Subs Going Down in Strength, Numbers
The U.S. Navy submarine force will lose significant numbers as well as capabilities over the next 18 years, according to a group commander. Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, USN, the commander of Submarine Group Two, outlined the reductions for a panel audience at West 2012 in San Diego. These reductions are part of an overall effort to reduce the size of the force. The number of attack submarines will decline from 55 to 40 by 2030. All eight SSG cruise missile submarine crews will be removed from the force. Adm. Breckenridge pointed out that the submarine force has declined from 21,000 to 16,000 sailors over the past 12 years. Yet, the service maintained the same number of crews. With the new submarine reductions, the Navy will go from 91 submarine crews to 60 crews amid a more challenging global security environment. Undersea forces are undergoing a transformation that began with the Virginia-class boats, the admiral observed. Not since the days of the USS Nautilus, he said, has the Navy made such significant changes in undersea platform design. These new approaches will help the Navy accommodate changes in the force and its mission.