Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk and ask for its immediate consideration.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Arizona [Mr. McCain] proposes an amendment numbered 1045.

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:

On page 17, below line 22, insert the following:


(a) Termination of Program.--Funds appropriated for the Department of Defense may not be obligated or expended for construction of any Seawolf (SSN-21) class submarine.

(b) Reallocation of Authorized Appropriations.--(1) Of the amount authorized to be appropriated by section 102(a)(3)(A), $1,803,200,000 shall be available for the following purposes:

(A) Payment of termination costs of the Seawolf (SSN-21) class submarine program.

(B) Construction of a new SSN-688 class submarine.

(C) Research, development, test, and evaluation for an advanced follow-on submarine.

(D) Improvement of sealift capability.

(2) Of the amount authorized to be appropriated by section 102(a)(3)(B), $2,061,100,000 shall be available for the purposes set out in paragraph (1).

(3) The Secretary of Defense may allocate the amounts specified in paragraphs (1) and (2) for the purposes set out in paragraph (1) as the Secretary considers appropriate in the national security interests of the United States.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I know that some of my colleagues are very interested in seeing that we move this bill along as we are all preparing for recess and I will probably ask unanimous consent to withdraw this amendment after I have discussed what I believe is a very important issue.

The amendment I am proposing deletes authorization of $1.8 billion for the SSN-21, the so-called Seawolf. It authorizes the Secretary of Defense to spend this fund for payment of termination costs for the SSN-21 Program, for the construction of a new SSN-688 class submarine, for RDT&E on an advanced follow-on submarine and for improvement of sealift capability.

There are two basic reasons why the SSN-21 submarine is not needed, and why the expenditure of $30 billion to $50 billion over the next 10 years, is not necessary.

The SSN-21 is probably a good design. It is a tactical advance over its predecessor; and it represents a significant increase in capability, although scarcely as much as the Navy claims. But the fact is, Mr. President, we do not need to spend 25 percent of the Navy's shipbuilding budget on a ship that is designed for threats to this Nation's vital security interests that no longer exist, and vanished with the end of the cold war.

There were many lessons of the Persian Gulf war. There are some on which we disagree. There are others on which we are in agreement.

We are clearly in agreement that this Nation's defense establishment needs an improvement in its sealift capability; an improvement in its airlift capability; and an improvement it its mine countermeasures capability. For example, many experts argue that the reason there was no amphibious landing in the Persian Gulf war was because of the danger Iraqi mines posed to our ships as they approached the coast of Kuwait.

We know that if we need to face the future Saddam Hussein's of this world, we need increases in several critical power projection capabilities that we have failed to fund.

At the conclusion of the consideration of this bill in the other body, one of my colleagues said `This bill does not respond to any lessons learned from the Persian Gulf war.' I believe that the bill produced by this body does a better job of responding to these lessons and the end of the cold war. It does a better job of reflecting the fact that the likelihood of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union is very remote, and I say that as one of the last cold warriors. It does a better job of recognizing the possibility of future conflicts throughout the world, and that the threats posed by Hafez Assad, Muammar Qadhafi, Kim Il-song, and others is still very real.

The SSN-21 class submarine does not reflect these realities or the lessons of the gulf war. It is a class of submarine which is designed to counter a very sophisticated Soviet submarine and naval threat which none of our potential adversaries in the developing world possess. It is totally unsuitable for a scenario where we are going to experience somewhere between 25 percent and 40 percent cut in our defense budget over the next few years, and where there will be increased pressures to reduce the defense budget even further in fiscal year 1993, when the current budget agreement expires.

In contrast, I see block obsolescence in our amphibious forces; I see a significant lack of airlift capability; and I see a significant lack of sealift capability. All of these shortfalls were made abundantly clear during the Persian Gulf conflict and we are not funding the programs we need to correct them.

