Thank you Ted Hack, New London Submariners, Admirals, Captains of Industry, Leaders in our Undersea Technology Acquisition and Warfighting Communities, Ladies and Gentlemen. At last year’s Clambake, as I was giving my presentation, the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania began. When I sat down following my remarks someone handed me a note informing me that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
This past spring I was honored to speak at the Washington DC Submarine Birthday Ball and was presented a flag. It had been flown aboard USS PROVIDENCE and USS KEY WEST, the first submarines to launch missile strikes into Afghanistan after September 11th. It was also flown over the USS ARIZONA and the Pentagon. We have recorded this flag’s history as well as the names of the three submariners killed in the attack on the Pentagon on the back of its case.
This, our Submarine War On Terrorism Flag, will remain in my office for as Jong as it takes to defeat the terrorists. It is and will be a constant reminder of September 11, 2001 and the depth of anger and determination the events of that day created within us. We have no illusions about the length, complexity or difficulty of this war. How long will it last? When will we know we’ve won? How long will this flag be a real and relevant reminder to our submariners? We don’t know. To us, it appears that what we are facing is the beginning of a long-term effort like the Cold War. But while the end point is difficult to predict and progress not easy to measure, the path we must take is clear. We must create a constant crushing force that intimidates, inhibits, and interdicts the terrorists. We must make it hard, very hard for them to organize, equip, and execute a major attack. That is the effort to which your submariners have contributed, are contributing, and we promise to apply every bit of the relentlessness, tenacity and boldness that are part of our submarine heritage in doing so. Mush Morton, the legendary Commanding Officer of USS WAHOO during World War II is quoted, while amidst a difficult pursuit of an enemy target, as having turned to his Exec Dick O’Kane and said “Tenacity Dick, you have to stay with the bastard until he is on the bottom.” As in World War II, at different times and places and to different effect, American submariners applied the traits of relentlessness, tenacity and boldness to defeating the Soviet Union in a Cold War, and today, a new generation is applying them to the War on Terrorism.
Our submarines are being employed extensively in this war. Immediately after September 11th, constrained by an understanding of the scarcity of attack submarines, Combatant Commanders requested 30 percent more SSN presence to utilize in their theaters. An increase in demand that our force structure was insufficient to support. The number of places where Combatant Commanders now routinely request the authority to operate our attack boats (many places we’ve never been before) have increased by 130 percent in a year. Our submarines’ principal employment, following the missile strikes and other key missions in support of the campaign in Afghanistan, have been intelligence collection surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), intelligence preparation of the battlespace (IPB), and maritime interdiction operations (MIO). We have shifted our limited submarine assets to provide greater presence in the Central Command theater. As always, we have, been mindful of and attentive to our precious stealth. That said, submarine ISR today is not what it was during the Cold War when it was strongly influenced by responsibility for Indications and Warning. Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace, and Maritime Interception Operations today are fully interactive efforts, with submarine high-bandwidth communications facilitating timely and frequent reports to and direction from Naval Component and Joint Commanders. They are imminently tactical in conduct and content. The access and unique physical perspective submarines provide are also catapulting us into the business of Information Operations where there is a great deal of experimentation and innovation on-going.
I remind you that U.S. and Royal Navy submarines account for 37 percent of the TLAMs launched so far in Operation Enduring Freedom. Additionally, the access facilitated by submarine stealth is fueling unprecedented experimentation and innovation in Submarine-Special Operations Forces (SOF) capability, and SOF-Submarine employment. In the post-Afghanistan war on terrorism, it is my view that locating the terrorists, their meeting places, activities, things they value, where they sleep, is key to our continued success. The unique access our submarines provide, combined with broader Naval, SOF, Joint and law enforcement capabilities, will make a substantial contribution to providing that critical targeting today. The delivery of converted Trident submarines as SSGNs, the SOF mini-submarine Advanced Seal Delivery System, and the further development and fielding of unmanned vehicles of all kinds, will help us expand that targeting capability in the near future.
Beyond the war on terrorism, our submarines are busy and challenged. In the Atlantic we’ve deployed 11 SSNs to Joint Forces Command, European Command, Central Command and Southern Command areas of responsibility so far. These boats are doing what deployed submarines do, improving their own and our Navy’s collective anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, testing themselves, their equipment and weapons in real world environments, in strike, SOF missions and anti-shipping for long periods, stressing themselves so they’re ready on an instant’s notice. And, beyond the Global War On Terrorism, there is substantial ISR that needs to be done while also participating as part of our Navy team in events and exercises as a Battle Group member, and with allies in support of Combatant Commander engagement. They’re busy. They’ re busy when deployed and at home. A significant amount of depot maintenance work, the associated testing and trials as well as vitally important modernization fills the period between deployments far beyond the demands of training alone.
