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From Inside Defense: Navy can only meet half of submarine requirements in Pacific

The Navy can only meet half of the requirements for attack submarines from U.S. Pacific Command, according to a top military officer.

The attack submarine force is among the weapon platform shortfalls U.S. forces face in the Pacific, according to PACOM chief Adm. Harry Harris.

“Our submarine numbers are low and getting smaller,” Harris said during an April 26 House Armed Services Committee hearing on threats in the Pacific region. “The number of submarines, without going into precise detail here, the Navy can only meet about 50 percent of my stated requirement for attack submarines.”

The shortfall has deepened since last February, when Harris told Senate authorizers the Navy could meet just 62 percent of his attack submarine requirements in the Pacific.

Harris said this week that the problem is projected to worsen, as the attack submarine force is expected to dip from 52 boats today to 42 submarines in the late 2020s. The admiral said he supports the Navy’s recent force structure assessment, which delineates a requirement for 66 attack submarines.

Meanwhile, Harris’ written testimony states 230 of the world’s foreign submarines are operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, including 160 belonging to China, Russia and North Korea. Harris noted that U.S. attack submarines are vastly superior to any other country’s.

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