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[Editor’s Note: Vice Admiral Rich Mies, COMSUBLA.NT, has recommended publication of V ADM Fitzgerald’s speech as a matter of interest to the Submarine community.]

Good morning. Thanks for the opportunity to discuss something other than my current assignment. [Editor’s Note: V ADM Fitzgerald is the Navy Inspector General.] Thanks also for the opportunity to talk to ASW professionals. I’m impressed so many heavies are here. I always enjoy talking about the art of ASW! My AA w· secondary warfare missions friends-I continue to call them Nintendo Warriors-always use that trite old phrase: “Awfully slow warfare” when they describe ASW. But, as you know, in a sense they’re right. As an aside, I recently heard a sitting three star describe the solution to ASW as just needing to speed it up! I’m not sure he was aware that the speed of sound in water is somewhat slower than the speed of electrons in air, but that was his idea of the solution.

As you know, ASW demands patience-an un-American characteristic, and in a results-oriented society, a challenge. As Americans we want action, a quick decision, and if we don’t get one we tend to become disinterested and move on. rm also not telling you anything when I say it often takes more time to classify an ASW contact than it takes to complete an entire AA W engagement!

There is some truth to their assertion about slow warfare. But perhaps the difference is that ASW is the last of the warfare areas that has not lent itself well to automation, such as the Aegis combat system. You still have to think-generally ahead of your opponent-and all the time-perhaps the last great chess game. And therefore, in that sense, it is an art. You aviators know of guys who are just natural good sticks. You need good sticks at ASW.

Of course, as we all know, ASW is an art conducted by that diminishing elite band of modern day warriors with:

  • Superb discipline
  • High esprit de corps
  • Intellectual superiority who,
  • Reread a passage from The Hunt for Red October or Pete Deuterman’s Scorpion Beneath the Sea. before they go to bed each night
  • Cheered at the end of Das Boot!

Back to my Nintendo Warriors. It is also interesting to watch our secondary warfare mission area guys worry about stealth and low observables. You’d think they just discovered it. When I left the five-sided fort (Pentagon) all we were hearing about was radar cross sections of gnats and BBs.

You know what Washington is-that city that’s completely encircled by the Beltway-a screen through which no logic shall pass! In the Pentagon there is no windmill too tall, and no axle too small! When we did the 1996 Congressional ASW assessment, the OSD PA&E guys didn’t like it because there was not enough analysis in it. It did not matter that we empirically demonstrated a lack of capability in the real world and in fleet exercises!

You have been dealing with stealth and low observables since the invention of the submarine.

In World War II, submarines were submersible ships that brought the elements of stealth and surprise to naval warfare. Submarines were used mainly in the ASUW or anti-SLOC role. Fortunately for the Allies, we countered with an effective ASW strategy and ultimately adequate force levels (someone once did an analysis and came up with the interesting fact that we required seven ASW assets for every one enemy submarine-remember, submersible ship)-the beginnings of essentially almost all of the ASW weapons we rely on today. One could ask: “Which came first, the strategy or adequate force levels?” Did adequate force levels permit a strategy at all?

In the ’60s and ’70s with the advent of nuclear power, the true submersible brought forth a new dimension. The submarine now could be inserted into the anti-submarine equation. Independent operations to exploit covertness and endurance could be used to hold the Soviet SSBNs at risk. Since they could now go where no other ASW forces could go, they checked out of the Navy and formed their own. But the propulsion, sensors, and weapon technology of this period provided a jump in our Submarine Force capability and made us unmatched in both submarine and antisubmarine warfare.

