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  Issue/Date 20180416

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018 06:49 PM

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Arrival of USS Bremerton (SSN 698) for Decommissioning

Incredible Moment US Fast-Attack Submarine Launches A Tomahawk Missile To Join Air Strikes Against Syria

Strikes on Syria: What we know so far

ARIZONA SILENT SERVICE MEMORIAL

Xi Makes Surprise Visit to Fleet in South China Sea Drill

USS Bremerton Returning To Namesake City For Decommissioning

Charting the Course: the U.S. Needs an Arctic Fleet

55 Years After Thresher Disaster, Navy Still Keeps Secrets on Sub Loss

USS Bremerton Returns to Pearl Harbor for Final Time

Pentagon Gets New Cloud Tech Chief Amid Trump's Feud With Amazon

Arrival of USS Bremerton (SSN 698) for Decommissioning

MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

USS Bremerton (SSN 698) Will Arrive in Bremerton for Decommissioning

BREMERTON, Wash. (April 17, 2018) The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Bremerton (SSN 698) will arrive at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton to commence the inactivation and decommissioning process, April 27.

Bremerton is currently the oldest active duty submarine. Under the command of Cmdr. Travis Zettel, Bremerton will be departing Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for a homeport change to its namesake city. Bremerton has been homeported in Hawaii since 2003.

Bremerton completed their most recent deployment April 6, 2018. During the six-month deployment, the boat and her crew steamed more than 42,000 nautical miles and conducted five foreign port visits.

The submarine's ability to support a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance, made Bremerton one of the most capable submarines in the world.

During the inactivation process, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility will de-fuel the submarine and then retain the hull in safe storage until the boat is recycled.

Commissioned March 28, 1981, Bremerton is the 11th boat of its class. She is the second U.S. Navy vessel to be named Bremerton. The boat's mission is to seek out and destroy enemy ships and submarines and to protect U.S. national interests. At 360-feet-long and 6,900 tons, Bremerton can be armed with sophisticated MK48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

For more news from the Pacific Submarine Force, visit www.csp.navy.mil.

If you are interested in attending the arrival of Bremerton, please contact LCDR Michael Smith, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs Officer, no later than 1200 on April 25. He can be contacted at Michael.l.smith4@navy.mil or 360-396-5482. Thank you for your interest and continued support. Have a wonderful day.

Very Respectfully,

MC1 (SW/AW) Amanda Gray
Commander, Submarine Group Nine
Assistant Public Affairs Officer

Amanda.gray@navy.mil
Office: 360-396-4900
Cell: 619-252-2284

 

Incredible Moment US Fast-Attack Submarine Launches A Tomahawk Missile To Join Air Strikes Against Syria

Danielle Zoellner, Daily Mail, April 15

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5617307/Incredible-moment-fast-attack-submarine-launches-tomahawk-missile-Syrian-air-strikes.html

 

Footage revealed the incredible moment the US fast-attack submarine launched a tomahawk missile from the Mediterranean Sea as part of the multi-national strike against the Syrian government.

 

The Virginia-class USS John Warner submarine launched the missile on Friday during the United States' air strikes in collaboration with France and England to retaliate against Syria's use of chemical weapons.

 

The video shows the submarine launch the missile straight up into the sky before it curves and heads towards its intended target.

 

The missile was one of more than 100 others that were used during the air strikes to target three military sites in Syria.

 

The USS John Warner operates in the Mediterranean Sea as a routine deployment to support the allies in the region. The submarine's placement is why it was used during the missile attack.

 

Trump hailed a 'perfectly executed strike last night' Saturday just hours after launching a series of attacks on Syria.

 

The USS John Warner operates in the Mediterranean Sea as a routine deployment to support the allies in the region. The submarine's placement is why it was used during the missile attack.

 

After the attack, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley vowed that the Trump administration was 'locked and loaded' for another attack if needed against Syria.

The strikes were in retaliation to the poison gas attack that killed an estimated 75 people on April 7.

 

Syrian state-run TV said three civilians were wounded during the attack on a military base in Homs.

 

The organization also said that several of the missiles were intercepted by the Syrian government during the air strikes. But Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said the strikes 'successfully hit every target'.

 

Another country besides Syria that was under attack by the three nations this weekend was Russia for allowing 'the use of chemical weapons (in Syria) to go unanswered'.

Depending on the US and its allies' next course of action involving Syria, the USS John Warner could be used again for another strike if needed.^

 

Strikes on Syria: What we know so far

Graham Russell and Patrick Greenfield | The guardian.com

Sat 14 Apr 2018 11.18 EDT

 

US, UK and France have launched a joint military strike. Here is a summary of what has happened

 

  • The US launched military strikes alongside UK and French forces aimed at reducing Syrian regime’s chemical weapons facilities in the wake of last weekend’s gas attack on the Damascus suburb of Douma. 105 missiles were fired in total, the Pentagon said.

 

  • Moments after Donald Trump finished his address on Friday night, reports emerged of explosions in Damascus at about 2am BST. A Pentagon briefing later confirmed three sites were hit: in Damascus and in Homs. The sites were all regarded as linked to the storage, or testing, of chemical weapons. Syrian air defences responded to the strikes but the US said it had suffered no losses in the initial airstrikes.

 

  • The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has described the strikes as an “act of aggression” and said the attack would worsen the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the US, said “such actions will not be left without consequences” and that Moscow was being threatened.

