Team Connecticut made its case against the closing of Submarine Base New London nearly eight years ago. If you have a spare 2.5 hours, you can watch Connecticut’s former public officials including Gov. Jodi Rell, DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy, Rep. Rob Simmons, Sen. Chris Dodd and Sen. Joe Lieberman defend the base in front of a BRAC Commission at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
Despite successfully protecting the base in 2005, New London is bracing for a new round of base closures in 2015. Robert Ross, executive director of Connecticut’s Office of Military Affairs told the CT Mirror last year that another round of BRAC “is not a question of if, but when.”
The southeastern Connecticut region would be hit hard economically by a base closure. As previous Where We Live guest Ben Davol said on Facebook, “casinos, clam bars, and Coast Guard museums won’t cut it.”
On today’s show, we talked about the future of Submarine Base New London, the economic impact of the base, and the role of the submarine in today’s military. Ross joined us along with Connecticut’s 2nd District Congressman Joe Courtney, who could fill Simmons’ shoes at BRAC hearings in 2015.
Since that last BRAC round, SUBASE New London is trying to increase its value and worth to the military. One recent addition is a bridge trainer. It’s a full-size mock-up of an external submarine bridge, complete with a virtual reality screen to teach navigators how to drive a sub in any conditions. WNPR reporter Harriet Jones recently got a tour of the base and got to see the bridge trainer. You can hear tape from her visit here:
The base is already facing constraints by federal sequestration and more than 600 civilian employees will be furloughed this summer. On Where We Live, Ross said the furlough notices will likely go out tomorrow. Those who receive notices, mostly in administrative areas of the base, will be laid off for one-day-a-week.
Our third guest was outgoing Capt. Marc Denno, the Commanding Officer of Naval Submarine Base New London. He turns over command of the base on Friday, just a day after the furlough notices are expected to go out.
“I don’t think there’s anything that won’t get done but it’ll get done at a slower pace,” Denno said about the impact of the furloughs on work at the base.
One of the investments the state made in the sub base was more than 700 thousand dollars install a kitchen – or rather a galley – an exact replica of the galley aboard a Virginia class submarine, to train the chefs who will cook at sea. WNPR’s Harriet Jones got a tour from Chief Brian Pearson.