If we do not cancel this program we will spend more money on the SSN-21 than we will spend on the rest of the B-2 bomber program. We may also spend far more. The recent history of our nuclear submarines, both Trident and SSN-688, has been fraught with cost overruns and with significant problems that have only been remedied by enormous expenditures of taxpayer dollars.

In this morning's Washington Post, there is a story on the front page concerning the Seawolf.

I ask unanimous consent this article be printed in the Record in its entirety.

There being no objection, the article was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

[Page: S12037]

Weld Flaws May Delay Submarine


General Dynamics Corp. has discovered welding flaws so severe in the hull and internal structures of the Navy's first SSN-21 attack submarine that the partially completed submarine will have to be disassembled and rebuilt, Defense Department officials said yesterday.

Officials speaking on condition of anonymity said the problem is expected to delay delivery by as much as a year and cost tens of millions of dollars. They said there would be no change in the specifications or operational performance of the submarine.

Officials had no explanation why the flaws, detected in mid-June, were not disclosed until yesterday.

Known as the Seawolf, the submarine was already projected to be the most expensive ever built, with a total program cost for 12 submarines estimated at $33.6 billion in current dollars. General Dynamic's Electric Boat Division, which is building the first of the Seawolf class in Groton, Conn., under a $726 million contract, was scheduled to deliver it to the Navy in 1995.

The Seawolf class is intended to succeed the Los Angeles-class SSN-688. Its primary mission would be to hunt down and destroy Soviet submarines equipped with ballistic missiles. Because Seawolf submarines would be faster, dive deeper and run quieter than any existing submarine, the Navy has also touted them for missions ranging from minelaying and delivery of special forces troops to the underwater launch of cruise missiles.

Defense Department spokesman Pete Williams, who disclosed the welding flaws in his regular Pentagon briefing yesterday, said `cracks in the hull of a submarine are extremely serious' but provided no estimate of the time or cost involved in effecting a repair.

Disclosure of the Seawolf's flaws came one day after a federal judge in Norfolk invalidated the Navy's award of a second Seawolf contract to the New England shipyard. Tenneco's Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. has mounted a fierce struggle for the Seawolf business in the Pentagon, Congress and the courts.

The Navy, which fears that the welding cracks could strengthen critics of the submarine or of General Dynamics, emphasized yesterday that General Dynamics engineers discovered the flaws and reported them promptly to the Naval Sea Systems Command.

Lt. Greg Smith, a Navy spokesman, said the 353-foot Seawolf is the first to use a hull made entirely of high-pressure HY-100 steel. He said construction of the submarine has also relied on a new welding material to join the steel into plates, hull subsections and large cylindrical sections. The complete hull will be formed by welding the cylinders together.

Work on the submarine began in Groton in October 1989, and officials said welding has been underway for about a year. Routine `quality assurance' inspections did not turn up problems, they said, until the first time workers tried to weld two large cylinders of hull material together.

Though not visible to the naked eye, cracks and other signs of brittleness appeared under magnetic resonance imagery of that large weld, officials said, casting doubt on the technique employed throughout the ship. During a 10-day halt in work last month, officials said, General Dynamics came up with a new method that uses less carbon and does not permit the welding material to cool as quickly.

A spokesman for General Dynamics declined to answer questions yesterday. In a statement, the company's Electric Boat division said its cost-sharing contract with the Navy `provides for contractual entitlement for costs related to this matter' and the company is `therefore confident that the ultimate resolution of this matter will not have an adverse impact on the financial condition of Electric Boat.'

Cmdr. Mark Van Dyke, a Navy spokesman, said the Navy could not confirm Electric Boat's interpretation of the contract. `We have not made a determination on that,' he said.

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I will just read a few quotes from it.

General Dynamics Corp. has discovered welding flaws so severe in the hull and internal structures of the Navy's first SSN-21 attack submarine that the partially completed submarine will have to be disassembled and rebuilt, Defense Department officials said yesterday.

