PROM THE PRESIDENT
The holiday season will have passed when this issue of the Submarine Review reaches you. But still my lingering best wishes for our submarine community will be transferred on to you. The New Year–1984–signals the start of a wide range of activities, highlighted by the annual Submarine League Symposium and Business Meeting on the first Tuesday in May, 1 Hay 1984. I would ask that each of you note this affair on your calendar.
Our ambitious goal of 1984 Submarine League members by the first of the year has evidently fallen short of the mark. As of 1 December 1983 our membership totaled 1257 of which 337 were submariners on active duty. Although we’ve been averaging about 85 new members for the past few months, our enlistment of new members appears to be accelerating so that very possibly I will be able to announce the reaching of our 1984 goal at our 1 May meeting.
Our contribution/donation program has taken a very healthy jump with the Corporate Benefactor program adding many “Founders” names to the League’s Honor Roll. Founder’s Recognition Day saw 24 corporate benefactor representatives in attendance for superb briefings by Admiral Steve White and Vice Admiral Ron Thunman on major issues faced by the Submarine Force. The intention of the Submarine League is to make this an annual affair.
With 1984 upon us, reflections on George Orwell’s 1984 allow a few observations about the Submarine League and its Submarine Review. The use of “doublespeak” in Orwell’s country of Oceania might apply to our Review in that “the Silent Service” should not be silent in their active discussions of submarine matters in the Review. Oceania’s unacceptable use of “doublethink”, with ideas like “slavery is freedon” relates to what has already been expressed in many Review articles–that peacetime submarine operations cannot be the same as those in war and therefore applying the war experience of some of our League members to today’s submarine problems is a useful activity. Unlike Orwell’s country of Oceania which had elimin~ted all history prior to the takeover by a current “inner party” regime ruled by Big Brother, the Review will aim to renew an understanding of historical submarine experience–even back to the beginnings of Da Vinci, Holland, Wilkins, etc. And, unlike the “inner party’ a” use of thought control, the direction taken by the Review has been toward a free expression of ideas, with the ferment they create in furthering the art of submarining and improving submarine systems. The great payoffs in war from an intelligenct skipper’s departure from submarine doctrine is not only good material for our Review but also suggestive of new strategy and tactics for use with our present nuclear submarines.
I’m interested in your thinking and ideas, so let me know your thoughts about articles you are interested in contributing–to help the dialogue being generated in the Submarine Review.
Have a happy and healthy ’84!
This quarterly issue of the Submarine Review marks one year of publication. In summarizing the general tenor of the articles which have appeared in the Review, it might be observed that, for the most part, submarine matters of today were being examined on the basis of historical experience. Many of the articles seemed to suggest that there should be more concern as to the possibility of another way “in our time”. But that may only be the attitude of old submarine warriors who worry about the incredible growth of a competent Soviet submarine force and who are true believers in the increasing importance of “sinking the Navy” in today ‘s envirotlllent of antiehip missiles–as explained in the article on semi-submarines in this issue. With the development of a new u.S. attack submarine for the ’90s as a focus, the direction of U.S. submarines in future wars seems up for debate. Frank Lynch’s “The Genesis of the Fleet Boat” would appear to indicate that so11e thaw in the frozen strategic thinking about submarines “operating independently• might be in order today–particularly in light of Soviet use of their submarines in combined/coordinated operations with other units, and the probable u.s. need to return to a “fleet” concept for submarine support of battle groupe. It would eeea that, as in the 1927 General Board Meeting described, the characteristics of the new submarine should reflect the needs of the fleet commanders who have the responsibility for achieving the Navy’s objectives through the use of military force. But are the theater commanders influencing the characteristics of the new attack submarine through some sort of General Board? This seems to be the question which Frank Lynch raises. And this sort of dialogue might prove the usefulness of the Submarine Review, as more than just entertain.ant for dyed-in-the-wool fans of the Submarine Service.