Editor’s Note: Captain Bryant published a call for declassification of the full record of the investigation into the loss of the Thresher in the July Proceedings. That article lays out the case that time pressures resulting from great power competition may have been a contributing factor in the accident. The Navy is reviewing the records, but no decision on declassification has been announced.
The USS Thresher (SSN-593) imploded 56 years ago on 10 April 1963, killing all 129 people on board, during a time of unequivocal great power competition. In September 1961, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was pictured on the cover of Time magazine saying, “We will bury you!” while the U.S. press and intelligence community were speculating that Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles were better than their U.S. equivalents.