Mr. President, The SSN-21 program has already proved that it is deja vu all over again. As Yogi Berra used to say, in the late seventies, this same company, Electric Boat, experienced significant cost overruns. We also know who thin picked up the tab for hundreds of millions of dollars: The U.S. taxpayer.

I think it is informative, although a little bit saddening, read the statement of the Electric Boat Co. on this new problem:

Our contract with the Navy provides for contractural entitlement for costs related to this matter.

To the layman, Mr. President, do you know what these words translated into? They translated into a statement that the American taxpayers are going to pick up the bill again. We do not know how large that bill is going to be, but millions of dollars are involved. There may be tens of millions and there could be hundreds of millions.

There may also be many other problems to come. Before the first SSN-21 is 15 percent completed, we find it has to be disassembled and rebuilt. This particular corporation and shipyard has a record of significant cost overruns in the past. Unfortunately, if history teaches us any lessons about the problems in weapons system development and production it is that they repeat themselves until they are forcibly stopped.

I could go into many of the other technical difficulties that the SSN-21 is now experiencing, including ones in its incredibly expensive AN/BSY-2 weapons control system. The real issue, however is that this is the wrong ship at the wrong cost at the wrong time for the wrong threat, the fact is we need to have a new and very different submarine. Given the dramatically changed threat, we need a much smaller, and less capable, and much less expensive submarine. One possibility is the so-called Centurion class which we could expect in a relatively short number of years if we accelerated this program. There can be no doubt that without such a submarine we will spend 25 percent of our shipbuilding budget on one weapons system which does not counter the changing threats foreseen by almost all the military experts outside the Navy. The American taxpayers do not need or deserve this waste.

I wonder if the Senator from Virginia or New Mexico have comments on this particular amendment?

[Page: S12038]

Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I would like to comment on the amendment of the Senator, if I could, for a moment.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico is recognized.

Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, first, let me indicate that in my capacity as Senator from New Mexico, I ask the Senator from Arizona if I could be added as a cosponsor to his amendment.

Mr. McCAIN. I so ask unanimous consent.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. BINGAMAN. Now, Mr. President, on behalf of the chairman of our committee, Armed Services Committee, I wanted to make a couple of points in response to the amendment. The SSN-21 is clearly a very expensive program, over $2 billion per ship is the estimate.

There are real uncertainties about the contract award and the recent court decision to nullify the fiscal year 1991 contract and force the Navy to recompete. The ship does cause concern. Welding cracks in the hull which were announced just yesterday are a very troubling development and we do not know, yet, how much it will cost or how long it will take to fix these problems.

Our committee, the Armed Services Committee, heard troubling testimony from the Congressional Budget Office that indicates the Navy fleet size may be driven to as little as 300 ships if the Navy cannot get costs under control.

The chairman of our committee, the Senator from Georgia, has indicated that the committee intends to evaluate the SSN-21 program closely next year in light of these new problems. However, because this information and the amendment have come before the Senate so late in the process, the chairman urges that the Senator withdraw the amendment and allow us to give the issue the full attention and debate that it deserves during the upcoming months.

That is the statement that the chairman asked me to make, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

Mr. LIEBERMAN. Mr. President, I rise in opposition to the amendment of the distinguished Senator from Arizona and in support of the Armed Service Committee's position on the Seawolf. The Seawolf will be one of the vital building blocks of the United States in the 21st century.

We have heard much talk about the declining Soviet military threat. And it is true that with the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the threat of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe has decreased dramatically.

On the other hand, perestroika has stopped short of the Soviet submarine yards. The Soviets are currently building six classes of submarines--the Kilo diesel-electric-powered submarine; the Victor III, Sierra, and Akula nuclear-powered attack submarines; the Oscar II nuclear-powered cruise missile attack submarine; and the Delta IV nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. This compares with only three classes currently under construction in the United States, of which two--the 688 and the Trident class--are now winding down.

