It is a pleasure to be here today and have this occasion to discuss the current state of the Navy’s modernization and recapitalization program. The CNO has been heard to declare that FY 96 is the year of the submarine-certainly the extraordinary activity on the Hill, in the committees, and in the press supports that premise. Although I would personally prefer to remain out of the limelight so that I can spend all of my energy on executing the critical submarine programs, the issues of the day require the diligence of the entire Navy team.
I am reminded by a friend and mentor of the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen “There is no Easter without Good Friday.”
It is clearly a critical year for the submarine Navy. It is a year in which all the decisions of the past will become focused on a national strategy that will determine the shape and capability of the submarine Navy far into the next century.
I will discuss four topics with you today:
- Summarize the Navy testimony on submarine capitalization
provided to the House and Senate;
- Review the status of the New Attack Submarine program,
particularly why it is the right submarine for the future.
- Provide a top-level view of our plans for the New Attack
Submarine Command and Control System;
- update you on the status of the Seawolf program.
The Navy Plan
The annual battle for the budget continues apace. This year most of the debating energy has been expended on the submarine recapitalization plan. I want to review the basic concepts of that plan with you but in the perspective of those charged with executing the plan in a responsible and cost-effective manner.
The Navy plan, which calls for the third Seawolf in FY 96 and authorization of the lead New Attack Submarine in FY 98, is a plan.
- that has been studied to exhaustion
- that has been steadfast since the completion of the Bottom
Up Review (BUR);
- provides the best answer to the challenge of preserving the
industrial base; and
- provides the nation with the most cost effective assurance of
future undersea readiness and superiority
The Navy plan is the most responsible answer to the challenge of transitioning to stable, low rate production of nuclear attack submarines from the taxpayer’s point of view. The Navy plan directly supports the BUR and the President’s budget request.
All of you are probably aware of the results of the House National Security Committee and Sub-Committee review of this program. Although the resultant proposed language does not support the Navy plan and is disappointing, to say the least, we have a long way to go before final outcome from the authorization and appropriation process. I submit what we are seeing is the essence of the democratic process-a weighing of alternatives; an evaluation of options-all the things necessary to generate a plan that is executable and has value to the defense of the nation and to the taxpayer.
The end of the Cold War prompted the development of the CNO’s Forward … from the Sea naval strategy and articulated requirements for the attack submarine force of the next century. First and foremost, we must maintain the undersea superiority-a long-standing dominance we have enjoyed as a nation-yet one that is becoming more challenging to preserve with the constant changes in the world situation. Tomahawk launches, covert intelligence collection, surveillance, special operations, Marine amphibious/battlegroup support, and mine warfare are mission capabilities of growing importance for our submarines deployed to littoral regions around the world. With a leaner submarine fleet, multi-mission versatility must be an inherent quality in the new submarines we build to face tomorrow’s warfare challenges.
The challenge of maintaining undersea superiority and multi-mission effectiveness is compounded as you look at the changes in the world threat. The Russians are busy. With a modern, effective submarine force they have assured a place at the superpower table. This is not rhetoric. There are about a half dozen Russian submarines operational today that are quieter than our improved 688 class submarines. This is a historic first. We must reverse that trend with the FY 96 Navy plan for submarines.
Additionally, the modern diesel submarine with an effective combat system is available on the world market. With money, third world aggressor nations can play in the big time. The United States must maintain a capability to counter that threat.
In light of the emerging mission requirements of the 1990s and the advances in both nuclear and modern diesel submarines, the Bottom-Up Review directed a force structure of 45 to 55 submarines. And the Joint Chiefs of Staff have required that we have 10 to 12 submarines as quiet as Seawolf operational by 2012.
Our long term answer to these requirements is the New Attack Submarine. Our near-term strategy is to provide a means of bridging submarine construction in order to establish stable, serial production of a more affordable submarine as rapidly and effectively as possible.
The New Attack Submarine will deliver Seawolf quieting and major technology innovations at a cost comparable to a 6881. It will be cheaper because we’ve focused technology not just on performance, but on cost, as well.
The bottom line is that we have achieved the best balance between cost and capability, and that’s not just our view. It has been independently confirmed again and again. The question-the challenge-is how do we best get to the New Attack Submarine in a responsible and cost-effective manner?
