It was a memorable day not only because of the frigid winds blowing off the Thames River, and the steep ladders we negotiated to descend into a Trident submarine, but most of all, for some remarkably creative thoughts which were expressed by Senator Inouye regarding flexible use of our undersea forces to meet new threats.
Most notable was his suggestion that the Tridents, which are currently used exclusively as a platform for launching strategic nuclear missiles, can be modified to be used as a platform for launching the Tomahawk cruise missiles which proved so successful in the opening hours of the campaign in Iraq.
I am advised that there are a number of configurations and options by which such a shift could be implemented. Assuming the changeover would involve tactical, non-nuclear weapons and that it could be achieved within the framework of pending arms control agreements, the concept could prove to be a wise approach to strengthening conventional weapons capabilities.
It seems to me that such a shift would be a most welcome step away from excessive dependence on strategic nuclear weapons, and a creative way to use existing resources to bring maximum strength into play in future regional disturbances.
I commend the Senator from Hawaii for speaking out on this matter. And I congratulate Senator Dodd for arranging for this memorable visit. I know he shares my great satisfaction at the words of recognition and encouragement expressed by Chairman Inouye with respect to southern New England's superb submarine production facilities.
Mr. President, I ask that an article from the New London Day reporting on Senator Inouye's visit be printed in the Record at this point.
The article follows:
A Senate subcommittee plans to look into the possibility of basing Tomahawk cruise missiles, popularized by the war in the Persian Gulf, on a Trident submarine platform.
U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, chairman of the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee, raised the idea publicly for the first time Tuesday, and pledged also to support Electric Boat's fight to win a contract to build the second Seawolf attack submarine.
The Hawaii Democrat spoke to 500 people at the Norwich Sheraton during a program sponsored by the region's two chambers of comemrce. He came to the area at the invitation of U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn.
The massive 560-foot Tridents now being built by EB carry Trident missiles, long-range nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles with multiple warheads. The shorter-range Tomahawk, which is carried by smaller 688-class attack submarines and several Navy surface ships, targets a single site or a small area.
The sophisticated and highly accurate Tomahawks are suddenly popular because of the war in the gulf, where they have been used to target facilities that could not easily be reached by warplanes. Those used in the war are conventional armaments, but Tomahawks can also carry nuclear weapons. The missiles are manufactured by the Convair Division in San Diego, like EB a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp.
Newer 688-class submarines carry 12 Tomahawks and a complement of torpedoes for sinking enemy shipping. A Trident outfitted to carry Tomahawks instead of ICBMs could carry about 100 missiles. Some surface ships can carry more than 100 Tomahawks, but a submarine would be harder for an enemy ship to detect.
A congressional source said EB told congressmen Monday during a briefing at the shipyard that the idea of basing Tomahawks on a Trident platform is feasible. He said four of the missiles
could be put in the area now occupied by each of a Trident's 24 missile tubes. The submarine is extremely quiet and stealthy.
"It is doable," said EB spokesman Neil D. Ruenzel, but he would not discuss such specifics as the configuration of missiles. Ruenzel said he did not know where the idea originated, but he added that the defense establishment routinely evaluates the possibilities for varying and improving many weapons systems.
Inouye predicted the war in the gulf will affect the decisions Congress makes this year about defense spending.
"This war seems to indicate high technology will receive massive support in the Congress," he said.
The F117A stealth fighter will be well received, he predicted.
"I think it's time we begin concentrating not only on stealth in the air but stealth in the water," Inouye said.
He said the number of submarines in the 1992 defense budget will depend on whether a cap on defense spending is lifted. He said Dodd has convinced him that EB's future and the future of southeastern Connecticut will depend on whether the company gets the contract for the second Seawolf.
EB already has a contract to build the first of the Navy's new attack submarines, and is competing with Newport News Shipbuilding of Virginia for the second. Money for that submarine is in the 1991 defense budget.
EB has said that because of cuts in the number of Seawolfs to be built, there is not enough work to keep both submarine builders in business. In a worst-case scenario, EB would have to lay off up to half its 23,000 workers by 1996, the company has said.
It is in the national interest for EB to get the second Seawolf contract and continue operating, said Inouye, a member of the committee that investigated the Watergate burglary and co-chair of the panel that looked into the Iran-Contra affair. The Navy wants to maintain both yards, but that might be impossible because of budget constraints, Inouye said.
"I'm well aware of the plight you're in," Inouye told the chamber audience. "Chris Dodd convinced me this was not a contest as to who gets a contract."
Inouye said he normally would have stepped back and let the two states resolve their differences, but decided to become an advocate for Connecticut.
"There are many things at stake here. One is the life and death of that company," Inouye said. He said Newport News builds aircraft carriers, cruisers and other ships and can manage without the submarine work.
He added that the United States needs EB because world events indicate submarines will continue to have a useful purpose. The Soviets have maintained the pace of their submarine construction. Inouye said, adding that during fiscal year 1991 the United States allocated money for two submarines while the U.S.S.R. set aside money for nine. He said recent events show the Soviet leadership is still instable.
Inouye said that under the Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction legislation, a cap on defense spending can be waived during war. But he added that long-term military construction projects are in a five-year plan, and said it is not clear yet whether spending limits in that plan can also be waived during a time of war. If the waiver does apply, more money could go to submarines, he said.
After a tour of EB and a briefing by shipyard officials including General Manager James E. Turner, Inouye said the was impressed by the company, its construction methods and its ability to deliver ships ahead of time. With the technical expertise and trained people at EB it would be a "national shame" to lose EB, he said.
Before going to EB, Dodd and Inouye met briefly with representatives of EB's two major labor unions.
Kenneth J. DelaCruz, president of the Metal Trades Council, said he was pleased by Inouye's message.
"He basically said what we wanted to hear," DelaCruz said. "He understands that the survivability of the region remains heavily on the functioning of Electric Boat."
Without the second Seawolf, EB and its workers will be in "major trouble" in a few years, he said.
Melvin E. Olsson, president of the Marine Draftsmen's Association, said he also was impressed by Inouye and Dodd.
"He's certainly 100 percent behind us," Olsson said of Inouye. "I feel we're fortunate to have him on our side."