her time at 200 feet of water, 360-foot long ship in 200 feet of water for 50 percent of the time. Those young men deserve the best this country can give them. And we needwe let them down. That's why we're going to 50 when we've known for ten years that we needed somewhere near 70 fast attack submarines in peacetime for this nation. And we're losingall of us, sirbecause of that.
Mr. HUNTER. Admiral Fages, do you disagree with that? You were the requirements guy, right?
Admiral FAGES. Absolutely not.
Mr. HUNTER. You listened to your operator
Admiral FAGES. Absolutely not. Sixty-eight submarines is the requirement. It is well substantiated in the attack submarine study. It is a requirement which has come from the unified commanders, and it's not a requirement that has been generated within the Navy or within the submarine force, so that we could then justify a force structure requirement. This is what is needed by the country to meet critical demands. And Admiral Konetzni is exactly right.
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Mr. HUNTER. Well, it looks to me like, in light of this very abbreviated production schedule that we have that we forecast for the Virginia Class one boat a year at best, that the refuelings of the 688s and the conversions of the SSGNs, or two SSGNs of the boomers, is now necessary.
Would that not be a logical conclusion here?
Admiral FAGES. That is a perfectly logical conclusion. We have essentially near-term, mid-term and sort of long-term options for achieving the force structures. And in the near- to mid-term, the thing that we can do best is the refueling of the Los Angeles Class submarines. There are a total of eight Los Angeles Class submarines right now that are scheduled for inactivation which could be refueled, which would take us from 50 to 58. We have the four Trident submarines which could be converted to SSGN.
The Los Angeles Class submarines would help us sustain the force structure until the middle part of the second decade, but then they reach the end of their service life, the 33-year point. The SSGNs have a remaining 20 years or so after their refuelings, so they would be around until the middle part of the 2020s. In the long term, though, what we must do to achieve the kind of force structure numbers that have been laid out in the attack submarine study is build more Virginia Class submarines. That is the long-term fix. That's the only thing which will get us there, and that's what we
Mr. HUNTER. At the rate of how many a year?
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral FAGES. We have a requirement out of the attack submarine study to have 18 Virginia Class submarines to meet war-fighting requirements in the 2015 time frame, so the Navy's 30-year shipbuilding plan can get us to numbers like that if we start in the 2007 time frame. But a more economical approach would be to get to a build rate of two Virginia Class submarines as soon as possible, and that is a very high priority for us. The greatest savings would be accrued in shipbuilding to do that and it would, quite frankly, help us get over the inertia that exists right now in shipbuilding. We have, for the last several years, moved the year at which we are to go to two submarines a year out, and we really need to get to two Virginia Class a year as soon as possible, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Norm.
Mr. SISISKY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You know, Admiral, when you said intellectually based, that's why the Chairman questioned you, because we've had a probably with it. I remember I was very critical of the NDP, the National Defense Plan, who basically said everything the QDR, you can take this risk and notwe felt very strongly that it was budget-based. They builthere's what we could afford, and I think they built it around that.
But into law now, last year, we said the QDR should be threat-driven. It should be our decision, Congress' decision, to say we need 68 or we need 40. If we can't afford it, we say we can't afford it; we take the risk. But the way it's been, everybody has been depending upon the QDR. And let me just tell you this. This is an interesting experience, Mr. Chairman. We've been having the wrong witnesses up here. And I don't mean to hurt anybody's feelings, but it's strange the operational people have been the ones that have been adamant about it. I remember very clearly two years ago the Joint Chiefs were sitting up there and I asked a question. I said, look, somewhere on the back of an envelope, how many people do you really need in your particular service? And every one of them said we don't need any more.
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Admiral KONETZNI. No, I agree, sir.
Mr. SISISKY. We don't need any more. And that's sad. And that's why you're the ones that operate on thatand it's easy to criticize the chiefs, but they're restricted by budgets. But I'm really worried. When you said eight submarines will be in there and you're not repairing submarines now, what in the world is going to happen if you really have a problem?
Admiral KONETZNI. Yes, sir. Sir, the question that you address, I think, is very, very important. I do want to make sure that when I talk about intellectually based studies, the ones that were were the recent Joint Chiefs of Staff study and then the early one. The others were all financially based, and it's clear to me that the 50 submarines was probably the crumbs after some other things.
But even on that Joint Chiefs of Staff study there is a problem. Sixty-eight, it's a good number. And I know everything about that study. I've studied it more than many people. That 55 is a bad number. It was just picked, and that is upsetting to me.
Number two, when Secretary Hamre directed that study be done, he directed that study to be completed in September 1998. There were senior officers who testified in front of you who said September 1998. You received that in February of the year 2000. I'm an American fighting man. I only have one role, I think, and that is, when everything else fails, I'm supposed to make sure that I have forces that are adequate so that some competitor, whoever that might be, never, ever miscalculates. So when I see us going to 50 and I see the cost to the American people in the future, it really upsets me. And, of course, I live with it every day when I see these young people, because they're the greatest Americans I've ever met.
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Mr. SISISKY. You know, the reason I talked about operational people, we had an experience hereI guess two months ago, three months agowith the Third Fleet and the Fifth Fleet admirals who said we need 15 carrier battle groups. So help me, it's the first time that I heard anyone from the United States Navy or the Department of Defense say we need 15 carrier battle groups. And the other witness at the table, the budget person, says, yes, we do. But nobody said it except the admirals, who are really touching the people and seeing the threats day to day.
So I thank you for being here, and I'll give other Members a chance and I'll come back.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. And does the Chairman have any questions he'd like to ask?
The CHAIRMAN. No, except I'd just like to make a comment that what you gentlemen have said has confirmed what I've said all along. We took a readiness review back years ago, went out to the fleet and talked to people like yourselves, the families of the people, the men, everybody. Came back with a readiness report that thick. And we go to the Pentagon and say, hey, what gives here? Something's got to be done about this. And they said, from top to bottom, oh, that's just the gripes you hear from people out in the field; you've got to expect that.
It was not till three years later that they finally admitted that we had problems with readiness. And they said one dayI'm not going to say whosaid we finally determined you're right; we got some problems out there. I said, it took you three years to find out what we knew three years ago.
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But as others have commented, we've had the Joint Chiefs, we've had the civilian Secretaries and all the rest, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, before this Committee. Time and time again, we've askedwe propounded the question, do we have enough? Yes, we have enough. It might be close, but we have enough.
And we say, well, what are the risks involved in us not having enough? And they would say, well, the risk is moderate. I'd say, what does that mean in terms of people we would lose by not being ready and have enough people and equipment? And they said, well, it's going to mean a whole lot of lives.
Now that has gone up to highit's a high-risk now strategy that we are on. And so I just thank you for coming out and saying what we've heard before from you, and people like yourselves, but not enough from the leadership at the Pentagon. And that's the big problem, I think.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the Chairman, and also I neglected to offer the gentleman from Missouri, the Ranking Member, an opening statement also. But we are honored to have you with us today. Do you have any questions?
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. After listening to the testimony this morning, I am reminded of that old story about the young boy who applied for a job back in Missouri at a train depot out in the rural part of the state. And the train station manager was showing him how to pull the levers and to change the tracks for the trains that were coming through the area.
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And then the train station manager said, let me ask you this question. Suppose you have a train coming from Sedalia along this track at 55 miles an hour. On the same track you have a train heading the opposite direction going 45 miles an hour. What are you going to do? He said, I'd run home and get my brother.
Run home and get your brother? What are you doing that for?
He says, my brother ain't never seen a train wreck before.
Mr. Chairman, we are headed for a first class train wreck. Just a few days ago, I heard the Air Force Chief of Staff telling the audience that the average airplane in the United States Air Force is 20 years old. If we keep building ships, whether they be submarines or service ships, we're going to end up with a 200-ship Navy. And the Army, to its great credit, is working toward a transformation for the future, which of course is quite expensive.
The train wreck is coming. The question is, what do the American people want. And they have to do it through us. And I think that your message today rings loud and clear, not just here but hopefully all across the country. And I compliment you for it.
I have two questions, very quick. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your indulgence.
Mr. HUNTER. Sure.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKELTON. Has your submarine mission changed? That's question number one. And question number two, how dire is it that you have additional sailors for the submarine force?
Admiral KONETZNI. I think our mission has changed dramatically since the cold war, in that we were focused on the Soviet Union in those days. I think there's enough history certainly in that last decade to show, sir, that there are many, many competitors out there. And as I mentioned before, in the surveillance world, we are not looking at our highest priority surveillance missions. And when we have to go ahead and change something or react to a contingency, we take our ships off other things. We're doing that right now as we speak, and obviously I cannot go any further in that regard. So that in the surveillance area, I would say that we are spread out all over.
I think also with warfare and the way it might go and asymmetric warfare and so forth, we see ourselves even more so as true asymmetric warriors. I've always told peopleand it's in my statementthat it seems to me, more than ever before, we in this country and the submarine force do three things. I think all Navy ships do. We provide presenceand surveillance is the covert, sirand overt presence. We engage. In the Pacificand that's the second thing I'd like to mention that's different. Navies are very powerful when they engage their allies, and I think that really is something that we do very well for this country. All of our agreements in the Pacific are bilateral. It's powerful.
Mr. Skeltonand I mean this in as serious a way as I canthe Republic of Korea submarine force thinks I'm their father. That's very powerful for us. Singapore submarine force, just started, asked us to write their vision statement. We are hoping Australia, with their submarine forcefirst time they have ever built their own submarine force, but what really hurts me is that since 1995, my engagement daysand that is another thing that has changed for ushas decreased by half.
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So how do you have influence when your friends come to you and say, ''Are you angry at us? You won't exercise.'' So that is a big thing that has changed since that cold war, particularly in the Pacific where it is bilateral.
In the people business, I bragged before because that is the thing I am most proud of and I think John would say exactly, Admiral Padgett would say exactly the same thing, we are doing well. Last year, in first term retention alone we saved about 180 extra young men. In attrition, my attrition in the force is 8.5 percent of the submarines. That is pretty good. It is over 25 percent in the Navy, which I think is a tragedy.
I could take those numbers and add them up together and you could probably fill another submarine or two, so I am doing pretty good. I am not sure I would put all those Detroit guys on one submarinethat may not be the way to do it; however, we have saved them and it is helping us out. But I do not think that that is going to last if we continue what we are doing as far as high OPTEMPOS and reducing that turn-around ratio. You can only keep it up for so long, sir.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you.
Mr. Hunter. Mr. McIntyre.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know with the concern about the replacement of submarines, in the interim, what is being done about helping with the component and the software concerns to make sure that the subs we do have out there can be kept up to date? Are you comfortable with the technology being provided? Do you feel like that that needs to be upped in terms of supporting those subs that have got to serve in the meantime?
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Admiral PADGETT. You were looking at me, sir, so I'm going to answer that.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Yes, sir.
Admiral PADGETT. I think modernizationand I know that Admiral Davis and Admiral Fages worked very, very hard on thisI think our modernization is wonderful. I think things like using off-the-shelf equipment is great; but I must tell you as an operator, when push comes to shove, when we need to reduce, when we need to pay other bills, it comes out of modernization. So I have a concern. And that is, if you take modernization and stretch it out, it becomes rather planned obsolescence.
The best example I can give you is that one of the finest pieces of equipment that I know today that helps us, certainly in deep water, and close to the lateralis, is a thin line towed array. We call it the TB29. I have three of those in the Pacific fleet. I remember when people told me I would have the fleet populated, completely populated in the year 1998, but I have three.
We are building a modern one or actually a better one that will have a lighter tow cable so I can use it in that 200 feet of water, but I'm not going to see those on my ships for several years. I'm not looking for instant gratification, but what we need to work for is a real honesty in funding so that we have the ability to get it out there.
There is a piece of equipment and I give an example. I have two of these in the Western Pacific. It allows my ships to know where all of the emitters are so they can stay away from the fishing fleets, so they can stay away from ferries in very, very shallow water. This is a dangerous thing that we do. I have two of those. Two. And that is what my concern is of modernization. You need to get it out there. And if we use it as a bill-payer, for the operator it is not modernization. And that is my concern.
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Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you. If I might add a word of commendation, Mr. Chairman. Commander Rick Breckinridge spent two hours with me and my son, who is considering the possibility of the Naval Academy, on Sunday and I understand he had an 8.5 hour exam. Were you the fellows that administered that exam yesterday?
Admiral KONETZNI. No.
Admiral FAGES. No.
