Admiral DeMars, Admiral Bowman, V ADM Reynolds, fellow Flag Officers, honored guests, it is a pleasure and a distinct honor to be with you today and to have the opportunity to address this vitally important forum on the state of our fine Submarine Force. I will delve a little deeper than Admiral Bowman from my position here on the waterfront and I think I have a really wonderful story to tell you today. Before I do that, I want to thank Mickey Garverick for the work that he has done and the folks of the Naval Submarine League. I can’t tell you how much I admire the work the Submarine League does for us because they really support our Force and our sailors. Whether it’s simply spreading the word through C. J. Ihrig’s emails, some call it spam, sponsoring gatherings such as this and the recently completed Submarine Technology Symposium, or providing well deserved recognition to our Sailors and civilians through the awards that will be presented tomorrow, the Submarine League is a rallying point for Submariners near and far, active and retired, military and civilian. Thanks for all your great work!
As Admiral Reynolds stated, he is a glass half full kind of guy, but I am a glass three quarters full kind of guy. Let me tell you, I think it is a great time to be a submariner. You are going to hear some great stories over the next couple of days. I don’t think it matters if you are an E-3 or an 0-9, there is really some great work going on out there. Now some of you doing Washington duty may not completely share my unbridled enthusiasm, but that only means that things are just as they should be. After all, we need to have some incentives to get you folks to come back to the Fleet! You can’t deny that we are in the midst of some remarkable times for our Force, the Navy, and our country. Our ships are operating in virtually every comer of the globe supporting the Combatant Commanders in the Global War on Terrorism, providing critical intelligence, surveil-lance and reconnaissance to those same Combatant Commanders, and improving Fleet capabilities in anti-submarine warfare, strike, special operations, and mine warfare through exercises, experimentation and real world operations.
We are working closely with the British and our other NATO allies, with the Australians, the Japanese and other Pacific Rim countries, and with Peru, Chile, and our other submarine brethren from South America. We are all working together to raise the bar of our, and their, undersea warfare prowess.
Our SSBNs, often overlooked because we have become so accustomed to their usual stellar performance, remain, without question, the most robust, capable, and survivable force in our nation’s strategic arsenal. Suffice it to say, we are very busy on many fronts.
We are also busy building submarines. We have 11 submarines under contract or construction. I had the pleasure last week of participating in the christening of PCU JIMMY CARTER, a ceremony conducted marvelously by First Lady Rosalyn Carter. That ship will join the Fleet in 2005.
Just across the yard at Electric Boat, VIRGINIA is straining at her lines, ready to go to sea. We had the distinct pleasure of hosting Vice President Cheney as he toured through this marvelous ship a couple of weeks ago; in fact he enjoyed the first meal served in the Crews’ Mess and met a fine group of Sailors who, along with skipper Dave Kem, are bringing that ship to life. The Vice President walked away, as we all have after a visit to VIRGINIA, thoroughly impressed and convinced we have successfully designed and built a submarine to operate, fight, and dominate in the contested littoral.
We laid the keel for NORTH CAROLINA, under the sure hand of sponsor Linda Bowman, on May 22, 2004 at Northrup Grumman Newport News shipyard. Linda gave some of the most thoughtful and heartfelt remarks I have heard at one of these ceremonies. Also at Northrup Grumman Newport News, PCU TEXAS is 88% complete and will enter the Fleet in 2005. PCU HAW All being built at Electric Boat is 61 % complete and well on track to go operational in 2006.
I get excited every time I think about the three former Ohio-class Fleet ballistic missile submarines in conversion for their new role as SSGNs. OHIO and FLORIDA have completed refueling and are well into the conversion stage. MICHIGAN entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in March of this year and work is on schedule. The fourth ship, USS GEORGIA, will enter conversion later this year. These ships will start entering the Fleet in 2007 and I do believe when you talk transformation, this is it.
