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Admiral Trost, Admiral  Long,  Admiral  Kauderer,  distinguished guests, members of the Naval Submarine League, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.  It’s a pleasure for me  to  be  here  today  and  share with  you  an  overview  of the Submarine Force as well as some particulars associated with the Atlantic Fleet.

On Monday I attended an interesting luncheon here in Washington organized by Dr. Jackie Davis, president of National Security Planning Associates, Inc. Jackie has put together an Undersea Warfare Seminar-a series of luncheon and breakfast round table discussions with a pretty impressive list of participants and speakers. The group includes analysts and policy experts from several key Washington staffs such as senior Congressional staffers like Steve Saulnier, Paul Walker, and John Lilley; OSD officials including Clark Murdock and Larry Smith; Secretary Dalton, Mr. Danzig and Nora Slatkin from SECNAV’s Office, JCS and Navy tlag officers, and other prominent minds such as Ron O’Rourke from the Congressional Research Service, Admiral Bud Edney, now working on Defense Department roles and missions, Dr. Gordon Adams from OMB, Ambassador Linton Brooks from CNA and Dr. David Chu, now of RAND . Either Jackie or Admiral Bill Smith serve as the discussion moderators. This seminar is meeting through the summer for the purpose of building a consensus within these organizations about the Subma-rine Force, why we need it, and what it should look like in the future.

Monday’s speaker was CINCLANTFLT, Admiral Hank Mauz. It – may surprise some of you, but Admiral Mauz, a surface warrior, not only agreed to give his views of the “submarine as an enabling force in joint and combined operations”, but he did so very positively and very convincingly. Not that he pounded on the podium that we needed 100 SSNs, which would have made some of you old warriors happy, I’m sure, but he is a strong supporter and knows first hand how much we contribute to the fleet.

I know that I don’t have to convince this audience of the value of submarines. But I do sense some very understandable wringing of hands, and woe is me or the sky is falling attitudes among some people in the submarine community now that ASW is not the Navy’s number one priority. I prefer a more upbeat outlook. We may not be number one on everybody’s list today, and during the next day and a half you’ll be brought up to speed on several key issues that must be resolved, but the reality is that highly capable, nuclear powered submarines will continue to play a vital role in national defense. The Navy, as the enabling force for sustained power projection ashore, will always need the ability to take command over, on and under the seas. It takes the complete spectrum of capabilities the Navy possesses to do that: air power, surface ships, submarines and landing forces. We can’t do without any of these elements.

Just like the period after World War II, when the submarine force adapted and branched out into new areas, the submarine force today is adapting to changing times, and it’s doing so rather well. The end of the Cold War allowed us to shift our emphasis to littoral warfare, while still maintaining our open-ocean ASW prowess. The way we employ submarines today is a direct correlation to the changed security environment, not the false belief that we no longer have a mission so we better go out and find one. So to me, it’s natural and logical-based on the current threat, the Navy doesn’t need as many submarines as it once did (nor as many people, ships, airplanes, Marines or bases, for that matter), and other warfares have somewhat higher priority at present. However, it is up to us, active and retired submariners and concerned citizens, to be sure the Navy and nation preserve the right amount and right kind of capability to ensure our successors aren’t caught short some time in the future.

What is the right number of submarines for the future? I think the jury is still out, but for now we’re planning for 55 SSNs and 18 SSBNs in 1999. The Secretary of Defense has stated a long term goal of about 45 beyond FY 1999.

I can inform you that today’s Submarine Force is as capable and ready as it has ever been. In the Atlantic Fleet we have 55 SSNs, 44 of which are command operationally ready, which means not in some sort of depot availability, 26 of which are underway. Sixteen of these 26 are deployed to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean or the North Atlantic. Of those 44 submarines, only one is rated C-3 overall in readiness, i.e., not fully combat ready, because it is undergoing post-construction shakedown. And, our SSBNs continue their superb record of exceptional readiness on deterrent patrol just as they have for over 30 years.

And speaking of SSBNs, the last of the 41 for Freedom has completed patrol. VALLEJO will offload her strategic missiles by next week and join STONEWALL JACKSON and SIMON BOLIVAR in the deactivation process by the end of the fiscal year. Squadron 16 will be decommissioned on 25 June. Current-ly there are 14 Tridents in commission with the 15th, RHODE ISLAND, to join us at Newport on 9 July. Admiral Chiles will bring you up to speed on the strategic side of the house tomorrow, so I’ll leave further discussion of the SSBN force to him.

