Contact Us   |    Join   |    Donate


[Ed. Note: The Honorable John H. Dalton, seventieth Secretary of the Navy, was a submariner during his active duty naval career, serving in BLUEBACK (SS 581) and JOHN C. CALHOUN (SSBN 630). Prior to deactivation of JOHN C. CAUIOUN, Secretary Dalton paid a last visit aboard. It was the first time on record that a Secretary of the Navy’s flag flew over a ship in which he had served as a junior officer. Secretary Dalton’s experience in submarines has played an important role in his decisions as Secretary. The following quotes by Secretary Dalton about submarines and submariners have been compiled from his speeches and public remarks.]

On the current and future role of submarines

Our Submarine Force remains our trump card in retaining command of the seas-an absolute necessity for the defense of our maritime nation and the bedrock prerequisite for being able to carry out our From the Sea strategy. Our Submarine Force is critical in ensuring that no other nation can challenge us at sea. And indeed, our submarines can perform missions in support of all future operations that are only limited by imagination.

[28 August 1993]

The role of the submarine has long been closely linked to combatting the Soviet threat. But this role has changed and will continue to change in order to bring our new concepts into operation.

I view the role of submarines in our .. . From the Sea vision as both elements of, and prerequisites for, the strategy. What I mean by prerequisite is that without a modern, capable Submarine Force we cannot even start the power projection mission as envisioned. The first prerequisite is, of course strategic deter-rence. SSBNs will have the prime role in this joint mission. The second prerequisite is command of the sea. Our attack subs play the major role.

[22 September 1993]

On submarines in the Cold War victory

I feel the pride in what the officers and crew of the Submarine Force, both ballistic missile and attack boats, have accomplished for almost 40 years: the deterrence of nuclear and global war. In this they have achieved the greatest of victories. When the Cold War was at its height, our subs were always on the front lines-training, preparing, gathering information and deterring. that was our policy and it succeeded.

[28 August 1993]

The role of subs throughout the Cold War was recognized by Chairman Powell at a ceremony in Kings Bay, Georgia for the 3000th SSBN patrol. He said: “No one-No one has done more to prevent conflict-no one made a greater sacrifice for the cause of peace-than you, America’s proud submarine family. You stand tall among all our heroes of the Cold War.”

[ 22 September 1993]

On the submarine industrial base

The submarine, the most revolutionary naval weapon developed and perfected in this century was not developed by the Navy. It was developed by private industry. It was perfected by a cooperative, productive partnership between the Navy and private industry.

As a former submariner and private businessman now in government, I really like the image of this partnership. And I know this partnership is vital for the health of the Navy.

[22 September 1993]

My personal concern is in preserving the vital core defense industry capabilities that cannot be converted and that we cannot afford to reconstruct if they are allowed to disintegrate. Our ability to build nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers must be preserved…

The goal is to stabilize the defense industry and preserve the capabilities that simply cannot be produced by the commercial marketplace. In that sense, funding for CVN 76 and follow~n carriers and the New Attack Submarine represent prudent invest-ments in America’s vital resources.

[14 March 1994]

The submarine industrial base is a national resource and today’s nuclear submarines are not overnight products… The companies involved in nuclear submarine construction developed today’s technical base through steady evolutionary progress …48 years of evolution.

This has been an enormous national investment that required ongoing training and upgrade of the necessary skills. To allow it to dissolve, to starve, to dissipate is to throw away a national resource that simply cannot be recreated when a crisis arrives.

[16 June 1994]


The SEAWOLF Class is being built because it will add considerable strategic value to a recapitalized Submarine Force. Both the submarine’s capabilities and the need to preserve the industrial base are critical reasons for acquiring the SEAWOLFs, including SSN 23, and both are my major considerations.

[22 September 1993]

On the New Attack Submarines

My challenge .. .is to articulate the specific joint missions that submarines can optimally perform to accomplish the “…From the Sea presence and power projection missions. Such roles as intelligence and warning, strike, interdiction, local sea control, and dealing with the mine and diesel sub threats are what we are looking at for the New Attack Submarine program.

[22 September 1993]

I am working closely with Secretary Perry and Deputy Secretary Deutch in order to finalize the specifics for the New Attack Submarine. We are focussing on developing a submarine that is optimized for littoral missions, but still has the level of quieting and overall versatility necessary for open-ocean missions.

[16 June 1994]

On informing the public about submarine capabilities

It is important for us to articulate how submarines are critical to our new emphasis on power projection from the sea. We need to continue to refine our public message concerning the unique joint capabilities submarines bring to the unified commander even when there are no enemy fleets to fight. You and I know the reasons, but the big attention getter is the overall cost of submarine construction. We need to educate the public on those joint capabilities and drive down the costs if we want a balanced sub force.

  [ 22 September 1993]

On the sacrifices of submariners and their families

…We should pause to remember and take pride in the patrols, the preparations, the personal sacrifices, and the separations from loved ones that were required to preserve the peace. We should even remember the arduous safety inspections, which were critical and highly successful in ensuring the safety of our environment.

The freedom of Americans and our friends and allies was safeguarded by the actions of these sailors thousand of miles from their homes. They stood watch, not for themselves, but for their loved ones, friends and neighbors in cities across America …

[28 August 1993]

They were American submariners …a breed apart, even within their own service. Their legacy was the courage of the brave men who went down in the first American submarines when others doubted they would come up.

[14 May 1994]

As always, the future of the Submarine Force will be different than the past. But as always, the gold and silver dolphins will mark sailors who are a breed apart-those who sail with courage beneath the distant seas. We will continue to build the most capable submarines in the world and crew them with the most capable sailors. That will not change.

[9 April/16 June 1994]

Naval Submarine League

© 2022 Naval Submarine League