The Submarine Roundtable which took place in June and is featured in this issue came about through the perceived need to address, in submarine terms, the various issues and questions arising from the seven month crisis and conflict in the Persian Gulf. As your reading makes the transition from the first article, which is the scene-setter of questions prepared by the committee, to the second piece which is a summary of the participant’s responses, it is apparent that from that discussion the sum will be peater than the input of Gulf-related concerns.
In addition to the substance of the Panel’s discussion, it would seem that there are at least two points of particular note. First, there was a real effort made to identify the issues facing the Submarine Community and not to dwell on potential programmatic solutions to those issues. Secondly, the unanlml· ty as to the essential arguments for the Force, so often remarked by others about the submarine community, was in full evidence as sensitive issues of real importance to the nation, the Navy and the Submarine Force were raised and addressed.
In the first paper many questions are asked that are of interest to all of us. In the second paper answers are offered to those, and other, questions. In addition, opinions about related subjects are put forth. There are, no doubt, other aspects to consider than those taken up by the Roundtable. There may be additional points of importance that warrant notice and discussion. As always in the Submarine Community, everybody has the right and duty to offer his opinion and be heard by his shipmates. mE SUBMARINE REVIEW is meant to be the forum for your views and this is the time to address those issues that you believe to be important to the Submarine Community. The January 1992 issue will reserve space for your comments and additions to the Roundtable Discussion topics.
The hottest issue of immediate interest, of course, is the SEA WOLF program and its progress through the perils of a court contest, a major welding problem, those who fail to see the need and others who want to use the funds for different defense or civil purposes. The second section of this SUBMARINE REVIEW is given over to one such opposing opinion from a nationally known columnist, and to a rejoinder by Vice Admiral Roger Bacon, the Assistant CNO for Undersea Warfare. The IN TilE NEWS section, toward the end of the magazine, carries a number of clips from major public and trade press outlets which, together, tell the story of what has been happening over the past three months in the SEA WOLF program. AJso included in that compilation are some interesting public comments regarding the future of the Submarine Force.
Among the five fine articles presented in this issue is one that is particularly recommended to the LCDRs and CDRs who are still in the boats but are nearing the day when they will be in jobs requiring policy-level knowledge about the acquisition and employment of nuclear forces. Robin Pirie, who is currently overseeing the activities of the SSG (Strategic Studies Group) at the Naval War College, is a submarine officer with extensive experience in the policy field and has offered his insights in the form of comments concerning a new book: which covers most of the important issues of the nuclear age. This subject may well become of more importance to young submariners than to those in other branches if the current trend away from reliance on tactical nuclear weapons, and the reduction of strategic arms lead to the point that the Submarine Force becomes one of the nation’s only nuclear forces as well as its dominant strategic force. The accompanying article by Jerry Holland focuses on one facet of that trend — and that particular point has made a number of us realize for some time that more submariners will be involved In nuclear force policy issues. It seems appropriate, therefore, to urge the younger officers to make themselves more knowledgeable.
FROM THE PRESIDENT
The reality of life is that if you publish a quarterly magazine, you run the risk:, because of poor timing, of missing some major world events; for example, the failure of an economic system, the collapse of an empire, and a realignment of world power. You might even miss a poorly planned and executed coup (you just can’t get a good coup anymore), and a successful counter-coup.
n fact, all that and more has transpired since our last issue. The threat has been declared to be no longer a threat (not universally accepted), the defense budget has entered free-fall, and the submarine acquisition programs required to sustain a modem and capable Force for the future are at risk.
Truly, these are perilous times. Decisions made in haste today, based on incomplete or inaccurate concepts of submarine capabilities will affect the Submarine Force well into the next century. Clearly, here is a role for the League (well within our charter). Educate and inform. Carry forward the nessage that submarines are cost-effective. And we are doing sol.
Your Naval Submarine League produced a very professional video entitled, SEA WOLF: The Inside Story, with commentary by our Chairman, Admiral Trost Some 900 copies were printed and distnouted to the decision makers, our Corporate Benefactors, NSL Chapters, and so forth. We are hopeful the film will have a positive impact. Members may borrow a copy of the video from either their local Chapter or from NSL Headquarters. Similarly, we distributed a very detailed Fact Sheet package which sets the record straight on a number of contentious and little understood issues regarding SEA WOLF and several other programs. In addition, we have agreed to cooperate with Time-Life Books in the publication of a new volume about modem submarines and their operations; sponsored a publicity campaign to advertise the nation-wide broadcast of our movie, SUBMARINE: Steel Boats, Iron Mea on PBS on 20 November; updated and distributed the 1991 NSL FACI’ BOOK; and have several other proposals under consideration to get the submarine story out to the public. This is an active program. We believe in advertising! We would welcome your ideas.