THE PENTAGON: THE NAVY

LETTING SHIPS DIE BEFORE THEY GET OLD

When Navy Secretary JOHN DALTON took delivery of Electric Boat's first Seawolf submarine in July, he praised the ship's stealthiness. He spoke little about its weapons systems, since it carries the same missiles and torpedoes as the Los Angeles-class subs it is replacing. Nor did he speak about how the Navy was helping to pay for Seawolf ($2.4 billion each): by scrapping 15 Los Angeles-class subs this year and next, some of which spent barely half their 30-year life-spans at sea. The cost to the taxpayer: about $2.4 billion.

The Navy is doing this with other vessels as well. For example,...

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