Our last submarine was authorized in 1991 and our New Attack Submarine will be requested in 1998. Unless we do something in the meantime to ensure the health of the industrial base we won’t be able to get there from here-that has been our dilemma-that has been our challenge.
We looked exhaustively at several alternatives. All the analyses pointed to one best solution for the near term challenge and long term affordability of the program. One that satisfies current Navy needs and accommodates industry. That is to use SSN 23 as the production bridge.
This decision does a number of very good things. Most importantly, it maintains the national policy decision of maintaining two nuclear-capable shipbuilders, thus preserving vital national skill and technology resources.
It also provides us with a submarine for our money. And not just any submarine, but one with capabilities needed today. Capabilities are needed to address the growing diesel submarine threat, as well as counter quiet Russian submarines that challenge our undersea superiority.
Critics have argued the Navy does not need this warship because we can still deliver 10 submarines with the right capabilities by 2012 without the SSN 23.
But the fact is we need a submarine with this capability today. We currently have none. Our plan has the advantage of delivering a needed warship earlier than any other postulated alternative.
Most importantly, building the SSN 23 represents the least risky way to sustain the nation’s capability to continue producing nuclear submarines.
Critical shipbuilding skills are unique and perishable. They must be exercised through the actual practice of building, integrating, and testing a complete submarine. Reestablishing these skills and capabilities would be a difficult, costly and time-consuming process if it could be done at all! Completing the SSN 23 will sustain these vital skills needed for the New Attack Submarine.
The Navy’s strategy also provides invaluable leverage that comes with having the option for future competition. Without the Groton shipbuilder, we forfeit the ability to compete later.
The strategy also makes good sense as a hedge against an uncertain future. One thing is certain-restoring the Groton shipbuilder following a complete shutdown is not an affordable option.
Competition for the New Attack Submarine has become a popular topic. Competition is and will remain a key element to effective government procurement. However, competition before the design is complete, competition before the design is proven, competition, when there is no production base to support it, will have detrimental effects on the effective execution of the program.
Our position has been consistent throughout this debate-the Navy’s plan is the most cost-effective approach.
In the Submarine Recapitalization Report submitted to Ms. Slatkin, and subsequently forwarded to Congress, we acknowledged that there is a small cost premium associated with maintaining two nuclear-capable shipbuilders. However, maintaining two shipbuilders is the right thing to do. The BUR decision for two nuclear-capable shipbuilders is still the right answer.
The current plan for building the third Seawolf and completing the design/build of the lead New Attack Submarine at the Groton shipbuilder represents the lowest cost approach with acceptable risk to sustaining the industrial base, maintaining our ability to control the cost of the New Attack Submarine and preserving the option for future competition.
We’ve looked very hard at this issue as we’ve developed our strategy. The Navy plan is the only plan on record today that provides reasonable assurance for direct competition in the future with all of its benefits.
An alternative-compete everything now-is very high risk. The government could wind up without the promised savings, without the SSN 23, without the second nuclear-capable builder, and without the chance for future competition. And the government would be stuck holding the bag for all of the increased costs: design transfer, shipbuilder shutdown, and delay. In the end, no advanced submarines when we need them, and the costs of everything are increasing.
The New Attack Submarine; The Right Ship for the 21st Century
In his book The Defense Revolution, and in many speeches, Norm Augustine has repeatedly discussed the trend of uncontrollable cost increases in the development and production of weapons systems with advancing technology. The resultant then is a 21st-century weapons platform that will cost more than the entire defense budget. Mr. Augustine points out to us that unless something significant is done, we in defense procurement are simply pricing ourselves out of business.
I am here to tell you that we in the New Attack Submarine program have broken the code, reversed the trend, and destroyed the mold. The New Attack Submarine is an advanced weapons platform with a major innovation in technology and design processes incorporating significant cost savings using off-the-shelf technology and open systems architecture.
