The most immediate issue facing the submarine community quite obviously concerns the future of the SEA WOLF program, with all that may mean for mid term force capabilities and industrial base concerns. THE SUBMARINE REVIEW is attempting to address that issue by highlighting the ongoing debate and by summarizing the latest actual developments. In this edition we have reprinted two recent articles which take on the positive arguments. In our In the News section, we have also emphasized the press reports of the budget process, the contract dispute, the hull cracks problem and the commentaries questioning the need for this program. It is quite clear that the subject of SEA WOLF series production beyond the currently authorized three ships is far from being settled.
Beyond the immediate SEA WOLF question, however, there is the issue of just what the Submarine Force is going to be all about in the coming years of the post-Cold War new world situation. In large measure, the set of Roundtable articles in the October issue of the REVIEW were about just that question. Several major points were developed in that discussion paper, and it is the intention here to bring to our readers substantive articles which support those claims of submarine utility for the future security needs of the nation through enhanced weapon and sensor capabilities, significant endurance and mobility and, most particularly, the stealth to complete a mission with sensitivity and minimum risk. Since most observers agree that the Gulf War pointed out that a new situation is facing the armed forces of the United States but that it did not definitively characterize that situation, it seems incumbent on us to present, in objective and clear terms, those capabilities of submarines which we feel can contribute in time of need so that all can see what can be gained from the maintenance of a strong Submarine Force.
To that end, there are several papers in this edition which directly address submarine capabilities in future conflicts. Dr. Dick Hoglund’s Ace in the Hole is about the potential of the SSN and the Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile. Mine Counter Measures for the Submarine, by Dave Gorham and Wayland Comer, treats a subject that generated a fair amount of concern during and after the Gulf War and offers a solution to the very real problem of the inshore minefield laid by a Third World power interested in keeping the U.S. Navy off his immediate doorstep. In addition, to the extent that communications are seen to be a problem in the effective integration of submarines in future conflict scenarios, RADM Jerry Holland has attempted to particularize the various concerns for greater understanding in his Command and Control of Submarines; A Misunderstood Model.
Because it also is proper both to seek to educate by looking at the lessons of the past, and to honor those who fought so well in the Second World War, THE SUBMARINE REVIEW will be publishing over the next several years submarine war patrol reports from the corresponding period fifty years ago. The first lesson, of course, is that it wasn’t as easy then as it came to look in the history books. The November-December 1941 patrol of TRITON should tell us something about being on station when suddenly the world changed.
FROM THE PRESIDENT
Coincident with the passing of the holiday season, the pace of life here at League headquarters begins its annual acceleration toward Ahead Flank (and, occasionally, on to Panic). There is little time for basking in the successes of the previous year. Rather, attention is focused on the rapid-fire planning and execution of the schedule for the new year, starting with the Corporate Benefactor Days in January, the Submarine Technology Symposium in May, the Annual League Symposium in June, and the many lesser events which dot the calendar, but play an important role in our mission to educate the general public about submarines. One such recent event, which represents the spirit, tradition, and professionalism of our corps, is especially worthy of report to you.
At the U.S. Naval Academy, the Dolphin Club promotes among the midshipmen an interest in submarines and submarine warfare. Each year the Club hosts a Submarine Heroes reception (with financial support from your League), providing an opportunity for the membership to meet and mingle with real heroes, those whose names appear in their naval history texts. This year in attendance were Rear Admiral Gene Fluckey (Congressional Medal of Honor), Rear Admirals Roy Benson, John Fyfe, and Joe Icenhower, and Captain Dulany Clagett (Navy Cross), and Rear Admirals Benitez, McNitt and Pugh and Captains Butler, Currie, Gillette, Mandel, Nash, Rube, Schratz, Schwab and Woodall (Silver Star). The midshipmen moved easily from one group of guests to another, with occasional glances at the wide-screen television on which the submarine clips from “Victory at Sea” were playing in continuous loop. An upbeat and inspiring address by Vice Admiral Roger Bacon, OP-02, on the state of the Force and the potential for a bright future in expanded roles and missions, some brief, but warm and typically humble words by Gene Fluckey on behalf of all of the Heroes, and an old-fashioned submarine sing-along led by our own Bill Rube made for a wonderful evening. I think we made some converts.
I had the honor and the pleasure of representing the Naval Submarine League at the ceremonies which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the 7 December attack on Pearl Harbor. As you all witnessed in the massive television coverage, the several events were dramatic and emotional. An address by Secretary of the Navy Garrett at the ceremony honoring the submariners lost on the 52 boats “still on patrol” really captured the magnitude of their sacrifice.
In my speech at the Pacific Submarine Memorial, I noted that the Japanese did not consider the U.S. submarines to be a threat and thus did not aJJocate any weapons to the submarine base or to the boats moored there in upkeep. That tactical error came back to haunt them for those boats buttoned up, loaded out, and quickly engaged the enemy in the Western Pacific, ultimately turning the tide of war.
Life here in Washington for our submarine leadership (as it is for the entire defense establishment) has become a daily battle for survival. The diminishing threat posed by the Soviet Union as it breaks apart appears to have reduced the likelihood of global war, and consequently, the requirement for the U.S. to maintain the forces needed to respond immediately to a threat of that magnitude. We see, however, continuing dangers to national and world security. Throw in the loss of the stabilizing influence of a common adversary, and the proliferation of technologically advanced weaponry to Third World nations and you have the dilemma. The issue is how to maintain a military posture that presents a credible deterrent to what may evolve from the Soviet Union, while also protecting U.S. interests from a diversity of regional threats. The struggle to maintain a reasonable force level and to develop the right submarine for the future is at fourth and one, with some big decisions yet to be made. The League, as always, stands ready to help. Plan to join us at the June Symposium for the play-byplay.