Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. It is a pleasure and an honor for me to have this opportunity to address you today. I congratulate the youngest chapter of the Naval Submarine League on making it through their second successful year.
Today, I want to touch on a number of issues that we in the Submarine Force are facing. As I am sure most of you are aware, the Secretary of Defense released the long awaited Bottom-Up Review in October. The most significant impact for the Submarine Force was the Department of Defense official acknowledgement of the critical need for maintaining the submarine industrial base. Recognizing the fact that the 688I line has been shut down and that significant sunk costs from SSN 21 and 22 have already been incurred, the Bottom-Up Review acknowledged that building SSN 23 in fiscal year 1996 is the least costly alternative to maintain the industrial base in the near term. Additionally, it recognized the need to begin construction on the new attack submarine in fiscal year 1998 and maintain a building rate thereafter in order to preserve a long term goal of 45-55 attack submarines.
The Navy and Marine Corps white paper . . . From the Sea together with the Bottom-Up Review results describes a fundamental change in naval warfighting strategy. It signals a shift from open ocean warfighting on the sea to joint operations projecting power ashore from the sea. Naval forces will focus on respond-ing to regional crises and will provide the enabling capability for joint operations, as well as participation in sustained efforts ashore.
Submarines have an important role in this new strategy and the new attack submarine will be specifically designed to incorporate the flexibility required for a world where the unknown is the rule and not the exceptio. The inherent characteristics of the nuclear attack submarine-stealth, mobility, and endurance-play as well, perhaps better, in the ...From the Sea strategy and in the new scenarios in the littoral as they did in the past.
There have been several wargames, seminars, and innumerable discussions centered around this new strategy over the past year. Through the course of those, several missions have been carved out for submarines. It is important to note that these are not necessarily submarine unique missions. There are other platforms and systems which can do all or part of each. But they are missions which the Submarine Force can do all or part of better and more effectively than any other system. They are missions for which the design of the new attack submarine will be optimized.
These four missions are: covert intelligence collection, covert mine detection, covert insertion of special forces and their support, and anti-submarine warfare focussed on diesels operating in the littoral. There are, of course, other missions for submarines, which they will continue to do very well. But these four missions which our force of the future, and in particular the new attack submarine, will be focussed. I’d like to spend the next few minutes describing each mission and bow the Submarine Force intends to focus on them with the new attack submarine.
Consider covert intelligence collection and surveillance. In the opening stages of a regional conflict, the Submarine Force wiJl be one of, and most likely, the first U.S force on the scene. The submarine will covertly surveil coastal defense systems, air defense systems, and determine command and control circuits and procedures. It can observe and locate minelaying operations, and shadow submarines to identify enemy patrol areas. The submarine can also surveil the coast to identify potential landing sites.
All of this covertly, avoiding adding fuel to a political confrontation and, perhaps more importantly, providing the opportunity to observe the activity of enemies when they are most unguarded and acting most like they would during actual conflict. All of this provides the joint commander with the knowledge necessary to define the battlefield as he prepares other forces to enter the littoral . This is particularly important as we consider potential conflict with Third World nations on whom intelligence collection may not have been focussed in the past and on whom there is only limited information available as a crisis arise.
Much of the surveillance mission fits well with systems we have had in the force for years. However, we are working for improvement where appropriate, particularly in optimizing the new attack submarine’s capabilities for this mission including improvement in the new attack submarine’s ability to communicate with the battle group. One innovative concept is to equip the new attack submarine with a stealthy sail which would house a large SHF antenna. By designing a sail with a very low radar cross section, the submarine could broach and have a vastly improved high volume two way data flow, including imagery.
A second mission for the future is covert mine detection. Covertly is key because it precludes an enemy from acknowledge of planned amphibious landing sites or the need to reseed an already planted minefield. Additionally, it precludes the need to place wlnerable mine forces at risk within the range of coastal defense systems. Mines will be one of our biggest problems as we attempt to conduct naval warfare in the littoral. The joint task force commander will be reluctant to commit either an aircraft carrier preparing to conduct strikes inland or an amphibious force preparing to land as long as there is the threat of unknown or uncharted minefields. The submarine can make a significant contribution to safe operations in the littoral, arriving early to observe mining operations and equipped with an UUV to covertly map a minefield which then can be avoided or, if necessary, neutralized-without warning an enemy of your knowledge of his minefields.
The most significant new system for mine detection is the Submarine Oftboard Mine Search System, an unmanned underwater vehicle. It will be able to be deployed from the torpedo tube of any submarine and to operate several miles from the ship on a fiber optic cable, surveying for mines both on the bottom and in the water column. Thus a minefield could be surveyed completely without the submarine having to enter the field and allowing the optimum use of mine counter measure forces to establish a route through a chokepoint, or sweep a minefield just prior to an amphibious operation with a greater certainty that all mine threats are cleared. Development of this system is proceeding, and it will arrive in the fleet at about the same time as the new attack submarine.
The BSY-1 sonar system installed on our newest SSNs includes a good mine detection sonar and we are continuing to push forward with the improvements for hull mounted mine detection sonars. These include the Advanced Mine Detection System for the new attack submarine and a backfit system, EXUS, for non-BSY-1 688s. These improved systems will provide a mine detection capability in the event ships find themselves in a minefield and need to work their way out.