While the Submarine Force is on the threshold of a Revolution in Military Affairs, as Admiral Jones discussed, we are also now engaged in a Revolution in Manufacturing Approaches that promises significant benefits at a time when affordability and capability are critically important. The New Attack Submarine program is at the forefront of this second revolution, which will transform warship design and construction. We have taken the most innovative commercial practices and applied them to designing our future generation of nuclear attack submarines. The result will be a class of highly capable warships optimized for the 21st-century threat environment, submarines that will also be the most affordable and efficiently produced warships our Navy has ever procured.
Some critics have recently expressed concerns over the New Attack Submarine capability. This new ship will achieve the right balance of core military capabilities and affordability. The New Attack Submarine is the Navy’s first major program of the 1990s that fully embraces the new strategic concept put forth in … From the Sea and Forward … From the Sea, and is the first U.S. submarine to be designed to satisfy the broad spectrum of regional and littoral mission requirements while retaining absolute blue-water undersea dominance. It will be a potent warship, tailored for multi-mission operations and enhanced operational flexibility. Although Seawolf requirements for maximum depth and payload have been relaxed to save cost, Seawolf level quieting has been incorporated in a smaller hull, while other military capabilities have been maintained or improved. In addition, the New Attack Submarine will have improved magnetic stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and special warfare enhancements not found in any other U.S. submarine.
But the New Attack Submarine’s capabilities are only half the story, only half the reason why it is the right ship for the U.S. Navy. Our efforts to ensure that the ship is affordable have led us to a revolution in submarine design, engineering, and construction.
The New Attack Submarine’s affordability initiative incorporates a two-pronged approach. First, the program incorporates key lessons learned from previous programs and has been, from the outset, a close partnership between the Navy, the prime contractor, and other vendors.
This innovative management approach has dramatically and steadily reduced red tape and minimized design issues that traditionally have forced construction costs to increase.
Second, the ship’s design and capabilities are affordability driven. We will continue to assess the ship’s capabilities to ensure that they will continue to meet anticipated demands while retaining the flexibility to adapt to the changing international environment. We are using all available technologies to improve the ship wherever possible and are incorporating commercial products to the maximum extent.
The Navy’s decision to use the design/build or integrated process and product development (IPPD) approach for the New Attack Submarine sets the program apart from any previous ship procurement program.
IPPD teams composed of representatives from the Navy, key vendors, designers, and the shipbuilder are working together to design and develop both the ship and its manufacturing processes. At Electric Boat, 18 design/build teams are responsible for different sections of the submarine. These teams work to set budgets and have the authority to make design decisions based on what is best for the ship, what is easiest to build, and what is the most cost-effective option. These close working relationships between the Navy and its contractors, and between representatives of the design teams and the construction workforce, have already reduced disruptions common at the start of such a complex program and will help ensure affordability through all phases of the New Attack Submarine design and construction effort.
Moreover, the design of the New Attack Submarine will be matured much earlier than in typical shipbuilding programs, which will reduce the number and the expense of change orders which typically drive the cost of the lead ship.
Other U.S. manufacturers have used computer-aided design and integrated product teams to design cars, military aircraft, and commercial aircraft, such as the much-heralded Boeing 777. However, the New Attack Submarine is the most complex product, and the first U.S. Navy warship was designed using such a comprehensive design and database management tool.
The New Attack Submarine is being designed for a true modular construction-a major leap forward from previous submarine construction methods.
IPPD teams are optimizing the overall design to the shipbuilder’s modular construction techniques, thus further ensuring the greatest possible efficiency. Entire deck assemblies will be completed and tested before they are mated with the hull structure. We are truly going to stop stuffing the sausage. We are eliminating the inherent workforce inefficiencies which dominate cost in the completion of submarine construction. The innovative application of modular design and construction will cut costs and allow future systems and technologies to be more easily and cost-effectively back fitted into existing submarines, thereby avoiding unit and class obsolescence that so often has plagued other warships.
A guiding principle of the New Attack Submarine is to incorporate all the benefits of commercial products and off-the-shelf technology. The ship will feature an innovative modular isolated deck structure (MIDS) that effectively moves the shock and sound quietly envelope to the structure and not the component. This will permit an open architecture combat system design and expanded use of non-developmental items and commercial components. This will result in a vastly improved electronics and command and control structure fire control, navigation, radio, electronic support measures, and communications connectivity at a much lower cost.
