The Navy now has five submarines homeported in Guam — up from two the service had based there as of November 2021.
The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines Springfield and Annapolis shifted their homeport to Naval Base Guam last month. The Springfield was previously based in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii while the Annapolis was at Naval Base Point Loma in California.
According to Bret Grabbe, commodore of Submarine Squadron 15, the homeport shifts represent an opportunity to “support Indo-Pacific initiatives and missions.”
The Navy announced it was aiming to bolster its submarine force in Guam last year. Rear Adm. Jeffrey Jablon, the head of Submarine Force Pacific, said in November at the Naval Submarine League’s annual symposium that the Navy would increase the number of submarines homeported in Guam to five in 2022.
At the time, Los Angeles class fast-attack submarines Key West and Asheville were the only submarines based in Guam. The Navy subsequently moved the fast-attack submarine Jefferson City from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to Guam in December.
Jablon said that additional infrastructure to support the growing submarine fleet is in the works, such as a pier to eventually accommodate a Virginia Block V attack submarine, the first of which is expected to be delivered to the fleet in 2026.
“I can guarantee you there is a significant amount of ‘MilCon’ that is going into Guam, specifically with the submarine force,” Jablon said, noting other construction projects in the works include a new medical clinic and barracks to house more sailors.
The move to increase the submarine force in Guam comes as China is beefing up its own submarine fleet. China currently owns four ballistic missile submarines, along with a force of 50 diesel-electric attack submarines, the Nuclear Threat Initiative reported in February 2021.