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New attack submarine : hearing before the Military Procurement Subcommittee of the Committee on National Security, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, hearing held September 7, 1995 online

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Y4.SE2/1 A: 995-96/16

(H.K.S.C. Ho. 104-16): Keu Attack S. . .









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For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-053506-9


[H.N.S.C. No. 104-16]

Y 4.SE2/1 A: 995-96/16

(H.H.S.C. Ho. 104-16): Keu Attack S. . .











/ 1996


For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office. Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-053506-9

DUNCAN HUNTER, California, Chairman

FLOYD SPENCE, South Carolina

BOB STUMP, Arizona

JIM SAXTON, New Jersey


PETER G. TORKILDSEN, Massachusetts




HOWARD "BUCK" McKEON, California

RON LEWIS, Kentucky

J.C. WATTS, JR., Oklahoma




LANE EVANS, Illinois
JOHN TANNER, Tennessee
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
ROSA L. DeLAURO, Connecticut

STEVE THOMPSON, Professional Staff Member

CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS, Professional Staff Member

STEVE Ansley, Professional Staff Member

KAREN STEUBE, Staff Assistant





Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative from California, Chairman, Military
Procurement Subcommittee 1


Battista, Tony, Private Consultant, Former Professional Staff Member, Com-
mittee on Armed Services, House of Representatives:

Statement 5

Prepared statement 10

Foster, Dr. John, Jr., Private Consultant, Former Director, Defense Research
and Engineering, Current Member, Defense Science Board:

Statement 19

Prepared statement 24

Frick, Rear Adm. Robert E., Program Executive Officer, Submarines, Office
of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, (Research, Development & Acquisi-

Statement 69

Prepared statement 72

Jones, Rear Adm. Dennis A., Director, Submarine Warfare Division, Office
of the Chief of Naval Operations

Statement 68

O'Rourke, Ron, In-House Submarine Expert

Statement 65

Polmar, Norman, Naval Analyst, Author/Columnist, Lecturer, Consultant to
three former Secretaries of the Navy:

Statement 29

Prepared statement 33

Wood, Dr. Lowell, Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University:

Statement 54

Prepared statement 56



House of Representatives,
Committee on National Security,
Military Procurement Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Thursday, September 7, 1995.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10 a.m. in room 2118,
Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of
the subcommittee) presiding.


Mr. Hunter. The subcommittee will come to order. As we pre-
pare to begin the conference on the fiscal year 1996 DOD author-
ization bill this afternoon, one of the most contentious issues to be
resolved will be the issue of nuclear attack submarines. As mem-
bers may recall from our earlier hearing in March, the Navy's No.
1 priority in its fiscal year 1996 procurement budget request are
submarines, the third and final Seawolf, SSN-23, and its follow-on,
the new attack submarine, the so-called NAS. The Navy requested
$1.5 billion to complete the SSN-23 and $705 million for advanced
procurement of the NAS.

The administration's Bottom-Up Review plan was to construct
both the Seawolf and the entire NAS class of 30 submarines at
Electric Boat, the EB Division of General Dynamics in Groton, CT.

The committee did not authorize the SSN-23, which the Navy
has admitted for the last 2 years is not required for operational
purposes but rather is needed as an industrial bridge to keep EB
in business until 1998 when the NAS is to begin serial production.

Furthermore, the committee rejected the notion of having one
shipyard produce the next-generation submarine at the expense of
having the skills to build such submarines atrophy at the Nation's
other nuclear-capable shipyard, Newport News Shipbuilding,
known as NNS.

The committee focused its attention on the Seawolf not on the
Seawolf, but on the NAS. Its objectives were, one, to avoid produc-
tion of a scaled-down, less-capable version of the Seawolf in rec-
ognition of the fact that despite an economy experiencing great dif-
ficulty, Russia's defense policy continues to emphasize submarine
technology, and the fact that the Russians currently operate the
quietest submarine in the world; and, two, to avoid the prospects
of an unaffordable next-generation submarine by introducing com-
petition into its acquisition.


