Author Topic: Del Toro Missed the Boat on SLCM-N and on the Submarine Force’s Role  (Read 133 times)

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Offline rangerrebew

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Del Toro Missed the Boat on SLCM-N and on the Submarine Force’s Role
By Franklin C. Miller
July 10, 2024
 

For several months Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro has been waging an overt and covert campaign against SLCM-N.  His public testimony makes clear that he not only misunderstands the role of a nuclear sea-launched cruise missile in national policy but also the role of the submarine force.

In a clearly scripted colloquy with Senator Mark Kelly on May 16, Del Toro asserted that deploying SLCM-N on SSNs would adversely impact the submarine force: “I’m concerned about how it will operationally impact our submarine forces and their ability to actually conduct the tactics and operations that they actually need to do in the south, in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere around the world”; said it would “fundamentally change the mission of the submarines themselves”; agreed with Senator Kelly that the system was unnecessary because the Trident II W-76-2 warhead was sufficient for deterrence purposes; and also agreed with Kelly that the removal of conventional torpedoes to accommodate SLCM-N would reduce SSNs’ wartime utility. There’s a great deal of misinformation in all that.  Let’s unpack it piece by piece.


First, the primary mission of the submarine force (indeed of all of our armed forces) is to deter major war.  If deterrence fails, our forces are to fight and win – but deterrence is the first mission.  In an increasingly dangerous world in which our two peer adversaries deploy large numbers of theater nuclear systems, a U.S. nuclear sea-launched cruise missile would enhance deterrence and reassure allies in peacetime and crisis, and, in wartime, provide a President with additional options to prevent enemy nuclear escalation.  The W 76-2 is an excellent weapon, but any President deserves more than one option; the combination of the ballistic W 76-2 and the airbreathing SLCM-N would provide a President with significant flexibility to manage a crisis. Given the large Russian and Chinese deployments of theater-oriented nuclear systems, the consensus report of the recently concluded Congressionally mandated bipartisan Strategic Posture Commission recommended that the U.S. develop and deploy theater nuclear delivery systems that are forward deployed, survivable and timely.  While the Commission did not name a specific system, it is clear SLCM-N meets all these criteria.

Second, Del Toro and Sen Kelly suggest that sinking enemy ships is the only mission for the SSN force.  Anyone familiar with submarines knows that that is palpably false.  SSNs are tasked with intelligence gathering, supporting Special Warfare Teams, and power projection/land attack in addition to sinking enemy surface and sub-surface combatants.  (Indeed some-old school naval purists suggested decades ago that adding conventional Tomahawks to the SSN mission set detracted from “their real mission”, but the ensuing years have proven how well sub-launched TLAM’s have served the nation.)

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2024/07/10/del_toro_missed_the_boat_on_slcm-n_and_on_the_submarine_forces_role_1043438.html
The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
Thomas Jefferson

Offline rangerrebew

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Missed the boat or is being paid to miss the boat? :pondering:
The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
Thomas Jefferson