 

  • Syrian state TV has shown a video of Bashar al-Assad arriving at work on Saturday morning after the coalition strikes. Syria’s air defence systems intercepted 71 out of 103 cruise missiles fired as part of the US-led strikes, claims the Russian military. The Pentagon has denied any interceptions were made. Russian air defence systems did not respond to the missiles, it added.
 

Trump said the attack in Douma a week ago represented “a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use” by the Assad regime, adding: “We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.” On Saturday, the US president tweeted that the strike was “perfectly executed”, adding it was “mission accomplished!  Read All ^

 

ARIZONA SILENT SERVICE MEMORIAL
P.O Box 86155 Phoenix, AZ 85080

Arizona Silent Service Memorial Project

Dear Shipmates & Friends,

The Arizona Silent Service Memorial Foundation (ASSM) invites you to join us in building this important monument.

The Arizona State House and Senate unanimously approved this project which was then signed into law. The monument will be erected in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza which is the "front yard" of the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix.

We solicit your support of our endeavor which will honor ALL submariners of ALL nations, past, present, and future.
See the information links below.

Click on the ASSM brochure link below:


Click on the ASSM promotional flyer link below:

This memorial will serve to honor ALL submariners, past and present. For more information, please visit our website at:

www.arizonasilentservicememorial.org


Thank you.

Sincerely,


Tim Moore
Tim Moore, Chairman
Arizona Silent Service Memorial
P.O. Box 86155
Phoenix, AZ 85080
Phone: 602-574-3286
E-mail: seawolfssn@outlook.com
www.arizonasilentservicememorial.org
^

 

Xi Makes Surprise Visit to Fleet in South China Sea Drill

Agence France Presse |12 Apr 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday stressed the "urgent" need to build a powerful navy during a surprise visit to observe naval exercises in the disputed South China Sea, state media reported as the country prepares for live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait.

The region has become a potential flashpoint, with the US saying China's activities in the area pose a threat to freedom of navigation in the strategically vital waterway, where Beijing has built an archipelago of artificial islands capable of hosting military equipment.

Footage of Xi's visit on state broadcaster CCTV showed the president watching jets taking off from China's sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and joining sailors for a meal.

In a speech to the assembled troops, Xi said China's task to build a powerful navy "has never been as urgent as it is today".

His visit comes as Washington engages in its own muscle flexing in the region, where the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt gave a demonstration Tuesday for members of the Philippine government.

China's own naval drill -- involving the Liaoning and dozens of other vessels -- began at the end of March, with US officials saying the two exercises are separated by several hundred kilometres (miles).

Some 48 warships, 76 fighter jets, and more than 10,000 navy personnel took part in the drill at an undisclosed location, said China Military, a newspaper affiliated to the People's Liberation Army.

Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea despite rival claims from several of its Southeast Asian neighbours.

China regularly protests when US warships' carry out "freedom of navigation" operations near its islands.

Live-fire exercise

Xi's visit came as China announced plans to hold live-fire naval drills next week in the narrow strait separating the mainland from Taiwan, an act that could ratchet up tensions with the island.

"Live-fire military manoeuvres will take place... in the Taiwan Strait on (Wednesday) April 18, 2018 between 8am and midnight," the maritime safety administration of Fujian, the province that lies opposite Taiwan, said in a statement.

China, which regards self-ruled Taiwan as its territory -- to be reunited by force if necessary -- has stepped up air and naval patrols around the island since Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in May 2016.

She refuses publicly to accept the "One China" formula agreed between Beijing and Taiwan's previous government.

Chinese warplanes conducted 25 drills around Taiwan between August 2016 and mid-December last year, according to Taipei.

The Liaoning and other vessels passed through the Taiwan Strait on March 20 -- the day Xi warned against any attempts to divide China.

Taiwan's defence ministry said it would keep a close eye on the upcoming exercise.

"The defence ministry stresses that the military can comprehensively monitor and respond to the regional situation to ensure national security. We ask the public to rest assured," it said in a statement.
^

 

USS Bremerton Returning To Namesake City For Decommissioning
Julianne Stanford, K5 News, April 11

The USS Bremerton will return to its namesake city later this month for its final stop as the fleet's oldest active duty submarine.


Navy spokesman Lt. Seth Clarke could not confirm the date of the submarine's arrival in Bremerton, but he said the sub is scheduled to make a homeport swap from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to Bremerton within the next few weeks. The submarine is scheduled to begin the inactivation process at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in July.


The 37-year-old Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine is the 11th submarine of its class. The sub's keel was laid in May 1976 in Groton, Connecticut. It was commissioned on March 28, 1981, under the command of Capt. Thomas Anderson.


"The Bremerton is one of the most impressive engineering marvels in human history," said Master Chief Wade Jacobson, Bremerton’s chief of the boat. "It is truly incredible for a warship to be operational at such deep and strenuous depths for nearly 40 years."


The Bremerton recently returned to its homeport in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on April 6 from a six-month-long deployment in the western Pacific Ocean under the command of Cmdr. Travis Zettel. While underway, the ship made port calls to Singapore and the Philippines. This was the ship's final deployment before decommissioning.


"The entire crew performed with excellence," Jacobson said. "In six months we took the nation’s longest-serving submarine more than 42,000 nautical miles, executing multiple missions in some of the toughest and busiest environments in the world and conducted five foreign port visits."


The Bremerton has a crew of about 130 sailors. Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines are designed for a wide variety of missions, such as seeking and destroying enemy submarines and surface ships; conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions; supporting aircraft carriers and engaging in mine warfare.