Admiral DAVIS. No.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Submarine operators?
Admiral KONETZNI. No, sir, but he's a wonderful young submariner. He has done more for us, quite frankly, in the last couple of years than just about anybody, sir.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Well, he is probably one of your best recruiters for submarine warfare. I also traveled with him when Secretary Cohen went to Europe to visit our troops during the week of Christmas. So I commend you for the fine men you do have and give the commander my best regards.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. McIntyre. Before I recognize our next Member, Admiral Konetzni and Admiral Padgett, I'd like to get from you gentlemen, supply it for the record in a fairly short period of time, you are obviously watching the budget to some degree and we will be having a conference with the Senate on the authorization budget and ultimately and perhaps earlier the defense appropriations budget.
I would like to get your requirements list. You've mentioned this thin towed array, but I would like to get a little requirements list from you on let's say your 10 highest priorities as operators. And, Admiral Fages, if you have anything also to add to that, we would like to get that from you.
Admiral FAGES. Yes, sir.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you. Mr. Stump, do you have any questions? Mr. Bateman.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me, like my colleague from Missouri, tell a little story. Years ago, there was a certain wheeler-dealer politician in my area who got appointed to something called the Virginia State Crime Commission. And this politician would stand up at public events and would announce that he was a member of the Virginia State Crime Commission and ''I want you to know, crime has been going up every year since I've been on the Commission.''
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Well, I speak to you in the context that I have chaired the Readiness Subcommittee for now the last six years, I guess it is, and that Subcommittee sort of pioneered the idea of going out and talking to the operators about military services, the people on the ground really doing the mission and finding to our dismay that what you learned at the level of the operator and what you were learning at the level of people normally testifying to the Committee from that table where you sit today were in remarkable contrast as my good friend and Chairman of the Armed Services Committee has commented. It was some three years before the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff indicated that they had any problems or saw any problems with decline in our readiness capabilities. Thank heavens they have recognized it. It is a darned shame we have not done more about it.
Your testimony today is incredibly helpful. We have needed testimony such as this, things that really reach the American people a lot earlier. We would not be talking about your operating tempo being such that in a nuclear submarine you were missing 26 percent of the maintenance time or opportunities that would normally be scheduled. That is a very alarming figure. And I know how much the Navy takes pride in the safety record of its nuclear naval programs. And they should. It is one of the things that any institution or organize ought to have enormous pride in. You cannot continue to have and sustain that pride if you are not given the opportunity to do it the way you know it needs to be done.
One of the things that I find in my travels and in my discussion with the operators within the military system is that a large measure of the retention problems are a factor of people with enormous professional pride who feel like they are being denied the opportunity to perform at the levels that they feel they should be able to perform. And if there is another opportunity available to them and they cannot have the pride in what they are doing, they are going to go do something else. And I think that is a major part of our retention problem.
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Let me get to a specific task back to this. I have looked at numbers about the need for additional submarines over a period of years. I have met numerous times with Mr. O'Rourke who is here in the audience and who is to testify and who has done very, very powerful studies, I think, for the Congressional Research Service. I am sure you all have focused on those studies.
I would take it that you are generally in agreement with where he comes from as to this deteriorating situation with reference to our undersea warfare capabilities. So you would be in agreement basically with him.
Admiral KONETZNI. Yes, sir.
Mr. BATEMAN. The other thing, if he is right and you are right and we need all these additional submarines and we assume that the nation wakes up, the Congress wakes up, and the American people will permit us, we begin to procure more American submarines, are we going to be able with today's force structure to maintain the personnel requirements to operate those submarines?
Under today's force structure, if we're having trouble meeting retention goals in some of the services, and I don't know specifically how it may relate to the submarine service, but if we are having those problems today, and it's an all-volunteer service, can we be building ourselves into an enormous problem of having built submarines that we cannot adequately man?
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral PADGETT. I don't think so.
Mr. BATEMAN. I hope not.
Admiral PADGETT. If I could echo much of what Admiral Konetzni was saying, I think the key to our quality people is that we attract hard-working, smart folks who want to do their patriotic duty in service to their country in an environment where they are challenged and supported.
The phrase that I have found most descriptive is the quality of service phrase because that includes the quality of your life at work and it includes the quality of your life at home, and the two of those come together to create quality of service.
Now, how do you create a good quality of service? Well, it is a multi-faceted challenge, but it includes all the things we've been talking about. Certainly a young person when he or she deploys wants to see the world, not just through the periscope. And I think that liberty ports, the OPTEMPO challenge when you are deployed, is a very serious issue. But it is hard for us as the operators, we have multilateral agreements in the Atlantic, but in 1998, we pulled USS Boise out of a NATO exercise in the Atlantic to put her in the Mediterranean to support Kosovo. In 1999, we took USS Pittsburgh out of a NATO exercise in the Atlantic and put it in the Fifth Fleet area of responsibility. Again, due to emergent tasking.
And so all these things which pressure Operational Tempo (OPTEMPO) ultimately will have an impact on our sailors because that quality of service won't be quite what they have expected when they deploy.
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Gear that is not maintained in a consistent and proper maintenance plan has a tendency to break more often. So, as Admiral Konetzni said, when the planned maintenance time or the needed maintenance time is cut in half during a deployment, it is a challenge. The gear will break more often, the young folks will spend more time working on the gear and less time doing the things that make their quality of service a positive experience.
USS Pittsburgh just left for the Mediterranean with a battle group here last week, one year, 12 months to the day after she returned from another six-month deployment. That's the turnaround ratio that Admiral Konetzni is talking about. Two-to-one. That's the minimum. Pittsburgh was the minimum to the minute. And a two-to-one turnaround ratio means that you deploy for six months, you return for twelve and you deploy again. Over time, that wears down on the people.
So I think that all of the things that we are trying to resolve here, keeping the ships modernized, keeping the force structure adequate so that we can support the missions that we know are important and also keeping the maintenance plan so that the gear is effectively maintained, all of those things contribute to the young folks saying, ''Yeah, this is something I really want to do.''
I think in our defense, we have done a pretty good job of keeping that maintenance plan in place although it is quite fragile. And I think that is in large measure why we have the retention both in the Atlantic and the Pacific that is as good as it is. Sixty percent is number of which we are very, very proud. Our attrition numbers are quite a bit below that which we see elsewhere in the Navy. It requires a tremendous amount of hard work and I think it is very, very fragile.
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I think that to say that if we build more ships, we would have to keep all these things in view so that we do not lose track of what it is that allows us to operate these ships as well as they are in the challenging environments that we send them.
Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Chairman, could you indulge me just to pose a question that I would like the answer submitted for the record.
I'm reading much in the statements that we have today about the conversion of the SSBNs and the refueling of eight I guess it is of 688s. I would like to have a brief memorandum from the appropriate sources in the Navy that give me the trade-offs. What is the cost of doing one? What's the cost of doing the other? What impact does it have on building new Virginia class submarines, because I know there have got to be some trade-offs there and I want to understand them thoroughly as we work through that process. I would like to know it on the basis of the people who are most expert.
Admiral FAGES. Mr. Bateman, I would be happy to submit that to the record for you, and I am also prepared to talk about that in some detail now if you would like me to address that.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
Admiral DAVIS. Yes, I will address that for Admiral Fages, as I'm in the construction and maintenance. We have looked at this issue of increasing the building rate at the same time having a large workload in the maintenance and refueling capability. And although we have decreased our total capacity in this country, particularly in the public yards, we still have far in excess of capacity across the public and private sector to handle almost any contingency that we have looked at.
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We have looked at all the way up to refueling all of our remaining SSNs and doing SSGN conversion in addition to the current workload, and looking at the efficiency of the public yards and employing them to their maximum extent, we are able to handle that workload and be able to put any additional work into our private submarine yards which for us really becomes a win-win situation in that the private yards have that capacity to expand rapidly. They have the industrial physical capacity and, in fact, that would really in many respects help us do our new construction job better because it levels out the workload in the private yards for them to be able to become more efficient, lower the overhead, which lowers the cost to the taxpayer of the new construction ships.
So, I guess in net summary, we more than have the ability to do that and adding additional ships into the maintenance availability, refuelings and overhauls, will not affect the Virginia construction rate and, in fact, probably will help that ability to maintain an industrial sector other than the public yards.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. O'Rourke, could you pull your chair up to the table there because this is a very, very critical area that my colleague has very expertly focused on here. We need to really, more than anything else, I think nail this down. And, Ron, I want you to comment on this from your perspective and your analytical expertise.
Admiral Davis, you are saying that we could move ahead with an expeditious refueling program of the remaining, of the 688s which will be up for refueling or decommissioning, that we can additionally convert the four ballistic missile submarines to cruise missile carrying SSGNs, and that we can follow the programmed new construction program for the Virginia class submarines, all concurrently without disruption of the industrial base and, indeed, if I understand you correctly, in a manner in which is beneficial to the industrial base both public and private. Is that your testimony?
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Admiral DAVIS. Yes, Mr. Chairman, that is correct.
Admiral FAGES. Mr. Chairman, if I might add, we can not only do that, but we can also increase the Virginia Class construction rate above the planned one per year through 2006 under those same constraints. So, we have sufficient capacity to
Mr. HUNTER. What could you increase it to? Could you do two boats a year?
Admiral FAGES. We could do two boats a year without a problem.
Mr. HUNTER. So you could do two boats a year, you could refuel the 688sand there are seven subject 688s.
Admiral FAGES. Eight, actually, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Eight of them, four of which are contemplated in this first tranche for refuelling and do the conversion of the ballistic missile submarines to SSGNs.
Admiral FAGES. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. We could do all of that with a, with a two-boat per year production rate for the new Virginia Class submarines at the same time?
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Admiral FAGES. That's correct, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Mr. O'Rourke, you know, we don't stand on ceremony here. We were going to bring you up a little later, but now is the time to engage on this. Have you analyzed the submarine industrial base, public and private, in such a way that you could comment on the validity of the statements we've just heard?
Mr. O'ROURKE. I am familiar with the situation in general.
Mr. HUNTER. You might pull that mike a little closer there.
Mr. O'ROURKE. And I think my reaction would be, first, I agree that there is a lot of additional capacity in both the public and private sectors combined. I think it is worth remembering, for example, that each of the two submarine construction yards could eventually build three boats per year each. They still have the potential to build themselves up to that rate. So we could build six submarines per year just in the two private sector yards.
So in terms of facilities, when you add both the private sector and public sector facilities together, there is a lot of capacity out there which can be taken advantage of.
I also agree with the statement that if you were to add overhaul and modernization work back into the total workload it would help to spread out overhead rates, and to the extent that some of that work was assigned to the private sector yards, it could have an effect on reducing the costs of the new boats that we're building.
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Mr. HUNTER. What percentage could we expect to get if we indeed proceeded with this program of refuelling, conversion and increased new construction?
Mr. O'ROURKE. If you add enough work to more fully spread the fixed overhead costs at the construction yards, then you could reduce the cost of the new boats that we build by several tens of millions of dollars per boat and possibly by more than $100 million per boat.
In a maximum scenario, you might reduce the cost of these boats by as much as $200 million per boat from where it is currently. I mean that's in very general numbers, but those are usually the kinds of figures that you look at when you're in the current economies of scale regime where we are.
The one caveat I would have to what was said earlier has to do with the workforce development that would be involved in adding a lot of extra work suddenly to the submarine construction and overhaul base. You would have to bring extra people into the workforce and train them up and you would have to do that in a careful manner. If you tried to do that all of a sudden, you could get into productivity problems at the yards of the kind that we had back in the early 1980s.
In addition, it is
Mr. HUNTER. In other words, in this high employment economy you have right now, it might be difficult to reassemble the teams.
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Mr. O'ROURKE. Oh, absolutely, because when a lot of these workers leave the shipbuilding industry, they go into other industries and in many cases I think the private sector yards will tell you historically they have had trouble getting those same people to return. So when you hire new people, in many cases you are looking at people who have not previously done this kind of work. It takes time to train them up. Their productivity is lower than what you have with journeyman workers. And that is on top of the issue of facing a tight labor market and being able to attract them into the yards in the first place.
There is a second issue, which is that if you build up your workforce in part as a result of adding overhaul and modernization work, you are focusing on a certain skill mix of workers at the yard and certain facilities being used at the yard which is part of what you would want to have at a yard for building submarines, but it is not as broad an array of skills and facility utilization as what you have in building submarines. So, adding overhaul work to a yard can help prepare a yard to build submarines, but it only covers a portion of the skill mix. It only covers a portion of the facilities and equipment that would be used in building submarines. So that is the partial caveat I would offer.
