FROM THE PRESIDENT
I am pleased to report several actions which demonstrate our intent to produce a responsive and dynamic Naval Submarine League. First, the Directors have approved a Submarine Service awards program for submarine-related personnel, but not to include senior officers of the rank of Commander or higher — for whom there are seemingly adequate awards programs in existence. Recipients of the awards will be selected by the DCNO (SUBS) for approval by the Submarine League Directors. Each recipient of an award and spouse will be invited to the Annual Symposium for recognition. The Charles A. Lockwood Award for Submarine Professional Excellence will be given to a Junior Officer, a Chief Petty Officer, and an enlisted man (E-6 or below). The Levering Smith Award for Submarine Support Achievement will be given to a LCDR or below or a civilian. And the Frederick B. Warder Award for Outstanding Achievement — for a specific action or continuing performance which had a favorable impact on the submarine service will be given to a LCDR or below or a civilian. These awards should fill a need for special recognition of deserving individuals and serve as a link between junior submarine personnel and the Submarine League. It should also be an avenue to unify and strengthen the League’s membership.
Admiral Long, the Submarine League’s Chairman, along with the Directors felt a great need to have new and broad inputs for the League’s direction. Consequently, an Advisory Council of 12 distinguished submariners and 3 senior executives of industry has been established. Vice Admiral Phil Beshany was designated the Council President. This Council is designed to allow a group of dedicated individuals to make recommendations on critical issues vital to the continued growth of the Submarine League towards the accomplishment of its goals.
Finally, in response to the many comments of League members, the Directors of the Submarine League have decided to dispense with a classified briefing as part of the Annual Symposium, feeling that it could not be justified. The 1 1/2 day agenda will however be maintained, with the business meeting initiating the Symposium and with more time allocated for membership inputs at this session. This should be a useful and productive modification to our annual meeting’s agenda. The Fourth Annual Symposium will be held on 9-10 July, 1986, at the Mark Radisson Hotel and Convention Center in Alexandria, Virginia. Please mark this date on your calendar.
The Holiday season is past, but to wish all Submarine League members, “good health and success in the new year of 1986”. The Submarine League is destined to play a vital role in this country’s defense posture. It need your support and participation in 1986.
FROM THE EDITOR
A Senate Armed Services Committee staff study has provided the arguments for Senators Nunn and Goldwater in their campaign to have basic changes made in the defense organization. A major and suggested well publicized change, is to disestablish the Joint Chiefs of Staff and establish a Joint Military Advi sory Council of 4-star military officers on their last tour of duty — to serve as the principal military advisors to the President, with the Chairman providing military advice in his own right.
Of lesser dramatic nature but probably of greater importance to our national security interests are the Study’s recommendations relative to the military services’ strategic process and the strategies being derived. regard, the status of strategic planning submarine service might be considered. planning In this in the
Is strategic planning an important activity of the submarine service? Mahan considered it to be “the essence of the military art.” Yet, as the Study observes, because insufficient attention is being paid to strategic planning, there is “no clear articulation of the strategic goals and concepts necessary to establish resource priorities and to adapt readily to changing requirements and concepts.”
Many of the articles in this present Submarine Review represent useful thoughts in the strategic planning process. Hence, a focussing on specific related ideas in individual articles herein should be useful in assessing the concerns expressed in the Study with regard to the strategies of the services. Specifically, these articles can help one reflect on the extent to which — or even whether — the submarine service is — in the words of the Study — guilty of developing a strategy which “is merely a convenient rationale to justify the weapons systems that the services want to buy” and as a result, “strategic plans are totally unrealistic and offer no guidelines for determining priorities in the actual allocation of resources.”
KJM’s “Not So Triyia a Pursuit” book review makes observations relative to the external characteristics of Soviet submarines which would belie the basic assumption of our present attack submarine strategy for war — i.e. a quick forward decimation of Soviet submarines so as to ensure a control of vital sea areas which are critical to the support of u.s. overseas military forces and the U.S. economy, as outlined in VADM Thunman’s “The Past is Prologue.” Why certain design features are incompatible with the Soviet bastion strategy, and what they probably indicate as a more likely employment for many of the Soviet submarines, can be a necessary factor in the Submarine Service’s strategic planning. The article on quiet MHO power in Soviet submarines alerts the strategic planner to the impact of this possible development on the present strategy.
Tony Wells’ “Soviet Prospects” article provides changes in the threat which should be regarded in the strategic planning process in order to develop alternative strategies to meet such changes along with an evaluation or possible U.S. strategies and their priority. His thought that the Soviets are likely to carry some of their submarine war to the Continental Shelf areas of the United States needs to be evaluated and possibly factored into a modified U.S. submarine strategy. Also, Wells’ recognition of the problems or finding enemy submarines in the Marginal Sea Ice Zone — •like looking for a needle in a haystack” — might belie U.S. optimism as to quickly destroying Soviet submarines. John Leonard’s “The Melee,” moreover, while recognizing the possibility of such engagements where mutual detection ranges are low, as in the sea-ice-zone, suggests a need for new kinds of weapons and approach to this mode of underseas fighting. The article on the Fuel Cell Submarine would also suggest the need for more and new kinds of submarine resources to fight the battles of a general war — reinforcing Tony Wells’ assumptions particularly as to more u.s. submarines being needed to protect the coasts of the u.s. from enemy submarine actions.
What this all adds up to is an appreciation of the problems facing the submarine strategic planner and the need for people trained in this discipline who can develop alternative strategies to meet changes in the threat as it develops. CAPT Linton Brooks in a previous SUBMARINE REVIEW article decried the loss of a critical number of submarine officers who were trained for strategic thinking about “nuclear” war and he saw the possibility that our submarine war plans for “nuclear” war would suffer.
Perhaps a general recognition of the need for a strong cadre of strategic thinkers and planners is lacking throughout all the services, and has been the root-cause of the Senators’ indictment of present military strategy.