NM Delegation Calls On U.S. Navy To Designate Next Nuclear Sub “USS Los Alamos” Upon 75th Anniversary

Letter to Secretary of the Navy urges support for naming the next U.S. Navy submarine “USS Los Alamos” in recognition of the contributions of Los Alamos National Laboratory, the people of Los Alamos, and nearby communities.

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M) and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M) sent a letter to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer in support of naming the Navy’s next Virginia class fast attack submarine the “USS Los Alamos” in recognition of the contributions the residents of Los Alamos have made to the United States Navy.

“The effort to honor the national laboratory responsible for the beginning of the nuclear age is a citizen-based initiative, and we hope their efforts to honor the men and women of the community and the laboratory will come to fruition. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of Los Alamos National Laboratory, and it is clear that the work of the men and women of Los Alamos has helped make the United States Navy the strongest in the world today,” the lawmakers wrote. “We strongly believe that the distinctive service and contributions by the people of Los Alamos for the Navy and our strategic deterrent merits naming a vessel that embodies the heritage, service, fidelity, and scientific achievements of the Los Alamos community in partnership with the United States Navy.”

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Since its founding, LANL has played a critical role in national and international security, research, and science. Los Alamos residents working on the Manhattan Project, many of whom were U.S. Navy personnel, helped bring about the end of World War II. LANL later designed, tested, and certified much of the nation’s nuclear deterrent and continues to ensure the annual certification of the nation’s nuclear stockpile. Work in Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project also provided the technical understanding in nuclear energy that led to the Naval Propulsion Program.

The community in New Mexico has strongly supported recognition of the contributions that residents of Los Alamos have made to the United States Navy. The USS Los Alamos Commissioning Committee has led an ongoing community effort to name a submarine the “USS Los Alamos.”

The initiative has the full support of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which unanimously included language in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act urging the Department of the Navy to name the next Navy submarine the “USS Los Alamos.”

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

The Honorable Richard V. Spencer
Secretary of the Navy
1000 Navy Pentagon, Room 4D652
Washington, DC 20350


Dear Secretary Spencer:

We write in strong support of naming the Navy’s next Virginia class fast attack submarine the USS Los Alamos. The effort to honor the national laboratory responsible for the beginning of the nuclear age is a citizen-based initiative, and we hope their efforts to honor the men and women of the community and the laboratory will come to fruition. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of Los Alamos National Laboratory, and it is clear that the work of the men and women of Los Alamos has helped make the United States Navy the strongest in the world today.

The community of Los Alamos has had an immense impact on our national security and global stability. The contributions of the people of Los Alamos and surrounding communities allowed the Navy to keep its offensive edge from World War II, through the Cold War, and continue to prepare the Navy for today’s emerging threats. In fact, the work of Los Alamos’ experts and residents played a critical role in designing the nuclear portion of the first nuclear weapon to enter the arsenal of the Navy and in the creation of the Naval Propulsion Program. To this day, the lab director at Los Alamos is required to certify, with the support of the lab’s many employees, the nation’s nuclear stockpile for reliability, including the entire sea-based deterrent aboard Navy submarines. The dedication and experience of this rare group of people have significantly contributed to the U.S. Navy’s ability to secure the freedom of the seas worldwide.

None of these contributions happened spontaneously. Patient progress made over countless hours of work by the Los Alamos community has yielded innumerable breakthroughs that continue to help the Navy keep Americans safe and provide aid to people in need. We strongly believe that the distinctive service and contributions by the people of Los Alamos for the Navy and our strategic deterrent merits naming a vessel that embodies the heritage, service, fidelity, and scientific achievements of the Los Alamos community in partnership with the United States Navy.

This initiative has the full support of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which unanimously included language in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act urging the Department of the Navy to name the next Navy submarine the USS Los Alamos. Specifically, the committee stated the following:

The committee notes that 2018 will be the 75th anniversary of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The committee further notes that people of Los Alamos, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Navy, have a 74-year relationship that spans the Manhattan Project through the creation of a nuclear Navy and to the sea-based leg of the strategic nuclear triad of the United States. The people of Los Alamos and surrounding communities have contributed to the Navy's offensive edge since World War II, through the Cold War, that continues today. The committee believes that naming a submarine USS Los Alamos will recognize and continue to forge the longstanding relationship between the Navy and Los Alamos. Therefore, the committee urges the Secretary of the Navy to name the next nuclear-powered fast attack submarine the USS Los Alamos.

We appreciate your consideration and hope that upon the 75th anniversary of Los Alamos National Laboratory you will join the Los Alamos community and people of Northern New Mexico on Monday, August 13, 2018, in celebrating and honoring their contributions to the national security of our country by naming the next nuclear-powered submarine the USS Los Alamos.

Sincerely,