With smart use of existing software we have the mechanism in place to develop and build an affordable combat system that can be upgraded quickly and at a very low comparative cost to the predecessor systems in place today.
I want to take a few moments to address the command and control system for the New Attack Submarine. I am committed to nothing less than the full and open competition for a command and control system prime contractor. The prime will have the responsibility for providing the combat control and acoustics subsystems, the local area network architecture, and the integration of all the subsystems that go into the larger fabric of the combat system suite.
We are going to release an RFP for industry comment this month that is performance-based and has a minimum reliance on military unique specifications and standards. We are not going to conduct a completely new development effort as we did with previous combat system efforts. We simply cannot afford it and we do not have the time to execute it.
I am ready to listen to the best ideas industry has to offer and in the end, we will select the proposal that has the best value on the future of the Submarine Force.
Like the ship platform effort, we will fully exploit the use of IPPD teams to manage the combat system effort. The prime will be a full partner in the overall effort and share equally in the responsibility for delivering a fully integrated system to the shipbuilder on time and within cost.
I also want to comment on the future of combat systems. I have initiated efforts to merge all submarine combat system modernization efforts into a single program office. My long term plan is to create a core group of individuals within the Navy that know the submarine combat systems business inside and out and are fully capable of executing modernization efforts efficiently across all ship classes. This will reduce the learning curve on program definition, improve execution and allow us to reduce long-term life cycle costs.
The New Attack Submarine program is well underway. Milestone I was approved on 18 August 1994 and Milestone II, Engineering and Manufacturing Development are scheduled for this summer. We have prepared a three-dimensional product model and our IPPD teams are already working to refine the design. We are actively involved with more than 90 vendors and have a close partnership well established with the prime contractor. In short, we have a well-conceived plan and program for the submarine for the 21st century. The New Attack Submarine is without question the right ship for the right time. It is taking full advantage of the revolution in manufacturing approaches that is sweeping the commercial world to enable the Revolution in Military Affairs to ensure warfighting success well into the next century.
With the spotlight on New Attack Submarine issues, we must not forget that we have just launched the most capable and complex submarine this nation has ever built. The most capable submarine in the world.
SSN 21, the lead Seawolf, is waterborne and is over 80 percent complete. SSN 22 is 44 percent complete.
Seawolf is a success story. In spite of the horrendous program turmoil of the late 80s and early 90s, we are going to deliver these complex ships on time and within the constraints of the cost cap. Seawolf is the submarine that will restore the superiority of the United States in the undersea battlespace.
We have made great strides in streamlining the final stages of the construction and testing process. I have implemented over a dozen waterfront integrated product teams. The end result has been a more rapid identification of problems, timely resolution at the deck plate level, and much-reduced cycle time in processing design paperwork.
Lockheed Martin has just completed a 120-hour endurance test for the AN/BSY -2 combat system. BSY-2 will deliver all the required functionality and is ahead of schedule for shipboard installation.
The Navy can be justifiably proud of bringing the complex Seawolf program to fruition despite the technical and budgetary turmoil this program has faced.
Already more than one-third funded, SSN 23 is the lowest cost attack submarine the nation can build today. SSN 23 provides a needed warship and supports the Joint Chiefs of Staff military requirement for submarine quieting. SSN 23 is key to maintaining the. the right mix of skills and supplier capabilities needed to build a class of more affordable New Attack Submarines starting in 1998.
The New Attack Submarine will be a versatile, multi-mission submarine with advanced stealth designed to dominate undersea and surface warfare, gather intelligence covertly, insert special forces and conduct land strikes with Tomahawk missiles.
The New Attack Submarine is being designed for maximum flexibility and affordability. Through innovative modular design concepts and a procurement plan that closely integrates the work of designers, builders, and suppliers, the New Attack Submarine will be a capable, and more affordable, a follow-on to the Seawolf attack submarine.
The Department’s plan merits the full support of Congress. It is the most straightforward, lowest-cost approach to meeting force level requirements with technologically robust ships that preserve two nuclear-capable shipbuilders as national assets, and is the only plan that preserves the option for future competition. The Department plan will minimize submarine construction costs and risk time over and produce affordable nuclear warships from an industrial base that is capable of accommodating future uncertainties.
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