They will carry up to 154 land attack cruise missiles and up to 66 special operations forces equipped and sustained for up to 60 days at a time. By combining the Advanced SEAL Delivery Systems, Dry Deck Shelters, Swimmer Delivery Vehicles, robust connectivity and advanced command and control in the battle management center, you have a capable platform that provides substantial joint capability to direct forces from a stealthy Sea Base for extending the combat reach of our Force to unprecedented ranges.
We are going to leverage the existing TRIDENT program infrastructure and the substantial body of experience we have gained through over 40 years of high tempo operation of our SSBNs. We will be able to provide the Combatant Commanders with SSGN operational availability approaching 70% and a theater presence, at any given time, of over two and one-half ships.
And there is more. These ships will give us the volume and large ocean interface we have long sought that will allow us to host an array of emerging capabilities. Those possibilities include unmanned vehicles, distributed sensors and weapons, and new weapons that will help us stand and fight if necessary or allow us to put steel on target much quicker, at greater range, and with greater lethality. Realizing the payload capacity of the SSGN will, as Secretary John Stenbit encouraged us a couple of weeks ago at the Submarine Technology Symposium, expand our “area of regard . I think this ship will do just that.
To use a baseball metaphor, I like to think of the attack submarine, and soon the SSGN, as the ultimate utility infielders, but packing a long ball hitter’s punch. To understand what I mean, let me talk a bit about how we operate the Force today. In addition to the baseball attributes I mentioned, sometimes we find ourselves requiring the skills of a tightrope artist. There is a demand signal for these multipurpose, flexible ships by the Combatant Commanders that outstrips what we can deliver.
Without getting into the details of classified operations or contingency plans, it is clear that the submarine provides the capabilities of choice in those situations where stealth, endurance, flexibility, and firepower matter, and, accordingly, they are a key element of many of these plans. These submarine core attributes are particularly important in what is sometimes known as the pre-hostilities phase of a conflict. The phase where the close-in presence of substantial 011 call combat power, the ability to develop exquisite situational awareness and then report that knowledge immediately to the decision makers may be critical to the success of follow-on operations. Yet at the same time, the submarine’s stealth affords it the ability to operate in a non-provocative manner. This can be essential to retaining the element of surprise for a subsequent military campaign or allowing the freedom to pursue diplomatic efforts while minimizing the impact on military options. And when you start thinking of how to manage the very challenging transition period between pre-hostilities and hostilities, I would think, that as a Joint Task Force Commander, it would be reassuring to know that you not only had a capable platform as your eyes and ears at the right place and the right time, but you had one that can also deliver a long ball hitter’s punch, in the event that you need it. And finally, should maritime combat call, with its associated danger from high speed cruise missiles, quiet diesel submarines, and anti-shipping torpedoes, nuclear attack submarines will be a vital arrow in the quiver of our Joint Force Commander to sustain and dominate the fight under circumstances not suited for other platforms.
While the war fighting requirements for submarines are of paramount importance, the Combatant Commanders, through the annual Joint Staff SSN Allocation, have made it clear that they value SSNs as a key part of their overall theater intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, or ISR, strategies. Complementing the full array of ISR capabilities that exist within DOD and other government agencies, the SSN provides the unique ability to dwell in an area of interest and develop in-depth understanding of operating patterns, tactics, and weaponry, and to take advantage of unique vulnerabilities that may not be exploitable by other means. Additionally, it is important that we afford our skippers and crews the opportunity to operate frequently in tactically significant areas, building the Force body of knowledge and experience that may very well spell the difference between success and failure in future conflicts. And finally, that body of knowledge will be available and, I believe, valued by other maritime forces that will possibly be called upon to operate in those same waters. With our current force structure, depot maintenance workload, and an inter deployment readiness cycle tuned to be as efficient as we can make it, we can provide the Combatant Commanders with about 65% of the “presence with a purpose they requested.
