I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones
-Albert Einstein (contemplating nuclear devastation)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

12 New Tridents On The Way!!!

It's official!  The Navy has confirmed that it plans to build 12 Ohio class ballistic missile submarines to replace the current fleet of 14.  IHS Jane's reports that the new subs will each have 16 missile launch tubes.  You can read the Navy's announcement further on in this post.

Based on the current engineering, research and design effort, the Navy projects construction beginning in 2021 and the first sub going out on "deterrent" patrol in 2031.

Rear Adm. Thomas J. Eccles, chief engineer and deputy commander Naval Systems Engineering Directorate, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), made a statement hearkening back to the Cold War when he said that "The Ohio Replacement Program will serve as the backbone of our nation's nuclear deterrence into the 2080s." 

Besides the archaic references to "deterrence" in the Navy's announcement, that statement also confirms that the first strike Trident nuclear weapons system will continue to be the centerpiece of the nation's nuclear forces.   

Here is another rather bizarre statement in the announcement.  Eccles' also stated that "It is vital that we perform the rigorous engineering, research, and design work now so that we can ensure that the platform is able to address and best the threats of future highly complex national security environments."  You just have to wonder what kind of "future highly complex national security environments" will require the U.S. to deploy $7 Billion nuclear weapons launch platforms designed to sneak up on targets and fire nuclear armed missiles.

Construction costs for the 12 new subs range as high as $110 Billion!!!  Can we afford either the extraordinary construction, operational and maintenance costs, or the risks that at least 50 years of continued deployment of Trident ballistic missiles will present???

Although one the most sophisticated weapons systems ever devised, the Trident nuclear weapons system is also archaic, an aging relic of the Cold War.  It was devised in the time of the madness in which both the U.S. and Soviets worked continually using nuclear one-upmanship.  The only thing Trident is for is mass annihilation.

As our government continues to spend hundreds of billions of our tax dollars on weapons of mass destruction that quite literally threaten all of humanity we would do well to ask our representatives in Washington, DC - What is all this money buying us???


Navy Signs Specification Document For The Ohio Replacement Submarine Program, Sets Forth Critical Design Elements

Story Number: NNS120906-13Release Date: 9/6/2012     From Team Submarine Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy formalized key ship specifications for both the United States' Ohio Replacement and United Kingdom's Successor Programs in a document signed Aug. 31 at the Washington Navy Yard.

Rear Adm. Thomas J. Eccles, chief engineer and deputy commander Naval Systems Engineering Directorate, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and Capt. William J. Brougham, Ohio Replacement program manager signed the Ohio Replacement First Article Quad Pack Ship Specification document, marking a major construction milestone.

"This document marks significant forward progress for both the U.S. and UK future strategic submarine deterrent programs," said Brougham. "It is a direct result of the engineering rigor and professionalism of government and industry partners on both shores of the Atlantic."

Ship specifications are critical for the design and construction of the common missile compartment, which will be used by both nations' replacement fleet ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) programs. Specifically, the First Article Quad Pack Ship Specification establishes a common design and technical requirements for the four missile tubes and associated equipment that comprise each quad pack.

"The Ohio Replacement Program will serve as the backbone of our nation's nuclear deterrence into the 2080s," said Eccles. "It is vital that we perform the rigorous engineering, research, and design work now so that we can ensure that the platform is able to address and best the threats of future highly complex national security environments."

The Ohio Replacement SSBN Program is tasked with recapitalizing the nation's sea-based strategic deterrent in a cost-effective manner. The Navy plans to replace its current fleet of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs with only 12 Ohio Replacement SSBNs. The first Ohio Replacement is scheduled to begin construction in fiscal year 2021, deliver to the Navy in 2027, and conduct its first strategic deterrence patrol in 2031 after undergoing a rigorous testing and evaluation regime.


Editor's Note: Sentences above highlighted in bold typeface for emphasis.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Brochure available for 2nd EHW lawsuit

A trifold brochure is now available from Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action explaining the lawsuits recently filed to stop the construction of a Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.  Bangor is the West Coast home port of the Navy's Trident ballistic missile submarine fleet.
Cover of the EHW lawsuit brochure
Click here to download the PDF version of the brochure. If you have questions about the lawsuit or the brochure, send your email message to info@gzcenter.org.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nuclear Northwest: Panel Discussion this Thursday

Nuclear Northwest: Panel Discussion
Thursday, September 20, 2012, 7-9pm

Sponsored by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, as part of its 2012 Fall Meeting.

Good Shepherd Center, Suite 400
4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

Presentations will be followed by Q & A.
Free and open to the public.   
Panelists and their topics:
Leonard Eiger - Puget Sound Nuclear Weapon Free Zone: Nuclear Disarmament Begins at Home

Tom Carpenter - Hanford Challenge: Whistleblowers and the Waste Treatment Plant

Russell Jim - Yakama Indian Nation: Tribal perspective on Hanford
Chuck Johnson - Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility: Columbia Generating Station & Small Modular Reactors
Liz Mattson - Hanford Challenge: Inheriting Hanford
More information on the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability's 25th anniversary meeting in Seattle at http://www.ananuclear.org/

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Motion filed to halt construction of Bangor wharf

(Editor's Note: The following article was published in The Kitsap Sun on September 6th, and covers the motion seeking a preliminary injunction against construction of the Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor)

Ground Zero seeks to halt Bangor wharf construction
By Christopher Dunagan, Posted September 6, 2012, The Kitsap Sun

BANGOR —A federal judge has been asked to halt construction of the Navy's explosives handling wharf at Bangor pending a full review of the environmental damage from the $715 million project.

The group Ground Zero for Nonviolent Action, which filed a lawsuit against the Navy in June, followed up Thursday with a motion that seeks a preliminary injunction to halt construction.