Mr. HUNTER. In light of that, would the conversion work and the refueling work to some degree help build up the yards for a higher rate of construction?
Mr. O'ROURKE. The normal overhaul and refueling work would do it partially. Conversion work would do it to a somewhat greater degree, especially if you had combat system integration work involved. And if we did the conversions of the Tridents in the more expensive manner, where we remove the entire missile tube section and built new tube sections, that would add a lot of direct construction work into the private sector yards.
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Mr. HUNTER. Admiral Davis, do you have any comment on that? Or Admiral Fages?
Admiral DAVIS. No. I agree with Mr. O'Rourke on his analysis there. And he's hit the nail on the head. The capacity exists where we would have to not suddenly increase the workload, either through new construction or through overhaul and conversion, but I think with the plans that we've looked at, there is enough lead time that we can manage that adequatelyus and the private sector working together, as we are doing now in all the other aspects of the submarine repair and new construction, that it is certainly well achievable that we can do this withoutof Mr. Bateman's questionimpacting the construction of the Virginia Class.
Mr. SISISKY. Mr. Chairman, before we get carried away because maybe you gentlemen will tell me about the POM that the Secretary of Navy submitted to the Secretary of Defense, which is a program objective memorandum, called POM, POM, which said that in two years the Navy will just be building 6.5 ships a year6.5 ships a year, which means below a 200-ship Navy. Now how does this figure into the submarine force?
I was going to ask Mr. O'Rourke when he came up, but we might as well do it right now.
Mr. HUNTER. Go ahead and follow the gentleman's question and the gentlemen respond, but I want to thank Mr. Maloney, who is next in line, for us being able to focus on this area for a few minutes. This is a very critical area that we're addressing.
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Gentlemen, go ahead.
Admiral FAGES. Mr. Sisisky, the POM memorandum for fiscal year 2002 and beyond has been, as you well know, submitted to the Secretary of Defense. It remains under consideration, and so to say specifically how it would end up at this point, it would be premature on my part.
That being said, within the program right now for submarines will be a one-per-year profileexpected to be a one-per-year profile through 2006 and achieving a two in 2007. We really need to get to two-a-year, in my opinion. And this is not the POM's position. This is my personal position. We need to get to two-a-year sooner than that.
I think the issue that Mr. O'Rourke and Admiral Davis have brought up reflects the fact that what is most important I believe is that we have stability. We need stability in the industrial workforce. And if we can have a stable workforce and the public and the private shipyardsthe shipbuilders have a reasonable expectation, then I believe that they will be able to bring the people on that they need to. They will be able to keep them employed properly and we will be able to build submarines.
So, both from an industrial workforce perspective and also from the issue that Mr. Bateman raised earlier, we will be delighted to accept the challenge of finding the sailors and officers to man these additional submarines. And I will tell you, we are up to the task. That is not going to be an issue for us.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. O'ROURKE. Just one comment on the industrial base implications. I think I am a little freer to talk about what was reported in the trade press about that POM submission. The cutbacks in that POM reportedly were primarily in the LPD program and in the T80 CX program. So the cost impacts on the cost of other ships would tend to be under that scenario primarily among other surface ships.
If you cut back on the Low Probability of Detection (LPD) production line, then I would expect that that would place some amount of pressure on the costs of the DDs that are being built up at Bath Iron Works because Bath would have been relying on some of those LPDs to spread out some of their own fixed overhead costs up at that yard.
So when I saw those reports, the questions it raised in my own mind were the cost effects it would have on the DD program and to the extent that it would put more pressure on the challenge that Bath faces in preserving its skill mix, it could have pressure, follow-on pressure in terms of when you begin a few years now trying to ramp up the DD21 production line as well.
Admiral FAGES. And, sir, I would bring to your attention that the 30-year shipbuilding plan was signed out by the Secretary of Defense yesterday, so you would have available now the Navy's 30-year shipbuilding plan which addresses the overall shipbuilding issue which you have raised as well as the submarine construction issue.
Mr. SISISKY. Well, Mr. Chairman, I think that begs the question. Is that 30-year plan going to look a heck of a lot better than the POM that was just referred to?
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Admiral FAGES. Probably not, not in the short term.
Mr. SISISKY. And it would seem to me that the Navy hadthe operating Navy within its own ranks has lost an important battle by virtue of the POM that has gone to the Secretary of Defense. And so if your battle is to be won, it has got to be won outside of the Navy, itself, which I find very startling.
Mr. HUNTER. Now, Mr. Maloney, thank you for your patience.
Mr. MALONEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I don't have a question, I do have a comment. And it relates somewhat to the conversation that just took place. First of all, I want to thank the panel for their presentation today. I think that you have properly highlighted many of the needs and concerns that those of us on the Committee see with the future of the shipbuilding program, the Navy in general, and the submarine fleet in particular.
The comment I would make is that this conversation actually takes place in the context, if you will, of the existing doctrines for the Navy. And we're constrained in this conversation by those doctrines that we could sort of have in our minds and we know about and we know how the Navy deploys, all of its assets, not just the submarine fleet.
My point is this, that in aand I have had the opportunity to speak to Admiral Fages and some of his colleagues about this, in an era of constrained resourcesand I think we can argue that we would like to get some more resources and I think we probably will get some more resources, but it still is an era of constrained resources.
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I would make the observation that we need to rethink some of the doctrinal underpinnings of what we're doing here, that there are opportunities and needs to have some of our ships do two sets of tasks where they are currently only doing one.
That to put a point on it, that some of the submarine force in fact needs to do some of the tasks that some of the surface fleet, which we will not be able to afford, is doing currently and that we need to think through how we would go about redesigning the Navy in its totality to accommodate those needs.
And in open session, I am not going to go any further than what I've just said, but I would suggest to this group, particularly because they speak for the submarine force, but to the Navy, as a department, that this really needs to be thought about. That having a discussion about, ''Well, we need 100 more ships in the Navy than we have or that we have planned for,'' and knowing that those resources are, as a practical matter, not going to exist, then we have to find a different solution.
And what I am arguing is that the task of our submarine fleet has to grow to accommodate those additional tasks. And we may, in fact, be able to solve two problems at once, the resource problem in part and making sure that the tasks in their full spectrum actually get met.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As I said, I don't have a specific question, but I want to put that argumentation, if you will, on the table and if the panel has a response, that's fine, but it is really intended to request that the submarine force aggressively look at the doctrinal issues that actually constrain what they are presenting here today rather than necessarily allow us to look at all of the issues that really should be on the table.
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Mr. HUNTER. Okay. I thank the gentleman and Admiral Fages, I think, has a response here.
Admiral FAGES. Yes, sir, Congressman, you are spot-on. And that is precisely what we're looking at with the Virginia Class and our submarine technology insertion program and the modularity with which the Virginia Class is being designed are investments that we have projected in the unmanned undersea vehicle area will allow us to significantly leverage the capability that exists in the submarine.
We recognize the budget realities that we all face, and our job here is to sit and be proponents for the submarine force. But the fact of the matter is, we do recognize that it has to be considered in the overall context of what Navy requirements are.
And with that in mind, we are doing everything that we can to increase the war-fighting capabilities of our ships in their design and their adaptability so that we really can get more than one ship's worth of submarine mission out of a submarine. I think we are doing a reasonable job of that throughout the Navy. But your observation is exactly right, Congressman, and we take the challenge.
Mr. MALONEY. Admiral, if I could, then let me just follow up just one step. What I am also suggesting is that the mission of the submarine needs to be looked at and analyzed from the perspective of are there roles in the fleet that, in fact, the submarine because of its stealthiness and its other capacities really can do better than some of the roles that are currently assigned to surface combatants.
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And so I am actually being a little more aggressive in what I am suggesting than merely sort of the enhancements that, that you were discussing.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. Mr. Thornberry.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to follow on the conversation of my colleague from Connecticut, because I think he is exactly right.
There is a little bit of concern that all of this fixation that we've been talking about in this hearing on numbers doesn't really tell the whole story because it is not just how many submarines, it is what their capabilities are and the missions that we expect submarines to follow.
There is a little bit of concern, I guess, that I have that there is a little boxa medium-sized box over here for submarines and you can rearrange inside the box, but you can't look outside the box as far as other missions.
Let me tell you one of the reasons I'm concerned about it. You look at the Administration's budget request this year and it pretty much set up a situation where you are either going to refuel some 688s or you are going to convert the Tridents, but not both.
At some point you are going to have to make a decision and we may well want to do both. We may need to do both. We may well want to use submarines for things that we have not used them for in the future, particularly with more missiles as we have less and less access potentially to forward bases. We may be more reliant on those submarines.
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And so I guess I want to echo what the gentleman from Connecticut said, but also ask on the SSGN conversion, is that do you think, Admiral, the status it's either/or situation coming out of the Navy or the Administration?
Where is that in the decision-making process? Has Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) at all decided? And do you sense some resistance in other sectors in the Navy towards this conversion of the Tridents because there is a fear that it would take over missions?
Admiral FAGES. Well, that was a real softball.
Mr. THORNBERRY. You all have had it too easy today.
Admiral FAGES. Our strategylet me rephrase that. My strategy as the submarine resource sponsor is to keep both the refueling and the SSGN conversion alive and moving forward. And that is the direction in which we're headed.
We were directed in the POM 02 submission to stake out a position, but the Navy remains uncommitted. We are not prepared yet to say whether refueling or SSGN is a one or the other because, quite frankly, there is a need, a very significant need, in my view for both.
We have arguments on both sides. On the one hand, we have clearly demonstrated need from the fleets to have additional attack submarine force structure. And the refueling of the attack submarines will bring that to us and we recognize that.
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And if we don't act on the refuelings, in 2002 three ships will be inactivated. So that is the imperative on the one hand. On the other hand, SSGN would provide us absolutely revolutionary capability, to be able to take a submarine and put 154 Tomahawk missiles on board that submarine and have that submarine covertly deployed off of the coast of a nation which is considering mischief is a very powerful conventional deterrent.
Mr. HUNTER. And, Admiral, that is roughly six times the payload of the attack boat; is that right?
Admiral FAGES. That's about right. That's essentially about 80 to 85 percent of the payload of an entire carrier battle group. It is a phenomenal payload. So we have a revolutionary opportunity with SSGN. And we clearly recognize that as well. And we have an opportunity to put new and unique payloads into SSGN. As one of the gentlemenand I apologize for not remembering whose comment it wassaid, ''If we could just figure out how to put an airplane on one of those things, we could do anything.'' What I'd tell you, there is an unmanned aerial vehicle opportunity that could go out of an SSGN. So we really will be able to do that as well in the future. So we want to keep SSGN alive, too, because it is revolutionary and it's an opportunity.
But on the side of SSGN, I guess on the negative side, there do remain arms control issues; and, of course, there is the obvious resource issue. I do not think we are going to be able toI will be more specific about that.
We will not be able to do both without some additional resource relief; but even with the resource relief, we really need a breakthrough in the arms control arena or a different viewpoint in how we look at arms control in order to be able to do SSGN.
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So we have a Hobson's choice if we accept the either/or. We know we have a near-term need for SSN force structure which could be met with the refueling and we absolutely do not want to lose the opportunity, the revolutionary opportunity that would come with SSGN.
So, again, our strategy is to keep both of those opportunities moving forward for as long as we can and we'll hope that the resources come along and that the arms control picture becomes a bit more clear so that we can, in fact, go in both directions.
Admiral KONETZNI. I would just add, sir, if I may, we hear this discussion oftentimes about capability and I fully agree with that; but, the other side of that argument is that numbers do count.
You entrust me and many other senior officers in this Navy to defend the United States. And yet, today, last year and this year, for the war plan that I am interested in, I do not support the United States. I do not have that required number of submarines overseas.
If we want to change that war plan, that's fine. I sent a message every quarter that I don't do that. And I will tell you, I know how that sentence got into the budget regarding either/or. I know Dr. Hamre. I know all of the background and I honor the man for doing that because he did it himself after some discussions up under the ice.
We need both. We really do need both. And there are lots of reasons for it. The numbers do count. But I think the other real, real key thing here is that the United States of America, those SSN refuelings pretty cheap to get thatand I know we're talking big dollarsbut pretty cheap to get that force level up, to get 80 to 100 years back.