After arriving in Bremerton, the submarine will go to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, where all Los Angeles-class subs go to meet their fate at the end of their service lives. The shipyard is the only place where the Navy inactivates and recycles nuclear-powered submarines.


"The USS Bremerton has a very special connection to us and our community," said shipyard Commanding Officer Capt. Howard Markle. "We look forward to working with her current crew and the local community to retire from service this great warship that has done so much for our Navy and our nation."


The inactivation process usually takes about a year and costs roughly $58 million, said shipyard spokesman J.C. Mathews.


During inactivation, a submarine’s reactor is shut down and all nuclear fuel is removed from the vessel alongside classified materials and cryptographic equipment. Industrial gases are offloaded, electrical and lighting systems are de-energized and hydraulic systems and fuel tanks are drained.


It takes another 18 months to separate the reactor compartment from the submarine and pack it up for recycling, at a cost of about $24 million.


Subs undergo the inactivation process in preparation for decommissioning, which marks the vessel's official retirement from the fleet. After a decommissioning ceremony, the sub's crew is released and the submarine is turned over to the shipyard for disposal.


Once shipyard crews have removed all hazardous materials from the vessel, the Navy will sell the sub's remaining metal to a recycling company, Mathews said.


Shipyard crews are currently inactivating the USS Dallas, the submarine made famous in the Tom Clancy novel "The Hunt for Red October." The USS Buffalo is up next to begin the process once work on the Dallas is completed.


The shipyard has already recycled 11 Los Angeles-class subs, and crews are currently in the process of taking apart the USS Salt Lake City, Naval Research Vessel 1, USS Indianapolis and USS Atlanta.


There's a slew of submarines currently awaiting recycling, including the Narwhal, Philadelphia, Memphis, Portsmouth, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Hyman G. Rickover, Augusta, Miami, Norfolk, Albuquerque, Houston, City of Corpus Christi and Long Beach.


Once the Bremerton is decommissioned, there will be 30 Los Angeles-class submarines still in active service out of the 62 total subs built of that class, Clarke said.
The USS Ohio, a nuclear-powered guided missile submarine, will take over the title of being the oldest active duty submarine in the fleet with 36 years of service.


In keeping with Navy tradition, once the Bremerton is decommissioned, the submarine will pass on late Rear Adm. Richard O'Kane's legendary personal cribbage board to the 33-year-old USS Olympia, the longest-serving submarine based in Pearl Harbor. The Bremerton has had O'Kane's cribbage board for almost eight years, after receiving it from the Los Angeles after it was decommissioned in 2010.


O'Kane's cribbage board is believed to be a good luck charm for crews underway in the depths.


While serving as the executive officer aboard the USS Wahoo in the Pacific in 1943, O'Kane beat Lt. Cmdr. Dudley Morton, the sub's commanding officer, at a round of cribbage with an unbelievably lucky hand of cards. The following day, the Wahoo sank an enemy freighter and damaged another. Two days later, O'Kane won another against Morton with impressive odds. Moments later, the crew spotted another freighter and sank the vessel. Many on the crew came to believe that O'Kane's cribbage victories were signs of their impending success at sinking their targets.


The Bremerton is the second U.S. Navy vessel named after the city where the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Naval Base Kitsap are located. So far, no plans have been made for another vessel to be named after the city, Clarke said.


The first USS Bremerton was a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser that was named after the city after Puget Sound Naval Shipyard workers won a war bond drive contest against employees at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California.


Although the ship was commissioned just after the end of World War II, the cruiser saw combat action during the Korean War.
^

 

Charting the Course: the U.S. Needs an Arctic Fleet

 

 

The Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program suggests the possibility that the Arctic Ocean may be virtually ice free by mid-century. In 2014, Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, then-Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), endorsed this position when he signed the “U.S. Navy Arctic Roadmap, 2014-2030.” This document outlines policy guidance, U.S. national interests in the Arctic, the regional security environment, Navy missions in the region, and the Navy’s strategic objectives for the Arctic.

More important, the “Navy Ways and Means for the Near-Term, Mid-Term and Far-Term” section and Appendix 3 form what is essentially a plan of action and milestones for addressing at least the near term (2014-20) in this effort. Unfortunately, in all of this there is no organization beyond the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, which is charged with a structural execution of the plan but with no timeframe.

The Northern Command (NorthCom) is attuned to this absence of structure and the attendant inactivity. More specifically, the Alaskan Command (AlCom), a joint subordinate unified command element of the NorthCom, is increasingly concerned with Navy inaction in the Arctic. To date, the AlCom has not been able to attain the few Navy ships necessary to demonstrate U.S. interest in the region. Certainly this is a reflection of the Navy’s declining ship numbers at a time when the demand for ships is undiminished.

Normally, a combatant commander (CoCom) would route requests for forces (such as Navy ships) through its naval component commander (NCC) and then on to U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC) for annual disposition. As it turns out, however, USFFC is NorthCom’s NCC. It seems fair to say that this creates a difficulty for NorthCom because USFFC is senior and reports directly to the CNO. Frankly, USFFC is more interested in providing the very limited number of ships available to Navy commands such as the Fifth Fleet and Pacific Command.

This logjam must be broken. In this effort, there are two key steps. First, USFFC is too big, senior, and unresponsive for the task. This is doubly true if plans to remove major Pacific Fleet authorities and place them under USFFC go forward as is recommended. A new, separate, more junior and flexible flag—one directly responsible to NorthCom—needs to be established.