One of the questions posed at the luncheon on Monday was about the roles SSNs play in theater contingency planning. The answer is SSNs are included in contingency plans in all mission areas where they have capability-intelligence gathering, providing indications and warning, ASW, ASUW, strike warfare, special warfare, mine warfare and forward presence. And today’s SSNs are fulfilling these missions as fully integrated members of the fleet and we’re learning more and more every day through our exercises and deployments with battle groups and joint task forces. A few examples from current or recent operations will help you visualize the variety and depth of submarine involvement in our contingency plans.

If you had asked me how many SSNs were assigned to LANTFLEET battle groups a couple of months ago, I would have answered two. With the evolution of the Joint Task Force (JTF), concept, the right answer today is three, at least for the next three battle groups deploying to the Mediterranean Sea, each of which will include a large deck amphibious ship as the centerpiece of an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). We have assigned the third SSN to the battle group as an integral part of that ARG. USS BOISE is the first LANT SSN to be assigned as the ARG’s SSN for deployment. BOISE will deploy with USS NASSAU as part of the EISENHOWER JTF, which also includes the submarines USS SPRINGFIELD and USS ANNAPOLIS. The ARG SSN will undergo the same pre..<feployment training sequence as the CVBG SSNs beginning about six months before deployment. The next two battle groups will also include three SSNs each-USS KEY WEST, USS MONTPELIER, and USS BATFISH with the THEODORE ROOSEVELT JTF; and USS OKLAHOMA CITY, USS HAMPTON, and USS FINBACK with the AMERICA JTF. To assist the NASSAU ARG commander with employing the SSN, a submarine qualified Lieutenant has been permanently assigned to the PHIBGRU TWO staff. And he is in addition to the assignment of Commander Tom Fursman, former CO of SUN-FISH, to Rear Admiral Gehman’s staff on EISENHOWER. With Hank Mauz’s support, the Atlantic Fleet policy is now to assign a post-SSN skipper to each BG staff to provide the sort of profes-sional expertise the task force commander needs to safely and effectively employ his assigned submarines.

Extensive intelligence collection operations also continue. Notable examples include operations under NATO operational control in the Adriatic region {which you’ll hear more about later in this symposium when Commanders Tom O’Connor and Bill Ostendorff, Commanding Officers of SCRANTON and NOR-FOLK, brief you on their recent Med experience), and Caribbean operations including counter-drug operations under the tactical control of CJTF-4.

Exercise Agile Provider conducted in April and May 1994 included four SSNs and Special Forces from the Army, Navy,

Marines, and Air Force. Submarine personnel were provided to the Joint Special Operations Task Force Commander at Camp Lejeune, and tactical control of USS L. MENDEL RIVERS was shifted there for the duration of the exercise. RIVERS conducted a wide variety of special warfare missions using her dry deck shelter capability. USSTREPANG and USS MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL operated under the tactical command of COMCARGRU-EIGHT, conducting special warfare, strike and anti-diesel SS tasking. And finally, USS MONTPELIER operated as an opposition force submarine, simulating a diesel SSN, under the tactical control of CTF-88 {an exercise director under USACOM J-7).

Exercise Arctic Express-a Joint Allied field training exercise with units from Denmark, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States, which was conducted in March of this year in conjunction with a Norwegian national maritime exercise-included the first shift of tactical command of a U .S. SSN to Norway. To ensure safety we sent an experienced officer from our staff to assist the Norwegian submarine operating authority during the exercise.

You have noted in my description of these exercises the two terms tactical control and tactical command. To refresh your memory, tactical control includes assigning tasks and directing the tactical employment of the assigned SSN, including rules of engagement. Tactical command, which also includes tactical control, adds responsibility for preventing mutual interference and water space management (ASW weapons control). Our goal is to give the task force commander either tactical control or command, whichever makes sense in the eyes of the task force commander and the fleet.

I also want to say a few words about the forward presence  mission. The role of our Navy today is to operate forward supporting a strategy of partnership, conflict prevention and should crises occur, be ready for military action. Some people, including some Navy flag officers, tend to think submarines play little in the forward presence mission, presumably because they accomplish their warfare mission submerged and are therefore not visible. To disabuse that notion I like to point out that our submarines annually make about 200 port visits to 50 nations around the world. Last year, in addition to port visits, the Submarine Force invested over 200 SSN-days in bilateral or multi-lateral exercises world wide, and that doesn’t include numerous short duration exercises or passexes. So far in this quarter alone Atlantic submarines have presented a very visible presence in foreign ports totaling in excess of 180 days. WHALE in Wilhelmshaven, Germany; BOSTON in Souda Bay, Crete; SAN JUAN in Tromso, Norway; CINCINNATI in Toulon, France; and NARWHAL in Hafia, Israel are just a few examples of our visibility to our allies and potential troublemakers alike. And these visits never fail to impress those visited, among them the Presidents of Italy and Cypress and the Norwegian CNO, all of whom, by the way, we took to sea.

