(Newsroom America) -- Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is demanding more details from the Pentagon following a report that a Russian submarine patrolled in the Gulf of Mexico, off U.S. shores, undetected for a month.
The incursion has not gotten much attention in the national media, but Cornyn says it is a serious incident, especially taken with other Russian incursions recently involving submarines and aircraft.
"The submarine patrol, taken together with the air incursions, seems to represent a more aggressive and destabilizing Russian military stance that could pose risks to our national security," Cornyn said in a letter to the Pentagon, according to the Houston Chronicle.
"This is especially troubling given the drastic defense cuts sought by President Obama, which include reductions in funding for antisubmarine defense systems," he said.
The story was broken by the Washington Free Beacon's longtime defense reporter Bill Gertz. In his initial report, which was picked up by Newsroom America shortly thereafter, Gertz said the incusion involved a Russian Akula-class attack submarine capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons.
Video of operations involving a Russian Akula-class submarine.
"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," he reported.
"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," he said in his report.
Cornyn, a San Antonio Republican who has a seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Gertz's report is "especially troubling given the drastic defense cuts sought by President Obama, which include reductions in funding for antisubmarine defense systems."
A Navy spokesman dismissed Gertz's report.
"We are aware of the reporting but we see nothing to indicate that it is true," said Lt. John Fage.
The Akula class was first built in the 1980s to counter the U.S. Los Angeles class attack boats.
"The Akula class is the follow on to the Victor III and remains the most capable Russian attack submarine until the newer Yasen class is commissioned," said a description from the Web site WeaponSystems.net.
"The Akula was built for one reason and one reason only: To kill U.S. Navy ballistic missile submarines and their crews," one U.S. official told the Beacon. "It’s a very stealthy boat so it can sneak around and avoid detection and hope to get past any protective screen a boomer might have in place."
"Sending a nuclear-propelled submarine into the Gulf of Mexico-Caribbean region is another manifestation of President Putin demonstrating that Russia is still a player on the world’s political-military stage," said Normal Polmar, a naval analyst and submarine warfare specialist. "Like the recent deployment of a task force led by a nuclear cruiser into the Caribbean, the Russian Navy provides him with a means of ‘showing the flag’ that is not possible with Russian air and ground forces," he said.
© 2012 Newsroom America.