PORTSMOUTH — There are benefits to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in a plan to modernize the military that Richardson will deliver in an address today to students as well as military and foreign policy professionals at Georgetown University in Washington.
"Bill Richardson recognizes the value of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard — both its vital importance to the military and its impact on the local community," said Alex Goepfert, press spokesperson for Richardson. "In 2005, Gov. Richardson joined with Gov. Lynch and other leaders across the country to prevent the closure of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The effort succeeded. Gov. Richardson's plan for defense modernization continues this strong and abiding commitment, ensuring that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard will remain open, vibrant and strong for many years to come."
The primary mission of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is "the overhaul, repair and modernization of Los Angeles class submarines," according to Goepfert.
Goepfert said Richardson agrees with Dr. Lawrence Korb, a defense analyst, retired Navy captain, and President Reagan's assistant secretary of defense for Manpower, Installations and Logistics, that the Los Angeles Class remains the best value for America's defense dollars, and that national security is better served by maintaining the Los Angeles Class submarine rather than replacing it with the Virginia Class.
"Richardson's plan will enhance the shipyard's role, as the new Virginia Class ships, which would be built elsewhere at a much greater cost ($3 billion to build each new submarine), would in the short-run require less annual maintenance than the Los Angeles, maintenance that will continue to be performed at Portsmouth," said Goepfert. "According to Dr. Korb, "canceling the Virginia class and refueling the reactors of the Los Angeles class at a cost of $200 million per vessel can save $2.5 billion in 2008 and $60 billion over the next 15 years."
As one part of his comprehensive plan for the future of Iraq and the US. military, which will be released at a major policy speech at Georgetown University on October 4, Bill Richardson has called for major shifts in the Pentagon's budgeting priorities to better meet the security needs of the 21st century.
Richardson's plan is intended to offer a comprehensive plan for modernizing armed services in line with that philosophy, and includes the following:
* Withdrawing all of our forces from Iraq
* Allowing troops the opportunity to rest, refit and retrain
* Expanding the size of the Army, Marine Corps and Special Operations Command
* Focusing the Pentagon's budget on the needs of the 21st century.·
* Repairing the military's equipment shortages
* Strengthening and revitalizing the National Guard
* Better training soldiers and Marines
* Making civil affairs a discrete branch of the Army
* Modernizing military academies to better reflect the challenges of the 21st century
* Eliminating the role of mercenaries
* Creating Provincial Reconstruction Teams that can be quickly and effectively mobilized.