House Armed Services Committee Member: Groton Sub Base Likely To Stay Open
By Deborah Straszheim
June 7, 2011
U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, a ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said Monday that despite the challenging economic times, he believes that Groton's Naval Submarine Base has become a military facility that is likely to endure.
"The sub base, having survived the most recent (base review) process, has now been built up, is much more (a) cornerstone of our national security strategy and is much more likely to be here for the long-term," he said.
He said later, "I think that we've made our decisions. This is where we build our subs."
U.S. Rep. Joseph Courtney invited Smith to Groton to tour Naval Submarine Base New London and Electric Boat, and highlight the work being done that allowed submarines to be produced ahead of schedule.
Smith said he was impressed by the manufacturing improvements.
"The way they've been able to shrink the time that it takes the time to complete a submarine, I mean, the talent that they've applied to these problems is saving us money and also producing a first-class product," he said. "I was very pleased with what I saw."
The two saw the training equipment at the sub base, the technology center of Electric Boat, the area where command systems for submarines are tested, and the main assembly building at EB. They also went aboard the Mississippi.
Courtney, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, said he was encouraged by construction taking place at the base.
"Every time I go there, there's something new," he said.
The sub base recently broke ground on a $2.48 million addition to Nimitz Hall, which will include a high-tech submarine simulator that teaches officers and crews how to navigate waters.
Smith said he recognizes the importance of maintaining a skilled workforce to handle technical jobs and leaves with a more complete understanding of work being done so he can argue the case.
"It's a very complicated picture in terms of figuring out what our national security needs are going to be long term," Smith said. "But I think one thing is very clear: Our submarine fleet is gong to be critical to that. It is the one piece of equipment we have that can go anywhere in the world and be relatively invulnerable."