And ask Mike Barr about the deterrence effect of the forward presence submarines in the Pacific theater. Do you think Iran or Iraq failed to notice ASHEVILLE’s recent visit to Bahrain? Last year the commander of naval forces in CENTCOM, Vice Admiral Doug Katz, said that the SSN has done “more to open doors and gain access than any other ship that has come to the AOR”. So, the bottom line is that submarines are making a visible forward presence around the world as a routine part of doing business.

Strike warfare is another area where there is a Jack of knowl-edge about why it’s important to have that capability on submarines. Clearly, the need for stand-off strike missions is driven by our desire to minimize risk to sailors; don’t risk human life if there·s another way to do the same job. There are several reasons why we need strike capability on SSNs:

  • First, submarines comprise almost one-third of the Navy’s combatant ships and carry a significant fraction of the available weapons. In a typical battle group deployed to the Mediterranean, deployed SSNs may represent half of the Tomahawk missile-capable ships and half the required theater Tomahawk inventory. We can’t afford to exclude one-third of our combat ships from being able to strike targets ashore.
  • Secondly, SSNs do not require air cover from the battle group, which makes them a great force multiplier for the strike planner in determining the best launch position for his units.
  • Third, having strike capability on SSNs can free up space in missile magazines on surface ships for more anti-air, anti-surface, or theater ballistic missile defense weapons. This gives the theater CINCs and task force commanders more flexibility to meet all their requirements.
  • Fourth, SSNs will often be first on scene before we have complete control of the surface and air space. They provide the capability for enabling strikes against key targets which could threaten other units of the battle group.
  • And finally, there is what I call risk-free SSN delivery, which is something I don’t think we talk about enough. Few Third World nations have any significant ASW capability against our SSNs. That gives us the option of using SSNs for strikes with little risk of counter-attack.

What about a blue water contingency mission, you ask. Does it still exist? The answer is an emphatic “Yes!” The lessons of the U-boat campaigns of World Wars I and II are still valid, and we cannot allow any nation to interrupt the free movement of men and supplies across the world’s oceans. While I truly hope that democratic reforms will succeed in Russia, and I firmly believe that they have no intention of combat with the West, the fact of the matter is Russia is the only country in the world today with a submarine force sufficiently large and sumclently capable to challenge this country’s security interests. Submarine construction in Russia continues, and the Northern Fleet, particularly its submarine force, is receiving very high priority within their military. Should this force align itself with one or more Third World nations to challenge U.S. naval forces in the open ocean or the littoral, the U.S. Submarine Force must be able to deal with the problem. The acoustic advantage that we once enjoyed over the Russian submarine force has steadily declined until today it is uncomfortably small, essentially at parity.

There is a slide I like to use in briefings for visitors from Washington. It shows a comparison of detection ranges from the Cold War days, represented by the distance from the Washington Monument to the Beltway, to the present, represented by the distance from the Monument to the Capitol building. Clearly an order of magnitude difference. While some say we don’t need SEAWOLF because it is a Cold War weapon, the fact is we do need ships with SEA WOLF stealth and improved sensors in the fleet now.

In looking ahead to the future, what are the preferred character-istics we need for our submarines in littoral operations? Our current SSNs are doing a very credible job in that environment today, and will for many years to come. But we can, and must, do better. Our biggest needs for improvement to the 688 Class, which will make up the bulk of our force well into the next century, are better mine detection systems and enhanced special warfare capability. Major General Harry Jenkins, the Marine Corps general who heads the Expeditionary Warfare Division (N85) in OPNAV, has put together a proposed plan for the Navy’s unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) programs. In the proposed plan, the highest priority in UUVs is for a near term (less than four years) interim mine reconnaissance system launched from a SSN.

In the special warfare area, we’re making plans to add dry deck shelter (DDS) and Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS) host capability to selected 688 Class SSNs to replace our retiring DDS submarines.

In addition to improving the 688 Class, we are also looking to design the new attack submarine with many improvements to enhance its capability in the littoral enhancement:

  • First, stealth is a must, including acoustic, magnetic visual, and radio frequency. In the acoustic area, we must maintain at least the same level of stealth as SEAWOLF. In the other areas, we need to improve on both the 688 Class and SEAWOLF stealth.
  • Second, we need improved ship control to permit an expanded operating envelope in shallow water, such as provided by employing split stern planes to minimize depth excursions from control surface casualties.
  • Third, we need operational improvements such as fully integrated command and control systems to provide seam-less connectivity to joint and combined (allied or coalition) task forces and improved and reliable night periscope capability.
  • And finally, we need special warfare improvements including DDS and ASDS capability, a quiet hovering system and a reconfigurable torpedo room to permit the delivery and extraction of more than a handful of special forces .

