Mr. MACHTLEY. Mr. Speaker, since being elected to the House of Representatives in 1988, a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the symbolic end of the cold war, I have paid particular attention to the future of our national defense. I am proud of my service as a member of the House Armed Services Committee. I have worked hard to ensure that our men and women in uniform are trained and ready to fight and are equipped with the world's most modern and lethal weaponry.
Defense planning and budgeting is no easy business, especially with the uncertainties the Defense Department now faces from new threats abroad and at home due to a constrained budget environment. We are already seeing the first signs of a new, hollow Army, and I fear that we will soon experience the same hollowness in our industrial capability.
Like matters of troop readiness, the future of the Nation's defense industrial and technological base is too important to be decided by partisan politics. As I leave the House of Representatives, I am concerned about our ability to build the world's most quiet, technologically advanced, lethal, safe, and cost-effective nuclear submarines. I fear that the balance struck between our ability to design and engineer future submarines and the need to maintain even modest production of present generation submarines will be wrecked with little regard for our own future defense requirements.
But I am encouraged by some recent statements of the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Gingrich, regarding the future of the Nation's submarine industrial base and a vow to push hard for funding for SSN-23, the third and last Seawolf attack submarine, and for its successor, the Navy's new attack submarine.
Mr. Speaker, if there is no objection, I would like to enter for the Record an article from the October 16, 1994, New London Day headlined `Gingrich Endorses More Subs While Stumping for Munster.'
Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from Georgia should be praised for his attention to matters of national defense during his tenure in the House of Representatives. As an Army brat, he knows first hand the importance of a ready military equipped with the most modern weaponry. Mr. Gingrich has served on study groups at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and other
think tanks. I expect that he will continue to be a strong leader on matters of national defense in the 104th Congress.
It is clear from the article that the gentleman from Georgia has paid particular attention to the future of the submarine industrial base as the Nation develops and equips its post-cold-war military for the uncertainties of the next century. I was pleased to read that he told an audience in Connecticut that--
You can't allow our industrial base to collapse in the defense area. * * * Developing the most acoustically silent submarine in the world takes years of technical skill.
And if that base ever disappears, it will take us 20 years to rebuild it.
The third and final Seawolf has been labeled an `industrial base' submarine due to its crucial role in maintaining the vital submarine industrial base. There is, Mr. Speaker, substantial military value for the submarine missions of the 21st century to justify the cost of completion of SSN-23.
The environment of the 21st century will demand a highly adaptable attack submarine for: convert surveillance and intelligence collection in the coastal regions; covert insertion and recovery of Special Forces; quick response, covert Tomahawk strike missions; antisubmarine warfare against modern diesel-electric submarines owned by rogue states like North Korea and Iran; and anti-SSSN capability against missile submarines in the event Russia or China comes under control of unfriendly or erratic leadership.
The Seawolf, designed to be the world's most advanced submarine, has multimission capabilities that complement the less expensive new attack submarine and are much improved over those of the SSN-688I. The Seawolf has greater weapons capacity, higher speed capabilities, more internal space and a greater depth capability than the SSN-688I or the new attack submarine.
The civilian and military leadership of the Pentagon--the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of the Navy, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff--all agree that the only way to preserve the nuclear submarine industrial base is to keep building submarines. Following detailed analyses and numerous studies, the Department of the Defense concluded that the most technologically and cost-effective path to take is the one it has embarked on: build the third and final SSN-23 Seawolf nuclear attack submarine in fiscal year 1996 and commence production of a the new attack submarine in fiscal year 1998.
The submarine supplier base represents a fragile national security asset. It is large and diversified, but is rapidly contracting due to cutbacks in military spending and changed defense priorities. There are approximately 600 major equipment
suppliers and a total base of almost 3,000 companies when subtier and commodity suppliers are included. This nationwide network is made up of large firms that devote a small percentage of their engineering expertise and productive capacity to a small nich market, as well as small companies with such highly specialized products and skills that they are heavily--or even wholly--dependent on submarine work for their survival.
The importance of the supplier base is highlighted by the fact that shipyard costs account for about 35 to 40 percent of the total cost of a submarine; the remainder goes to hundreds of other suppliers for products and services furnished to the shipyard and the Navy.
Many of the companies that make up the submarine supplier base have gone through significant, and in some cases drastic, downsizing and reorganization in their efforts to remain viable. Some have abandoned submarine work or gone out of business altogether. Others will follow before the shakeout in the defense industry runs its course.
There is a great wealth of information available to all Members of Congress on the preservation of the submarine industrial base and the vast but fragile vender base around the Nation that supports submarine building. I would urge my colleagues--and all new Members of the House of Representatives--to call the Defense Department for a detailed briefing on this important matter of national security that affects all of our constituents.
The gentleman from Georgia also spoke about the continuing Russian submarine production program. He stated: `People need to be aware * * * that the Russians are continuing the momentum of their submarine research. So you just can't stop with this generation [of submarine]. We've got to continue to work on the kind of breakthroughs that will allow us to build a next generation submarine. That submarine would be built in Connecticut.'