Moreover, the Soviets have substantially narrowed the qualitative gap between their boats and ours. These advances are largely due to the crucial intelligence that they procured through the Walker spy case and the illegal diversion of Toshiba-Kongsberg technology during the 1980's. What they could not achieve through their own research, they accomplished through guile.

And if this was not worrisome enough, Third World countries are increasingly purchasing submarines from the industrial powers. At the end of World War II, 6 countries had submarines; today, 43 countries do, including Libya, Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Iraq was negotiating to acquire submarines before the invasion of Kuwait.

In light of these threats, the need for a new submarine--the Seawolf--is clear. Because of its increased size, the Seawolf can carry twice as many torpedoes and cruise missiles as the Improved 688. And unlike the Improved 688's, it will also be able to carry the new generation of improved torpedoes and cruise missiles that are now being planned. The Seawolf's larger cruise missile capacity will be particularly important against Third World targets. If such cruise missiles had been fully operational in 1986, for example, we could have attacked Libyan military targets without risking the lives of pilots or innocent civilians.

The Seawolf's second major advantage over the Improved 688 is in the electronics system. The Seawolf's sensor capability will have three times the detection capability of the I-688. This will allow it to detect, track, and attack Soviet and Third World submarines before being attacked.

Third, the Seawolf's propulsion system will make it ten times more quiet over its full range of operating speeds than the I-688 and 70 times more quiet than the initial generation of 688's. And noise is the key factor in reducing a submarine's vulnerability to other attack submarines and ship-launched torpedoes.

The Seawolf's superior and quieter propulsion system will also enable it to have twice the tactical speed as the I-688. Tactical speed is the speed at which a submarine is still quiet enough to remain undetected while tracking enemy submarines effectively. Overall, the Seawolf's propulsion system represents a 75-percent improvement over the I-688's--that is, the Seawolf can operate 75 percent faster before being detected.

Finally, we could not really go back to the Improved-688 even if we wanted to. The 688 production lines are in the process of being shut down; to reopen them would lead to enormous costs. It is by no means clear that the inferior 688 would be any less expensive than the Seawolf.

Senator McCain has mentioned reports of cracks in welds in its hull sections. I have talked to Navy officials about these problems. All welds were done in accordance with full Navy procedures. Electric Boat discovered some cracking problems. They have since worked closely with the Navy to come up with revised procedures to alleviate the cracking problems. These new procedures are in place today and welding has resumed. And only 15 percent of the first Seawolf has been constructed, so the problem only affects a small portion of the program. There will, therefore, be no slippage in the delivery date--1996--of the first Seawolf.

Mr. President, these are the kind of technical problems that are inevitable in any new weapons system. In fact, the Improved-688, which Senator McCain advocates as a substitute for the Seawolf, also suffered periodically from welding problems. If we abandoned every new weapons system each time that a technical problem was discovered, our Armed Forces would still be outfitted with steam ships and horse-drawn artillery.

We need the Seawolf because the United States is a maritime Nation and control of the seas will remain a key component of our defense strategy. And a robust submarine force, as embodied by the Seawolf, is one of the principal means of doing this. And so I support the committee's position on the Seawolf. I support a strong defense and a strong America.


Mr. CHAFEE. Mr. President, I am strongly opposed to the amendment proposed by my colleague from Arizona, Mr. McCain, which would discontinue the Seawolf attack submarine program. The amendment would further shift the funds from the Seawolf to the construction of an additional Los Angeles class 688 submarine, payment of termination costs for the Seawolf, research, development, test, and evaluation for an advanced follow-on submarine called the Centurion--and improvement of sealift capability.

The Seawolf is a state-of-the-art submarine that is intended conduct multiple missions, while remaining undetected itself. Its most important mission is to counter the growing Soviet fleet of ballistic missile and attack submarines.

