Sun, Sep 26, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Subs and politics

By M. Jerome Curry

It is apparently little known that `Research Vessels of Texas' submitted a proposal to both the Naval International Programs Office (NIPO) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office to produce eight submarines and deliver them by January 2008.

A presentation was made to Taiwanese naval officer Captain Mike Chen and Taipei representative office officials in Washington. The presentation covered sensitive issues concerning equipment, strategy and tactics relation to the submarines. In order to meet the deadline for delivery, a production start date in late 2003 was required.

The proposal was first submitted to US President George W. Bush through Andrew Card, Bush's chief of staff.

In the cover letter to Card it was pointed out that procurement should not go through the standard Pentagon procedures such as the NIPO, as no US public funds were to be used and competitive bidding was not required.

The initial proposal minus contingency fees totalled US$2.56 billion for all eight submarines. With contingency fees included, the total was US$4 billion.

If produced by the planned start date, the subs would have been among the most advanced conventional submarines in the world.

Two items are noted with disappointment. First, Card sent the proposal to the NIPO, where the contract officer essentially refused to consider it (this was expected). Second, the Taiwan representative office never formally accepted or rejected the proposal (they said NIPO was handling their effort to acquire the submarines).

If Research Vessels of Texas was included in the deal, this project could have been successfully completed.

It cannot be said that the US was incapable of fulfilling the promise made by its president to the people of Taiwan and their military.

The people of Taiwan need to know this. Hopefully you can tell them.

M. Jerome Curry

President, Research Vessels of Texas

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