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Evie, what's the situation with the base closing at Groton

and in Maine? I know both are slated, but do you think that either will be able to survive this threat and continue? Also, have you any idea where they think they're going to do the maintenance and repair if both close?

It makes no sense to me that a trained and capable workforce can be tossed aside like this. Its not like these particular skills are easy to learn or are widely available.

Hope you have some info.

Rob

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It doesn't look good

In reply to: Evie, what's the situation with the base closing at Groton

I haven't heard all the arguments either way, but somehow three bases with subs on the East Coast does not seem to be much in the way of overkill. Given that China and Korea (not to mention Russia may be a friend now but ...) are building subs, it's a bit premature to downsize our sub fleet any more, and perhaps time to reconsider their value in the future -- perhaps re-designed. Just because subs couldn't maneuver in the Gulf during the Gulf War and there is no longer a Cold War threat from the USSR doesn't mean subs are obsolete. I believe our enemies will always be focusing on our weaknesses. I don't think the value of a sub-base in such close proximity to NYC and the large population concentration that is the tri-state area and lower New England should be underestimated.

Here is a recent article from a ''local paper'' that raises many issues:
Navy: Sub Base's Military Value Low
But Lawmakers, Markowicz Say Pentagon Plan Can't Be Justified


If the Subbase is closed, no doubt EB would close up shop as well. I think the area could recover, even flourish, if significant planning for a baseless future is undertaken. I don't know how many here have ever driven through Groton (there is a bridge on I95 that gives folks a good view of the whole operation) but one thing that is apparent is that miles and miles of otherwise desireable shoreland is marred by the base and associated industry. I could foresee major tourism, resort and housing opportunities. Tons of jobs for the cleanup and obvious construction jobs for the transition. The refinery idea that Bush had would probably be another way to go. IAC, I don't think it NEEDS to be the ''sucker punch death blow'' that many are making it out to be. EB as an employer of skilled labor has long since downsized and the economy of the area diversified -- then there are the two big Casinos. Foxwoods just opened a golf resort nearby its huge casino (at a site where Six Flags had tried to come -- maybe the Subbase will be a better location for a Six Flags?). I do hope some of our politicians are thinking about this, though there is nothing in that for Dodd or Lieberman -- state politicians tend to cater to SW CT (Fairfield County) and the ''big cities'' of Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport. That leaves Simmons and the local politicians. The recent story about New London city council trying to seize homes for their ''development'' initiatives doesn't bode well for any greater braintrust in motion in Groton.

Much as I respect Governor Rell, I heard her on the radio the other day exclaiming how a main reason for not closing the base was the underestimate of the cost of cleaning up the base. This is the weakest argument of all, IMO, because one has to wonder how ''dirty'' it is now, and if kept open it won't be cleaned up. OTOH, the military will pay for the cleanup and that will be a years-long project that will require a substantial workforce.

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Hi, Evie.

In reply to: It doesn't look good

I don't understand how they plan to close the country's only sub school. It would certainly cost an arm and a leg to move all the simulators and so forth someplace else -- what are they thinking?

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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I have no clue!!

In reply to: Hi, Evie.

The article I linked to Rob states that there was little or no mention of the sub school at the hearing. The military made quite a large investment in the school several years ago. Not sure what the thinking is on this.

Evie Happy

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'slightly' tongue in cheek :-)

In reply to: I have no clue!!

i would leave the sub-school and simulators in place and charge a small fortune for video gamers from all over the world to play in the "LARGEST video arcade" in the world...

as for AF bases, turn them into huge shopping malls, imagine the fun of hearing "todays special offer!! 50% off all footwear!! please make your way the C-5 Galaxy at the east end of runway 5!!"...

.

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You already know my political leanings, but this makes no

In reply to: It doesn't look good

sense whatsoever. Is it because Dodd and Lieberman are Democrats? It's got to cost a fortune to set up new facilities, and they're certain to need them, let alone set up a new Sub School as Dave points out. I heard on PBS that usually 15% of the cuts planned are later rescinded, I just hope they come to their senses sooner rather than later. Good luck to you and the rest of the North-east in this.

And yes, 3 bases on the East Coast seems right and not excessive since they have to cover the Arctic, Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, and all the way over to India at least.

At least there are some things we can agree on.

Rob

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I don't think ...

In reply to: You already know my political leanings, but this makes no

... Dodd or Lieberman's political party is an issue here. Even if there was political favoritism, Lieberman especially would probably be on the favoring end of that. Plus, CT has a (pretty popular) Republican Governor (replacing the disgraced Rowland) and Simmons is also. Nope ... don't think political party is the issue.