Speaking of communications, Jet me mention a test we conducted last month on USS ALBANY using a commercial super high frequency satellite. This was a capability demonstration of a joint venture between GTE and General Dynamics, Electric Boat Division. A one-of-a-kind 12.5 inch dish antenna was placed in a BRD-7 size submarine radome and tested both in port and at sea. The preliminary results of the test show that data rates up to 64 kilobits per second were achieved. The functional capabilities demonstrated included transfer of very large data files (10 megabytes), STU-III encrypted voice, encrypted electronic mail through a PC-based computer workstation, the transfer of freeze-frame periscope images, live periscope video, and live teleconfer-encing (at video rates somewhat Jess than full motion 30 frames per second). rm not sure rm ready for live teleconferencing! This test will help us determine the way ahead in trying to solve our challenges in submarine communications. In another communicationsjirst, this week we are deploying the first SSN with an operational extremely high frequency system. recognize that a large part of the Submarine Force’s percep-tion problem is a historical lack of knowledge of submarine capabilities and operations by non-submariners, and we’re working hard to overcome that. We’re taking a much more proactive approach to educate key decision-makers through demonstrations, underway embarkations, ship tours and briefings. Admiral Chiles, when he was SUBLA NT. developed a regional crisis demonstra-tion in which a pierside submarine crew acts out what they do at sea, working for a battle group commander, in a simulated crisis situation in the littoral. The demo takes about four hours and involves SEALs and much of the crew, but those Congressmen, staffers and Defense Department officials who have attended get an incredibly clear picture of what it would be like at sea and on station.

We have been moderately successful in getting members of Congress and Congressional staff members to sea or to visit us in port. Since this time last year, in SUBLANT, we have hosted over 336 VIPs including 47 members of Congress, 72 Congressional staff members, and 35 from OSD and JCS staffs. We’ve conducted 10 underway embarkations in SSNs, another 20 embarkations on Trident SSBNs, and 11 regional crises demonstra-tions. Rear Admiral Bob Natter, Chief of Legislative Affairs, has been extremely responsive to our initiatives to get our story into the halls of Congress and he and Tom Ryan and Ted Sheafer have been carrying that message door-to-door in the Congressional office buildings.

We have also targeted various media including 20 underway and 35 in-port media visits in SUBLANT in the last six months alone. In addition, we’re taking the Submarine Force to the public. To date this year we have completed 11 visits where crew members have traveled to the ship’s namesake city or state, and another five underway embarkations by civic groups on their namesake submarines. I have also started a submarine community newsletter, published by my staff, with inputs from the force world-wide to help keep our talented, young and impressionable officers well informed of our activities and initiatives.

And speaking of young officers, let me talk a moment about the health of our personnel world. In a nutshell enlisted retention in the Submarine Force is on par with the rest of the Navy and is currently sufficient to support the force, but junior officer retention is of concern. In the long term, we need 38 percent retention (three of every eight wardroom junior officers) to adequately fill our department head requirements. It is barely 30 percent today. Although we can deal with this number over the next year or so because of a slight excess of junior officers in the force, I worry that we must find a way to turn that trend in the not too distant future. This fact was influential in the decision to publish a quarterly community newsletter to be sure our junior officers acquire a broader perspective of what is going on within the Submarine Force and the Navy.

Although we’re working hard to get the word out, I still need your help. Particularly you retired submariners. We’re spread a little thinner than in years past. In 1980 there were nine subma-rine three-stars; today, operationally, I’m it; and George Sterner is holding the fort at NA VSEA. The lack of three-star submarine representation, particularly here in Washington, makes it difficult to clearly air our views and concerns. So, the active participation of people like you in this audience is sorely needed. Let me add that we do have help coming. Two other three-stars await the confirmation process-Archie Clemens to SEVENTHFLT and Skip Bowman to BUPERS.

Let me close by reiterating that you should still be very proud of the Submarine Force. Although there remain many hurdles ahead to clear, the force remains ready, well trained, and in great demand. We still attract the best sailors in the Navy and we still are providing visible career opportunities. Although we are getting smaller, the future remains bright and there are exciting days ahead . I cannot envision a day when this country will not need a strong and capable Submarine Force. So let’s work together to make sure we keep one!

Thank you.

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