Watson questions whether the Navy will produce the correct submarine force for the future and whether the US will be able to afford it.
- The United States no longer operates the world's quietest submarines.
- The Seawolf (SSN-21) will regain our technological edge over Russian submarines, but is too expensive to continue to build.
- The New Attack Submarine (NSSN) will be a more affordable platform, with the quieting capabilities of the Seawolf, and is needed to keep the submarine production base in operation.
This is the rhetoric in the debates deciding the fate of the submarine force. To even the most casual observer, it is apparent that the Cold War is not over. The U.S. Navy continues to compete in an arms and technology race with Russia, with a goal of achieving the quietest submarines in the oceans. This strategy, however, raises two serious force planning questions: Will the Navy produce the correct submarine force for the future, and will the United States be able to afford it?