Thus, the committee decided that a national priority program
was needed to achieve a next-generation submarine design which
represents an improvement over the NAS design and that a key
feature of this program should be technological competition be-
tween Electric Boat and Newport News.

However, realizing that competition could not be introduced in
the short term, the committee chose to provide EB with $850 mil-
lion to demonstrate such innovation on the design of two outfitted
submarine hull sections, the first of which would be incorporated
on the second Seawolf currently under construction at EB and the
second of which would be installed on a one-of-a-kind NAS which
would begin construction at EB as scheduled in 1998. These hull
sections might be optimized for Special Operations Forces, mine
warfare, land attack missiles, other missions, or some combination
as determined by the Navy.

The committee also chose to provide NNS with an analogous op-
portunity to demonstrate its talents as an innovative submarine
designer and builder by authorizing $150 million to be used as ini-
tial funding for an effort at NNS to design, develop, and build pro-
totype versions of submarine components which have the potential
for achieving substantial improvement in capability and afford-
ability over the current NAS design.

The committee plan envisions that these innovative efforts by
both shipyards would provide the basis for either a follow-on sub-
marine that could be completed for serial production in 1999 or
production of the first of a series of operational prototype sub-
marines, each of which would incorporate accelerated technology
improvements, leading to serial production of a next-generation
submarine several years hence. The United States built several
one-of-a-kind submarines from the 1950's through the 1970's to
rapidly test new technologies and made rapid strides in the proc-
ess. Since then, however, the United States has built only minimal-
risk, series-production submarines rather than path-breaking pro-

Recognizing that the other body appears comfortable with and is
poised to endorse the Navy's proposal for serial production of the
current NAS design, the purpose of today's hearing is to elicit ex-
pert opinion on this decision versus the committee's proposal to
build operational prototypes rather than proceeding to produce a
platform which may not be a true next-generation submarine capa-
ble of preserving or regaining U.S. undersea superiority.

We have some extraordinary witnesses with us this morning, and
we have tried to retrieve and have successfully retrieved for this
hearing two of the members of Les Aspin's blue ribbon panel, Dr.
John Foster, Jr., and Dr. Lowell Wood. We have with us also Mr.
Norman Polmar, a world-recognized authority on maritime issues
and on submarines and well-known author and prolific writer on
the issue, and Ron O'Rourke, who is our resident submarine expert
from CRS is with us this morning.

Ron, we appreciate this endurance, this great marathon that you
have been engaged in on the submarine issue this year with this
committee. You have been a very valuable asset to the Congress.

So we have some witnesses this morning who will comment on
the Navy's new attack submarine program. We have with us also

Rear Adm. Dennis Jones and Rear Adm. Robert Frick to describe
the Navy's position with respect to the new attack submarine, and
we have had some interesting sessions on airlift, on sealift, on sub-
marines, in which this committee puts the Navy at the panel with
other experts, from the Air Force in some cases; and we have had
some good dialog and some good back and forth. I think it has been
a little departure from the way hearings are usually conducted, but
I think it has resulted in good interchanges. Let me give a little
background on the path that we have taken to reach this point.

We also have another gentleman — kind of a legend on the Hill,
who was here when I arrived in Washington in 1980; that is Mr.
Tony Battista, who is a former professional staff member on the
House Armed Services Committee.

And, Tony, it is awfully nice to have you with us. You have been
a tremendous asset to this committee and to this country for many,
many years, and it is nice to have you with us and to have your
beautiful wife Doris attending here, too. I am sure this will be very
entertaining for her to hear you testify today. Thank you for com-
ing back.

Mr. Battista. Thank you. I think everything I say she is enter-
tained by.

Mr. Hunter. That is what I understand.

Doris, thanks for coming today.