According to the Department of Defense, the Soviet Union, as of 1990, had 63 ballistic missile submarines, 61 attack submarines, and 31 other submarines. In addition, each year, the Soviets produce an additional nine attack submarines of the Akula, Oscar, and Sierra classes. These submarines are increasingly quiet and equipped with modern conventional and nuclear weapons.

The mission of the Seawolf, more specifically, will be to destroy the Soviet attack subs before they can, in turn, attack American targets. This is such a vital mission because the Soviet submarines are one of the most survivable elements of their intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal. In addition, the Seawolf could penetrate deep into enemy territory and launch Tomahawk cruise missiles against land targets. The last mission of the Seawolf is to attack the rather sizable Soviet surface fleet. As Soviet technology improves, increasingly, the Seawolf is an extremely important weapon to hold Soviet targets at risk.

What about building another Los Angeles class 688 submarine? First, this makes little sense because this submarine is based on 30-year-old technologies. It will also be more expensive than it appears to restart the 688 program because many suppliers on the program have already been shut down. Most importantly, though, there are a number of missions that the 688 simply cannot perform that the Seawolf can.

Placing a greater emphasis on sealift capacity also has some appeal. Certainly one lesson of Desert Storm was that we need to improve our ability to move large amounts of material in a short period of time. The sealift command, however, already has nearly $1.3 billion of funds appropriated in previous years which it has not spent yet. When added together the $1.4 billion the Senate Armed Services Committee recommends for fiscal year 1992, the sealift program will have at its disposal nearly $2.7 billion to spend. This is much more than could reasonably be spent when the Navy has not even forwarded a plan for enhancing our sealift capabilities as of this date.

As far as funding for the new Centurion submarine is concerned, the bill already provides $75 million for study of new submarine technologies. The bill calls for a report which will be due 1 month after the submission of the fiscal year 1993 budget. The report will focus on the major issues which affect the design of the ship, and identify a tentative schedule for research and development and procurement. There are logical limits to how fast the Navy can move on a program which is in its earliest stages of development.

Proponents of abandoning the Seawolf could argue that it is simply not needed because of the diminishing Soviet threat. On this matter, I call my colleague's attention to today's Washington Post. In an article by David Remnick, a Soviet economist is quoted as saying `The ruble is disappearing as a viable currency . . . in stores and markets, ordinary goods regularly double and triple in price. This is the sort of financial situation that causes military overthrows in South America.' The article goes on to conclude `There is no reason to think that the hard-line coalition of Orthodox Communists, generals and KBG officers has disappeared from the scene after its ascendancy late last year.' Under such circumstances, we cannot abandon the most capable and advanced new technology in submarine warfare available to the United States.

Enhancing American antisubmarine warfare capabilities should continue to be a top priority for the foreseeable future. The missions that only the Seawolf will be able to perform make it an indispensable part of the United States Navy's plans to remain an effective hedge against Soviet or Third World aggression. In addition, I feel strongly that the shifts in funding proposed by this amendment cannot be wisely spent in the time period suggested. For those reasons, I urge my colleagues to vote against the McCain amendment.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.

[Page: S12039]

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I understand and appreciate the remarks of the Senator from New Mexico. I have also discussed this issue with the chairman, Senator Nunn, and with my friend from Virginia, Senator Warner. They all share many of my concerns.

We need to reexamine both the strategic rationale for the SSN-21, and every aspect of its design, construction, and cost. We cannot afford to repeat the agony of the late 1970's, which the Senator from Virginia is very familiar with, when a negotiated settlement between this very same company cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars because we had no other option than to pay the bill.

I urge the chairman of the committee and my friend from Virginia that we make the reexamination of the SSN-21 one of our highest priorities between now and next year, when we will be asked to authorize further funding for this weapon system. It is clear there are major problems, and we must make a total reevaluation of the need to spend 25 percent or more of our shipbuilding budget on one weapon system.

Mr. President, in deference to the desires of the chairman of the committee and the ranking Republican, I withdraw my amendment.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has that right. The amendment is withdrawn.

