Change is the major subject which is highlighted in this edition of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW, and it is that change in the world as we have known it since the late 40s that will be causing great impact on our community in the near future; perhaps much more so than in other areas of the U.S. national security establishment. Indeed, the importance of understanding what is now going on can hardly be over emphasized.
Vice Admiral Dan Cooper’s article leads this issue with a general picture of what that change will mean to the Submarine Force; and he puts forth a call to all of us to use our knowledge of submarines and what they can do to meet head-on the new challenges brought about in this era of change.
Next, Mr. Bob Murray discusses some realities of the New World Order, the issues that have to be faced by the country, and the probable future of the nation’s maritime forces. He stresses the importance of learning the right lessons from the Gulf Crisis and specifically cites both the increasing importance of the TRIDENT force and the new attention which must be given to the cruise missile potential of our attack submarines.
The third article, by Dr. Jim Tritten of the Navy Postgraduate School’s Department of National Security Affairs, treats one aspect of that general change with a welcome analysis of the current state of the Administration’s new plan for the reorganization of the Unified and Specified Command structure. This highly important innovation was announced just as the Gulf Crisis started, therefore it has not received nearly the notice in the public press which it deserves. It may well be that the discussion which leads to the implementation of this new plan will set the force level for the attack submarine force, and a new command arrangement for our strategic submarines.
One critical result of the winds of change sweeping U.S. defense philosophy, and the manner in which the cuts in funding will be allocated, is the impact on what we should properly label “The Submarine Industrial Base.” Because the industries which support modem submarines are so specialized and have become so narrowly structured, it appears that this submarine industrial bose may be in more danger tban the defense industry in general. Three articles treat this problem.
We are fortunate to have both Mr. Ed Campbell and Mr. Jim Turner, the heads of Newport News and Electric Boat respectively, express their views of the elements involved and the seriousness of the problem. In addition, Mr. Dan Curran of Raytheon addresses the complementary problem of the combat system base.
FROM THE PRESIDENT
At this writing, in the aftermath of the swift and decisive J-\.Desert Storm victory, defense planners are once again turning their attention to the “build-down” of the armed forces, a task set aside during the conflict. Lessons learned from the Persian Gulf, such as the superb performance of the allvolunteer force, the impact of stealth on the modem battlefield, and the success of high tech weaponry, are certain to influence the final structure of the defense organization. Other considerations include an austere, and declining federal budget, the uncertainty of recent events in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and the need to preserve a very fragile defense industrial base.
The Submarine Force is thoroughly immersed in this contentious issue. Thus, the League membership should be aware of the complex drivers which will determine the size and shape of the Force of the next century. To that end, the agenda for our annual Symposium in June will feature speakers who are engaged on a daily basis in the debate. Their candid views from Capitol Hill to the Pentagon, and those from beyond the Beltway, will put in perspective the dramatic decisions which will affect us all. From the Intelligence Community, what will be the real threat of the next decade? What are the new and evolving roles and missions for our SSNs? What are the latest developments in submarine technology in Europe, and where might we encounter that capability? Where does our TRIDENT SSBN force fit in the proposed Joint Strategic Command? How will the smaller Submarine Force affect officer and enlisted career planning? How will concepts for the follow-on to SSN-21 be formulated? We think we have an exciting program.
I have had the great pleasure of visiting recently two of our regional chapters; Central Florida, to present their Charter, and Pacific Southwest to address a quarterly meeting in San Diego. Clearly, the interest and enthusiasm I encountered are the keys to the growth and future success of the League. Efforts to organize a Pearl Harbor Chapter have just recently come to fruition, and a San Francisco Bay Area Chapter is just over the horizon. We are on a roll. For those who might be intimidated by the task of forming a chapter, be aware that help is available from National Headquarters, financial and administrative. The experience of the earliest chapters is there to guide you.
On August 2, 1990, President Bush, in an address to the Aspen Institute, proposed four pillars upon which the future national defense should be built: deterrence; forward presence; crisis responsei and force reconstitution. Several of the concepts might be spelled SSBN or SSN. This ~ an exciting time to be associated with the Submarine Force. Bring your friends, and be a player.