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I just rode the Ohio this last weekend in San Diego doing midshipman operations. She's the first one of the Tridents. It would be, I think, a travesty to let that ship go away. Its replacement value probably is $3 or $4 billion for national defense and we're talking relatively small price with low risk. And, by the way, it helps me to solve that problem overseas with war-fighting presence that I have not met for the last two years. And that does concern me, sir.
Admiral PADGETT. I think it is important to remember if you take two Trident submarines, convert them to an SSGN, give them either to the Pacific commander or the Atlantic commander, I can keep virtually continuous presence of those 154 missiles at sea deployed year-round. That's a tremendous capability. And, again, at a relatively small investment of the nation's capital.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Mr. Chairman, if I could ask just one more brief question.
Mr. HUNTER. Go right ahead.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Admiral Fages, I think I'll throw you a softball here. I think one of the most exciting areas of research is into new methods of propulsion for submarines, electric drive and the rest. Could you give us just a brief status report on where we are, where we're headed and what difference it makesit could make?
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Admiral FAGES. We have two tracks, if you will. Of course, we're following the progress in the DD21 program because there arethere are aspects of the electric drive technology which will be both applicable to the surface force as well as to the submarine, so we are watching that.
We are also laying out a plan right now where we envision that the Virginia Class submarine that we procure in the 2010 time frame would be an electric submarine. So that is what we are shooting for is electric drive on the submarine that we would procure at that point which would be a submarine delivering in the 2015 time frame.
What we see coming with electric drive is obviously increased stealth. We have essentially reached the limits of being able to quiet the mechanical drive train of a submarine. So for submarines to beto continue to be more and more acoustically stealthy, we need to shift to electric drive.
That really is just one small part of it. I think the thing that is most exciting about where electric drive will take usreally, where the electric submarine will take us is in the kinds of disruptive technologies that will offer for us in the areas of sensors and payloads.
We would perhaps have an opportunity to use directed energy weapons from a submarine. We would have the opportunity to refuel very high endurance unmanned, undersea vehicles with the electric power that would exist in an electric submarine. We would have significantly more damage control capability because you could redirect energy to wherever it needed to be used on the submarine. So we are committed to an electric submarine as one of the follow-on technology bundles, if you will. I hesitate to call it a ''flight,'' a Virginia Class flight, but we're looking at that basically ten years from now. And we are starting to make the research and development investments to take us to that end state.
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Mr. HUNTER. Admiral Davis might have some more to add to that.
Admiral DAVIS. No.
Mr. HUNTER. Admiral Fages, there have been more optimistic estimates on the time we could use this electric drive. And we talked about this several years ago when we were doing the discussion about the prototyping. The idea was that you could get it in the fourth or fifth or sixth boat of the Virginia Class. Is that totally out of the question?
Admiral FAGES. Pass that to our shipbuilders.
Admiral DAVIS. I think, Mr. Chairman, that in fact you could do that if you did an all-out effort right now and tried to bypass some of the other work that is being done in the Navy. But we have an opportunity here with the DD21, with the Secretary of the Navy's policy, that that ship will be an electric drive ship and it will pioneer the way in many of the technologies that will be also used on submarines, that we should take advantage of the synergy between the programs.
That being said and if you lay out a technology road map of where it would make sense as far as all the other pieces coming together, our best fit is in the 2010 program. So, not to contradict what you saidand, in fact, yes, we could go out and put an electric propulsion system on a submarine a lot earlier, but the real synergy in electric drive is not the drive, itself.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That, in itself, gives as Admiral Fages said good attributes from a stealth viewpoint, but we are trying to look at the long term use of electric drive. And that's in a large amounts of electric power for use throughout the rest of the ship.
And I think the path that we have laid out here is a fairly sensible path. Now, of course, we are looking ten years down the road so we may vary that back and forth.
Mr. HUNTER. What about theand, Mr. Allen, if you would bear with us on this point. You're up next here. What about cost savings with respect to electric drive? Do we have any construction or operational cost savings?
Admiral DAVIS. I don't have those here with us. We right now only have what we would call back-of-the-envelope estimates of what the construction would take. Certainly, it would take some investment up front of the non-recurring. In the recurring, there would be construction savings because the building of the ship is a lot simpler, the ability to arrange components and quiet them is certainly significantly less, but we do not have that fidelity.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, let me ask you a question. Because the Navy was quiet when this Subcommittee pushed the idea of incorporating electric drive in your boats four years ago. And you ultimately came back with, ''We've got good news for you. And that is that we're going to do it on a surface ship quickly.''
If in fact the electric drive offers two things, one, lots of electricity to do other exciting things with respect to war-fighting capability; but, second, efficiencies in building and operating.
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Why wouldn't you incorporate electric drive earlier so you get the efficiencies in building and operating, even if you haven't matured the technologies that can take advantage of the increased electrical output? Why isn't that a good idea? Because we all know, cost is driving this entire program. We have starved submarine production because submarines cost a lot of money. And if we could make them cheaper, we can make more of them. So why don't we push the electric drive dimension of this thing on the basis that we are going to save a little money by doing it if it's not more expensive, but less expensive?
Admiral DAVIS. Your points, Mr. Chairman, are very well taken. I would like if possible to take that for the record and get back to you in more detail there. It really goes back into the Navy's overall plan for electric propulsion on all the ships of the Navy of which the submarines are a part of that.
Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Certainly.
Mr. BATEMAN. After Mr. Allen has had his opportunity, I wonder if you would permit me to get back into this electric drive equation.
Mr. HUNTER. Absolutely.
Mr. Allen, you're long-suffering, but you're up.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ALLEN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, gentlemen, for being here today to help us gather information on this most important topic.
Admiral Fages said that we must have stability in the industrial base and I couldn't agree with him more on that particular topic. That is what we are trying to figure out how to do as we proceed on several fronts at once.
And just a comment before my question. Just to express my concerns, since I've heard about it here today for the first time, a cut-back in the LPD production line does, as Mr. O'Rourke said, cause some real problems at Bath Iron Works.
Two things are going on. One is that the DD program is being stretched out in the number per year. After we get through the next fiscal year, it has been dropped down to two or even one as you look out over the next four or five years because the DD21, the next generation of destroyers has been extended a year, largely because of both the challenges and the opportunities of electric drive technology. We want to make sure we can use it to its maximum effect in these DD21s.
I just want to express my concern about the industrial base. If there's a cutback in the LPD production line which affects Bath because the DD21 has been extended, the DD21 program has been extended a year, and the DD program has been reduced as it nears the end of its life as well.
But my real questionif you want to comment on that, feel free; but let me just sort of put my question to Admiral Fages and Admiral Davis.
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You have talked a lot about the private yards and how the refuelings would be done by the private yards in all likelihood because the public yards are more or less fully employed over the next few years.
If I have misunderstood that, I'd like to be corrected. And the general question is, if weif we extend the lives of some of the SSNs through additional refuelings, what will the effect of that be on the public yards? Can you talk a little bit about the effect on the public yards?
Admiral FAGES. Yes, sir. I was not clear. We were not clear in our response. The refuelings will principally occur in the public shipyards. And, as a result of what that does to the public shipyard workload, then there would be additional work, we envision that would migrate to the private yards; but the refuelings would be done I think exclusively in the public yards.
Mr. ALLEN. Thank you because that wasn't clear from the testimony.
Admiral DAVIS. I guess just to sort of show you how we do our maintenance workload planning, the first thing we take a look at trying to home port or keep the crews where they are for quality of life. So if there is an opportunity to keep a ship in the geographic location where it's home ported, we try to do that.
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The second thing we look at is refueling capability. Right now that capability exists at our four public yards and so we strive to obviously put our refuelers in those yards before we go off and try to build new facilities or reactivate facilities.
We are able to handle that refueling load that we've looked at if we refuel all of our ships, including the SSGN conversions, within our four public yards.
The third step we do is then take a look at the additional work that we have to fully utilize our public yards to their maximum efficiency. It is in the public's best interest to do that. That is an investment by the people in those facilities.
And then we look at the work that we have that we cannot accommodate in the public yards. We work with the private yards on where they have overcapacity, both physically and in workload, and work with them in aI call it a win-win situation to employ that extra work there. So there is a system by which we try to work this workload issue out.
Mr. ALLEN. I appreciate that. I was, you know, that was my understanding of the policy. And I appreciate your clarifying it. One last point. The additional refuelings that we're talking about, over what years do you think they might occur?
Admiral FAGES. If the decision is made to go forward with refueling
Mr. ALLEN. That's the big ''if,'' yes.
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Admiral FAGES. We need to caveat that. The refuelings would occur one a year between 2001 and 2008 is what we're projecting.
Mr. ALLEN. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. All right. Thank the gentleman.
Mr. Bateman has a question and then, Mr. O'Rourke, why don't you get ready to go here and we'll listen to your observations and maybe have a response from our naval leadership.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank all the members of the panel including Mr. O'Rourke.
I want to return to the electric drive. I'm certainly not an opponent ofI am a proponent of moving to electric drive systems for surface combatants as well as submarines as soon as it can be done.
I have raised in a letter to the Secretary of the Navy or the CNO or to both some disquietude that a decision on electric drive for submarines might be totally controlled by the selection of an electric drive for a surface vessel, the DD21. And while certainly I know there have got to be lessons to be learned, I'm not sure that you can completely transfer that which is best for a DD21 into a nuclear powered electric drive submarine.
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I wanted some sense of comfort that while you would take all the lessons that could be learned from the surface ship competition and selection and have the advantage of it, that it would not necessarily drive without control or any rethinking what was best for the submarine force.
Could you help me with that?
Admiral DAVIS. Yes, Congressman, you are absolutely right. And it is under that premise that what we are doing in this submarine electric drive program is looking at the progress in the surface influencing in a technical way where we can not to interfere with the competition between the two teams, and hopefully in some areas there that the technology that they will propose can be directly applicable to the submarine program.
We know not all of it will. There are certain requirements both in power density, torque and acoustic quieting that a certain of those components probably would not be. And we are planning to develop unique components for that.
And, really, going back to the chairman's question about why 2010, thatreally, when we laid out that road map on where the surface ship program may give us products that we can use, products that we know that will have to be uniquely developed for the submarine, for example, the high speed turbine to produce the electricity. We do not have gas turbines. We have steam turbines. That is one of the long poles in the tent which kind of drives our fruition to go put a ship under contract in 2010 that would be an all electric drive for the submarine force. But we are not, in my opinion, relying upon whatever comes out of the surface ship electric drive program in having to accept it.
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We have never done that in the submarine force except at a lower standard other than what is absolutely necessary to produce the product, the quality and the stealth requirements that we have. So I think it will come out to be a good answer, but it is also a good answer to the fact that we're working not contrary to the DD21 program, that we're trying to take some of the fruits out of that and let them lead the way in certain of the critical component technology developments.
Mr. BATEMAN. I take a lot of comfort in that answer and I hope it's the answer that resonates throughout the Navy at all levels.
Admiral FAGES. Sir, I would tell you, as the requirements person for the submarine force, unequivocally we will not sub-optimize the electric drive decision for the submarine force based on what comes out of the DD21 program. We will make the right technical decision.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you both.
If I have a moment longer, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Go right ahead.
Mr. BATEMAN. This afternoon, I'll be presiding over a hearing at which Dr. Gansler will be the principal witness for the Department of Defense on something called ''Re-engineering of the Logistics Function.''
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This is something that at least rhetorically is a great huge kind of new initiative that basically still sounds to me like, ''How do we maximize the privatization of almost every function within the Department of Defense?''
The General Accounting Office (GAO) has reported in their study of this re-engineering of logistics some concerns and point to observations of operational people within the services who think that it is not as well thought out that the 30 pilot programs that it is based upon will not be completed and, yet, decisions are going to be made with reference to it.
They also point out the fact that there are commanders in the field who have some real concerns about a almost total reliance upon civilian contract employees of the private sector responsible for the maintenance and availability and supply and the logistics function for war-fighting equipment and what that means in the context of the battlefield and the actual military operation.
Have you all had any reason to focus on any of this? Or to have any observations concerning it?
Admiral DAVIS. Congressman, we have been actively engaged in the subject across all aspects in the submarine maintenance and repair and resupply.
We certainly look with a great deal of interest on these pilot programs. We wish that they would do well. They certainly offer an opportunity to do some work more efficiently; but we are also guarded for the same reasons that you mentioned there; i.e., the ability to supply the war fighter any time, anywhere, under any condition. And that remains probably one of our biggest hallmarks of how we want to do business in the future as we do business now.