Irreparable harm to the environment from wharf construction far outweighs the cost of delaying the project until the environmental effects are fully explained and considered, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, according to attorneys for Ground Zero. 

"The plaintiffs have demonstrated likelihood of success on the merits by showing that the Navy failed to comply with numerous provisions of (federal law)," states the motion filed by attorney Katherine George of the Seattle firm Harrison, Benis and Spence.

Meanwhile, in a similar case, the Suquamish Tribe's lawsuit against the Navy has been moved from U.S. District Court in Seattle to U.S. District Court in Tacoma, where the Ground Zero case resides. Now both cases are under the jurisdiction of District Judge Ronald B. Leighton.

Late Thursday, attorneys for the tribe also asked the judge for a preliminary injunction to halt construction of the Bangor wharf. In addition to allegations that the Navy circumvented the National Environmental Policy Act, tribal attorneys cited violations of the tribe’s treaty rights, the Endangered Species Act, the Administrative Procedures Act and the U.S. Constitution.

In her pleadings, George said the Navy illegally determined the exact size and location of the wharf before completing the environmental review, which would have shown that the wharf is larger than the Navy needs. Six alternatives described in an environmental-impact statement talked about different design features, but the Navy failed to consider a smaller wharf or alternative locations, the motion states.

Appendices addressing "purpose and need," "alternatives considered" and "explosives safety arcs" were withheld from public review and comment, contrary to environmental law — even though the Navy used such information to make decisions, according to the motion. Similar information was already in the public domain, the motions says.  

"These documents were critical to the environmental analysis, because the Navy relied on them in ruling out less harmful alternatives and in claiming that the location, size and design of the wharf were inflexibly predetermined," the motion states. Under existing court rulings, the Navy cannot avoid environmental laws by claiming "national security implications," as it has done, according to Ground Zero's pleadings.

The Navy has awarded a $331 million contract to a Virginia company to complete overwater work for the pier. Without court intervention, construction is expected to begin within a few weeks.

Navy officials say they do not comment about ongoing litigation.

© 2012 Kitsap Sun. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Suquamish Tribe files suit against Bangor Explosives Handling Wharf

The Suquamish Tribe has filed its own lawsuit against the Navy's Second Explosives Handling Wharf project planned for the Bangor Trident base.  It is quite likey that they Judge will combine this case with the case filed by Glen Milner of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action.  The following is an opinion piece in the Kitsap Sun by Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribal Council.

Kitsap Sun, MY TURN
Navy left tribe no choice but a lawsuit
By Leonard Forsman. Posted August 29, 2012

In 1855, led by Chief Seattle, Suquamish Tribal leaders signed the Treaty of Point Elliot. The treaty ceded most of the Suquamish Tribe's lands in exchange for the acknowledgment and protection of our fishing and hunting rights, health care, education and a reservation at Port Madison.

Since that time, the Suquamish Tribe has maintained our cultural identity and kept our traditions. We've also been consistent in continuing to value and pursue the priorities that we established — and which the U.S. government made a commitment to protecting — in the treaty we signed in 1855.

Today, with over 1,100 people employed in its government operations and business ventures, the Suquamish Tribe is one of the largest employers in Kitsap County. The purpose of the Tribe's investments is to support government functions that assist the community. These investments — in law enforcement, natural resource management, education, health care, and community development — are designed to have a positive economic and social impact on both Tribal members and non-Tribal members alike. We take our role as good neighbor seriously.

That's why it has been so disappointing for us to have our requests to have our treaty rights honored by the U.S. government rejected while the United States seeks to build a massive new explosives handling wharf at Bangor, within the adjudicated usual and accustomed fishing grounds of the Suquamish and four other tribes.

The Tribe's treaty right is a property right under federal law and cannot be taken away without specific congressional authority. If Congress authorizes a treaty right to be taken, that loss must be compensated for under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Suquamish Tribe has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Navy, the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect its treaty rights, fish habitat and several endangered species. The suit asks the court to set aside permits and decisions for the proposed Bangor Explosives Handling Wharf project. The construction of the 6.3-acre over-water wharf is a "taking" under federal law and will violate the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott, the United States Constitution, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

The proposed project will increase the Navy's over-water facilities by almost 25 percent and will eliminate access to fishing grounds associated with the over-water facilities. Not only will the project permanently disrupt salmon and other species migration patterns, but noise from its construction will injure at least seven species of fish, including several listed as "endangered" or "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

Over the last two years and in at least a dozen meetings, representatives of the Suquamish Tribal Council met with the Navy and the Army Corps of Engineers in an attempt to ensure that the Tribe's treaty rights and impacts to the environment were adequately protected and mitigated. Although the Suquamish Tribe made great compromises in an attempt to reach an agreement on the project, the Navy and the Army Corps offered little to no corresponding compromise.

The Suquamish Tribe has reached agreement with the Navy at other naval installations to protect its treaty rights and the environment, while at the same time balancing economic and military needs in support of national defense and our veterans. The Tribe also recognizes the local economic benefits this project will bring to Kitsap County. However, the Navy's decision to continue this project without an agreement with the Suquamish Tribe and the Army Corps' approval of the Navy's in-water construction permits is contrary to federal law and is in direct conflict with the Department of Defense's trust responsibility to honor Indian treaties and protect the trust resources of the Indian tribes of this nation.

Unfortunately, because of the actions of the U.S. government, the Tribe has no other recourse than to seek a remedy in federal district court.
© 2012 Kitsap Sun. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source URL: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/aug/29/my-turn-navy-left-tribe-no-choice-but-a-lawsuit/#ixzz25MhvN1X6