BRAC Commission Saves Groton Naval Submarine Base

The Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) Commission voted today to take Groton’s submarine base off the list.

Commission Votes To Save Sub Base (Hartford Courant)

The base-closing commission today voted 7-1 to keep the Naval Submarine Base in Groton open. The panel overwhelming rejected the May 13 Pentagon recommendation to shut the 90-year-old facility — a move it said would save $1.6 billion. Commission members, meeting in the Arlington, Va. hotel, made it clear they did not buy that argument — or any others. “It would be a tragic mistake, a tragic loss to this nation,” Commission Chairman Anthony J. Principi said before the vote.

Connecticut officials reacted with joy. “Yahoo!” said U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, D-Conn. “Submarine base New London lives, and I think that it will live forever.” Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she was in tears as she listened to the decision while in her car on the way to New London. The governor said she had someone in her office hold a phone to a television set so she could hear the vote. “We did it! We did it!” Rell said.

Groton was one of the odder inclusions on the list, as well as one of the most major.

For previous OTB posts on the BRAC process, see our BRAC category archives.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark says:

    I would like the audio of Senator Lieberman’s “Yahoo!” I think it may rank right up there with a certain “YEEEEARGH!”

  2. SoloD says:

    Finally “Joe-mentum” has kicked into high gear!

  3. David Anfinrud says:

    Well I worked at that subbase for over 10 years during my 20 year navy career. I know the base very well. I was there when they got rid of most of the shipyard workers. I was there when the got rid of the Boomer’s(Nuclear missile Submarines) each time the economy tanked in the area. A major depression even in the job growth 90’s because they could not replace the jobs that were lost.
    But I am of two minds on this base closure issue. It is an old base that needs a lot of work to keep running properly. That is very expensive to maintain. The state grabs as much money as it can from the military to maintain them there. So economically it should be closed.
    Yet it is good to have submarines in several locations. One missile will not put all our submarines out of commission. Groton Subase is in a bad location that you blow up the Interstate bridge you stop all submarines from going to see for a couple of days. (Another negative).
    This base has served a lot of good purposes but with the EB shipyard just about closed down. It seems a waste of money to maintain it. When the shipyard was working full blast making submarines it was good to have a base to house all the sailors and their families. Things were going well. Now Because of politicians it is maintained. It is a drain on defense spending just like all the other bases that politicians get to save from the cutting block.
    Overall I wish the base would close because it has served it purpose with Honor and Dignity. It is time that the Military makes determination of what bases it needs or doesnt need. Politicians should have no say. If they have a way to save money in the long run then let them do it. Because it means we get more for our money. But then Politicians dont care about money they just care about votes. And a base closing means a lose of a lot of votes. BOth from the community and saliors wives.

  4. R Gardner says:

    I also noticed the commission decided to fully close another New England facility, New Brunswick Naval Air Station, Maine. It was initially selected for realignment, with 80% of its function (the P-3 ocean surveillance/ASW aircraft) being transferred to Florida.

    Additionally, the Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth, NH/Kittery, MA was likewise spared.

    However, I can’t believe the commentary I’ve heard on the news today (NPR, NBC) saying the Commission didn’t want to leave New England unprotected in the GWOT. Unprotected from what? The shipyard is a depot maintenance facility, and the subs in Groton are of little use protecting “New England” from terrorists (yes, they can launch cruise missiles (range ~1200 nm), but they can do that based anywhere (unless the enemy is Canada, eh?).