A third mission is covert support for special operations forces. Submarines have a long history of working with special forces, including World War ll, Korea, and Vietnam. This mission is increasingly important as we look to regional conflicts in the future. The submarine can receive special forces at sea and deliver them to the coast covertly. And it can remain in the area undetected providing logistics and communication support, and potentially, fire support.
Special forces are not limited to Navy Seals. It includes Army Rangers, Marine Recon teams, or Delta Force. It can mean small groups or up to a few hundred. Launch can be underwater remaining totally covert or for large groups, the ship can broach and deliver them in a short time-another requirement for a stealthy sail.
You are all aware of our current dry deck shelter capability for Seals. We are working to ensure that we retain that capability into the 21st century after the presently converted SSBNs and 637s are retired. We are also working to develop other delivery methods. The Seals are developing a minisub, the Advanced Swimmer Deliver System, whose home will be a specially equipped submarine and whose pilot will be a submarine officer. The third Seawolf will be built with an enhanced SOF capability, including an internal lockin-lockout chamber and a reconfigurable torpedo room to support SOF forces, a capability we will likely backfit to the two initial Seawolfs. The new attack submarine will be designed from the start to maximize SOF capabilities. It will be DDS capable and have a lockin-lockout capability and a reconfig-urable torpedo room. Some number of new attack submarines may be built to provide for the accommodation of large numbers of SOF forces, perhaps as many as 200. The new attack subma-rine will be built for shallow water operations, with the ability to bottom in many littoral areas. As I previously mentioned, its profile will be designed to minimize detection during broached operations when launching SOF forces or receiving large band width communications. The communications capability will allow it to serve as a command center for SOF forces while lying off shore, undetected and immune to coastal defense forces.
The last mission of the four, ASW, is perhaps the most familiar. But, in this case, ASW against diesels in coastal waters. More and more Third World nations are acquiring diesel submarioes since they are a high threat-to-cost platform against surface forces. The joint commander must know where those submarines are or, ideally, that they are destroyed. The Submarine Force can accomplish this mission, and at least for the near term, with much less risk than anti-submarine warfare against high tech nuclear submarines.
Most Third World submarines train almost exclusively in ASUW. Many don’t have an ASW weapon and have little or no training against other diesel submarines, much less modem nuclear attack submarines. For these reasons and their inherent stealth, our nuclear submarines are the ideal platforms to locate, shadow, and, if necessary, destroy diesel submarines in their home waters. The submarine’s relative immunity allows for patient search, localization and attack, without the expenditure of large quantities of ASW weapons on non-targets.
We have several programs designed to improve our ability against diesels in shallow water. The first is, of course, optimiz-ing the new submarine for the littoral with the necessary quieting, speed and shiphandling characteristics. We are working on modifications to the ADCAP torpedo to improve its capability in shallow water. Several new sonar systems will come on line in the next few years which I believe will significantly improve our ability to detect and quickly target diesels in coastal waters. These included the QE2, TB-29 towed array, and the wide aperture array and the best of these will be in the new attack submarine.
I have described four key mission areas for the Submarine Force and the systems which support those areas. Let me briefly also mention one other area which is still evolving but which I believe will take on increasing importance. That is strike warfare and, in particular, the enabling strike. The requirements for anti-ballistic missile defense and ship self defense are taking an increasingly large number of the launcher holes on our surface ships. This means that the share of strike weapons carried by submarines will increase in the future providing a larger share in strike warfare. Additionally, one of the critical parts of any strike is the initial disabling of air and coastal defenses to improve the survivability of strike missiles and aircraft launches from further out to sea. This can best be accomplished by a missile launch from submarines lying close to shore, which significantly reduces a defender’s reaction time.
We continue to improve our strike capability. TLAM Block III is in the fleet and more VLS platforms are coming. TLAM Block IV, with a penetrating warhead and a man in the loop feature to improve strike efficiency and accuracy, will reduce collateral damage. This increased emphasis on strike has led me to the decision to include 12 VLS launchers in the new attack submarine while investigating the feasibility of expanding to 20. Also, we are looking at the need to build a strike enhanced version of the new attack submarine.
What conclusions should be drawn from this? I believe there are several important messages for the Navy and for the Submarine Force. . . .From the Sea truly does reflect a new vision for the Navy and frames our goal and objectives for the future. Contrary to what some would claim, this change provides great opportunity for the Submarine Force. There are missions in this new regional focus which submarines can do well, some that submarines can do better than anyone else, and some that only submarines can realistically accomplish. The inherent characteristics of the submarine stand it in equally good stead in blue water or in the littoral. The talent of the people involved in the Submarine Force is equally as valuable in this new world as it was during the Cold War.
The new attack submarine program is alive and well and continuing forward into the 21st century. The cost and operational effectiveness analysis study clearly validated the need for the ship and bounded the characteristics. Our most recent budget submission fully funded the program through fiscal year 1999. The defense acquisition board is scheduled for the Milestone I review on the lOth of December. I am confident that we will gain approval to move forward and begin the design effort needed to malce this ship the backbone of the force for the next century.
The Navy and Submarine Force of today are forging ahead with new ideas, technology and new skills to meet the challenges of the future. Our capabilities are extraordinary today and will continue to improve. The future will, no doubt, hold many surprises, but, with your help, we will be ready to meet the challenge.