Submarine base commander says Chinese, Russian subs 'are definitely catching up to us.'

Russian Submarine Yuriy Dolgorukiy Successfully Tests 4 Bulava Missiles

Advances in technology are making the nuclear deterrence mission of ballistic missile submarines increasingly challenging.

Foreign adversaries, China and Russia in particular, are designing increasingly sophisticated submarines that show they "are definitely catching up to us," said Capt. Chester Parks, commanding officer at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.

U.S. Navy illustrationAn artist rendering of the future Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines. The first sub, the USS Columbia, is due to begin construction in fiscal 2021, be built by 2028 and patrol by 2031.

Parks made the comments as the guest speaker Tuesday at the Rotary Club of St. Simons Island meeting.

While our nation's adversaries are developing increasingly more technologically advanced, quieter submarines, the Navy is also developing its next generation of ballistic missile submarines called Columbia class.

"The Columbia class will be the most advanced submarine on the planet," Parks said.

The boats, which cost an estimated $7 billion each, will have a nuclear reactor designed to last their 40-year life span. The existing ballistic missile submarines have to be refueled after 20 years of service. The process takes two to three years to complete.

Columbia class submarines will be around the same size as the Ohio-class boats, but they will have fewer hydraulics, no periscope and the most sophisticated electronic equipment available.

The first of 12 Columbia class submarines planned for construction will arrive at Kings Bay in 2028, but before the boats arrive, the base will undergo a major renovation estimated to cost $840 million. The planned work includes $500 million in upgrades to the 30-year-old dry dock, a $160 million transit protection program, a $138.6 million nuclear regional maintenance facility and an expansion of the training facility.

Parks said the studies aren't complete, but he expects additional personnel will be assigned to Kings Bay once the Columbia-class boats begin arriving because the base will also be responsible for maintaining the Ohio-class subs until they are removed from service.

"It's going to take this base into the 2030s," he said of the preparations.

During a question and answer session during the presentation, Parks was asked about the impacts of sea level rise at Kings Bay. He said the issue is a concern at some bases, but Kings Bay is not among them.

He told the audience the ballistic missile submarines can remain submerged for extended periods of time — as long as there is enough food to feed the crew.

Parks said Kings Bay, which employs an estimated 9,000 active-duty, government and contract employees, has an estimated $1.1 billion impact to the regional economy.

©2019 The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.) - Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.

It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.

Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.

Read More Show Less

No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.

Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.

"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.

Read More Show Less
A projectile is fired during North Korea's missile tests in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019. (KCNA via Reuters)

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.

The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.

Read More Show Less

Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.

In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.

"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.

Read More Show Less
Erik Prince arrives for the New York Young Republican Club Gala at The Yale Club of New York City in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., November 7, 2019. (REUTERS/Jeenah Moon)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

Read More Show Less