But in 1988 our former House Armed Services Committee chair-
man, Les Aspin, commissioned a blue ribbon panel of specialists in
submarine development and antisubmarine warfare to prepare a
report for the committee outlining whether or not the then Soviet
Union's capability in these areas might be outstripping those of the
United States. The members of that panel included Secretary of
Defense — now Secretary of Defense Bill Perry; Under Secretary of
Defense for Acquisition and Technology, Paul Kaminski, Dr. John
Foster, and Dr. Lowell Wood, who are with us today. Mr. Battista
was the staff director of the R&D Subcommittee of the House
Armed Services Committee at the time, and he oversaw the cre-
ation of this panel for Chairman Aspin, so it is important, I think,
to have Tony here today, because he has some of the corporate
memory of the path that we followed at that point to get to the
present situation.

I wanted to mention also that Adm. Robert Frick is with us today
to testify as the program executive officer for submarines, Office of
the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for R,D&A [Research, Develop-
ment and Acquisition]; and Admiral Jones is the Director of the
Submarine Warfare Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Oper-

So, gentlemen, thank you for contributing and being with us this

In the interest of time, your written statements will be accepted
for the record, and I would like to ask each of you to take about
5 minutes to summarize those statements. And let me just say, es-
pecially for folks who don't know Dr. Foster, don't know Lowell
Wood, Lowell has been on many panels, and many issues have
been important to this committee, especially in missile defense
work and many other areas. He has worked on important programs
for the Navy. He is considered to be the father of Brilliant Pebbles

and the father of the x-ray laser. And, Lowell, we are going to get
a winner soon, and I assure you, believe me, it will happen.

Dr. John Foster is considered by many folks in the last 10 to 20
years to be one of the most valuable technical minds in defense for
this country. He is probably the best credentialed scientist in the
United States today, in my estimation, in weapons programs,
former head of research and engineering for two Presidents, Demo-
crat and Republican, chairman of — former chairman of the Defense
Science Board, longest-serving member for the President's foreign
intelligence advisory board and just got finished chairing the Sum-
mer Studies Program for the Defense Science Board, so he came off
of that task and immediately launched into the submarine issue.

So, Dr. Foster, thank you for taking your time to be with us.

So what I would like to do is — Ike, let me recognize you for what-
ever comments you would like to make and then we will turn the
floor over to our witnesses.

The gentleman from Missouri.

Mr. Skelton. Thank you. First, let me tell you, Mr. Chairman,
I am glad you are holding this hearing. I think it is very, very im-
portant that we delve into it.

For over 8 months this panel has been struggling to determine
the direction of our Navy's submarine capability. I, for one, am
deeply distressed by the future of our Navy and, of course, of our
military as a whole. As I have said, this year Congress will deter-
mine whether the United States remains a first-rate military power
by what we do in this committee. I am encouraged by many of the
recent recommendations from our committee, but I still remain

Mr. Chairman, I am worried about the Russian Navy's continued
emphasis on submarines. Not only have the Russian designs im-
proved, but production has kept steady. My sources tell me, by the
year 2000, the Russian submarine force may significantly out-
number ours. Of course, this concerns me. It may be time to initi-
ate robust submarine production just to maintain parity on the sea.
It may be time to enter discussion about this technology or that
technology, do the best we can and produce — begin producing
boats, for we know when the time comes, our Nation's greatest ad-
vantage has been, and always will be, our people, particularly the
people of the sea. I remain confident in the ability of our naval per-
sonnel to maintain our superiority.

Before us today is a very distinguished panel of witnesses with
expertise in submarine capability. I look forward to these gentle-
men not only to shed light on our strategic position in the world,
but to shed light on our apparent inability to make a decision with
regard to submarine technology. I look forward to the testimony.