What is needed is an Arctic Fleet, and the template for this exists. In 1950, Fourth Fleet was disestablished. In 2008 the fleet was reestablished and merged with Southern Command’s naval component commander to address growing interests in the Caribbean and South America. While naval forces are not permanently assigned to Fourth Fleet, the organizational structure remains in place both to support force assignment and to represent Navy interests in the region. The same can be true in the Arctic.

This new Arctic Fleet can be established in a step-wise fashion, tailored across time and married to changing force structure. A sensible first step would be to augment the small Navy staff assigned to AlCom. Subsequently, in the mid-term, a joint inter-agency task force (JIATF) could be established out of the AlCom office, as resources and activity grew. Certainly, this JIATF would include the Coast Guard, but it also should include liaison officers from Canada, Norway, and other key allies. Ultimately this fleet would be stood up and merged with the NorthCom’s NCC. The Arctic Fleet could be commanded by, for example, either a Navy reserve admiral or a Coast Guard admiral.

In the interim, it seems imperative that forces be sent north to demonstrate U.S. intention and seriousness, not only to allies but also to potential adversaries. In the near term this could be a mission for LCSs, but by 2020, the start of the mid-term, a small task force should be deployed north on an annual basis to operate with Coast Guard assets and allies. That is, if the Navy is serious in its desire to gain the high ground in the far north.
^

Captain Eyer served in seven cruisers, commanding three Aegis cruisers: the USS Thomas S. Gates (CG-51), Shiloh (CG-67), and Chancellorsville (CG-62).
 

55 Years After Thresher Disaster, Navy Still Keeps Secrets on Sub Loss

Military.com 9 Apr 2018 By Marty Callaghan

 

The worst submarine disaster in U.S. Navy history happened on the morning of April 10, 1963, when the nuclear-powered USS Thresher (SSN 593) was lost with 129 crew members and civilian employees on board.

 

A Naval Court of Inquiry (NCOI) convened to investigate the disaster concluded the probable cause of the Thresher's loss was "major flooding" -- a finding that has since been challenged by naval and submarine experts. After more than a half-century, all but 18 pages of testimony from key witnesses remains closed to the public.

Retired Navy Capt. Jim Bryant, who served on board three Thresher-class subs and commanded the USS Guardfish (SSN 612), recently authored a new analysis of the submarine disaster, highlighting discrepancies between the NCOI's findings and evidence available for its investigation at the time. He raises concerns about the court's accuracy in recording the last understandable message sent by the sub, at about 9:12 a.m., pieced together from the testimony of several witnesses:

"Experiencing minor difficulties. Have positive up angle. Am attempting to blow. Will keep you informed."

In his analysis, Bryant said, "Thresher's difficulties were anything but minor by the time Skylark received that message."

The USS Skylark (ASR 20) was the submarine rescue ship that accompanied the Thresher for its sea trials about 200 miles off the Massachusetts coast.

Bryant's paper, excerpted and paraphrased below, faults the Navy for not being forthcoming enough regarding the historic disaster.

"The NCOI report cannot be accepted verbatim. It is not an acceptable reference for defining the sequence of events that occurred as the Thresher lost control and sank," Bryant said in his analysis.

"The boat was below test depth of about 1,300 feet and its nuclear reactor had just shut down. The Thresher had negative buoyancy and there was no power to drive it back to the surface," he continued.

The Thresher tried to blow its main ballast tanks with no effect. According to Bryant, it would take the crew at least another 20 minutes to restore main propulsion -- time they did not have.

The Thresher kept sinking until its hull imploded at a depth of about 2,400 feet, releasing energy equivalent to the explosive force of about 22,000 pounds of TNT. The hull collapsed in 47 milliseconds, about one-twentieth of a second.

The Thresher's crushed and shattered hull was later found just off the Continental Shelf, at a depth of more than 8,000 feet.

Bryant said the Thresher's final descent and implosion was recorded on paper time-frequency plots in great detail by the Navy's underwater Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS).

"All of the data recorded by SOSUS was available to the Naval Court of Inquiry," he said. "But it wasn't used effectively because the court didn't trust it. If the NCOI had thoroughly understood the acoustic data, it could have ruled out major flooding as a cause of the disaster, since the resonances created by such an event were not detected."

Bryant said the court did hear the testimony (in closed session) of a single acoustics expert: Navy Lt. Bruce Rule, analysis officer for the SOSUS Evaluation Center in Norfolk, Va. He went on to become the lead acoustic analyst for the Office of Naval Intelligence.

Rule analyzed the acoustic data from the Thresher during its final dive. Not only did he discount a major flooding incident, Bryant said, he indicated that the sub's nuclear power plant shut down completely at a critical moment -- from an electrical failure -- when all the main coolant pumps stopped.

Rule said the NCOI softened his conclusion by stating that the Thresher’s main coolant pumps "slowed or stopped," a phrase that would deflect blame from Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, who created the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program.

"In fact, I was aggressively confronted by a couple of Navy commanders who challenged my data," Rule said. "I don't recall their names, but I do remember their vicious -- and unsuccessful -- attempt to get me to change my testimony."

Because the court of inquiry didn't trust the SOSUS data, Bryant said, it relied heavily on the Skylark's underwater telephone communications log and testimony from crew members in defining the tragic sequence of events.

The NCOI interviewed many witnesses about underwater communications with the Thresher during its final dive, he said. Yet the Navy has released only a small portion of that testimony since 1963.

"We have no way of comparing the original words from witnesses with the language of the NCOI's final report on the Thresher's loss," Bryant wrote.

As far as Bryant is concerned, it is time for the Navy to release all remaining documents related to the Thresher disaster.

