The first major U.S. weapon system designed for the post-Cold War era, the NSSN features revolutionary design processes and characteristics that will enable it to keep ahead of the threat during its 30-year service life.
One of the central questions confronting the U.S. Navy in early 1997 is how to deal with an uncertain future and tight fiscal resources that constrain today's operations and tomorrow's plans and programs. It is now widely appreciated that the collapse of the Soviet Union did not herald a new era of international amity. The post-Cold War world already has generated numerous and very varied challenges, often in close succession, and often unlinked to one another, because there no longer is a coordinating force (e.g., "Soviet imperialism") behind them. These domestic and international challenges will continue to shape the Navy's institutional environment as it looks to build a fleet-especially its submarines-for the 21st century.