F or the April issue of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW, we identified change as the common highlight of the subjects presented. In many ways that condition of emphasis on general change will remain with us for the foreseeable future. That is the clear message of Admiral Jeremiah’s remarks about the forces shaping the U.S. military and its tasks over the next quarter to half century. To a very real extent, however, the major theme for this edition of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW is concerned with the more specific subject of what is being done to face that change.
This theme is set by the reproduction here of the key addresses at the Annual Symposium. Those speeches treated the subject in general, and in one definite aspect, both explicitly and implicitly. It is quite clear that successful pursuit of the SEA WOLF building program is felt by Secretary Cann, Admiral DeMars and Vice Admiral Bacon to be essential to this nation’s defense posture. It is equally apparent from the remarks of Admiral Jeremiah about both the required belt tightening and the necessity of being ready for the unpredictable future, that the Submarine Force needs the multi-mission flexibility, and the quick, efficient force response that the SEA WOLF class can offer to the National Command Authority in those uncertain times ahead. Our readers are urged to note Vice Admiral Bacon’s request for help on this matter.
It was not the original editorial plan to present more than one of the Symposium addresses in this issue, but the uniquely complementary nature of those four main substantive presentations was felt to recommend to our readers an integrated consideration. Each of these speakers treats the problem of Why Submarines, and Why the Best Submarines? from his own vantage point – and the points they make are those that we should be telling others about.
In addition to the Symposium addresses, two other articles address Submarine Force adaptability to change. Dr. Hogland’s excellent piece on the relation of attack submarine requirements and capabilities was originally presented in May at the Submarine Technology Symposium, jointly sponsored by the League and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. It was suggested that we reprint it in these pages because the proceedings of that symposium will be classified and therefore not available to the many who can benefit from those insights. Captain Rad Plyler, in his piece about the strategic role in the future, descnbes the Navy’s ongoing action to address the change coming in the strategic submarine force.
The emphasis, however, on the issues challenging the submarine community today, and for the near term future, is that they are very real problems and not just the subjects of learned discussion. Of the four main issues called out by Admiral DeMars — the industrial base, force levels, the Soviet threat and the maintenance of U.S. maritime supremacy — the first is very much in the national eye with the contract for the second SEA WOLF being contested in federal court. The force level issue is, of course, an underlying and perhaps a causative factor in what is really a dispute over how the nation shall handle the maintenance of critical forces. It is appropriate, therefore, that we devote more space than usual to the way in which the nation is perceiving both that issue and the submarine community in general. The In the News section is organized by issue and strives for two objectives: to give a clear picture of what is going on, and to demonstrate the wide interest being shown by the public in these important submarine matters.
FROM THE PRESIDENT
As this issue of THE SUBMARINE REVIEW goes to press, the glow of the very successful Ninth Annual Symposium is still very much with us. As a result of incremental adjustments over the years, and good old submarine feed-back of lessons learned, the Symposium has achieved a proper balance between the quality, diversity and significance of the formal presentations, and the pure enjoyment of reunion and socializing with old friends and shipmates. (Note: several attendees were heard to say, “HI just stand in one place, my whole life in submarines will pass before me.”)
Our agenda read like a Who’s Who in Submarines. We were privileged to hear directly from the movers and shakers of the submarine world their very frank and candid views and their assessments of the submarine future. There was good news and there was bad news. We have published a sampling of those presentations in this issue. More will follow.
During the League business meeting, my Report To The Membership showed a sound financial condition, a healthy and growing chapter network, great support from our corporate benefactors, and clear evidence that the League, in a variety of ventures, is out delivering the “submarine message.” As a challenge, I charged those present, and especially, the Chapter Representatives, with the task of increasing our membership. Like the mystical 3000 level of the Dow Jones Industrials, we need to break through and beyond the 4200 mark about which we have maintained a zero float for the past year. To that end, John Asher has accepted the Chairmanship of the Membership Committee. If you have ideas on this important subject, tell John.
The question has again been raised about the possible declassification of certain submarine special operations. Without exception, those operations remain classified and are not releasable to the public. You must assume that the personal security safeguards enacted for each operation remain legally (and morally) binding. I trust that message is clear.
On 5 June, 1991, the League hosted the “First Annual Great Submarine Debate” at our headquarters. We were privileged to have assembled in om~ room Admirals Bill Crowe and Carl Trost, Vice Admirals Chuck Griffiths, Al Baciocco, Ron Thunman, AI Burkhalter, and Dan Cooper, Rear Admirals Shap Shapiro and Jerry Holland, and several Captains of note. As moderator, I was tasked with keeping those elephants focussed on the theme of the meeting, “The Roles and Missions of the Submarine Force in the post-Cold War Era.” The discussion was fascinating, and as you might imagine, if you get ten submariners in one room, you get eleven opinions. Jim Hay, who was our scribe for the event, is preparing a transcript which we will bring to you in future issues.
The Tenth Annual Submarine League Symposium will convene on 10 and 11 June, 1992. Please mark the dates on your calendar, and plan to join us.