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We are, however, in some respects, need to go to this type of pilots in some respects mainly because our more reliance on the commercial world for development and a sale of the products. They are not in the means that we used to have and in many cases specific military componentsand, in fact, you need a supplier, we call it direct vendor maintenance where they can service the component more efficiently than setting up a new industry either within or without the government.
So we, too, share your concerns. We watch it very carefully. I think the commitment you have from us is that we will only do things the sensible thing to do. Our main commitment is to the war fighter and make sure he gets the product on time. I watch that on a daily and almost hourly basis as a officer who is in charge of all the maintenance of our submarines and we certainly do not intend to let it go to a position that we cannot meet its war-fighting or peacetime commitments.
Mr. BATEMAN. I have a lot more confidence in that in terms of the submarine as the platform. But with the spare parts problems that we've endured over the last six years or more, much of which in my opinion is a result of having starved the depot systems within all of the services in a very egregious kind of way, and an incredible amount of turbulence within those systems, I think explains why we have had much of the difficulty.
But now it seems that because we have had the difficulties, somebody is saying we have got to revolutionize this and we've have got to do that and we have got to do the other.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Maybe we would all be a lot better off and with proper resources resource the institutions and the facilities that were there doing this maintenance and doing it very well as long as it was adequately resourced.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. O'Rourke, could you saddle up here? I'd like you to go ahead and give any opening statement that you want. You've had an opportunity to reflect on a number of the observations that have been made by our naval leadership and you just feel free to cover as wide a range of what you feel are pertinent issues as you want to.
We are pleased to have you with us. You are a great asset in our ability to analyze and understand what we're doing in these programs. Thanks for your patience here. The floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF RONALD O'ROURKE, SPECIALIST IN NATIONAL DEFENSE, CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
Mr. O'ROURKE. My pleasure. As always, it's a privilege to appear before your Committee.
Mr. HUNTER. Get a little bit closer to that mike, Ron, if you could.
Mr. O'Rourke. Okay. As you noted, this is a topic that we covered several times in the past, in my instance, going all the way back to 1995, so this is really the sixth year that I've been able to assist your Committee on issues relating to submarines.
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I should note, just at the outset, that I found very noteworthy the whole series of questions that was just asked about electric drive.
I've been following that and conducting research on it since early last year, and I now have a report on electric drive that is in the review process at Congressional Research Service (CRS) and hopefully, sometime in the next few or several weeks, that report will come out and it will speak about some of the things that I think have just come up here.
If you have any questions about electric drive later, I would be happy to try and answer them to the best that my own research can allow me to.
In connection with the question of when electric drive might be ready on a submarine, the responses I've received from industry indicated that if you went all out on the technology, you might get a boat with electric drive a little bit earlier than the date mentioned by the Navy.
It's not too out of the ordinary for industry to be earlier or a little more optimistic and the Navy to be somewhat more cautious about that, so the difference in the dates does not surprise me.
In terms of the savings in the procurement cost of a submarine, it's important to, I think, bear in mind that in terms of applying electric drive to the submarine, you can do it in a more basic or less ambitious way, but then further downstream, further into the future, you can do it in a more advanced, more ambitious way, and that more advanced, more ambitious way has the potential for changing the design of the submarine in a way that can reduce its procurement cost by up to $100 million.
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Now, I've been looking for options for ten years to try and reduce the procurement cost of our attack submarines, and in all that time, I have never heard of a single change that you could make to the design of a nuclear-powered submarine that could reduce its cost by anywhere near that amount.
The Navy has identified many, and is pursuing many changes to the design of its submarines, and incorporating them into the Virginia design, but most of those designs would reduce the cost of the boat by a few or several million dollars. This is orders of magnitude greater, potentially, if those numbers can be reached.
So in that sense, I think electric drive, in its more downstream and ambitious form, has tremendous potential for affecting the procurement cost, as well as the operation and support cost of our submarine.
Mr. HUNTER. What kind of numbers are you talking about, what percent?
Mr. O'ROURKE. Well, if we have an attack submarine today that costs 1.9 or $2 billion, then reducing the cost of that submarine by $100 million would be one part out of 20, about a five percent reduction.
I haven't seen any other single design change you can make to a submarine that achieves a potential reduction in cost anywhere near that amount.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Navy is working on several of them, but they tend to achieve reductions in procurement cost on the order of a few million dollars or $7 million, not tens of millions of dollars or possibly as much as $100 million; so for me, I think that's worth noting and keeping your eye on.
It's also worth noting that achieving this more advanced and ambitious form of electric drive for a submarine would cost a lot of R&D money on top of the R&D program that has already been funded for electric drive.
You would have to do a lot more work for several years and spend a lot of money, and the break-even point of recouping that, in terms of reduced procurement cost would be many years downstream.
That's not to say it wouldn't be cost-effective to try and do that, and it's worth noting.
Last on electric drive, one of the things that I've focused on in my own research is to try and understand electric drive not just as a technology decision for this one platform for the DD21, but as a technology area that does, indeed, deserve a roadmap that will allow the Navy and policy makers to put their decisions into a longer-term context, because there are many different threads of electric drive technology that can be developed or might be developed, and it's best to look at that in totality in the context of a plan that stretches several or many years into the future.
Let me get now to the remarks I prepared for the hearing today on submarines, and with your permission, I'll submit my formal written statement for the record and just summarize that with a few key points.
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I wanted to focus on four topics.
The first would be factors that distinguish submarines in discussions about future Navy force structure planning.
A second is the general situation about attack submarine force structure, especially after the JCS study.
The third are some potential options for increasing the capabilities of an attack submarine force of a given size, which is what a couple of the Members mentioned just a few minutes ago.
The last is the Trident conversion proposal.
On the first of these, the things that distinguish submarines in looking at Navy force structure planning from other kinds of ships, there are several significant factors that do that.
To begin, as I've mentioned in the past, the post-cold war downturn in procurement began earlier and was proportionately deeper for submarines than it was for other kinds of ships, and so as a result, the cumulative ship procurement backlog for submarines is proportionately acute than it is for other kinds of ships.
Second, extending ship service life can be a more complex and costly proposition for submarines than it is for fossil-fueled surface ships, so options for extending submarine service life are more circumscribed.
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Third, unlike fossil-fueled surface ships, which can be put into ''mothball'' status, when you deactivate a submarine, it's dismantled and disposed of, and that's a very significant force planning difference.
Last, submarines are relatively expensive ships that take several years to build, so procuring a large number of them in a short period of time to head off a drop in your force levels would require substantial funding and would not produce a significant effect on force levels for several years.
In short, we haven't been buying very many attack submarines lately. The ones we have will only last so long. When they're gone, they're gone for good, and it won't be so easy to quickly get a lot of new ones.
All these factors combine to make submarine force structure, as a planning issue, particularly challenging, and it's precisely because of these factors that CRS, for several years now, has paid special attention to submarines in its discussions of future Navy force structure, and arguably, why this hearing on submarine force structure today can be considered so timely.
I'm going to move to my second topic, which is the general situation concerning attack submarine force structure.
As I've noted before, current plans call for procuring a total of 10 attack submarines in the 16-year period fiscal 1990 through fiscal 2005. That's an average procurement rate of five-eighths of a boat per year for 16 years, which is a period equal to almost one-half of the 33-year replacement period for the attack submarine force.
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By contrast, if we had planned to procure attack submarines at the steady-state replacement rate during the 16-year period, we would have procured 26 or 27 submarines; and so on that basis, the backlog in attack submarine procurement that will accumulate through fiscal 2005 will be 16 or 17 boats, which is equal to about 30 percent of the current 55-boat force-level goal.
That deficit in attack submarine procurement is going to be
Mr. HUNTER. What life are you using in that calculation for the submarine?
Mr. O'Rourke. I'm assuming a 33-year life, and if Admiral Konetzni is correct in his fears that he's going to run some of his boats out sooner, then that will, other things held equal exacerbate that situation.
But sticking with the 33, just for purposes of doing the calculations, that deficit is going to be masked between now and about 2015 by the large numbers of relatively young submarines that we have on the force today, but after 2015, when those boats begin to retire at a rapid rate, that backlog, that deficit in procurement, if not by then redressed, is going to be unmasked.
The result, by the mid-2020s, will be a drop in the submarine force structure, and you can forget about the JCS force levels. We're going to go below those. We're going to go below 55. We could even go below 50, and fall somewhere into the 40s at that point, if steps are not taken to redress that backlog of procurement.
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That's the situation that I have depicted in the graph on Page 7 of my testimony, and it's important, in looking at that graph, to bear in mind that it's pretty much a best-case scenario.
I have the submarines all going out to 33 years, and the force levels depicted in that graph include all seven or all eight of the 688-class submarines that are currently available for refueling, and all four of the Tridents. I've thrown in every submarine I can, 11 or 12 of them, as near-to-mid-term additions to the force structure.
The Administration's funding wedge for submarine force structure, in contrast, would provide for two or four of those boats, rather than for all 11 or 12.
So that picture that you see on Page 7 is pretty much as good as it gets.
Now, perhaps the most significant developmentand it's been talked about a lot here todayin recent months
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Ron, let's make that a little more specific. You've got an excellent graph there, but let's try to generalize, or to make this a little specific with respect to the next several years.
The force level today is 56. Let's assume that we do everything possible for the next five years.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''Everything possible'' is defined as refueling plus SSG and conversion, plus the programmed build rate, presently programmed build rate of Virginia. Okay? This is 2000. We've got 56 boats today.
What do we have in 2001?
Mr. O'ROURKE. For the period 2001 all the way out to about 2012 or 2014, you will be able to keep the force in the upper 50s or the low-to-mid-60s, if you throw in every submarine, into that calculation.
Mr. HUNTER. Let's walk through the years, if you can do that. Next year, we'll have roughly, we'll have 56. That's one?
Mr. O'ROURKE. Right. Well, I'm going to eyeball my chart right here
Mr. HUNTER. Go ahead.
Mr. O'ROURKE.and just give you the sequence of numbers here.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay.
Mr. O'ROURKE. I'm going to have to
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. Go right ahead.
Mr. O'ROURKE.based on the appearance of the chart. But it looks, if you start the sequence in fiscal 2000, and then count forward from there, then the numbers look like more or less 56, 56, 55, 56, 58, 59, 60
Mr. HUNTER. When do we get 58? What year?
Mr. O'ROURKE. Let's see. 2005.
Mr. HUNTER. In 2005, we would go to 58, and the going to 58 is a function of what? Do we have refueled boats? Do we have refuelings completed at that point?
Mr. O'ROURKE. It would be primarily the result of keeping current boats in service, plus we are going to get one or two deliveries by then. You'll get the third Seawolf delivered by then and the first of the Virginia Class delivered by about 2005, as well.
Mr. HUNTER. How about SSG and conversions? Because you've got the conversions programmed in here, also, in this scenario.
Mr. O'ROURKE. Actually, you're right about that. I've got them programmed to, in this graph, appear at a one-per-year rate, starting in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. So what we do is, we go onewe've got 56 this year, we've got 56 in 2001, 56 in 2002, 56 in 2003, 56 in 2004, 58 in 2005. Is that right?
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Mr. O'ROURKE. Something like that.
Mr. HUNTER. Approximately.
Mr. O'ROURKE. We can get up to
Mr. HUNTER. Keep going?
Mr. O'ROURKE. Yeah. And then we get up the next year to 60, we stay
Mr. HUNTER. That's a function of what? We got two additional boats in 2006. That's a function of SSGNs?
Mr. O'ROURKE. It could be one more Virginia Class, depending on how I modeled it. I would have to go back and look at my spreadsheet.
You can stay in the low 60s, until about 2010, and you can stay in the low-to-mid-60s for the next five years, and then you run into the difficulty that we've been talking about for some time, which is what happens after about 2015. That's when the current force begins to retire
Mr. HUNTER. At a rapid rate?
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. O'ROURKE.at a rapid rate, and if between now and then we are not building submarines at a fast-enough rate, our submarine force level will drop below the low 60s, it will drop below 60, it will drop below, eventually, below 55; and if the procurement rate is low enough, it will eventually drop below 50.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. What is the dropif your first requirement was to keep the submarine force from dropping below this Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) level of 50, what is the last date at which you could increase ship-building rates, assuming you're doing conversions and you're doing refuelings wherever possible, to stay above 50?
Mr. O'ROURKE. Or maybe above 55, if you want to use that as the level.
