The cost for the replacement of Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines sends shivers throughout the Navy, builders of aircraft carriers and destroyers, and defense analysts in general, as they straight-line the shipbuilding budget. All visualize the construction of these ships absorbing a third to half of the total appropriations for new ships over ten years. For many naval officers and supporters, their price tag represents a threat to the Navy that they know, serve, and support.
Their concern is voiced in suggestions that the program be scaled down, stretched out, or canceled. But those who hold such opinions must come to terms with the realization that no amount of economic turndown, competition for other ships of more apparent and immediate utility, or concerns for maintaining a shipbuilding base in other yards will make a difference in the ultimate decision whether or not to build these submarines.