"The entire NCOI report, especially all of the testimony, should be made available to scholars and the public at large," he wrote. "That report is sitting in a federal records center, waiting for more than a decade to be transferred to the National Archives."

In other words, he argues the Navy should comply with the spirit of Executive Order 13526, issued in December 2009. It created the National Declassification Center to facilitate the timely and systematic release of classified material.

Bryant said that even a small gesture, such as releasing the unclassified Sea Trial Agenda, would demonstrate a concern for transparency and provide greater insight for historians.

"To date," he said, "formal requests for Thresher's Sea Trial Agenda have been repeatedly and systematically deferred by the Navy."

For more information, see "Thresher Disaster: New Analysis" by Capt. Jim Bryant, USN (ret.), a research paper currently under review for publication by the Naval Engineers Journal. A 3,000-word article based on this paper is tentatively scheduled for publication in U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings magazine.

-- The opinions expressed in this op-ed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Military.com. If you would like to submit your own commentary, please send your article to opinions@military.com for consideration.
^

 

USS Bremerton Returns to Pearl Harbor for Final Time
MC1 Daniel Hinton, SUBPAC Public Affairs, April 7

PEARL ARBOR, Hawaii – Friends and families of the crew gathered on the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to welcome back the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Bremerton (SSN 698 as she returned from deployment, April 6.


Bremerton successfully completed a six-month deployment while conducting operations in support of national security.


“The entire crew performed with excellence,” said Master Chief Fire Control Technician (SS) Wade Jacobson, Bremerton’s chief of the boat. “In six months we took the nation’s longest-serving submarine more than 42,000 nautical miles, executing multiple missions in some of the toughest and busiest environments in the world and conducted five foreign port visits.”


During the deployment, 25 Sailors earned their submarine warfare qualification, and 19 Sailors achieved advanced supervisory qualifications.
“I want the American public to know that they should be incredibly proud of every single person on this boat,” said Jacobson. “Each one has sacrificed something to do the job, and it can sometimes be stressful, but through grit and determination, each one has come through successfully. “


The completion of her Western Pacific deployment marks the end the ship's active service in the Pacific and will soon head to Bremerton, Washington for deactivation.


“The Bremerton is one of the most impressive engineering marvels in human history,” said Jacobson. “It is truly incredible for a warship to be operational at such deep and strenuous depths for nearly 40 years.”


While deployed, Bremerton made port calls to Singapore and the Philippines, and some of the crew used the visits to volunteer and interact with host countries.


“The best part of deployment for me was getting the chance to play soccer with children we visited in the Philippines,” said Electronics Technician 3rd Class (SS) Daniel Kim, a Sailor assigned to Bremerton. “It was a great opportunity to see and interact with the local community. Everybody had a good time out on the field, and I know the kids took pride in beating everyone from the boat.”


Jacobson extolled the crew for their flexibility during the challenging deployment.


“Every curveball thrown our way was hit out of the park,” said Jacobson. “It took a lot of work to keep our classic submarine in fighting condition be we executed every assignment as requested with zero lost mission days.”


Bremerton is the tenth ship of the Los Angeles class and the oldest commissioned submarine in the U.S. Navy. Her keel was laid by General Dynamics' Electric Boat Division in Groton, Connecticut in May 1976. She is named in honor of the city of Bremerton, Washington, home to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and a city with a long association with both the Navy and the Submarine Force.
^
 

Pentagon Gets New Cloud Tech Chief Amid Trump's Feud With Amazon

Military.com |6 Apr 2018 |By Richard Sisk

 

The Pentagon named a cloud technology expert as its new chief information officer (CIO) and probable point person in the award of a major contract that figures in President Donald Trump's ongoing feud with Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos.

Dana Deasy, former CIO for the J.P. Morgan investment bank, is expected to start at the Defense Department in early May, just as the DoD enters the final stages of awarding a cloud technology contract worth up to $10 billion. Amazon is considered a frontrunner for the contract.


In announcing Deasy's appointment Thursday, Dana White, the Pentagon's chief spokesperson, said there will be a "full, open and transparent competition" for the cloud technology, which uses a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage and process data, rather than a local server.

White said there will be a single award for the contract, but it will not be sole-source and will involve firms besides the prime contractor. "We want people to be as creative as possible" in the competition for the contract, called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure initiative, she said.

"This is important. This is not business as usual," White said. “This is the first of many competitions with respect to the cloud. And I'm excited that people are excited about this cloud because we are, and because we want to get the best deal for the American people, and we want to get the best technology for our warfighters.”

Despite Trump's attacks on Amazon and Bezos in recent weeks, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday the president is staying out of negotiations for the cloud contract's award.

She said Trump "is not involved in the process," adding the Pentagon "runs a competitive bidding process." (?/ed)

However, Amazon Web Services is believed to be the only commercial cloud company with the necessary certifications to host classified data.

In recent weeks, Trump has taken to Twitter to criticize Amazon and Bezos, accusing the company of failing to pay its share of taxes and taking advantage of the struggling U.S. Postal Service. He has also continued to single out The Washington Post, owned by Bezos, for allegedly spreading "fake news."

Trump continued his attacks aboard Air Force One on Thursday night.

"Amazon is just not on an even playing field,” he told reporters. “You know, they have a tremendous lobbying effort, in addition to having The Washington Post, which is, as far as I'm concerned, another lobbyist."

Although the White House earlier said Trump is staying out of the Pentagon's cloud contract award, the president said he plans to “take a pretty serious look" overall at Amazon because "the playing field has to be leveled."