Meanwhile our SSBNs continue their vigilant patrols, protecting us from weapons of mass destruction, while poised and ready for maritime interdiction operations off our coasts, and providing enormously important contributions to some of the fleet training, tactical development, research development testing and engineering demands that our limited number of SSNs cannot support. The flawless conversion of Trident navigation and missile fire control systems to commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware, conversion of submarines from the Trident I to the Trident II D5 configuration; all this continues quietly and efficiently at pace, with success demonstrated in rigorous end-to-end testing that leaves no doubt about system reliability. This is an unheralded success story of which we are very proud. Our SSBN leadership is also busy working on the substantial changes that the Nuclear Posture Review will cause throughout our Navy and SSBN forces, as a result of its implementation, and manifestations of its intent like the combination of Space Command and the Strategic Command.
Allied submarine cooperation and contributions to our mutual goals accelerated dramatically in 2002. Dutch, Danish and Norwegian submarines deployed to the Mediterranean to support NATO efforts in the war on terrorism, and to mitigate our attack submarine shortfall. Royal Navy SSNs, as always, have been by our side, deploying to the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and Pacific regions in cooperation and support. French SSNs deployed to the Indian Ocean with their carrier force. Colombian and Peruvian submarines have provided us with valuable and mutually beneficial tactical development opportunities. The Peruvians have also done a beautiful job providing the opposition force for the HARRY S TRUMAN pre-deployment training and exercises. USS CONNECTICUT is making the second deployment of the Sea wolf class, and demonstrating the terrific capability of the Seawolfs, the Ferraris of the attack submarine world. And we participated in and learned a great deal from our allies in a huge NA TO submarine rescue exercise that involved four submarines, seven surface ships, and twelve nations.
The theme of this conference, Transformation and Innovation in Undersea Warfare is a topic with which we submariners like to feel we are comfortable. Why? From deck guns to rockets, to Regulus, Polaris, Poseidon, Tomahawk and Trident, submarine land attack has evolved through innovation and experimentation, and produced transformation. From raiding parties launched on the surface, to submerged swimmer lockout, to drydeck shelters with Swimmer Delivery Vehicles, and the Advanced SEAL Delivery System, submarine Special Operations Forces capability has evolved through innovation and experimentation, and resulted in transformation. From basic radio and radar warning receivers and direction finders, to sophisticated antennas that can access huge portions of the RF spectrum, complex receivers, analysis and deciphering tools, plus the capability to transfer quickly and securely RF signals data to other platforms and facilities for exploitation, as well as fusing through networks with other data, the rest of the picture, submarine electronic signals intelligence collection has evolved through innovation and experimentation, and produced transformation. There are other examples in communications, stealth, anti-submarine warfare and of course submarine propulsion systems, propulsion systems that transformed our boats from fast little torpedo carrying surface combatants that could submerge for periods of time, to true submarines, long endurance undersea combatants that need surface only for refit and resupply. So, submariners are comfortable with the ideas of adaptation, improvisation, innovation and transformation. They are what we’ve done and always do. They are part of our remarkable 102 year history.
Today transformational policies, like the Nuclear Posture Review will reshape our Submarine Force, and to a degree our Navy. The war on terrorism may incentivize transformation of our undersea surveillance systems from a shield against submarines, to a shield against surface ships that terrorists seek to use as weapon delivery vehicles. The Trident SSGN whose stealth and payload volume allows us to deliver unmanned vehicles, special forces, and weapons in significant numbers by surprise, will clearly transform the way our Navy looks, and fights. Trident launched unmanned air, surface, undersea, ocean bottom, and terrestrial vehicles, combined with the most sophisticated of our sensors, SOF troops, will give us the opportunity to find, out-know, and out-think an adversary without his even knowing it. Trident-launched cruise and ballistic missiles, jammers, decoys and deception capabilities can destroy or render useless an enemy’s most threatening capability, and deliver immediate access to our Naval and Joint Forces.
Trident payload experimentation and innovation will transform our Virginia class SSNs, and in tum Virginia technology insertions and development will alter the SSGN. It is a synergy we find very exciting. And of course, information technologies and the power of networks are sparking innovation and providing opportunities for transformation throughout our Submarine Force and our Navy.
Your conference working groups on Aviation, C41 and Combat Systems, Sensors, and Vehicles, have much to talk about, given the opportunities and challenges technology and our time are presenting us-opportunities and challenges to adapt, improvise, experiment, innovate and transform. As you conduct your discussions, I ask you to focus on the core businesses of undersea warfare, and certainly two of the core competencies of our Navy, Mine Warfare and Anti-Submarine Warfare. For several reasons, but most particularly because of the complexity and hostility of the undersea environment, mine warfare and anti-submarine warfare remain difficult and demand extraordinary discipline and effort, if we are to be successful. Discipline and effort that, in my opinion, we have difficulty sustaining.