Mr. HUNTER. Let's use 55. What is your last date, when you saywhen you increase your build rate?
Mr. O'ROURKE. Right. If you want to avoid dropping below 55, you can start increasing the rate in the year 2006 and build them after that point at a rate of two-and-a-half boats per year, and you won't drop below 55.
If you started building them at a higher rate earlier, then that higher rate doesn't have to be quite so high. The later you wait, the higher the build rate has to be when you embark on it.
Mr. HUNTER. What do you recommend as a stable build rate, and what increases does that entail, and what times are we talking about in terms of increasing the build rate, in other words, if we're taking a long view now and we want to avoid having to ramp up to a radically higher rate because with have a bow wave, if you will, of obsolescence?
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Mr. O'ROURKE. If 55 is your number, then, and you don't want to drop below it, then your stable rate starting in 2006 is two-and-a-half boats per year.
If you want to go toward the higher numbers mentioned in the JCS force level study, then you're looking at three or more boats per year, starting in 2006.
Those numbers can be relaxed a little bit, if you begin the higher procurement rate sooner than 2006, and in theory, you can begin it as soon as 2002, and that brings those average rates down a little bit.
I've run through some of those calculations in my testimony and they turned into odd fractions of boats, but as a general principle, the sooner you begin, the slightly lower the average build rate can be for the next several years thereafter.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, is your testimony that to stay above 55
Mr. O'ROURKE. At least at 55.
Mr. HUNTER.at least at 55 level, you have to go, even if you do all the conversions possible and all the refuelings possible, you have to go to at least two boats a year?
Mr. O'ROURKE. If you want to avoid dropping below 55 in the year where the submarine force hits its minimum, which is out in the latter 2020sthat's the danger period for the submarine forcethen that is the procurement rate you would want.
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If you want the higher JCS numbers, you're talking about three or more boats per year, to avoid falling below those higher numbers in the latter 2020s.
Mr. BATEMAN. Would the Chairman yield?
Mr. HUNTER. Sure.
Mr. BATEMAN. For clarification on that, if you're going to do the two-boats-a-year program, when would you have to start doing that?
Mr. O'ROURKE. If you wanted to do 18 Virginia-Class submarines by 2015, you would do two boats per year, starting, I guess, pretty much next year.
Mr. BATEMAN. If you were going to do it at three boats per year, when would you have to start that?
Mr. O'ROURKE. You could afford to wait until later, until beyond the end of the current fit-up.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Please proceed, Ron. We didn't want to force you to digress here, but that's kind of an important point.
Mr. O'ROURKE. I'm happy to do it.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I was talking about the fact that that JCS study is the biggest new development we have in attack submarine force planning. The benchmarks in that study were mentioned by the other witnesses, and I was going, in fact, to discuss how, if we were to adopt these benchmarks as official force planning goals, it would have significant implications for future procurement rates.
We would have to do something like three or more per year, and that would have implications for the funding that we would need to purchase the ships, it would have implications for the industrial base, and we talked about these transitional difficulties with the workforce that might be encountered; and the third issue that would arise would be the acquisition strategy and whether you wanted to reassess that in light of the fact that the procurement rate was now much higher.
Let me turn to the third of the four things now that I wanted to discuss in my testimony, which concerns potential options for increasing the capabilities of a future attack submarine force of a given size.
If policy-makers determine that it may not be possible to achieve the higher procurement rates that we've been talking about, that would be necessary to reach and maintain the JCS levels, then policy makers might want to focus on ways to compensate for having an attack submarine force with fewer boats.
The idea here would be to look for options that would expand the capabilities of attack submarines so that, in the future, an attack submarine force of a given size would be able to perform an array of missions that today could only be performed by a larger number of boats.
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Such an effort would likely involve expanding and perhaps partially refocusing the current attack submarine technology development program. If such an expanded technology development effort is undertaken, there are at least two potential areas that would deserve particular attention.
The first of these, and it has been touched on already in the hearing today, concerns submarine sensors and weapons. The Navy and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are now conducting a research and development program aimed at increasing the number and variety of weapons and sensors that future attack submarines could carry. Two competing industry teams are now developing concepts and proposals under this effort.
I've received Navy and industry briefings on this program, and my sense is that this effort has tremendous potential for transforming the capabilities of our future attack submarines.
The program is currently in its early stages, but if it is funded and implemented, it could lead to a dramatic, even an astounding increase in the number and variety of sensors and weapons carried by future U.S. attack boats.
In fact, the changes in attack submarine design and capability that could result from this effort could easily be the most significant since the advent of nuclear propulsion in the 1950s.
Such an increase in attack submarine sensors and weapons could in the future help permit an attack submarine force of a given size to perform significantly greater numbers of missions than is possible today; and so policy makers with an interest in submarines might consider taking a particular interest in this program.
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Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Yes.
Mr. BATEMAN. I'm going to have to leave shortly, but this is an area of extreme interest to me, and it's almost curious.
What is coming through to me from your presentation, Mr. O'Rourke, is that if you improve the technology and the capability of the platform, you don't need as many platforms.
Mr. O'ROURKE. You might not need as many, and that might be one way to hedge against the possibility of not being able to procure as many new submarines as would be needed to achieve the total numbers of attack submarines that are being talked about in the JCS study.
As an analyst, I don't want to make predictions, and I certainly can't, as a CRS analyst, make recommendations, but as an analyst, I can try and think the situation through and present options for policy makers who might be interested in judging certain scenarios.
One scenarioand you're free to attach whatever odds you might want to put to itis that we could achieve high attack submarine procurement rates that are being spoken about here today. In that case, you might want to look for ways of compensating for that.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The first of the two that I've mentioned is to work on what these submarines can do, so that they can do more in the future than they can today, and the Navy and DARPA submarine sensors and weapons program to me is a very promising avenue for potentially achieving that sort of thing. That's the first one.
Mr. HUNTER. One problem, though, Mr. O'Rourke, that I noticed through the testimony of the operators is this: presence.
You have to be there, no matter whether you have a submarine that's highly sophisticated or one that's moderately sophisticated, and that is, to a large degree, limited by human elementsthat is, you can't have your crew working 12 months a year under waterand overhaul and repair requirements.
Mr. O'ROURKE. I'm absolutely with you on that, and that's why the second thing that I wanted to mention, to try and address the situation, if you were to undertake an expanded and refocused submarine technology development effort, would be to get at measures that could reduce the attack submarine station-keeping multiplier, which is the number of submarines you need to keep one on station, actually on station, in an overseas operating, because you've pinned down the issue perfectly. Even if the submarine has a lot more stuff on board, it can't do any missions if it's not in the right location.
Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Chairman, if I could get back into this very briefly, before I have to leave, I don't denigrate the notion, and I would look forward to scheduling briefings in a less open environment where we could talk about some of these technology expanders.
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Unfortunately, the 18 years I've been in Congress, and I'm soon to leave, do not persuade me that all these policy decisions get made on necessarily the most reasoned and rational basis. There are always complications and factors that enter into it that even the policy makers wish didn't enter into it, but they do.
The one thing that is pretty much a constant, from my experience, is if you've got a platform with an expanded capability that gets you more rather than less, there are very few people, in my experience, who want less of them as opposed to move of them, unless you can solve a lot of these problems about how do you handle the personnel equation in the time on station.
So I look forward to hearing about these things, but I must say at this point, I have some deep skepticism, not that we shouldn't explore the technology, but that that's the solution to the shortage in the number of the platforms.
Mr. O'ROURKE. Right. It's very possible, for example, to look at that better submarine and say, ''It's so much better, I don't want to buy as many anymore,'' and so instead of enabling you to perform more missions, you've actually contributed to your problem, or you've created a wash in the problem.
The other way, potentially, of looking at it is that policy makers who are not as focused on submarines would look at that and say, ''Well, that's a submarine, actually, I want to buy, because now it can do more stuff.''
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If these other policy makers are currently in a frame of mind where they don't want to buy that many because they don't perceive that the current design can do that much, then that's a way of changing their views.
Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Chairman, I want to commend you on having this hearing.
One of the things that strikes me as so remarkable about it is there have been about five different issues raised today, each one of which would deserve a very considerable hearing.
Thank you very much. It has been very enlightening, and I thank all the witnesses.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. I want to thank him for his great service to our country and to this Committee.
Admiral Konetzni, you looked like you wanted to say something when Mr. O'Rourke was going over the balance of numbers versus quality or capability. Any input.
In fact, for any of the gentlemen on the panel, this is intended to be an engagement, and a give-and-take, so if you've got some comments on that, go right ahead.
Admiral KONETZNI. I think, like Mr. O'Rourkethank you very much, siras Mr. O'Rourke said, we have waited so long that we're in a crisis, and the longer we wait, the curve out just costs more and more money.
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That's one of the reasons that, about two years ago, I personally really jumped onto this, ''Let's refuel those 688s that have many, many years of life left,'' relatively inexpensive compared to brand-new platforms, as a near-term fix. I feel the same way with the SSGN, for all of the reasons that were stated here.
But the final solution is, as has been stated, the build rate of the new submarines has to be significantly greater, and I worry.
It's like Mr. Skelton said, I really worry as we continue to think about the SSGN conversion, and we continue to talk about, and it scares me, sir, if I may, the terms that you use aboutI hear it in speeches, after speech after speech, ''I want more capability and cheaper.''
I love that. I've never seen an automobile go that way. I have never seen a ship, unless we built a far-less capable ship, go that way, ever in my 34 years in the Navy, and I think it's gobbledy-gook.
I have to be very, very cautious, I think, when we go that way, because what it does, it's like talking to our children: ''Let me think about it.'' That normally means, ''Let me put it off another year.''
When you really get down to it, that's what has occurred in this argument, for the last eight, nine years. We know the history. We know where we're headed. We know those competitors out there. We know the concerns. Numbers count.
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I have two fellows constantly today off one country. That means I can't put ships off two other countries. That's of great concern to me, and I know it's of great concern to other Americans that are defending in those other spots.
I just hope that we will not get sucked into this ''greater capability, cheaper.'' It doesn't work that way. I wish it did, sir.
Mr. O'ROURKE. Well, I wish it did, too, but that's not what I'm presenting. It was not my presentation at all to suggest that these expanded capability submarines would be less expensive.
Admiral KONETZNI. Yes, sir.
Mr. O'ROURKE. I have never said that in any presentation of this idea. I didn't say it at the submarine technology symposium in May nor is it in my formal written statement.
In fact, I'm only describing the Navy's own program in this area that it's carrying out in conjunction with DARPA, and with industry.
I agree that numbers count, but the numbers that really count the most are the numbers on station, not raw numbers.
Admiral KONETZNI. Right.
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Mr. O'ROURKE. You can emphasize numbers to the point where you can lose track of what you're really after, which is maximizing numbers and capability on station, and that is
Mr. HUNTER. Yeah, but I think, Ron, I think that's what the admiral is saying when he's talking about the numbers he's got in various areas, and the fact that he's got a limited number of boats, and he's therefore limited to the amount of area that he can cover.
You know, I'm thinking of submarines, as compared to other systems, where we've gone from planes that could go a few hundred miles an hour to planes that could go well over the speed of sound, and the fact that that gives you enormous deployment capability simply because you can get there faster.
If you look at submarines, interesting, as our leadership has talked about the Virginia Class, the Virginia Class is actually slower than the class that it's succeeding, so it's going to get there a little slower, and they carry fewer weapons than the class they're succeeding, and so it's not going to have as much stuff when it gets there, even though it's got some other advantages, and not insignificant advantages.
In terms of being able to move quickly, I mean, submarines are limited by physics, and you got a world that is not changing, and we still have just as many trouble areas that we have to go to as we had to before. So that, I think, I think it's a legitimate position that Admiral Konetzni has, which is numbers do count.
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One thing we do in the political worldI think we're all guilty of thisis when we don't have money, we do hope, of course, you know, in the great tradition of Gary Hart, to have smaller, faster widgets that are going to more around and do great things and that are presumably going to cost less, and that is just that. I think it's a political wish, but it's often not a reality.
So I think the admiral isI think you two were talking past each other a little bit, but Ron is right in that you canwe can expect to have, when we have multiplied capabilities on submarines, they're going to be able to do more things if you can keep them on station longer. Boats on station is important.
Ron, let me ask you this question. In the technologies that we havewe've talked about war-fighting technologies, stealth technologies, the electric drive potentialare those technologies that are going to increase maintainability and the other factors that keep you on station longer?