Which brings me to my last demand signal, and that is support of our carrier and expeditionary strike groups. As many of you in this room know, we have worked closely with the carrier and cruiser-destroyer groups for many years in what has, for the most part, been a richly rewarding experience for all concerned. With the transition to carrier and expeditionary strike groups, this relationship is even more important. The smaller complement of ships associated with Carrier Strike Groups increases the marginal value of combat power of each assigned unit, which certainly includes the submarine. Similarly, the marriage of expeditionary forces with organic JSR, strike, SOF and mine warfare capabilities has strong appeal. The multi-mission capabilities that the submarine brings enhance the overall flexibility and responsiveness of the strike group. We have aligned attack submarines with both the carrier and expeditionary strike groups and we manage their readiness within the Fleet Response Plan. If the strike group is called upon to surge, we want to surge a submarine that has worked with that strike group and developed a relationship with the commander and his other supporting units. We are retaining the ability to plug and fight with any strike group-given the uncertainty of world events and the need to respond quickly and effectively, that type of flexibility will certainly be in demand -but we want to make sure that our submarines and the strike groups are fully ready to respond as an integrated team.
We haven’t worked all the bugs out yet, but we are smartly climbing the learning curve. USS MIAMI just surged with ENTERPRISE CSG and USS ALBUQUERQUE surged with HARRY S. TRUMAN CSG, commanded by RADM Mike Tracy. This surge is a demonstration of the combat power that we can generate with very short notice. We are building upon current and past lessons. USS ALBANY is deployed with GEORGE WASHINGTON CSG and the strike group is fully engaged in combating the Global War on Terrorism. USS CONNECTICUT and DALLAS are deployed with the WASP ESG and over the course of the deployment are honing the tactics, techniques and procedures for delivering organic strike in support of expeditionary forces. PELELIEU ESG had TA CON of USS PHILADELPHIA during operations involving Special Operations Forces employed from the Dry Deck Shelter and Swimmer Delivery Vehicle.
As you would expect, competing demands lead to conflicts-hence our need for tightrope walking skills. Every year we prioritize our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission requirements because there is no way to fulfill all the tasking with the assets available. Similarly, we are still not as integrated with the strike groups as we would like to see. We do our best to ensure the strike group submarines participate in the Inter deployment readiness process, but we are not batting a thousand as of yet. Our attack submarines frequently deploy with afoot in both camps as both a national ISR asset and as a member of a strike group and that results in situations where the ship is pulled away from the strike group to conduct special operations, but we are working our way through that.
Given these competing demands, it is essential that we operate the Force as efficiently and effectively as we possibly can to increase what is known as operational availability of our ships and their associated combat power. I believe there is a really good news story about the fore-handedness of our predecessors that has positioned us nicely to be able to do exactly that. It’s a story that is not always well understood, but one for which many of you in this room should be very proud.
If, for instance, you take a look at the depot maintenance profile of LOS ANGELES class submarine, you see the following:
- A class that has had its operational life extended by l 0% since it was designed
- A class that has gone from spending 22% of its life in depot avail abilities and unavailable to the Combatant Commanders, to one that is now spending only 11 % of its time in those same avail abilities
- A class that has similarly seen the man-days of depot maintenance required reduced by about 50%
If you consider what this means across the inventory of LOS ANGELES class, we have gained back 280 operational submarine-years now available for the Fleet and Combatant Commanders to use. And this was accomplished the right way-starting with a sound design, capitalizing on the experience we gained in operating these ships and earlier classes to understand what the limiting factors were in ship longevity, and through the use of sound engineering and technical judgment to make smart decisions on risks we could take to get the most life out of our equipment. The end result is a lean, efficient class maintenance plan that will ensure these ships remain combat ready their entire design life.
Taking this line of thought further, it wouldn’t do much good to have ships available more if we didn’t invest in keeping their war fighting capability current. That means we have to modernize these ships with upgraded combat systems, sensors, weapons, and engineering equipment. Again, I think you have many reasons to be proud. The Submarine Force led the way for the Navy in open architecture sonar and combat systems, starting with the first Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion installation on USS AUGUST A in 1997. Now we are in the third hardware refresh and the sixth software upgrade with Advanced Processor Build 03 delivering this summer on USS ASHEVILLE, giving the Fleet significant improvement in littoral sonar performance against quiet contacts
Similarly, the AN/BYG-1 Combat System delivers significantly improved capability with the flexibility of open architecture. We have deployed the AN/BYG-1 in the most challenging tactical environments on the face of this earth. Every time the Commanding Officers return from deployment saying they don’t know how we have done without the situational awareness and tactical decision aids provided to the watch teams and decision makers. Similar systems will be seen on the VIRGINIA-class and will be backfit to SEA WOLF class and OHIO-class SSBNs.
