From the Washington Free Beacon.
A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks and its travel in strategic U.S. waters was only confirmed after it left the region, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.
It is only the second time since 2009 that a Russian attack submarine has patrolled so close to U.S. shores.
The stealth underwater incursion in the Gulf took place at the same time Russian strategic bombers made incursions into restricted U.S. airspace near Alaska and California in June and July, and highlights a growing military assertiveness by Moscow.
The submarine patrol also exposed what U.S. officials said were deficiencies in U.S. anti-submarine warfare capabilities—forces that are facing cuts under the Obama administration’s plan to reduce defense spending by $487 billion over the next 10 years.
The Navy is in charge of detecting submarines, especially those that sail near U.S. nuclear missile submarines, and uses undersea sensors and satellites to locate and track them.
The fact that the Akula was not detected in the Gulf is cause for concern, U.S. officials said.
The officials who are familiar with reports of the submarine patrol in the Gulf of Mexico said the vessel was a nuclear-powered Akula-class attack submarine, one of Russia’s quietest submarines.
[...]Submarine warfare specialists say the Akula remains the core of the Russian attack submarine force.
The submarines can fire both cruise missiles and torpedoes, and are equipped with the SSN-21 and SSN-27 submarine-launched cruise missiles, as well as SSN-15 anti-submarine-warfare missiles. The submarines also can lay mines.
The SSN-21 has a range of up to 1,860 miles.
Why is this happening? Well, it might be because of Obama’s policy of unilateral disarmament, appeasement and retreat.
The Navy is facing sharp cuts in forces needed to detect and counter such submarine activity.
The Obama administration’s defense budget proposal in February cut $1.3 billion from Navy shipbuilding projects, which will result in scrapping plans to build 16 new warships through 2017.
The budget also called for cutting plans to buy 10 advanced P-8 anti-submarine warfare jets needed for submarine detection.
In June, Russian strategic nuclear bombers and support aircraft conducted a large-scale nuclear bomber exercise in the arctic. The exercise included simulated strikes on “enemy” strategic sites that defense officials say likely included notional attacks on U.S. missile defenses in Alaska.
Under the terms of the 2010 New START arms accord, such exercises require 14-day advanced notice of strategic bomber drills, and notification after the drills end. No such notification was given.
A second, alarming air incursion took place July 4 on the West Coast when a Bear H strategic bomber flew into U.S. airspace near California and was met by U.S. interceptor jets.
That incursion was said to have been a bomber incursion that has not been seen since before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Is Obama really cutting defense? Consider this article from Investors Business Daily.
The administration announces a leaner version of our military involving the cutting of tens of thousands of ground troops as a leading defense contractor closes a major plant due to budget cuts.
In an unusual appearance at the Pentagon on Thursday, President Obama laid out his plans for a “leaner” military based on the need “to renew our economic strength here at home, which is the foundation of our strength in the world.”
In other words, failed domestic policies require us to cut our military in a dangerous world.
[...]Defense cuts are already having a domestic effect. Boeing Co. announced Wednesday it will close its defense plant in Wichita, Kan., by the end of 2013, moving future aircraft maintenance, modification and support to other facilities.
The closure, prompted by defense cuts, will cost 2,160 workers their jobs.
[...]A 14-page analysis by the Republican majority staff of the House Armed Services Committee says the cumulative cuts will result in the Army and Marines losing 200,000 troops.
The Navy will shrink to 238 vessels from today’s 300 and would lose two carrier battle groups needed to project American power and influence. Strategic bombers will fall from 153 to 101. Air Force fighters would drop by more than half, from 3,602 aircraft to 1,512 planes.
I blogged more about the Obama administration’s cuts to defense last week.