It seems the major issue is in how this base has been ''valued''. The waiting and fighting begins. I just hope someone is thinking ahead about what to do if the base gets closed rather than being stuck licking our wounds for several years. As stated in the initial post, the real estate has great potential for a variety of alternatives -- and there is great potential for an even more prosperous future without the base. The base and associated industry really does mar the beauty of the shoreline. We also have a power problem in CT and LI (big controversy over a cable going under the Sound to LI -- not even sure where that stands now -- it was on, then off, then on, ...) and that would be another option. No "destroying" the shoreline or NIMBY complaints would hold much water here because one ugly plant would replace another.

It is nice to agree on some things. But that scares me sometimes Wink

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I should point out ...

In reply to: I don't think ...

That Massachusetts, Kerry's home state, comes out of this with a net gain of 500 jobs, even though there are protests about Otis AFB closing. Though I suppose a case could be made that Gov. Romney, a Republican was the reason Mass did okay.

Also, didn't Texas take quite a few hits?

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It's terrible, but

In reply to: It doesn't look good

Groton has been on the chopping block a couple of times before so it shouldn't have come as that much of a surprise. We're having the same kinds of reactions up here in NH because of Portsmouth. Even though that's a smaller facility it will impact New Hampshire and Maine considerably. And from what I hear the same kind of reaction is coming from just about every community in the country with a facility on the list.

But think about nuclear subs and their mission. They really were much more appropriate to a Cold War / US vs Soviets kind of war and that 's not the kind of war we'll be likely to be waging in the future (or have been since the Soviet Union collapsed). Rather than incinerating cities, which thankfully we never had to do, we are more likely to be fighting small groups of insurgents, terrorists and other such thugs in urban or jungle settings. The era of large power two-theatre mega-wars is probably over.

In spite of some people trying to make it so, China is not the Soviet Union and it is far from inevitable that we will ever go to war with them. They may more likely become allies instead. The wars of the future will probably be more personal (car bombers, guerrillas, terrorists rather than masses of soldiers in battlefields) and call for a different set of weapons than what we've become used to. Predator drones, robotsa, small mobile units and the like are perhaps more appropriate. Then again, there might not be too many more wars to fight. It might not seem so, but the general level of armed conflict around the world is decreasing. And that can't be a bad thing, right?

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While I agree on some points ...

In reply to: It's terrible, but

... one need only look at the cozy relationship between China and Russia, and China's actions towards Taiwan (that is always a flexing of muscle aimed at the US as well due to our treaty obligations) to recognize that they are still a threat. For all the advances in China, it remains an enemy and for the forseeable future (my life time) could at best be a cautious ally. China will never be a trusted friend.

The Chinese and Koreans are building subs. Both countries have an unbalanced population gender-ratiowise -- one cannot underestimate the "problem solving" a little war could do. One of those countries has an unstable leader that doesn't think with the same logic as you and I. They may well link up with terrorists rather then fight with us against them. Syria has gotten or perhaps still is receiving arms from Korea (and Russia :(). There are other current examples, the possibilities for "current day scenarios" (training and giving a sub to terrorists to deliver nukes to this country) are real.

Downsizing our sub fleet any further would be a bad idea IMO. How better to get close enough to attack the US than with a sub if we have decided to reduce our fleet and focus all our attention on the borders and airspace to the point that it is seen as a weakness in our military? Perhaps we need to re-assess the fleet instead and redefine its mission. I already believe we are learning some valuable lessons from the post Cold War drawbacks -- many simply went too far, too fast.

I dated a ''squid'' way back when and we took a trip up to Portsmouth. Silly me, I thought they had closed that up long ago! My understanding from reports is that the base-related civilian workforce up there is far more extensive than here. Maybe 10 years ago closing Groton would have devastated the area. Now it is doubtful especially if there is good planning.

I still think that the fact that there is almost always one sub parked nearby NYC and Boston (and all the population centers surrounding them) has value that cannot be measured.

Evie Happy

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Much of my thinking on this...

In reply to: Evie, what's the situation with the base closing at Groton

Is based on the writings of Thomas PM Barnett. If you can pick though his weblog or are fortunate enough to see his brief on C-SPAN you will get the gist. He's a foremost strategic thinker who has the ear of Pentagon and government biggies and has given talks to people like Rumsfeld and John Kerry.

http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/

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