Mr. O'ROURKE. Right. In other words, what you're asking is what technologies can help you to adjust the submarine operational cycle to get a better station-keeping multiplier.
Some of those technologies could relate to how you build the components of the ship so that they require less maintenance. Some of them can permit more high-fidelity training of crews in an ashore environment.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Virginia Class, when it enters service, may help the Navy to reduce somewhat the station-keeping multiplier for its submarines, because those submarines may require somewhat less maintenance over their life than the classes that they replace, and the station-keeping multiplier is driven by maintenance, among certain other factors.
If you wanted to achieve, however, a significant reduction in your station-keeping multiplier, then the one issue that has been proposed, has been out there for a long time, and which has a lot of feasibility and cost issues attached to it, is double-crewing your attack submarines.
The issues associated with that include shortening the life of the submarines, because you're running them harder, creating and paying for the additional crews, creating and paying for the additional land-based shore training facilities and altering the maintenance cycles of those boats. This is not an easy thing.
But even when you take those factors into account, it may permit you to have more submarine years on station for a given number of boats than if you operated those boats with single crews, and it may be less expensiveI'm not saying it is, I'm saying it might beand we may be in the position where we simply have to consider that sort of thing if we continue to have CINCs placing demands on the fleet commanders to have certain numbers of submarines on station.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Let's explore this for a minute, for our edification; and you might, Admiral Konetzni or Admiral Padgett, lead us through, walk us through a submarine's rotation and conclude with your opinion as to whether or not your time off station is a function of peoplethat is, a need to rest your peopleor whether it's a function of overhaul and rehabilitation of the submarine itself.
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Could we double crews? Could we do mechanically what we have to do to service the submarine quickly and get a fast turnaround, if you had the double crew available, or are we limited by that service time requirement?
Admiral PADGETT. Sir, we could certainly do that. We have a model in the SSBN community which we have proven over four years of strategic deterrent service. That model, however, does not come without some infrastructure costs, and Admiral Davis and his
Mr. HUNTER. Give us an example of what you got now in terms of submarine turnaround time and what you could have if you maximized double crews. Let's say you had all the people that you needed.
Admiral PADGETT. Okay. We have, right now, we have our submarines operate on a six-month deployment cycle. They return to home port for a minimum of 12 months with a goal of 18 months interdeployment training cycle timeframe.
The first 30 days of the return to home port is a standdown period for rest and relaxation for the crew. That is followed by
Mr. HUNTER. The six months underwater, and in the field.
Admiral PADGETT. Six months deployed, sir.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. Six months deployed.
Admiral PADGETT. Just as Admiral Konetzni and I have mentioned, the operational tempo during that six-month deployed has been increasing to the point now where we're not doing as much maintenance while deployed as we have previously been doing, but that, at this point, it's fragile, but we need to address that, but that's not the primary issue.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. So months 1 through 6, you're deployed; month 7, you're back in port.
Admiral PADGETT. Month 7, you're back in port, and then you start a retraining schedule for either 11, from as few as 11 up to 17 months.
During that training cycle, you bring in fresh crewmen, people rotate ashore for duty. You have a period of providing exercises support for Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) training, for example. You have schoolhouse training.
All that has to be worked into, under the current guidelines from the CNO, 28 days per quarter of underway time.
Mr. HUNTER. Does your crew stay with the boat?
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir, the crew is with the boat the entire time.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. Okay. And just a note here, of the art of submarine manning and the profession. When you go out 18 months after that cycle startsit's six months on and 12 months off, ideally, right?
Admiral PADGETT. Minimum, yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. When you go out again, what percent of that crew generally is the same crew that you came in with?
Admiral PADGETT. I would say typically we have about a 50 percent turnover within that 18 months, anywhere from a third to half.
Mr. HUNTER. So what you're doing, really, in this 12 months is, you're bringing in new people, a lot of new people?
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. You got your old hands. You're going to have 50 percent old hands staying on, new people coming in.
What will thewhere will the 50 percent be going? Besides those that are finishing their careers and moving out because their career is over, you have a lot of people who are changing areas of operation, going into something else?
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir. We call it a sea/shore rotation, where an individual will spend a number of years at sea followed by a number of years ashore.
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For example, a machinist's mate on a submarine might rotate ashore to work at the Navy Submarine Support Facility, a maintenance facility in Groton, or an administrative-type person on a submarine in Norfolk might roll ashore to work on a staff in Norfolk, SUBLANT staff.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Of that submarine crew that comes in, if you're a member of the submarine crew, do you have the option in your Navy career plan, do you have the option of, after you've made aafter you've done a tour, six-month tour at sea, and you come in for the 12-month workup, do you have the option of rotating to what you would call a permanent change of station for shore duty at that time, or do you need to do several tours at sea?
Admiral PADGETT. I'm sorry. A tour, as I use the phrase, is several years.
Mr. HUNTER. So at least two tours?
Admiral PADGETT. Well, two deployments.
Mr. HUNTER. That's what I mean.
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir. A particular individual might roll into themight come aboard the ship at the start of one deployment and typically they would roll off the ship several years later, after it leaves the second deployment.
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Mr. HUNTER. Let's follow that person for a minute. He might then rotate to a shore job
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER.permanent change of station. How long would that be?
Admiral PADGETT. Anywhere from two to three years.
Mr. HUNTER. So he might be two to three years at a job in San Diego or Norfolk?
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Would he then be possibly, would he then be rotated back into a submarine deployment?
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir. Most likely that would be the case. He would come back with probably he's been promoted while he was ashore; probably he's been to a couple of schools on his way back to the submarine to buff up his technical expertise, and then he'll report in to the ship; and typically, he goes into a leadership position higher than the one that he left when he left a couple of years before.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. So what I'm getting at is that after this six-month deployment, the 12-month workup, you've got 50 percent of your people are basically old hands in the sense that they have done the first deployment with the boat, and they're going to stay, they're still there.
Then you got 50 percent new people, but of the new people, a number of them are doing repeat tours on submarines?
Admiral PADGETT. Absolutely, yes, sir. The turnover is not all fresh caught.
Mr. HUNTER. Yeah.
Admiral PADGETT. The refreshment rate is probably at about 20 percent, would be my guessI think that's pretty closewhere the refresh, brand new folks coming aboard is about 20 percent of that 30 to 50 percent.
Mr. HUNTER. Is this having extra crews that Mr. O'Rourke spoke about from your perspective as operators, is that a practical thing to do if you have the resources to do it?
Admiral KONETZNI. Let me just say, sir, I would say yes. It's wonderful for the crews, because when you are relieved by the opposite crew, you have wonderful quality time off, just as our Tridents do, but it is not the panacea. When you study it, there are a couple of problems.
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Right now, todayand we're working our youngsters very, very hardour operating tempo between overhauls on our ships is about 55 to 60 percent, overall. That's deployment and non-deployment, when you put it all together.
About the best you'll getand we could give you the exact figuresthe best you'll get if you, in fact, have too crude of an SSN, is 66 percent op-tempo, and that would be in a year, and that's because you really have to look at maintenance. Everything has to be perfect.
That would give you four maintenance periods, probably four months a year, very similar to our SSBNs.
On top of that, these wonderful ships of ours are designed to not be refueled. You're going to run out of fuel faster, so she's not going to last the 30 years.
Mr. HUNTER. So what you're saying is, as you get to the bottom line, if you get additional days on station by doing this, in the end, you're still going to run into a lack of submarines, because you're going to have fewer submarines needed, but they're going to run out of fuel faster, so you can't avoid the cost factor.
Admiral KONETZNI. As designed right now, sir, that's right; and if you look at the operating tempos that you get, you do gain, but you go from about 55 percent overall today to about the maximum you would ever get is 70 percent. Is that good enough for you? And the infrastructure is very expensive.
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Mr. HUNTER. Now, what would be the pattern there? You've given me, Admiral Padgett, that you do the six-month deployment and then the 12-month workup, and you're back on another deployment.
If you did this, if you had additional crews, when would that boat be going back out again? Let's say in June, it leaves January, deploys through June, end of June you come into port.
Admiral PADGETT. What you do is, in most cases, I would suspect is, you would pull the ship into La Maddelena or Guam, you would have the crew turn over a curve either in La Maddelena or Guam.
The one crew would replace the other. The ship would get the 30-day availability for doing the prescribed maintenance, and the ship would then deploy again, probably after 30 to 45 days, depending upon the refresher training that they have to do.
Mr. HUNTER. So you would have how many of those availabilities for rehabilitation or refresher training? In other words, how many morethe way you've got the system right now, in 18 months, you're six months deployed, right?
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. If you did it with increased crews, the max you could do is how many months out of 18 months deployed?
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Admiral PADGETT. The max would be, I'd say probably about 15 months out of 18, probably 14 or 15, depending upon the refresher training requirements.
Mr. HUNTER. You could do as much as 15 months out of 18?
Admiral PADGETT. Fifteen out of 18.
Mr. HUNTER. On station, I mean, deployed?
Admiral KONETZNI. It depends how you look at it, sir, but you're going to have to at least have at least three months a year maintenance, very similar to what our
Admiral PADGETT. He said by 18 months, though.
Mr. HUNTER. Out of 18 months.
Admiral PADGETT. Out of an 18-month period, I'd say 14 would probably be my guess, three months for the year and then of the extra
Mr. HUNTER. So you get a little more than twice the deployment time that you have now, out of an 18-month period, because you have six months now. If you boost that up to 14, that's an additional eight months.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let's say, conservatively, you did 12 out of 18; you think you could conservatively expect to have at least 12?
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. That gives you twice as much time on station.
Admiral PADGETT. Yes. But as the admiral said and as Mr. O'Rourke said, you're burning fuel
Mr. HUNTER. I understand.
Admiral PADGETT.at a higher rate, as well. So your gas tankthe way the Virginia Class submarine is designed, the gas tank is not built to be refueled, and so when you run out of reactor fuel, as an effective platform, the ship is not a participant.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay.
Mr. O'ROURKE. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Yeah, go right ahead, Ron.
Mr. O'ROURKE. To sort of try and cut through the numbers right here, I've tried to do just preliminary sorts of calculations on this, to see where the break-even point might be.
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Right now, a submarine, an attack submarine in the Navy spends about 20 percent of its life on station. If double crewing allows you to increase that by half so that it spends 30 percent of its life on station, then this might be cost-effective, even after taking into account the fact that the ship is now a 24-year ship instead of a 33-year ship.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay.
Mr. O'ROURKE. If you can increase it to 35 percent of life on station, you could be way ahead. I mean, that's really what the numbers come down to.
What I don't know is whether it can work that way or not, and that's what needs to be worked through in the modeling of these operational cycles.
But it is something that I think is interesting enough, as an option, that you should at least go through the numbers and see what it might look like.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Admiral Fages.
Admiral FAGES. Yes, sir. I would caution that we not try and draw too many specific conclusions from the discussion we've just had here, but suffice it to say that we absolutely accept and have been considering Ron O'Rourke's suggestion that we look hard at ways to increase this factor that we're talking about, this turn-around factor, and in fact, we are doing that.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Amongst the things that one would look at is the entire business case for what it would mean to multi-crew a submarine. That could be two crews for one, it could be three crews for two.
There is an opportunity to perhaps forward base a number of submarines and take advantage of the increased operational tempo that we could get for some of our submarines that have more fuel life left than they have service life in the hull. We're look at that whole range of things.
But we have to assure ourselves, for example, that if we multi-crew the submarines, that the additional costs that would be incurred in dollars and time off station, when that ship would have to go in for a refueling at the, say, 20-to-24-year point, rather than at the not-required-at-all, whether that would offset the gain.
So we absolutely do not rule this out as a notion that we don't want to consider. We're going to look very hard at this.
Mr. HUNTER. Very good. Mr. O'Rourke, did you have some more points you wanted to make, too, because you were going through a litany here, a list here of issues. Go ahead and finish those up, if you want to, because we've digressed a few times.
Mr. O'ROURKE. Just to complete, if you're looking for ways to multiply the effectiveness of your submarine force, whatever its size might be, you would want to look at the weapons and sensors program, in my view, because it's very promising, and you would want to look, just as Admiral Fages has said, at options for improving your station keeping.
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Mr. HUNTER. One thing on that point, and we've talked about this going into the time that we spend going into workup, and also the possibility of refuelings.
Our understanding is that we now have, and our briefings have shown us that we have now the ability to redo our processing capability and retrofit 688s, as well as the new boats, with a processing capability for out information, for our detection systems that is not only in the new construction, but we can backfit the old boatsis that right?