Amazon spokesmen have said that neither Bezos nor the company will comment on the president's criticisms.

In a Washington Post article Thursday, Frederick J. Ryan Jr., the Post's CEO and publisher, said Trump "appears to view ownership of a newspaper as a way to assert influence."

"Jeff sees the value of a strong, independent press," Ryan said. "Jeff has never proposed a story. Jeff has never intervened in a story. He's never critiqued a story. He's not directed or proposed editorials or endorsements. The decisions are made here."

As CIO at the Pentagon, cloud technology specialist Deasy "will be responsible for how we manage and use information, communications and cybersecurity," White said. "This is particularly important as we adopt cloud technology to make more informed and timely decisions on the battlefield."

She said Deasy "will also bring greater accountability to the department's information security posture."

His "extensive enterprise-level experience and leadership will ensure the department drives a culture of performance," White said.

As CIO at J.P. Morgan, Deasy presided over an information technology organization of 40,000 members worldwide with a budget of more than $9 billion. He also oversaw J.P. Morgan's first use of public cloud technology last year.

Deasy joined J.P. Morgan in late 2013 after serving as group CIO of BP PLC. He has also held CIO or senior IT positions at General Motors Co., Tyco International PLC and Rockwell International.
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‘Sea Hunter,’ a drone ship with no crew, just joined the U.S. Navy fleet

A prototype autonomous ship known as the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MDUSV) has officially been transferred to the U.S. Navy from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) after a two-year testing and evaluation program. Named “Sea Hunter,” the Office of Naval Research will continue to develop the vessel from this point forward.

Although there’s no specific timetable for when the Sea Hunter would join active naval operations, the statement from DARPA indicated that it could happen as early as this year. The anti-submarine warfare vessel could be the first of an entirely new class of warship.

“[Sea Hunter] represents a new vision of naval surface warfare that trades small numbers of very capable, high-value assets for large numbers of commoditized, simpler platforms that are more capable in the aggregate,” said Fred Kennedy of DARPA. “The U.S. military has talked about the strategic importance of replacing ‘king’ and ‘queen’ pieces on the maritime chessboard with lots of ‘pawns.’”

 

The collaboration between the Navy and DARPA began in 2014, with the ship designed and developed by Virginia-based defense company Leidos, and christened in April 2016. A rigorous series of open-water tests followed, including surveillance and mine counter-measures.

 

According to Newsweek, the ship got its name from the mission the Navy envisions for it — stalking foreign submarines at sea. It’s relatively cheap to build at $20 million, and it’s far less expensive to run than a similar manned vessel.

 

“This is an inflection point,” former Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said in an interview with Reuters in 2016. “This is the first time we’ve ever had a totally robotic, trans-oceanic-capable ship.”

 

“I would like to see unmanned flotillas operating in the western Pacific and the Persian Gulf within five years,” he added.

 

The Navy hopes that ships of the future will be able to stay at sea for months at a time and travel thousands of miles without any crew. The Sea Hunter is currently a surveillance platform and has no weapons onboard. It’s 127 feet long and can reach speed of 27 knots, using cameras and radar to track its location and spot other ships.

 

Work went on to emphasize that if robot ships like Sea Hunter were outfitted with weapons in the future, there would always be a human at the controls. “There’s no reason to be afraid of a ship like this,” he said. ^

 

USS Thresher Disaster Still Matters
Capt. Jim Bryant, USN (Ret), Fosters, April 3

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20180403/uss-thresher-disaster-still-matters


On April 10, 1963, the American nuclear submarine USS Thresher (SSN 593), the world’s most advanced hunter-killer submarine crushed at a depth of 2,400 feet killing all 129 onboard during a routine test dive.


Incredibly, more than a half-century later, details of the Thresher disaster remain poorly understood. Its shattered hull resides at the bottom of 8,400 feet of water east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.


The underlying cause of the Thresher sinking 55 years ago and the collisions last summer involving the USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) that killed 17 sailors was the failure to effectively integrate emerging technology into the training, procedures, planning and maintenance programs.


The world situation of then and now are similar as America rushes to maintain naval superiority with new weapons systems like the Littoral Combat Ship, Ford class nuclear aircraft carrier, and the Virginia class nuclear submarine. Insufficient crew training, manning and inadequate operating procedures and shipboard maintenance continue to cause avoidable, recurring at-sea incidents.


By 1963, Soviet submarines were a serious challenge to America’s national security. Thresher offered innovative improvements over earlier submarine designs. It was faster, quieter, dived deeper, and with advanced sonar and weapons systems, a significant threat to Soviet submarines.


Built by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Thresher was commissioned Aug. 3, 1961, and spent the following year testing weapons and new equipment, measuring radiated sound, shock testing and conducting exercises with other submarines with outstanding results. The ultimate test was to challenge Soviet submarines would have to wait until after a lengthy maintenance period.


After shock testing using close-aboard explosive charges in July 1962, Thresher returned to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for a series of upgrades and repairs.


On April 9, 1963, Thresher departed for sea trials, escorted by the submarine rescue vessel USS Skylark (ASR 20). After a shallow dive in the Gulf of Maine, the ships rendezvoused the following morning in deep water for a two-hour dive to Thresher’s deepest operating or test depth (1,300 feet, nearly twice as deep as previous classes).


View photos all the men who died aboard the Thresher in our 129 Lives Lost, Part 1 and 129 Lives Lost, Part 2 photo galleries.