Mine Warfare is my greater concern among the two, because it is in dealing with mines that we are farthest behind the power curves of mine availability and sophisticated mine technology. Mines are access-denial tools and, among other things, our Navy must ensure access for our Joint Forces. Our dedicated surface and airborne mine countermeasures capabilities are not what we’d like them to be, are better than nothing, but are very slow. I do not intend to be critical of the dedicated professionals who have made mine warfare their lives’ work, this is simply my assessment of the capability our collective effort and priorities have delivered. In addition, the future of surface and airborne mine countermeasures systems, developed in part to support the concept of organic mine countermeasures, are faced with technological and programmatic challenges. It will take significant effort and discipline to manage those challenges and deliver real capability that substantially improves our position vs. enemy mines.
Mine Warfare in the Submarine Force is getting significant attention to provide that kind of effort and discipline, but, to produce, they will have to be sustained over time. For example, in order to develop knowledge and experience we require all of our submarines in the Atlantic with under ice and mine avoidance sonars to run a practice minefield when we examine their tactical readiness each year. We are collecting valuable data on the performance of their equipment, but still do not know enough to be able to grade the performance of the people, given the variance in their equipment performance and the environment. Results of testing our new equipment, like Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion tools, are promising, but promises aren’t good enough in Mine Warfare. Capabilities to improve our Navy performance in Mine Warfare are frequently promised. We need to deliver. Our work indicates that effective mine avoidance and minefield penetration by a submarine with unmanned vehicles are not impossible. However, they are difficult. We need to maintain the effort, focus, and discipline in thoroughly testing and characterizing the performance of the equipment and crews we have, as well as for promising new tools we’ve identified. As our capability improves beyond the basic, we need a better and more sophisticated mine training range, we need to operate our submarines and UUVs in stratum with moored mines, and we need to test at full scale the performance of our boats and their countermeasures against modern mine sensors and logic. Largely, you here, are the talent we need to achieve those advances.
While mines are ubiquitous, submarines are the ASW challenge to our responsibility to deliver access varies in the different regions of our world. As I have testified before Congress, our ASW capabilities can best be described as poor or weak. It seems to me that, as a minimum, our Navy must have the capability and capacity, if required, to neutralize the potential undersea threats posed by China, North Korea and Iran, today. We must also maintain a close watch on Russia, who remains a high-end provider and exporter of undersea technology. While China and North Korea have a significant number of submarines (by and large individually unimpressive) their collective numbers and the environment where we would most likely have to engage them warrant taking them very seriously, and we do.
At the same time, the center of conventional submarine and submarine weapon development is in Europe. Swedish, German and French Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems are, or soon will be, operational. The Russians have indicated an intent to follow suit. AIP will enhance conventional submarine survivability and lethality. Fortunately it is not here in numbers yet, but neither can we produce the capability and capacity to deal with it over-night. Concerns with China in the near and medium term should not distract us into reducing the number of assets, and our ASW activities, such that we become a one-ocean ASW Navy. Nor should our constant quest for, and the promise of an ASW silver bullet seduce us into forgening that ASW is hard, force structure intensive, and a dynamic game of measure and countermeasure.
We clearly need four things to improve our ASW capability now and in the long term. These are not in order of priority, but efforts that must be synchronized and balanced.
First; platforms. The availability of ASW platforms, particularly maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, ASW helicopters and the only effective large area cueing assets we have-fixed arrays and SURT ASS ships-must be sufficient for the task. Additionally, our best submarine killer, our SSNs, must be present in sufficient numbers.
Second; sensors. So both our platforms and the sensors on their weapons can find and destroy submarines. Sensor limitations are a severe constraint in the employment of network centricity in ASW.
Third; training. We must know, with more assurance than we have today, how well what we now have in equipment and people can perform.
Fourth; disciplined data collection and analysis. All of our efforts in ASW must be underwrinen by this, or they will not be effective. For example, we have today delivered an ASW system to the fleet that is based on proven phenomenology. It works. That capability cannot be employed effectively by the fleet operators, however, because insufficient rigor was used in characterizing system performance and reliability in varied environments. The operators simply do not know enough about its performance to use it effectively. Collecting standard sets of real world and exercise data and subjecting that data to solid analysis based on proven first principles is necessary in the tough business of ASW, and must be implemented across the Navy so our experience and expertise are more than episodic, and so that corporately we learn from one ASW opportunity to the next.
We have started to address these four issues but have a long way to go. We need all of you here to contribute to improvement in our Navy’s ASW capability and capacity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, leadership of NOIA, thank you for your interest and work toward improving our Navy’s capability in the critical Undersea Battlespace today and tomorrow. We have a competitive advantage in the undersea world and we need to develop and exploit it to confound, disarm and incapacitate our adversaries. I think that’s what we call transformation.