Being operationally available implies you are operationally connected. Your Submarine Force has made remarkable strides in moving from being the disadvantaged user on the net to being a fully connected partner on the Joint net. During Desert Storm, message traffic was funneled through a central point called the Submarine Broadcast Authority. Tactical information was passed on the Officer in Tactical Command Information Exchange System, or OTCIXS, which required user intervention to push information to the submarine. Voice communication was the way we handled operational strike at the time.
Fast forward to Operation Iraqi Freedom, we began to realize the potential of FORCEnet. The battle groups could exchange messages and data directly with their submarines. EHF was used extensively to conduct point-to-point voice and data communications with locations around the world. And the real revolution was the use of SIPRNET, and more specifically chat, to coordinate and pass orders. Through chat, the task force commander could pass orders to all his subordinates simultaneously. If there was a problem, such as a missile failure, everyone knew it and was able to respond with backup plans almost instantaneously. This flatter model of communication helped to speed the execution of operations and it is the way we are going to continue to do business. Submarines had access to all of this through a lot of hard work in design and it really turned out well.
Today, we are leading again by installing in our submarines a completely new radio room based on the Internet Protocol. More specifically, our network will become RF path independent, which translates into more efficient use of the available bandwidth and the ability to plug and play new equipment into the backbone. We are installing high data rate antennas to enable access to the larger volume of information that will be required in the future. The submarine will be fully connected and have sufficient bandwidth to participate in the Joint War fight.
We are designing and building the sensors, vehicles, and weapons of future undersea warfare and they all have one thing in common: the need to communicate in order to stay relevant. To address this, we need to take a system of systems approach for future undersea communications that consists of: Nodal communications grids to support a fixed, hut transient battlespace; and reusable communications systems that support more mobile units. The future communications architecture will be flexible, allowing sensor and weapon nodes to be continuously connected, or able to plug into the net, depending on operating mode and external factors. Ultimately, these systems will bridge the gap between the underwater environment and the above water RF spectrum.
While the hardware and software that we employ to modernize our ships are certainly important, it would be easy to get caught up in the technology of the possible and then find ourselves chasing the next big thing -taking excessive technological risk to the point of failing to deliver REAL capability to our Sailors. Boldness and risk-taking are good things, but without good engineering, sound technical judgment and process discipline, disaster looms. I am satisfied that our Sea Enterprise has a good process in place to identify, prioritize, resource, and install alterations that we need to keep our Submarine Force relevant.
The Submarine Force Fleet Modernization Process brings key decision makers together to prioritize each alteration based on the impact to war fighting, safety, operability, and cost. Integration with and impact on the Fleet Response plan is considered when scheduling modernization upgrades. This information is formalized in the Threshold Modernization Matrix, a tool that eliminates waste and results in the development of a fully integrated and executable Submarine Force Sponsor Program Proposal. The Fleet is able to express their concerns and needs through the Submarine Tactical Requirements Group. This filters up to our modernization process so we know exactly what the warfighter needs and can prioritize and fund accordingly.
And we aren’t afraid to experiment. We are running two major experiments this fall that will explore technologies and doctrine that will enhance our ability to gain and maintain access in the contested littorals. SILENT HAMMER will investigate the ability of USS GEORGIA, acting as an SSGN, to Sea Base ground forces and conduct missions ashore in support of a larger Joint operation.
In this experiment, we will launch a test shape from the Stealthy Affordable Capsule and Flexible Payload Module to continue our encapsulation spiral development efforts. This will open up the possibility of rapidly and economically converting existing weapons and sensors for launch from SSGN and VIRGINIA advanced sail.