Much of the information about the continuing Russian submarine research and production programs--as well as the growing Third World Submarine threat--is classified and cannot be discussed publicly in any detail. I would encourage all of my colleagues and those newly elected Members of Congress to arrange a briefing with the Department of the Navy.
While the gentleman from Georgia acknowledged that he had in fact voted for a rescission of SSN-22 and SSN-23, the second and third Seawolfs, during the Bush administration, he stated that his `presumption was that we'd come back and build number two the year after and number three the year after that,' adding that, `It's a flat falsehood to suggest I ever voted to zero out the Seawolf.'
Mr. Speaker, there will be those who will oppose building the third and final Seawolf for purely political reasons. But as Mr. Gingrich knows, there is nothing political about ensuring the Nation's ability to first deter through strength any potential adversary, and if deterrence fails, fight and quickly win any conflict anywhere in the world. Preserving the nuclear submarine industrial base--first by buying the third and final Seawolf in fiscal year 1996 and then commencing production of the new attack submarine in fiscal year 1998--is an integral part of our national defense.
New London.--U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich, the controversial, conservative Republican who hopes to be the next speaker of the House of Representatives, on Monday declared himself to be a major supporter of continued submarine construction at Electric Boat.
Gingrich made the comments before attending a $100-a-plate fund-raising luncheon at the Lighthouse Inn for Edward W. Munster, the Republican who is trying to unseat U.S. Rep. Sam Gejdenson, the Democratic incumbent in the 2nd Congressional District.
The Georgia Republican vowed to push for funding of the third Seawolf in the next Congress as well as continued financing of the attack sub that will succeed the Seawolf.
`You can't allow our industrial base to collapse in the defense area,' he said at a press conference. `Developing the most acoustically silent submarine in the world takes years of technical skill. And if that base ever disappears, it will take us 20 years to rebuild it.'
Gejdenson called Gingrich's comments laughable, saying he voted in 1992 to rescind funds for the second and third Seawolf subs in support of then-President Bush.
`The 1992 vote was a referendum on the future of the Seawolf submarine, plain and simple,' Gejdenson said. `We won that referendum, no thanks to Newt Gingrich.'
Gingrich, who is minority whip in the House, likely would become speaker if Republicans gain enough seats in November to claim a majority.
He is traveling about the country in hopes of boosting the chances of GOP candidates, especially those such as Munster who are in competitive races. In a poll commissioned by The Day and released Sunday, Gejdenson had the support of 42 percent of those expected to vote and Munster 33 percent. David B. Bingham, the nominee of A Connecticut Party, lagged behind with 9 percent.
Gingrich had been expected to attend a Monday morning fundraiser for Kevin Vigilante, a Republican congressional candidate in Rhode Island. But Paul Moore, a Vigilante spokesman, said they couldn't sell enough tickets to make the event worthwhile.
About 65 people attended the Munster luncheon.
Inside the Inn, Gingrich met briefly with reporters, talking mostly about the future of submarines. He carried a letter for Munster, assuring the Haddam Republican that he would seek to place him on the House Armed Services Committee if he defeats Gejdenson, a 14-year incumbant.
Gejdenson has been criticized by some in southeastern Connecticut for not sitting on the committee, which establishes defense and military priorities.
Gingrich also defended the Republican `Contract with America,' a compliation of Republican priorities that the GOP promises would come to a vote within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. Munster has signed the contract.
Gejdenson has charged the contract is nothing more than `Reaganism II' that would provide tax breaks for the rich and cut Social Security and Medicare.
Democrats, according to Gingrich, refuse to say what they would do to move America ahead.
`They don't like our contract,' he said. `But where's theirs?'
He said defense spending should be geared up, with some estimates the Clinton White House is short-changing the defense and military by $80 billion and $120 billion below needed levels. Regarding submarines, he said:
`People need to be aware--that the Russians are continuing the momentum of their submarine research. So you just can't stop with this generation (of submarine). We've got to continue to work on the kind of breakthroughs that will allow us to build a next generation submarine. That submarine would be built in Connecticut.'
He acknowledged that he voted for a `recission' during the Bush administration that included putting off the second and third Seawolf subs.
`My presumption was that we'd come back and build number two the year after and number three the year after that,' he said. `It's a flat falsehood to suggest I ever voted to zero out the Seawolf.'
Gejdenson responded by issuing a partial transcript of President Bush's recission notice. It stated; `Dissolution of the Soviet Union loading to a reduced threat, and the vigorous pace of U.S. submarine construction in the past decade, have eliminated the need for a new class of submarine.'
`If,' Gejdenson said, `the president's recission package would have passed, the Seawolf program would have been dead. And EB would have closed its doors.'
Gingrich said he regularly supported increased defense spending while Gejdenson voted the other way.
`Gejdenson was voting to cut defense and get more for Connecticut,' he said. `And in the long run, that's not sustainable.'