OMA: Defense Secretary Visits EB, Submarine Base

Defense Secretary Visits EB, Submarine Base
 
By Julia Bergman
 
The Day
 
May 24, 2016
 
{Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter stands in front of the future Virginia-class Colorado}
Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter stands in front of the future Virginia-class, fast-attack
submarine Colorado (SSN 788) as he addresses workers and naval personnel as he tours
General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton during his visit to the area Tuesday, May 24, 2016.
(Tim Cook/The Day)
 
Groton In his first visit to Electric Boat, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, dwarfed by the submarine Colorado under construction behind him, told a group of shipyard employees that he has "complete" confidence in the work they do.
 
"And if you want a measure of that confidence, you don't need to look any further than our budget. Our budget's all in for the submarine force," Carter said Tuesday morning in the construction bay at EB's Groton facility.
 
The Obama administration's 2017 budget request includes $8.1 billion for submarine programs, about $1 billion more than last year.
 
Carter was in Groton as part of a three-day New England trip with stops in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
 
He spent Tuesday at EB and the Naval Submarine Base, highlighting the importance of submarines and thanking the people who build and operate them.
 
"Undersea dominance is one of the areas of clear military superiority by the United States. We want it to stay that way forever. So we're building on that. We're investing in that both in terms of your submarines and in the qualitative improvements, which are substantial," Carter said.
 
{Secretaary of Defense Ashton B. Carter addresses workers and naval personnel as he tours General Dynamics EB.}
Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter stands in front of the future Virginia-class, fast-attack
submarine Colorado (SSN 788) as he addresses workers and naval personnel as he tours
General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton during his visit to the area Tuesday, May 24, 2016.
(Tim Cook/The Day)
 
At EB, Carter received classified briefings and toured the shipyard, which has been plenty busy with work.
 
This year alone, the company expects to hire 1,800 people 600 in Groton and will continue to hire to meet growing workforce demand, led by the Virginia-class program now and the Ohio-class replacement program in the future.
 
In 2011, the production of Virginia-class attack submarines, which EB builds with its partner, Newport News shipbuilding, doubled to two-a-year.
 
And the company recently was named the prime contractor for the Ohio-program to replace the aging fleet of 14 "boomers" with 12 new ballistic missile submarines.
 
{Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter exits the USS New Mexico during his tour of US Naval Submarine Base New London.}
Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter exits the Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine USS
New Mexico (SSN 779) during his tour of U.S. Naval Submarine Base New London during his
visit to Groton on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Tim Cook/The Day)
 
Carter called that program a "huge, centrally important, obviously indispensable part of our national defense because the nuclear deterrent is the bedrock."
 
The Ohio replacement boats will be two-and-a-half times the size of the Virginias and will carry about 70 percent of the country's nuclear arsenal.
 
"This is one of those issues in which we are completely in line with the Congress and their support," Carter said of the program.
 
Federal lawmakers are in the midst of defense policy negotiations.
 
The House recently passed its version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which sets the policies and guidelines for defense spending.
 
{Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter addresses the crews of USS Hartford and USS New Mexico.}
Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter address the crews of the fast-attack submarines USS
Hartford (SSN 768) and USS New Mexico (SSN 779) during his tour of U.S. Naval Submarine
Base New London during his visit to Groton on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Tim Cook/The Day)
 
The Senate is expected to vote on its version this week.
 
The Obama administration is threatening to veto the House version, and Carter has attacked several aspects of both versions.
 
At the sub base, Carter had lunch with junior officers going through the submarine training pipeline, including several enlisted women.
 
Carter praised the Navy, and specifically the submarine force, for welcoming women into the service.
 
Enlisted women started at the Naval Submarine School in August of last year, and some have begun to report to the USS Michigan, an Ohio-class guided missile submarine based in Bangor, Wash.
 
"It doesn't make any sense. They're half the population. I've got an all-volunteer force. I need to have access to the entire talent base," Carter said.
 
He also spoke about his recently unveiled Force of the Future program, which aims to recruit and retain so-called millennials, among other objectives.
 
"I need to be thinking about 10, 20, 30 years from now, what's going to bring the kid who's just right now a kid, or even unborn, into the Navy doing what you're doing with the abilities you have," Carter said.
 
"What's going to keep them in? What, for that matter, is going to keep you in?" he said.
 
Carter took a few questions from sailors after his address. Prior to addressing the sailors, he received a classified tour of the USS New Mexico.
 
 
Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter stands in front of the future Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine Colorado (SSN 788) as he addresses workers and naval personnel as he tours General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton during his visit to the area Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Tim Cook/The Day)
 
Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter stands in front of the future Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine Colorado (SSN 788) as he addresses workers and naval personnel as he tours General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton during his visit to the area Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Tim Cook/The Day)
 
Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter exits the Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) during his tour of U.S. Naval Submarine Base New London during his visit to Groton on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Tim Cook/The Day)
 
Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter address the crews of the fast-attack submarines USS Hartford (SSN 768) and USS New Mexico (SSN 779) during his tour of U.S. Naval Submarine Base New London during his visit to Groton on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Tim Cook/The Day)

 




Content Last Modified on 5/25/2016 11:14:06 AM