We are populating GEORGIA ‘s Battle Management Center with organic targeting equipment to help better understand the future capabilities that SSGN will require to support her myriad of missions, which include: Quick reaction fire support of SOF on the beach; strike of time critical targets, and Strategic Command’s emerging global strike mission.
We will set up what we are calling a ground mesh network to facilitate infonnation exchange between the forces and sensors on the beach and there will be a gateway to the Sea Base that will facilitate command, control and situational awareness.
We are also spiral developing a stand and fight weapon that will enable the SSGN to provide an umbrella of protection over SOF when they are most vulnerable during ingress and egress.
The tactics, techniques and procedures for Sea Strike will be honed for fire support and time critical strike using the new capabili-ties that Tactical Tomahawks, or T ACTOMS, will provide in the near future. And to tie this all together, we intend to Sea Base the Joint Special Operations Task Force Commander onboard GEOR-GIA, and supported by a reach back center, to give the Commander the most direct access to his troops.
The Undersea Dominance experiment will explore how to establish a Sea Shield around the Sea Base in a littoral operating area. This will be a combined anns experiment, incorporating aspects of submarine, air and surface Anti-submarine warfare. A Theater ASW Commander will command the overall effort. This experiment will test truly coordinated operations as opposed to today’s framework of divided waterspace.
All platforms and command nodes will be fitted with the Undersea Tactical Decision Aid, Connerly named the Common Undersea Picture, to facilitate this type of collaboration, that we know we are going to need. To enable submarine participation, we will trial several potential technologies that will help us achieve the goal to communicate at speed and depth.
And to expand our area of regard, we will use the Advanced Deployable System for cueing. This experiment, although conceived within the lifelines, has been subsumed under Task Force ASW because of its broad applicability to Naval and Joint warfare.
Another means that we have used to enhance our operational availability is through improvements to our interdeployment readiness cycle. This has been a constantly evolving process for several years, with the first changes starting in the mid-90’s as we improved our class maintenance plan allowing more time between major overhauls. Once we anchored the life-of-the-ship schedule around the major availabilities, then we went to work maximizing deployed days while balancing against a comprehensive Inter-Deployment Readiness Cycle training plan and against the need to ensure that our ships’ nuclear fuel would last for the life of the ship. The result is an efficient and effective readiness plan that not only provides presence with a purpose-deployed days for the Combatant Commander, but also provides a robust surge capacity. At any given time, approximately 70% of the Force is ready to surge.
To further enhance our readiness generation capacity, we recently completed a shore staff rationalization process where we have further reduced redundancies in our administrative staffs ashore and redirected those precious personnel assets toward the pointy end of the spear, closer to the waterfront where they will make our ships even better. We monitor this through a metric called the tooth-to-tail ratio. We will continue to adjust so that the most efficient mix is achieved.
We sized and resourced our waterfront staffs-the groups, squadrons and Naval Submarine Support Commands-to allow them to train, mentor, and support our Commanding Officers and their crews. The Naval Submarine Support Command is primarily tasked with lifting administrative burden from the crews and overseeing waterfront maintenance. We have tools in place, such as Type Commander led Tactical Readiness Evaluations and squadron led Basic Submarining Assessments, to measure our training effective-ness and to take the tactical pulse of the Force such that we have an accurate, daily picture of our readiness. We continue to evolve as we fully integrate our lnterdeployment Readiness Cycle processes into the Fleet Response Plan. The squadrons and NSSC work to synchro-nize the submarine’s training and maintenance so that they achieve surge status with the partnered strike group. However, if called upon to surge, we will strive for capabilities based integration by sending the submarines with the highest level of readiness in the mission areas that may be required.
Lest we not forget our comrades on strategic patrol, there is change afoot on the TRIDENTS. Today’s SSBN fleet is taking a leading role in transforming and preparing our nation’s nuclear forces for an unpredictable future. Advances in the TRIDENT Strategic Weapons System make the platform adaptive and respon-sive to provide the President a range of options to defeat any aggressor. As our nation draws down its nuclear warheads, TRI-DENT submarines remain the cornerstone of our nuclear posture. They are a vital part of the New Triad, consisting of offensive strike systems both nuclear and non-nuclear, active and passive defenses, and a revitalized defense infrastructure that will provide new capabilities in a timely fashion against emerging threats.
