Conflict in life is inevitable. The bad news is that it can cause crisis. The good news is that it can create opportunity. The key to progress is conflict resolution. Unresolved conflict in important issues leads to hate, discontent and no progress. Resolved conflict leads to new and important directions and can magnify cooperation. Please note I Conflict and its resolution will determine the course to future goals; the level of cooperation will determine the speed for getting there! So what for the Naval Submarine League??
Some important issues surfaced at the recent annual meeting of the Naval Submarine League (May 1, 1984). These included:
- the number of United States attack class submarines has been set at about 100 since the earlyfifities. In view of the increasing ability of the attack boat to contribute to our countrys maritime defence, is the number too low?
- the level of the R&D budget for submarine warfare is $700M per year .This is approximately x% of the total Navy R&D budget and y:t of the DOD R&D budget. Given the increasing number and type of Soviet submarines, the known committment of the Soviet submarine force to an aggressive quieting program, the need for u.s. submarine forces to become competent at rapid deployment of individual platforms in large scale group operations in order to oppose similar mass movements by Soviet naval forces, the need for increased accuracy in over-the-horizon attack, the need for long range detection and classification in highly noise-cluttered areas, and given the predicted collapse of the time dimension in future sea warfare and the expansion of the space dimension- is this budget enough?
- are there enough weapons in the submarine inventory to fight a war of the type assumed? Recent tactical exercises have indicated the importance of firing torpedo spreads! The base of factual knowledge on how many weapons it takes to inflict lethal damage is weak. Maybe the stockpile should be larger!
- is there too much “freedom-of-speech” in the Submarine Review, the quarterly publication of the Naval Submarine League? Articles on alternate power plant design (diesel, hybrid fuel-cell, magneto-hydrodynamics) or on inadequacies in operational readiness (need for systematic training) may run counter to words being said by the official submarine Navy to each other, and rather importantly to the Congress at budget time. So the question arises–how can the Naval Submarine League achieve its fourth objective, “to provide a forum wherein the views and perceptions of the membership can be focused and examined” without hurting its third objective– “to encourage mutual understanding and a close working relationship between American society and those United States Government segments responsible for the acquisition and employment of submarines”?
To resolve the four issues above, and other equally important issues which certainly exist, one answer is not to ask the active duty officers, now on the line as submarine leaders, to cooperate more fully with the League. No one who has heard about the Benefactors briefings by the Admirals White, Thunmam, and McKee, or has attended the League meeting in which some of the above plus Hoffman, Kauderer, Scott, Bacon and others have spoken, can be anything but impressed by the willingness and enthusiasm of these people to support the League. Nor is the answer to stifle the style and content of the articles in the Submarine Review organized and edited by Bill Rube. The magazine is as professional as can be and has thoughts in it every bit as good as the Naval Institute Proceedings or the Naval War College Review.
To resolve the four issues above and others, there is an answer which is— to periodically do so and publish the consensus (i.e. the resolution of the conflict) as a set of annual planks in the Naval Submarine League Platform. It would be a sort of “sense-of-the-League” statement, for example, for the year 1985 and beyond.
Summarized, the following is proposed on the all important subject of ISSUES, CONFLICT and the LEAGUE:
- Acknowledge the absolute essentiality of the past high level of cooperation given by the active duty members of the League to League objectives.
- Insist on the continuing worth of the four League objectives (awareness of need for a strong submarine force,close working relationship with u.s. government segments,greater communication, and a forum for views).
- Urge even more forum-type membership participation at League meetings and in articles for the Submarine Review.
- Annually publish a set of statements which the majority of the League believes to be true. Supporting logic must clearly be evident if others are to take the views seriously.
The Submarine Review and an ANNUAL PLANKS AND PLATFORM should be seen clearly in terms of their differing contents. Th Review is the forum for debate and beginning focus. It represents the views of individuals, but stated within the bounds of fact and logic. The ANNUAL statement would be what the League as a whole thinks is important for the coming year or two or more, stated for example in 1985.