Welcome, on behalf of the Naval Submarine League. Vice Admiral George Emery, Commander Submarines, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, we are particularly pleased that you, our sponsor of this symposium, are here with us. You speak for the requirements of the Submarine Force and we are looking forward to hearing what you have to say.
Let me remind everybody that we are entering a new era. The old Soviet threat is gone; our budget is going down; the threat has not disappeared. We still see a very healthy proliferation, not just of weapons of mass destruction, but also of high-tech weapons, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles. We also see ourselves faced with what may be some major contingencies in places such as the Gulf again, and also North Korea, with the very unstable political situation that exists today. We have heard from the Director of Naval Intelligence, and he has reminded us that although the Russian military forces are diminishing, we continue to see an increase in op-tempo and capability in the Russian submarine force. We also are seeing a proliferation of submarines around the world-diesel submarines, certainly, for the most part.
Now, what does all of this mean? Let me just remind you what the Secretary of the Navy said the other day. He said that attack submarines are the prerequisites to our ability to carry out the Navy’s strategic mission. I would call nuclear submarines the heralds of the military technical revolution. I think the bottom line of all this is that the United States must have a strong Submarine Force and I believe the Submarine Force will play an increasingly vital role in our national security strategy.
I just finished reading Admiral Bill Owens’ book. It is titled High Seas and published by The Naval Institute Press. [Editor’s Note: See Commander Sam Tangredi’s article in this issue.] He says some interesting things in the book and that is why I bring them out. In my opinion, Bill Owens is probably the most influential military officer on active duty, and I am pleased that he is a submariner. Let me pick a few of the points he makes in his book. He sees a Submarine Force playing in three roles: (I) strategic deterrence, (2) sea control, and (3) battlefield support. He sees the need to look into the future of the Submarine Force for expanded communications, a greatly upgraded surveillance
capability whereby submarines should be able to monitor all aspects of the electromagnetic spectrum to process that data and provide it immediately to any command mode, from battle group commander all the way to the National Command Authority. He sees that we will have an expanded use of unmanned undersea vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles. He anticipates that we will have even more advanced weapons to support the land war. He also believes that we need modularity in submarine construction modularity to be able to support special forces, unmanned vehicles, and launch tubes for literally hundreds of weapons. Admiral Owens also cautions (and I think it’s a very important caution) that we will need to provide counters to technical breakthroughs that could compromise our submarine stealth or threaten our own submarines.
Now. someday this might be an annual symposium, but this is simply the Eighth Submarine Technical Symposium. I want to remind everyone that this symposium is designed to support the technical development of things that will support the operational requirements of our Submarine Force. I want to thank all of you for participating. It is very important that we have this opportunity to share observations, because we need a vital Submarine Force that is able to continue to contribute to the nation’s defense.
Thank you all very much for being here