Thresher sank below its crush depth and imploded – raining its shattered hull, nuclear reactor and occupants onto the seabed below. The Navy’s investigation concluded that major flooding from ruptured piping in the engine room was the probable cause.


The sounds of the Thresher’s death throes were recorded by sound surveillance system (SOSUS) underwater hydrophones located around the world tuned to pluck machinery sounds of submarines out of all the noise in the ocean. SOSUS was a highly secret system designed to track Soviet submarine movements at long ranges. SOSUS hydrophone array Fox was located only 30 nautical miles from the site of Thresher’s sinking.


Bruce Rule was a top naval acoustic and SOSUS expert who analyzed Thresher’s death sounds and testified at the disaster inquiry. After leaving the Navy in September 1963, Rule spent his next 42 years as the lead acoustic analyst for the Office of Naval Intelligence. Though Rule’s testimony and findings remain classified, Rule recently revealed them in his book, “Why the USS Thresher (SSN 593) was lost,” which helps us understand this mystery beyond the obvious, that Thresher slowed, and uncorrectable negative buoyancy caused it to sink to crush depth.


Rule is positive there was no flooding because the sounds of high pressure water hitting the inside of the submarine were not detected. Low pressure steams or sprays of seawater (excessive leakage) from multiple sources would be quiet to SOSUS, increase negative buoyancy, and cause concern to the crew trying to isolate them.


Main coolant pumps (MCPs) moving heat from the reactor core to the steam generators were in fast speed and then stopped. Fast speed MCPs are required to reach maximum speed, but Thresher stayed at slow speed. Running MCPs in slow speed would have been more reliable.


SOSUS detected compressed air blowing seawater from the main ballast tanks (MBTs) twice. The MBT blow system that should have surfaced Thresher failed because of poor design and the unauthorized installation of strainers with a metal backing plate with a small hole, or orifice, that severely restricted air flow. Ice formed on the strainers as high-pressure air instantly cooled when released into a lower pressure environment through this orifice and strainer. This ice intermittently blocked the compressed air to the MBTs and the strainers, and orifice plates, restricted air flow preventing removal of enough seawater from the MBTs to surface the ship.


Slow speed MCPs would have been a more reliable lineup as they had an alternative source of power. Fast speed MCPs were run to use the tremendous power of the reactor plant to drive to the surface if there was a problem, but why did Thresher stay at slow speed? There is plausible, circumstantial evidence that Thresher’s stern planes used to control the angle of the ship for depth control likely became stuck in a dive position that required Thresher to stop to prevent a downward angle and depth excursion. Control surface failures were a fleet-wide concern on high-speed nuclear submarines.


Rule’s analysis of Thresher’s recorded acoustic signature and underwater telephone communications with the escort ship Skylark provides the following timeline of Thresher’s loss.


At 0853, Thresher descended from 1,000 to 1,300 feet (test depth). Possibly already negatively buoyant from not taking the time to adjust trim as the dive proceeded, increasing sea pressure on Thresher’s seawater systems boosted leakage.


Somewhere between 0853 and 0909, Thresher experienced the stern plane problem, stopped to counter its effects, and started to sink.


At 0909, SOSUS detected an electrical bus line-frequency instability, a symptom of an ongoing problem in the engine room, such as crew actions to stop excessive leakage from seawater piping.


Shortly after the electrical bus started to waiver, SOSUS detected the sounds of compressed air blowing into the MBTs. This means the primary means of going shallow, main propulsion was not usable. The blow stopped after 90 seconds due to ice blockage. This MBT blow did not remove enough seawater from the MBTs to reverse Thresher’s descent.


The submarine’s fate was sealed at 0911 when SOSUS detected main coolant pumps stopping. This caused an automatic reactor shutdown (reactor scram) and by procedure, steam to be isolated to the main propulsion and power-generating turbines in the engine room. Even if the stern planes had become operational, shutting the steam stops prevented steam generated by decay and residual heat in the reactor from being used in the main propulsion turbines to drive to the surface. As Thresher continued to sink below test depth, SOSUS did not detect the sounds expected for the reactor being restarted.


The Navy’s investigative report describes communications at about 0913 using the conflicting testimony of four witnesses on Skylark, “Experiencing minor difficulties. Have positive up angle. Am attempting to blow up. Will keep you informed.” The “experiencing minor difficulties” phrase is an enigma because Thresher had exceeded test depth, by as much as 600 feet, the reactor had scrammed, main propulsion was lost, the ineffective MBT blow failed to stop the downward acceleration, and the crew could hear the guttural sounds of the pressure hull compressing.


As the ice blockage dissipated, Skylark and SOSUS detected another 30-second MBT blow before ice reformed and the blow stopped again, all while Thresher’s rate of descent increased.


The garbled transmission at 0917 was interpreted to contain the phrase “900 North,” understood to mean 900 feet below test depth or a depth of 2,200 feet. This is reasonable given that Thresher was reporting depth relative to test depth in case a Soviet submarine was listening.


SOSUS and Skylark detected hull collapse 0918.4 at a calculated depth of 2,400 feet with an energy pulse equal to the explosion of 22,500 pounds of TNT.


The 129 men did not die in vain. Their loss resulted in immediate changes to how the Navy built, maintained and operated its nuclear fleet.

Justifications for costly safety improvements are written in blood. In this case the Navy created the Submarine Safety (SUBSAFE) program that mandated the redesign of and strict quality control procedures for the manufacture, repair and testing of critical systems on submarines.


