Determining the future of the US submarine force
Howes, Brian Thomas
Tritten, James J.
Brown, R. Mitchell, III
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The end of the Cold War has been the watershed event for changes in the international and national security environments that present tremendous implications for the US submarine force. These changes include calls for significant US defense cuts to reap a "peace dividend," the increasing importance of economics as a determinant of defense spending, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union resulting in the absence of a clear tangible global threat to US national interests. What has resulted from these changes in the formulation of a new US national security strategy that focuses on regional contingencies, and the decision to cut US defense forces by at least 25% over five years including the cancellation of the Seawolf submarine program. This thesis addresses the implications of these tremendous changes on the US submarine program. Specifically, issues that are addressed includes roles and missions, force structure, submarine design, and changing the institutional mindset of the submarine community. The issues of roles and missions involves demonstrating the applicability of the submarine to regional warfare. The issue of submarine force structure deals with both the short term and long terms factors affecting submarine for reductions and ultimate submarine force size. The issue of submarine design addresses concerns over the submarine industrial base, the Centurion program, and design requirements for a regional warfighting submarine. The need for change the institutional mindset of the submarine community is addressed to illuminate the fact that in order to adapt to and absorb the enormous changes occurring in the international environment, the submarine community also must change.
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