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir.
Admiral KONETZNI. Yes, sir.
Admiral FAGES. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER.and that this increased processing capability really multiplies our ability to hear others before they hear us. Is that right?
Admiral KONETZNI. Yes, sir.
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir.
Admiral FAGES. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. So that would be one benefit, also, of doing a refueling with these eight 688s, as we obviously would do this backfitting or refitting of the processing capability, right?
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Admiral KONETZNI. Yes, sir.
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir.
Admiral FAGES. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. So you're going to come up with a boat that's going to end up after it's been refueled, it's going to be more competent, more capable than when it went in?
Admiral PADGETT. Absolutely.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Go ahead, Mr. O'Rourke.
Mr. O'ROURKE. My final point was just going to make a few comments about the Trident conversion proposal, but I think they've been overtaken by our discussion, so I'll hold off on those.
[The prepared statement of Mr. O'Rourke can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Let me then justand gentlemen, I want to thank you for the time you spent with us. I wish we had a full day to work this hearing, because there are a lot of issues, as Mr. Bateman said.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I want to get this from the operators. Admiral Konetzni, to maintain present obligations and requirements, the United States Navy needs a submarine force of how many boats, in your opinion, in your professional opinion?
Admiral KONETZNI. I really agree with 68 submarines. I've looked at that study.
That study, of course, looks at the year 2015, and it presupposes a world, but if that world is accurate, you need 68, because that 68 does not give you battle group support; it doesn't give you engagement, so that would be truly the minimum.
Today, in my theaterand I work for Admiral Dennis Blair, who is the Pacific commander out thereI need today 35 fast attack submarines, and I have 26.
Mr. HUNTER. So you are nine submarines short of the number that you need, in your professional opinion, to fully meet obligations and requirements on the submarine force in the Pacific?
Admiral KONETZNI. That's correct, sir, and that would only be adequate.
That is just the number that I need as a minimum to do the critical surveillance tasks and to do what I really believe we need to do, at least 135 days of engagement, friendship, exercises with war-fighting partners in the Pacific.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. So you think that the number of 68 is a minimum?
Admiral KONETZNI. Yes, sir, without a doubt.
Mr. HUNTER. That's a floor. Now, you said that that number of 68 is the minimum required in 2015. Do you think it's also the minimum we should have right now, if we were going to fully meet obligations?
Admiral KONETZNI. Yes, sir. If we had watchedI think, sir, if we had looked very, very carefully at the earlier Joint Chiefs of Staff study, updated, using the proper metrics when we knew them, we would have between 68 and 72 submarines.
The fleet commanders in 1966 said 68 to 72, the type commandersI'm sorry, 1996said 68 to 72 submarines. The signal has been there. We've just put off the years.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. In light of that, your determination, Admiral Konetzni, that we need a minimum of 68 submarines, is the refueling of the eight 688 refuel candidates and the conversion of the ballistic missile submarines to SSGNs, the four conversions, necessary?
Admiral KONETZNI. Without a doubt, sir. It helps the bleeding right now, and as Mr. O'Rourke said, it will help that bleeding for the SSNs that we would refuel 'til about the year 2015, when they would start to fall off at the three-or-four-a-year rate.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Although you cannot actually transfer an SSGN for an SSN, in certain missions, the war-fighting presence is as mandatory as it can be.
That would give us a force level of 61, but as we've already said, it's been said several times here, the final answer to this thing is increasing that build rate, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. And Admiral Fages, do you agree with that, with what Admiral Konetzni has said, that we need 68 submarines minimum and that it is important that we do the eight candidate for refueling 688s, that we do, in fact refuel those 688s and that we convert the four ballistic missile submarines to SSGNs? Two questions.
Admiral FAGES. I believe that we must refuel those, all the Los Angeles Class submarines that remain.
Mr. HUNTER. And that's eight, right?
Admiral FAGES. That's eight. I believe that we must convert the four Trident submarines from an SSBN to an SSGN configuration; and I heartily endorse the requirement laid out in the attack submarine study for 68 attack submarines by 2015, and 18 Virginia-Class submarines in the 2015 timeframe.
So I absolutely acknowledge and support those findings.
Mr. HUNTER. So we're going to have to go to what build rate, Admiral Fages, for the Virginia Class?
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Admiral FAGES. Well, it, of course, depends on when we start, but I think the thing that we should do is start theget up to two Virginia Class a year, as soon as possible.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Let me tell you something you better be doing. You're aware of the fact that we're short on cruise missiles, Navy-wide. We have a fairly severe shortage.
If you're talking about conversion of those submarines, of the boomers, to SSGNs, you're talking about 154 cruise missiles per boat.
I would highly recommend that you engage with your counterparts in the cruise missile area, because they've been dragging their feet on producing more Tomahawk missiles, more cruise missiles, and they've beenthey were hoping that we're going to have the new tactical Tomahawk here shortly, and that's going to be cheaper and faster and all the other great things that we hope for all of our weapon systems.
But in the meantime, we're far below the two-Major Regional Conflict (MRC) requirement, and those four SSGNs are going to eat up, that would eat up about a third of what we got right now.
Have you been talking to these fellows?
Admiral FAGES. Sir, what we have looked atand I won't purport to speak for the overall Navy Tomahawk Missile inventory issueswithin the submarine force, what we are
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Mr. HUNTER. Well, you better know what they got, because what they got is going to depend on what you're going to get.
Admiral FAGES. Oh, yes, sir, I know what we have. Within the submarine force, what we anticipate doing, if the SSGN comes along, is that we would redistribute the Tomahawk Missiles which we currently have within the submarine force inventory.
We currently have Tomahawk missiles which are carried by the submarines which have both the torpedo tube launch capability as well as the vertical launch capability, and we would take most of the Tomahawk Missiles off of the torpedo tube launch-only capable attack submarines and use those to populate the SSGNs.
That obviously does not increase the total number of Tomahawk Missiles in the inventory, but it does provide us the missiles to populate the SSGNs.
Mr. HUNTER. I think that's a poor way to do it, Admiral. I think you've got to have a full population of missiles, and robbing Peter to pay Paul is not going to give us the additional firepower that we need.
I mean, I would engage with the contractor and with the cruise missile office, and really analyze what you've got, and analyze not only what we've got in inventory, which is pathetic, but what we have in operational inventory, Navy-wide, because it's not a happy story, and we better get more of them.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That means you're going to have to fire up that little industrial base a little bit, and do some things. You could actually do it for not a lot of money, but that hasn't been a Navy priority. In fact, the Navy has been dragging their heels on that, they've been fighting us on it.
But that's going to be an important part and dimension to this conversion of the SSBNs.
Could you let us know whatI'd like to know what happens when you engage with them, see if they're open to the suggestion they might want to build a few more Tomahawks, to meet their own requirement numbers.
Admiral FAGES. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Admiral Padgett, how many submarines should we have in the force today, and in your estimation, should we convert the eight refueling candidates and the four SSBNs to SSGNs?
Admiral PADGETT. I think one of the things that has been consistent throughout the decade of the 1990s is that the studies that have been based on requirements and data to which Admiral Konetzni related have said consistently that the number 70 is about right, so I think 68 is about 70, and I think 68, based upon the most recent information we have, is a right number.
I would also tell you that in fiscal year 1999, we reduced the Atlantic submarine force by 20 percent. We need that 20 percent back, and the only way to get that 20 percent back is to have an increased build rate.
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Mr. HUNTER. How many boats are you short right now, if you use that level as a benchmark?
Admiral PADGETT. We reduced from 35 to 29 in fiscal year 1999 by the decommissionings of 688-class submarines, ships that, again, as Admiral Konetzni alluded to, we might even have been able to refuel, but we were unable to, and as Mr. O'Rourke mentioned, we've taken that ship to the point where we take them down where you can't bring them back again.
Again, if I were going to meet the requirements that the CINCs have levied upon us, right now, we are able to deploy as many as 12 submarines at a time at any given time, when the CINCs' requirements is 16.
So I think if we got that 20 percent back and had 20 percent more, my number is about the same as what Admiral Konetzni's is.
You give me more ten more submarines in the Atlantic, and I'll be able to do a much more credible job in supporting our allies and making sure that we don't have to make those hard decisions about whether we do a particular Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission or some other strike mission, and we'll also be able to support the battle groups in a way that is more robust.
Mr. HUNTER. So to fully meet your obligations and requirements, you need six more submarines in the Atlantic?
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral PADGETT. I would say, I'd like ten more. Again, I think my 20 percent that I lost in 1999, I was struggling at the start of 1999, and I needed to get back to where I could do all the mission requirements that are out there.
To have 16 deployed, as I'm required, I could use 40, easily, which would be 10 more than I have today.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Well, if you had 10 more, and Admiral Konetzni had nine more, which he said he needs to have to fulfill all of his obligations and requirements, that's 19 more. You got 56. That's 75.
Admiral PADGETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. So that's a pretty robust force. Do you think that's a reasonable requirement?
Admiral PADGETT. I think 68 is the minimum requirement The caveat that I added was I would now be able to fulfill all the obligations or requirements that the CINCs have levied.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay.
Admiral PADGETT. And, sir, the studies have been consistent throughout, as I say, the decade of the 1990s. We need about 70 ships to meet the commitments that we have out there.
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Mr. HUNTER. Okay.
Admiral PADGETT. If you're going to engage with our allies in the Pacific, if you're going to engage with our allies in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic, if you're going to meet the mission requirements that the CINCs are levying, drug operations in the Caribbean, we need more ships.
Mr. HUNTER. Admiral Davis, do you agree with that?
Admiral DAVIS. Yes, I do. I believe those numbers are needed. I'm not in the operational chain now, but I have been. I listened to the reports there.
I think we have the capability and the capacity to deliver those ships and I echo your comments, Mr. Chairman, that if we can get those ships and refuel them, we also need to make sure we modernize them so we send them back out with the most capable equipment that we can put on them.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. O'Rourke, any final observations or comments here?
Mr. O'ROURKE. I agree with their characterization of the studies that have taken place during the last decade. Those that have been driven from a requirements point of view have tended to come up with numbers in the range of the 60s and into the 70s. So I would only say that.
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Mr. HUNTER. Gentlemen, we may have more questions for the record, so we hope you will entertain those and get those answers back, and I'd like to ask the reporter if you could get us a transcript of our hearing fairly shortly, sir. We would appreciate that.
Thank you for being with us today, gentlemen, and Mr. O'Rourke, especially, thank you for coming and giving us your observations. You're great, as always.
One last thing we didn't talk about, and that's we do have an electric drive demonstrator now that's going to be up there at Pondaray. That's going to give, to partly answer Mr. Bateman's question, some of the experience with respect to electric drive that we'll need; is that right?
Admiral Davis, how is that program going?
Admiral DAVIS. That's going real good, Mr. Chairman. That's currently scheduled to go on the Light Strike Vehicle (LSV). In fact, the motor is actually up at electric float now, and will be put together this fall, and actually be running on the lake here in the spring.
So that program is on track, and that will be a real checkmark on the electric drive program, particularly to put that size motor out on something that's operating realtime.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HUNTER. What do you think about this 10-year thing of getting the electric drive in? Do you think that's a little pessimistic? Do you think we could do better?
Admiral DAVIS. I think you could probably force it, if you wanted to.
It's a question of making sure that when you finish the program that you have a product that you really can utilize other than just putting a sticker on it and calling it electric drive.
Mr. HUNTER. Yeah.
Admiral DAVIS. I think it is a reasonable program.
Obviously, added resources can accelerate it, but then there's some technology that you don't really want to accelerate, because you want to make sure, particularly on a submarine application, that you've got the confidence in it.
Mr. HUNTER. Yeah. On the other hand, you know, we've learned another thing here, and that is that the mere passage of time doesn't necessarily make things better, either.
We've got weapon systems we work on for 20 years, and we finally field them, we find out that the guts of the systems, you know, are totally obsolete, because all the king's horses and all the king's men have been out there fussing around with them instead of getting stuff to the field, so there's two sides to that one, right?
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Admiral DAVIS. Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman, you're absolutely right. Sometimes faster is better, and you get a lot better product in the end sometimes that way.
Mr. HUNTER. Anyway, let's see what happens. I'll try to get up there and take a look at that operation up at Pondaray.
Gentlemen, thank you. Thank you for your endurance. This Subcommittee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:58 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
June 27, 2000
[The Appendix is pending.]