Sen. Sullivan brings Secretary of the Navy to Ketchikan to tour submarine testing site - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, April 20, 2021
HomePoliticsSen. Sullivan brings Secretary of the Navy to Ketchikan to tour submarine testing site

Sen. Sullivan brings Secretary of the Navy to Ketchikan to tour submarine testing site

bronsonformayor

Three weeks ago, when Sen. Dan Sullivan was hosting a town hall meeting in Ketchikan, the residents of the community asked him to bring the Secretary of the Navy to Alaska’s “First City.”

Sullivan promised he would bring him.

On Tuesday, Sullivan delivered on that promise, as Kenneth J. Braithwaite flew to Alaska and the senator and he toured Ketchikan, which has mission-critical submarine testing facilities about which few Alaskans know.

The visit thought to be the first of any Secretary of the Navy to Alaska, or at the very least, to Back Island.

The two and an entourage that included Sen. Bert Stedman and Rep. Daniel Ortiz toured Back Island, the site of the Southeast Alaska Acoustic Measurement Facility. That’s the Navy’s primary West Coast asset for making high fidelity tests on submarines to measure their acoustic signatures.

With tests that can be done in the 1,500-foot-deep Behm Canal, the site is ideal for this work because of the low ambient noise and lack of other noise interference.

[Read more about the Back Island submarine testing facility here.]

Sullivan was excited about the visit, and says he is on a mission to bring the Navy to Alaska and establish a base here, because with the Arctic and the Pacific Ocean, he believes the case can be made for national security.

Currently, the Army and Air Force have large presences in Alaska, as does the U.S. Coast Guard. But neither the Marines or the Navy have bases in the largest state in the union, which has exposure to Russia, North Korea, and China.

Braithwaite was sworn in as the 77th Secretary of the Navy in May. He is a former ambassador to Norway and was a naval aviator who was once stationed in Adak.

During his confirmation hearings, Sullivan made him promise to visit Alaska very early in his tenure to experience firsthand the state’s strategic location and the communities that support our military.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Senator Sullivan is Great at getting the Service Chiefs to come to our Great State to showcase the strategic location and the ability for our Armed Services to have the best Training facilities in the world. I applaud him for being our advocate in D.C. to show case what is great and unique about the Last Frontier.

  • This state needs a naval base and a marine detachment. Icebreakers and an increased Coast Guard presence are a necessity. It would be good for the economy, sure, but the bottomline is it’s strategically critical as the arctic opens up. China and Russia won’t wait for us to get our act together.

  • The icebreakers and increased naval and Coast Guard presence sound like good ideas. The hyper-expensive F-35 base, not so much. The F-22s seem to be doing the job just fine, and, as far as I can tell, are still the premier aircraft of their ilk.
    Sen. Sullivan seems to be trolling for whatever defense project he can find to lure to Alaska. These are your tax dollars at work here, and they give poor return dollar for dollar on such despised things as, well, help for those living in poverty. Don’t forget, we are in the throes of a huge budget deficit, thanks to the actions of the President and his Republican sycophants who passed a huge tax cut that has disproportionately benefited the very, very, very rich. Trump being among them.

    • The F-35 and F-22 airframes have fundamentally different missions, F-22s are primarily used for air superiority and stand-off air defense, while F-35s are designed for close air support and ground support missions. Which is why it makes perfect sense to have both airframes stationed in Alaska. There is also strategic value to basing in Alaska due to the fact that we are closer to any point in the northern hemisphere from here than anywhere else in the US.

      • Don’t confuse him with details. He probably thinks the F-80 Shooting Star will get the job done just fine for all missions.

  • Suggestion: Remove Naval assets and personnel from Puget Sound in Washington before ANTIFA overruns the bases and seizes the nuclear weapons. I am not kidding.

  • WTF? Al Gross is riding shotgun on the Russian sub seen way off in the distance.

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