In particular, I welcome our friend from yesteryear, Tony
Battista, who gave us thoughts, advice, those many days ago. We
appreciate you being with us. We look forward to hearing you, and
we also look forward to hearing what our gentlemen — our folks
from the Navy have to say, because they are the ones who, after
all, have to sail these ships and make them do what they are sup-
posed to do.

Thank you.

Mr. Hunter. I thank the gentleman.

We were going to start off with Dr. Foster; but Tony, since you
kind of have the corporate memory on the blue ribbon panel that
Chairman Aspin put into place, why don't you lead off and give us
a snapshot of what you saw at that time, what the committee saw
at that time, and how the panel developed and where you think we


Mr. BATTISTA. All right. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank
you for your invitation asking me to share some of these views on
a subject that, I think, is probably one of the three highest priority
items in this country today. I put the survivability of our sub-
marine force in the top three.

I would like to preface my remarks by recalling the days when
Mr. Stump, who also served on the Permanent Select Committee
on Intelligence, was instrumental in taking some of the intelligence
estimates and supporting that committee position. It was Mr.
Stump in concert with Congressman Cheney, later Secretary Che-
ney, who, I think, provided the main impetus behind the antisub-
marine warfare [ASW] effort that led to the Aspin panel, and I
think we owe a great deal to Mr. Stump.

Let me get right to the point. I do have a slight difference of
opinion with the Navy relative to the threat. I consider the Navy
position to be somewhat conservative.

I think Russian submarine and antisubmarine warfare tech-
nology is even more advanced than the intelligence community
would have you believe. I think the quietest, both acoustically and
nonacoustically operational — and I emphasize that word "oper-
ational" — attack submarine today doesn't belong to the United
States, it belongs to the Russians. I think what you are going to
see in the next-generation Russian attack submarine is going to
pale the present Akula and represent the Russians' most notable
advance in the last decade. I think in terms of the threat, while
the Russian intent has softened and changed, the capability of
their submarines is not only there, but it is better and getting bet-

We are not spending enough on submarine and antisubmarine
warfare technology. When you consider, Mr. Chairman, the carrier
battle group, you are talking about a $4.5 billion carrier, you are
talking about 90 aircraft on that carrier, you are talking about
cruisers, you are talking about destroyers; you have a several hun-
dred billion dollar investment in that carrier battle group, and the
critical element to the survivability of that carrier battle group is
the submarine with its stealth characteristics. So this is an area
where, I think, it is very shortsighted and very poor economics to
say that, well, we are not going to spend as much as we should,
or we have got to cut the submarine budget as we do other areas.
It is false economy. We are paying too much for our submarines,
and in terms of the threat, we are getting a very poor return on
investment, and last, my observation is that the entire submarine
and the antisubmarine program should be restructured — in part, as
proposed by what you have done on this committee — and should be

a high priority national program. I do think we ought to assign na-
tional priority status to this whole area of submarines.

Let me put my observations in the context of what you have done
this year and what the Senate has done in House bill H.R. 1530
and the Senate amendment S. 1026. Your report puts the emphasis
on submarine capability, the needs of the fleet with a secondary
concern over the industrial base.

In contrast — and I am sure they didn't intend it this way, but in
my reading of the Senate report, the emphasis seems to be on the
industrial base, and the fleet comes across to me as somewhat of
an afterthought; and I do think that we have got to get our prior-
ities straight. The industrial base should be the benefactor of what
we do for the fleet, not the converse.

I think this body should be commended, you, Mr. Chairman, and
especially the subcommittee, on what you have done to restructure
our Nation's submarine program. You recognize that the new at-
tack submarine, as it is presently proposed, may not be good
enough; and you initiated a program that is going to give us sev-
eral prototypes from which we can choose, one that I believe — an
approach that I believe will keep us ahead of the Russians.