But, technology was impacting our other ASW communities as well. The P-3 update III, the LAMPS MR III, the 60 Foxtrot, the QQ-89, SURTASS, and IUSS shifted to supporting tactical forces. Paradoxically, it was our potential adversaries that caused us to refocus-the analogous response. We found we weren’t so hot. Unfortunately, because of the Walkers, they found out too. And along came their quieting programs and tougher boats. Analogous response occasioned the development of our first ASW policy. From this came our first attempts at what was incorrectly called combined arms ASW-really coordinated ASW-really taking advantage of what each of the ASW communities had to offer:

  • Speed and the ability to revisit from the aviation community,
  • Command and control, helicopters, and a modicum of endurance from the surface community,
  • Stealth and endurance from the submarine community, and
  • Long range cuing from IUSS. We began to develop an ASW system. We began to do coordinated ASW. We refined our cuing, experimented with reverse cuing, and our various ASW communities began to develop a greater understanding of each others’ capabilities. We began operating as a team and a good team! We relearned the laws of ASW:
  • ASW is hard
  • The oceans are unfair
  • The carrier will always pass through datum
  • When dealing with submarines, cheat-treachery here is an asset!
    • Exciting things were in the works-low frequency active,
      Swath-A, bi-statics, transient detection, broadband detection, the AWS-13F, the SQS-53C, the P-7, the update IV and SEAWOLF to name a few.

      And then the world collapsed!

      • The Berlin Wall melted.
      • The Warsaw Pact members joined NATO.
      • The Soviet Union dissolved.
      • Our submarines rejoined the Navy and now have joined the battle groups.

      What a difference a day makes. It is said that after Napoleon signed the 1802 Treaty of Arniens with Great Britain, he turned to his marshals and said, “Peace has been declared! What a fix we are in now!” And what a fix we are in now!

      Few in Washington believe there is a submarine threat. You have senior leadership who ask, “Who would shoot a torpedo at us?” I ask you, “Who would fire a ballistic missile at us?”

      • Even if you can show that there are over 400 submarines operated by 41 countries other than the U.S. and the Russians
      • Even if you can show that the Germans will build an air independent propulsion submarine (Type 212) for anyone who wants it by the turn of the century
      • Even if you can show that they will also build into it any submerged launched cruise missile you want, including Harpoon and submerged-launched Exocet, and
      • Even if you can show that the only weapons export that actually increased over the last five years is the submarine. The response is: “Yes, but no one knows how to properly operate them so there still is no threat.” The lessons of the FalkLands are lost. The issue today is what sells? TBMD and deep-strike sell. (And, perhaps in the current budget environment that is the correct attitude, it may be an issue of survival.) This is the view even though the two weapons that small countries can use to even the odds against large navies are mines and submarines:
      • As did Iraq-with mines
      • As did Argentina against the British in the Falklands with their 1974 vintage Type 209. Ever wonder why the VENTE CINCO DE MAYO didn’t play in that conflict? Because the Brits said they’d sink anything outside of Argentinean territorial waters-as they did with BELGRANO! That got their attention. You and I know that the small non-nuclear submarine in shallow water is a challenge. They are quiet on battery. They can bottom. They are a small acoustic target. We have little oceanographic data in shallow water. And the tactical environment will probably not be benign.

      So what? And so what should we do about it? That’s an interesting question.

      As you know, reality is directly proportional to the distance from Washington. But, some good things are going on in Washington. Let me review for a moment some of them.

      • Last year we completed the 1996 Anti-Submarine Warfare assessment for Congress that clearly articulated our difficulties.
      • Many are beginning to feel we may have gone too far, too fast in using ASW as the bill payer for downsizing.
      • We have gained an appreciation in the OSD and Navy secretariats and in OPNA V that the current process may not adequately assess the warfare mosaic of ASW as an interdisciplinary sport.
      • We have established, at least the rudiments, of an N84, similar to the old OP71, to provide a systemic focus.
      • We have managed to raise the interest level in the budget process to where ASW is not the first bill payer of choice. There are other things going on too. The Naval Doctrine Command is continuing its efforts following last year’s ASW CEB to develop the littoral USW concept. But, what can and should you do?
      • Make your senior leadership include meaningful and realistic exercises in your workups.
      • Then tell it straight up. Don’t embellish your capabilities. Tell it like it is, ASW is hard.
      • Recognize that you and you alone really know the issue. Don’t let the analysts in Washington dictate your requirements for you. Use this forum, the fleet ASWIP, to set forth your requirements to not only N84 but to all-your type commanders, your fleet commanders, OPNA V and the secretariat.