U.S. forces must pose a credible deterrent to potential adversar-ies who have access to modem military technology, including weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them over long distances. To counter these emerging potential threats, just as we have done in the past, we are constantly refining our force posture. The most recent example is USS Nebraska transferring from Kings Bay, Georgia to Bangor, Washington this October.
And we couldn’t talk about true operational availability unless we talked about our people and how they are contributing and how we are helping them contribute. As we have invested in technology, improved our management processes, and improved our training and education for our people, we believe we are creating opportunities to become more efficient and leaner. If this is going to be achievable, we must continue to invest in the development of our sailors and officers.
For example, we are giving our people more opportunity to continue their education. In the Submarine Force, over 8 percent of our enlisted people have college degrees, compared to 5.4% Navy wide. That is in part attributable to the high caliber of our acces-sions, but we are also offering many opportunities to earn a degree through correspondences and online courses and our nuclear personnel get college credit for their experience. For officers, graduate degrees are becoming more valued and to assist them, we offer more programs to complete their graduate degree either in residence, via seminar or correspondence. There are over 100 billets dedicated for submariners to earn a master’s degree and if you include the Navy wide education programs, War College, and off-duty options, there is opportunity for everyone to complete this milestone if they so desire.
Designation as a Joint Specialty Officer will become a prerequi-site for the Fiscal Year 2008 0-7 selection board. We are making adjustments now to our career path and detailing processes to provide officers more opportunity to complete their Joint Profes-sional Military Education earlier in their career so that they can better contribute in the Joint arena and as a benefit, provide a larger pool of eligible officers for promotion. We are on the right vector to produce the desired results.
Before you can be a joint war fighter, you must be a submarine war fighter first. We have made substantial changes in the last two years in how we prepare our officers for command over the course of their careers to ensure they get the opportunity to hone their warrior skills. We went back to the drawing board with our officer pipeline courses, re-evaluating the knowledge and skills necessary to assure the success of our operators at every level of seniority, and then aligned those courses to provide the requisite skills. All of the courses have become more hands on, taking advantage of the state of the art simulation technology that we have installed in all our submarine training facilities. Even the greenest ensign leaves school ready to integrate into the tactical teams onboard the most modern SSN. We rebuilt the Prospective Commanding Officer course to make it more scenario driven, requiring the PCOs to plan, execute, and assess their training missions. We are now sending PXOs through PCO training, soon to be renamed the Submarine Command Course. The XOs now have to pass this crucible event, which translates into more experience for the individual and for the ship. We will reap a double benefit from this arrangement, in that the XO will now be a more experienced and confident back up for the CO and will be better prepared to train the Wardroom.
This idea originated from an exchange program where we send some of our PCOs to the British Royal Navy and Dutch Perisher courses and they send some of their officers over here. This has been a marvelous exchange We have already harvested many ideas from this exchange that are, or will be, incorporated into our procedures. For example, we modified our periscope employment as a direct result of what we have learned from the Royal Navy. The Royal Submarine Force has learned from our metrics based approach to tactical evaluation, and they are going to take that back as well.
To support these upgraded training pipelines, we have been making a full power run on improving the shore training infrastruc-ture. The attack centers, navigation trainers, and sonar trainers of today not only look like the hardware installed in the boats, but they run the tactical software, in a simulated ocean that is almost as complex and realistic as the real ocean. The contacts in these virtual environments have been tu11edbyour ACINT specialists to look and act as challenging as the real world targets of today. Taking a submarine to sea and operating, no question about it, is still the best training environment for a crew, but for many of our missions, the gap in training value between going to sea and going to the school-house has narrowed substantially. With VIRGINIA class submarine, we have even built this high fidelity training capability into the tactical systems installed in the ship, negating even the walk up the hill to the schoolhouse. And we ‘re not done yet. In the foreseeable future we will have real time playback capability built into these trainers, so that at any point in a problem you can compare reality to the solutions being worked by the submarine crew being trained.
