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Our Fourth Annual Symposium has come and gone and by any measure of success I feel that those members who were in attendance were well served. The Symposium attendance was 650 and the banquet attendance 826. Our speakers were all very informative. One of the highlights was listening to three of our submarine Commanding Officers tell about the activities of their ships. We hope next year to hear from submarine tender and submarine base Commanding Officers.

The Fifth Annual Symposium will be held on 10-11 June, 1987, at the Mark Radisson Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. Please try to attend.

Perhaps you will recall that earlier this year, a Submarine League questionnaire was provided along with your ballot. We received about 700 returns on the questionnaire and about the same response for the ballot. The varied comments to the questionnaire were tallied and summarized in preparation for a Submarine League Director’s review. Listing the questions raised, and their responses briefly summarized:

  1. What role do you feel is being fulfilled by the Naval Submarine League? Uniformly, our members felt that the League provided a necessary submarine-oriented forum; a means/mechanism to educate the public; or a means to support a strong submarine Navy. Only twelve members felt that the League was a mutual admiration social club. And one member called it a captive voice for the DCNO (Submarines) (OP02).
  2. Do you believe that this is the proper role? If not, what should it be? Most of our members felt that the Submarine League was on the right track with a control led expansion and involvement. Additionally, fifty of our members indicated that they would like more League sponsorship of submarine activities and awards, and more civic involvement. A lesser number felt that the League should encourage a discussion of innovative ideas and be a forum tor controversial volatile issues.
  3. What is your opinion of the image/reputation of the Submarine League? Most members felt that the League was too young to be subject to a constructive opinion. A small number of comments which are of concern centered about the issue that a few of our active duty members think that the League is comprised of, for the most part, ~old fogies.” -A few members from industry felt that “it one wasn’t a submariner he didn’t count.”
  4. Could the image/reputation of the League be improved? If so, how? Twenty members felt that advertising the Submarine League in the Navy Times, Proceedings or Sea Power would give the League added and necessary exposure. Several members desired to see active duty members on the Board of Directors. Finally, there was a desire to establish the League as a distribution point for information on submarine matters.
  5. What are your thoughts on League growth and what actions are necessary to reach new members? The most prevalent comment was that “big is not necessarily better.” But more positive, we should “help the submarine service by joining the League.”
  6. Any other comments? By far the most frequent comment was “THE SUBMARINE REVIEW is great — keep up the good work.” Four members felt that the articles published were borderline classified, and fifteen members wanted to have “a first-class glossy journal like the ANA magazine or the Proceedings.”

The Directors and I are very sensitive to any possible breach of  security and as I have discussed before, we do not intend to let any security lapse occur.  Our approach will be similar to that expressed  by our new CNO, Admiral Trost.

Recently, while discussing the Submarine League and the problems of security vis-a-vis the SUBMARINE REVIEW, Admiral Trost noted that the SUBMARINE REVIEW was a fine professional journal and with careful review can provide an excellent forum for discussing submarine issues while being informative. So be it.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the Naval Submarine League Board of Directors for electing me as your President for the next two years. We all owe Chuck Griffiths a hearty “well done” for leading the League into this major phase of growth and development. I shall earnestly try to continue on with the programs he has started. I need and ask for your support. Onward . . . .

Shannon Cramer


The U.S. nuclear submarine has been called “the finest naval weapon in the world today.” Submariners accept the use of the word “weapon” to describe their submarines. And military writers, as well, carelessly term military weapon-carrying platrorms as “weapons.” Yet, the submarine is~ a “weapon”; while the torpedo it fires is.

Is it worth making this distinction?

Apparently it is. Calling a submarine a “weapon” makes it easy to rorget the actual importance or submarine torpedoes. In the process: stockpiles or torpedoes are inadequately funded; torpedo research and development lags; systems analysis or submarine efrectiveness emphasizes submarine capability rather than torpedo capability; strategic planners worry about how the oceans’ geography impacts on submarine employments — with far less regard ror how torpedoes will function in various sea environments; in the same sense, potential U.S. submarine exchange rates against Soviet submarines are based on platform capabilities with lesser emphasis on how the torpedoes of both sides efrect an outcome. In fact, because more seems to be known about the enemy’s submarine capabilities than torpedoes, it is easier to discount the enemy’s torpedo capability and “sweep it under the rug.”

By frequently labeling the submarine as a weapon, one is lulled into believing that it is actually a weapon. Yet the only warship that has proved to be a “weapon” is one with a ramming capability. The Phoenician oar-propelled galleys with their prows hardened and made sharp, are a classical example of a warship made into a weapon. Today’s submarines, on the other hand, with their “soft” rounded bows are certainly not designed to carry out the ramming function satisfactorily.

One knows that it is the “weapon” that destroys the enemy ship not the platform itselr. So clearer focus on weapons would be achieved if the term “weapon” was not applied to military platforms.

Calling a nuclear submarine a “weapon” is akin to calling it a “ship” — which obfuscates its uniqueness from other vessels. Similarly, calling oneself a “nuke” places nuclear propulsion in a preeminent position ahead of the submarine itself, as well as the identity of being a “submariner.” But perhaps this sort or misuse or military terminology has become acceptable, after the Air Force introduction of the term “strategic” to mean the employment of intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles against an enemy’s homeland — instead or pertaining to the meaning or “strategy.”

You can belittle what is outlined here about “weapons,” and write it orr as merely the quirk of an editor. But it should be realized that the points made stem from a personal belief that actual “weapons” have not gotten sufficient emphasis in a submarine force, focussed on nuclear powered submarines.


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