      Beware of scenarios. You cannot generate a scenario today that, given time, we can’t address. But that’s not the issue, that’s not how to define the threat. The threat is not pacing technology. Scenarios sacrifice future readiness. In 10-15 years some of you may be ready, but your sensors are inadequate to the challenge. So, so what!

      But, I caution you, keep it simple.

      • In many cases, you’re dealing with people who in general don’t understand your problem to the depth that you do.
      • Many have never even been to sea. And for others it’s been a decade or more-148 db (decibel) targets-don’t recognize the problem.
      • Many think that when you’re talking about pascals, you’re talking about the French philosopher and mathematician and wonder what the connection is. {To them a micro pascal is a little bitty French philosopher and mathematician.)
      • Many equate ASW to just having a better submarine than the other guy.
      • Many think analysis is the only way to develop truth. (Recall that analysis was developed because you either couldn’t afford or couldn’t replicate things at sea.) Analysis is not a substitute for empirical evidence. You must be the voice. You must tell them what you require.
      • Perhaps you need a fundamental paradigm shift in the ASWIP. Perhaps you need to game out the problem-walk it through the campaign, through intelligence (policy issues) to oceanography (data collection priorities) to cuing (programs) to tactical forces (coordination and synergy) to C41 to weapons, and develop your requirements in that manner.
      • I’ve toured SEA WOLF and am aware of her capabilities and that of those that will follow her. Perhaps you need to decide if it’s best to turn the ASW mission over to the IUSS/submarine communities. Can they do it?
      • Perhaps you need more detailed reviews of what your representatives in OPNA V are doing on your behalf. For example:
      • > The SRQ-4 in the QQ-89 system is not being upgraded to take advantage of the Romeo. Is that important?
        > There is no ORD or MINS for JEER for the Romeo. Is that important?
        > There is no requirement for a mine hunting capability in ALFS (or PADS). Is that important?
        > The Romeo may not be compatible with CV operations because of the tow bar edict. Is that important? And there are many more.

        Finally, you need to ask some hard questions:

      • What is the Navy’s ASW strategy?
      • Given that strategy, what is the Navy’s ASW concept of operations? Do we only fight forward with submarines, etc.?
      • Given that concept of operations, what is the Navy’s corresponding ASW investment strategy (integrated priorities}?
      • Given that investment strategy, what are the key technologies we should be investing in? Let me tell you what I see: subs-good; surface-good enough; COTS-solution; air-hot potato; C41-everything dropped; weapons-no torpedo development program, all P31, no assessment of warfare as a system-little or no coherence. If we think multi static is the answer, who’s ensuring the systems are compatible? Who’s developing the C41? Who’s in charge?

      Let me close with the following:

      • The Navy is the only service with a unique environment the ocean.
      • USW/ASW is Navy unique. It is a core competency.
      • We need to maintain a basis of knowledge of physics of the problem (ocean, craft, etc.) which will be lost faster than any other areas. Retain the intellectual capital.
      • DDR&E and the JROC are taking over more and more of research and development and they are focusing on joint war fighting capabilities. They do not include undersea warfare. Service specific requirements are falling off the table.

      Well, I think the given you enough to think about. So what you’re doing here over the course of the next couple of days is vitally important to the health of your warfare area, and ultimately to the Navy. You have a great opportunity and a great responsibility to either fix, or screw up, this thing. So, thanks for the opportunity to visit with you today. I look forward to hearing what you have to say. Here’s your quiz: How many submarines does it take to constitute a threat?

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