New SUBSAFE systems, like a separate emergency MBT blow and emergency, remote, hydraulic seawater hull valve closure systems. On Thresher, SUBSAFE would have prevented the unauthorized installation of the strainers and orifice plates. These critical systems include hull, seawater piping, high pressure air and stern plane. Until a submarine was SUBSAFE certified, it is restricted to operating at half its test depth.


New reactor plant scram recovery procedures allowed residual and decay heat from the reactor to create steam for main propulsion to drive the ship to the surface and a faster restart of the reactor.


No SUBSAFE-certified submarines have been lost despite terrible accidents like the San Francisco (SSN 711) striking an underwater ridge in January 2005 at top speed that killed one sailor. The only other American nuclear submarine loss was Scorpion (SSN 589) in May 1968, which had not completed SUBSAFE-certification and suffered a main battery explosion before it sank and imploded.
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USS Topeka returns to Guam

Pacific Daily News, news@guampdn.comPublished 5:51 p.m. ChT March 30, 2018

https://www.guampdn.com/story/news/2018/03/30/uss-topeka-returns-guam/472151002/

 

The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Topeka returned to Guam Friday following three months at sea. 

 

Topeka conducted routine patrols throughout the region, according to a news release from the Navy.

 

Family and friends were on the pier to welcome the sailors back to Guam.

 

“I flew out to Guam from Timberland, North Carolina, to surprise my son,” said Sonia Carver.

 

Her son, Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Carver, “has no idea I’m here. This is my first time to Guam and the first time anyone in our family has met Nate on the pier,” she said.

 

Topeka is under the command of Cmdr. Steven Tarr III.

 While at sea, Topeka had 10 sailors and two officers become submarine qualified, and two officers were promoted.

 

Topeka was commissioned Oct. 21, 1989, and is the third ship of the U.S. Navy named for the city of Topeka, Kansas. Measuring more than 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Topeka has a crew of approximately 140 sailors. Topeka is capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

 

See 30 pictures of home coming here plus video.^

 

Changes are coming to Retiree Dental

Provided by TRICARE

USSVI Bremerton Base Member Don Jassek Shares

 

Retirees who currently have TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) coverage need to know that the TRDP will end on Dec. 31, 2018. However, anyone who was in TRDP this year or would have been eligible for the plan will be able to choose a dental plan from among 10 dental carriers in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

 

Retirees may begin reviewing program options now at www.opm.gov/fedvip.   Enrollment in EDVIP will be available during the 2018 Federal Benefits Open Season, which runs from Nov. 12 to Dec. 10.

Coverage will begin on Jan. 1, 2019.  

 

 Previously, FEDVIP wasn’t available to Department of Defense beneficiaries, but it will now be available to those who would have been eligible for TRDP.   As an added bonus, they will also be able to enroll in FEDVIP vision coverage, along with most active-duty

family members.

 

More than 3.3 million people are currently covered by FEDVIP.  Retirees may choose from dental plans offered by 10 different carriers.  To enroll in FEDVIP Vision, one must be enrolled in a TRICARE health plan.  There are four vision plans designed to meet one’s needs.  Retirees may only enroll in a FEDVIP plan outside of open season if a Qualifying Life Event allows it.  Any election in a FEDVIP plan remains in effect for the entire calendar year.

 

 For more information, visit the FEDVIP website at www.tricare.benefeds.com and sign up for e-mail notifications when new information is available and as key dates approach. Future updates will include eligibility information, plans, carriers, rates, educational webinars and more. ^

 

Air Force May Approve Enlisted Pilots for First Time in 75 Years

Military.com |31 Mar 2018 |By Oriana Pawlyk

Eugene Taylor remembers how eager enlisted airmen like him were to fly.

Taylor, who enlisted in 1968 and deployed to Vietnam, first worked as an avionics technician. Nearly a decade later, Taylor, a tech sergeant, became a T-37 and T-38 flight simulator instructor with the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. He became so adept that he was occasionally given the chance to fly the T-38, with permission from the pilot, during stateside flights.

It has been decades since enlisted airmen had the chance to sit in the cockpit. But as the Air Force faces the greatest pilot shortages since its inception, service leaders are contemplating a return to a model that includes enlisted pilots. A Rand Corp. study, set to be completed this month, is exploring the feasibility of bringing back a warrant officer corps for that purpose. And another, separate Air Force study is examining, in part, whether enlisted pilots could benefit from new high-tech training that leverages artificial intelligence and simulation.

With these moves, the Air Force is inching just a few steps closer to someday getting enlisted airmen back in the cockpit, on a formal basis, for the first time since World War II.

“We have enlisted airmen in our Guard and reserve component who have private pilot’s licenses and fly for the airlines. So it’s not a matter of can they do it, or hav[ing] the smarts or the capability, it’s just a matter of us, as an Air Force, deciding that that’s a route that we want to take,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth O. Wright, the 18th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.  Read All
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Drop Dead Date for Ordering Engraved Bricks for Deterrent Park Semi-Annual Installation

Posted March 18, 2018

 

New engraved bricks are installed semi-annually in the missile deck of the full scale top side model of the USS Woodrow Willson (SSBN 624)  at Deterrent Park on the submarine base, NBK, Bangor. Newly ordered bricks are installed in May and November.

Since day one, over 2400 engraved bricks have been installed.

In less than two months, the drop dead date for ordering bricks for May 27th installation is May 10th, 2018.

The price per brick is $40.  Half of that goes for bricks & engraving, while the other half goes into the base treasury tagged for charitable functions such as scholarships for Subvets children and grandchildren.

Go http://deterrentpark.org for more info about Deterrent Park.^

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