The importance of the ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) is addressed in “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” the Navy’s most recent maritime strategy. This document states: “The Navy’s top priority is to ensure that the most survivable leg of our Nation’s strategic nuclear triad remains fully resourced and ready through the existing SSBN force and continued development of the Ohio Replacement Program.” In 2016, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral John Richardson echoed this perspective in “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority,” in which he calls to “maintain and modernize the undersea leg . . . as the foundation of our survival as a nation.” This, of course, refers specifically to the Columbia (SSBN-826) class, the replacement for the Ohio SSBNs.
Will the Columbia SSBN Break the Bank?
By Captain Kevin Eyer, U.S. Navy (Retired)