Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Want a new sub? Play the fear card!

Just yesterday Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, the U.S. Navy's director of undersea warfare, spoke out in support of the Navy's OHIO Replacement Program. He was speaking at the Sea, Air and Space Exposition in Maryland, the largest maritime exposition in the U.S., where you will find everyone who has anything to do with the Military-Industrial Complex.

Tofalo played the fear card quite heavily when he cited China's and Russia's continuing development of ballistic missile submarines as the justification for the new subs existence.  At one point Tofalo asked the audience, "Would Ukraine have resisted the Russian incursion into Crimea if Russia did not have nuclear weapons? It certainly did impact their thinking." Perhaps he wanted to say that Russia wouldn't have come anywhere near Ukraine had the country kept its nuclear weapons that it gave up after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Can you say "DETERRENCE???"

Of course, we can't put all the blame on Tofalo for such comments.  The President is leading the nuclear charge these days, and of course he IS the Commander in Chief. The brass are just doing their job. Of course, that's exactly why we are supposed to have civilian control of the order to launch nuclear weapons. I'm not so sure that gives me any comfort these days.

Continuing to increase our military pressure surrounding China and the continuing talk of missile defense in Eastern Europe, along with our own nation's continuing pursuit of new nuclear weapons does nothing to stem the tide of nuclear proliferation. There is absolutely no chance of movement towards nonproliferation and ultimately disarmament unless we make good faith efforts to sit down with the other nuclear powers in sincere dialogue - and that is not happening!

Tofalo gives Trident (and the doctrine of Strategic Nuclear Deterrence) far too much credit for keeping the peace. So we continue to arm ourselves to the teeth, and that's not a good thing. What we really have to fear is our reliance on an archaic Cold War way of thinking.

Sir! I have a plan... (Dr. Strangelove)

Admiral: Crimea Proves Nuclear Subs Still Needed

Apr 07, 2014 | by Kris Osborn

National Harbor, Md. -- Navy leaders said Monday the U.S. can't afford to delay the Ohio-class submarine Replacement Program as China and Russia continue to develop new nuclear armed ballistic missile submarines.

"There are two countries on the planet today with a new SSBN in the water and sea based missiles being flight tested. Neither of those countries are the United States – they are China and Russia," Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, director of undersea warfare, said at the Sea, Air and Space Exposition here.
"Who would have thought, five years ago, that Russia would not be participating in the G8 summit?" he asked the audience.

The Ohio Replacement Program is now involved in early construction and prototyping as part of a technology development phase. General Dynamics Electric Boat is working on a $1.85 billion five year research and development deal. The contract contains specific incentives for lowering costs and increasing manufacturing efficiency.

The Navy has requested $1.2 billion in research and development funds as part of the fiscal year 2015 budget proposal.

Designed to be 560-feet– long and house 16 Trident II D5 missiles fired from 44-foot-long missile tubes, the Ohio Replacement Program will be engineered as a stealthy, high-tech nuclear deterrent able to quietly patrol the global seas.

Citing Iranian influence in Syria, Chinese activity in the South China Sea, and Russia's annexation of Crimea, Tofalo said that nuclear-armed countries are continuing to impact the geopolitical strategic landscape.

"Would Ukraine have resisted the Russian incursion into Crimea if Russia did not have nuclear weapons? It certainly did impact their thinking," he explained.

Russia and China were also among several countries absent from a recent 35-nation nuclear security summit, Tofalo added.

Tofalo explained how nuclear submarines have helped prevent what he called major-power wars for seven decades by providing a second strike capability for U.S. and Russia should either fire nuclear missiles at the other.

"At present, SSBNs operated by the United States Navy submarine force have over half of our nation's deployed nuclear warheads on them. We have a lot at stake here and have to get this right," Tofalo explained.

He added that the new Start Treaty with Russia, which calls for the reduction of nuclear warheads, will result in a situation where SSNBs will be responsible for 70-perecent of America's deployed nuclear warheads, he added.

Source URL: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/04/07/admiral-crimea-proves-nuclear-subs-still-needed.html  

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