The amendment (No. 1045) was withdrawn.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.

Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I want to express my appreciation. The Senator from Arizona is true Navy blue and gold and even though a Naval aviator and therefor has some kill instincts toward submarine and surface officers. Sometimes I do not think that is part of the equation. He speaks from a knowledge and a conscience and addresses a problem which is a very serious problem in the U.S. Navy.

The Navy has experienced problems not only with this contract but with an aviation contract, the A-12, with which the Senator is very familiar. It has been most unfortunate. I think the Navy has excellent leadership in uniform and civilian. It has just been beset with these problems.

I talked personally with the Secretary of the Navy who called me yesterday regarding the problems with regard to this ship, and he seems to think that this matter can be resolved and they will go on to the next challenge. I think it is essential for America that this program go ahead. I speak from the sense of misfortune since my State at one time and perhaps still continues to have an interest in this program. That remains to be seen, pending the Federal court problem.

But the bigger issue is exactly as the Senator from Arizona has stated. I thank him for his consideration and willingness to withdraw this amendment.

Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, this country faces a serious problem when we cannot afford to build more than one submarine a year. As a result of the reductions in the total intended buy for the Seawolf class, the unit cost per ship has increased from $1.6 billion to $2.1 billion. Projections indicate the cost will soon reach $2.5 billion per ship. Unit costs of this magnitude commit 25 percent of our ship construction funds to one asset. These outrageous unit costs reflect a procurement reality: When you buy small quantities at low rates, the cost soars. Essentially, we have two choices:

First, we can build more than one boat a year and lower the unit costs; or second, we can terminate the program and focus our efforts on designing a smaller, lower cost replacement.

Mr. President, the fiscal realities are clear. We cannot afford to build two, three, or even four submarines a year. We have only one choice: Terminate this program. It is not a lightly reached conclusion. I have never in my congressional tenure proposed such an idea, but this is an idea whose time has come.

The Congressional Budget Office testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on June 14 of this year that the Navy's construction rate, as projected in the 5-year plan, would support a maximum ship fleet of 310 ships. It was not very long ago that we argued the need for a fleet of 600 ships. A lot of things have changed in the world over the last 2 years, but one thing has not changed: The United States continues to be an island nation.

Mr. President, the world gets smaller every day. International trade has become the lifeblood of our Nation's economy, and our Navy ensures our access to markets across the seas.

I firmly believe that we need submarines, but we don't need them when their extreme cost hobbles our shipbuilding efforts. We need a robust ship fleet to project power to the littorals of the world. Submarines are important, but this submarine is not the answer to all our problems. Mr. President, we have many needs; the Marine Corps continues to face severe shortfalls in amphibious lift. This submarine program is draining the resources required to fund this requirement.

This amendment correctly places us back on a course which allows us to maintain shipbuilding rates which are economically sound, both for submarines and surface ships. If we are going to have a Navy in the future, we must build ships as we go. If we do not, one day we are going to turn around and we will not have a fleet--or maybe we will just have half a dozen or so Seawolf's.

We need to accelerate the design of the Seawolf's replacement, the Centurion. Some people say, `You can't design a submarine faster.' If we cannot design a boat faster, then we have not learned anything over the last 10 years. Have we stopped learning from our mistakes? Maybe we have become overly bureaucratic and lost our edge. If we cannot learn how to do things better, faster, and cheaper, then maybe we have already become institutionally bankrupt. Perhaps it is time for us to review the way we do these things.

The Seawolf is a classic post-cold-war weapon. It is over-designed for a post-cold-war defense posture. We need additional submarines, but we don't need this submarine when it jeopardizes the meager shipbuilding program which we already face; 25 percent of our ship construction funds going to one ship violates a fundamental rule: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. This bill places too much emphasis on the Seawolf--at the detriment of the rest of the Navy fleet.

Mr. President, I thank my colleague from Arizona. I support his effort, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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