The Honorable Mendel Rivers from this committee had a favorite
expression: There ain't no education from the second kick of a
mule. You knew 8 years ago that the SSN-21 was questionable in
terms of its capability. I have attached in my statement a copy of
a Washington Post article — it was on the eve of my retirement —
where I question the ability of the 21, the Seawolf class; and at
that time, remember there was a heated debate before the House
Sea Power Subcommittee that was chaired by Mr. Bennett of Flor-
ida at that time, and I recommended terminating the SSN-21 pro-
gram; and I thought that the committee had done a tremendous
service to the country by coming up with a compromise position
that said, we will fund the Seawolf provided you get started on a
new attack submarine.

It is rather interesting that the Navy really objected strongly to
that add-on back then, and here we are today talking about a new
attack submarine, be it theirs or be it the program that you have
structured. What you have to ask yourself is what was wrong with
the 21, why didn't we build the full complement of 30 submarines
or 32, I believe the number was; and if the answer is, it costs too
much money, then there was something inherently wrong in the
approach that we took that provided us with something that we
couldn't afford.

In the House bill, as I said, you put the U.S. submarine program
in proper perspective, and I think that this point about paying too
much for submarines is a valid issue. I don't place the blame on
the industry for this. If you have ever been to Electric Boat, if you
have ever been in Newport News, those people are real button
poppers in terms of being proud of their product. They are really
dedicated. They are an honest, good group of people, but they only
deliver what the customer asks for.

I blame the Navy, I blame the Department of Defense; in fact,
I blame the Congress for the situation that I believe we are in
today, the poor situation that we are in today. I blame the Navy
for not proposing an adequate program. I call it a flawed program.

I am not talking about Seawolf; I am talking about the entire pro-
gram. I view submarines and antisubmarine warfare as one broad
category, and they are dependent variables.

When you are cutting back and not proposing the right program
because of funding constraints, that in itself is inherently flawed.
I blame the Department of Defense for not serving as an effective
board of directors and realizing the importance of submarines to
our force structure; and last, I blame the Congress for not exercis-
ing the proper oversight and providing authorization and appro-
priation for a program that would allow the Russians to forge
ahead of us.

In retrospect, that is the only conclusion you can come up to,
they have forged ahead of us in some areas; and I think in the
world of submarines and antisubmarine warfare there is not an
area that I can think of that we should be second in. Until this
year, I believe you have legislated mediocrity; to be perfectly blunt
about it, there was more concern about the industrial base and the
urge to build something than there was over the future of the fleet.
I think you have changed that.

I will give you an aside, too. I think you should do something
about the current procurement policies that we have. We continue
to spend $10 to save $1. We are strangling the industrial base, if
anything. I think you have got to relook that; and everybody says,
well, Bill Perry is looking at the problem, but the progress is slow.
The progress doesn't have to be slow. My God, you can legislate in
any given year procurement reform that is going to put trust back
in the system and let people build things and be looking ahead
rather than constantly looking over their shoulders.

Now let me give you a few points that you might want to con-
sider on the cost of submarines. In World War II, we paid about
$80 million for an aircraft carrier, a submarine was about $2 mil-
lion, a ratio of about 35 to 1. Today that aircraft carrier costs $4.5
billion; a Seawolf submarine — and I am being conservative, and I
am sure the Navy will disagree — is about $3 billion. I have to ask,
why does a 9,000-ton nuclear-powered submarine cost nearly as
much as a 96,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier? Everybody
else in the world seems to be on the $200 to $300 million, $400 mil-
lion line relative to cost, even though they are smaller submarines,
1,800 to 3,000 ton displacement.

I have got to ask you, Mr. Chairman and members of the sub-
committee, to try to rationalize that there is $2.6, $2.8 billion dif-
ference between a diesel-powered submarine and a Seawolf. Grant-
ed, ours are better, but I can't say they are that much better in
terms of cost.

There are a number of things we can do, and it is in my state-

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on NatioNew attack submarine : hearing before the Military Procurement Subcommittee of the Committee on National Security, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, hearing held September 7, 1995 → online text (page 1 of 14)