This summer we will put into operation our first Fleet Interactive Display Equipment in Kings Bay, a state of the art Maneuvering Room simulator that will allow us to run the same, or even higher, quality of drills as on the boat. The value added includes drills you can run with the FIDE that you would never allow on an operating plant. This expanded experience will better prepare our operators for casualty response and should also translate into an overall better understanding of plant operations. It also gives us the flexibility to run operational scenarios while inport, resulting in improved efficiency of training.
Amie Lotring, at the Submarine Leaming Center, is making marvelous progress toward taking full advantage of the technology that is available today. If you were at the Submarine Technology Symposium, you saw the video of the virtual fire fighting trainer that can be taken shipboard and provide more realistic indications then we have ever been able to achieve. Single systems on today’s submarines, like the ARCI sonar system, have more information resources, more processing power, and more decision aids than could have been found on an entire submarine just a few years ago. Accelerating rates of technology insertion, greater infonnation availability, and shorter decision times characterize the war fighting environment in the second I 00 years of the Submarine Force. Our challenge now is to ensure submarine education and training keep pace to support the Submarine Sea Warrior who will operate and fight our boats in the 21″ century. The Submarine Learning Center is working on a new model of training and qualification that will replace today’s ‘A’ and ‘C’ schools, which offer higher level training about every 5 years. The new model is based on a continuum approach that will allow each sailor to improve knowledge and skills at their own pace. They are moving training out of the industrial age and into the information age.
We are using knowledge management tools to harness the computing power that has been installed in our submarines. This means more than just automating the same processes that we have been doing for years on paper, but instead, utilizing computers to enhance the human thought process. Knowledge management will be critical to the development of the submarine Integrated Learning Environment. VIRGINIA, the Submarine Force’s first paperless ship, is outfitted with the Non-Tactical Data Processing System, automating numerous administrative functions and providing operational documentation in a readily accessible electronic format. Using portal technology, it integrates a variety of Navy-supplied software programs including supply, medical, maintenance, and personnel applications. It also serves as the entryway into the submariner’s onboard version of the Integrated Leaning Environment.
Another aspect of our business we don’t discuss much, but still contributes mightily to our undersea dominance, is the fine organization run by Commodore Steve Gabriele at Commander, Undersea Surveillance, the Type Commander for the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System, or IUSS. Commemorating its 501h anniversary this summer, IUSS today is a far cry from the early days of SOSUS. From a Cold War peak of over 20 shore processing facilities and more than 4000 personnel, and a strategic curing program shrouded in deep secrecy, IUSS has evolved to a modern, lean, more tactical contributor to undersea warfare. IUSS employs fixed hydrophones connected by hundreds of miles of submerged cable placed around the globe to detect and track submerged, surface and air contacts. In addition to the fixed hydrophone systems, IUSS also employs mobile towed array sensor ships, called SURTASS, that can be pre-positioned in high interest areas where fixed systems either can’t be placed or don’t exist. These ships are capable of passive acoustic detection and two of the ships are also equipped with a Low Frequency Active capability. In addition to the classic submerged contact monitoring mission, IUSS is also adaptable to Homeland Security missions and the Global War on Terrorism through its demonstrated capabilities against surface contacts of interest. IUSS, however, is not resting on its laurels -with an eye to the future, the community is looking to the following:
- Employment of Compact LF A-designed for the littoral environment -on all SURT ASS ships.
- Implementation of the Advanced Deployable System -in essence a fixed system capable of being delivered to almost any location in the world.
- Continued improvements in detection and processing system hardware and software.
Your Submarine Force is operationally ready, operationally available, and working to get even better every day. The training, maintenance, modernization, personnel, and command structures that many of you helped put in place have positioned us to provide presence with a purpose and, at the same time, to have the strategic reserve available to surge significant combat power if called upon by the President.
You’ve probably heard this before, but it is still true, so you are about to hear it again. We cannot count on being so fortunate in the next significant conflict to have essentially unimpeded access like we enjoyed during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. And the anti-access capability that is proliferating worldwide leads me, and I bet most people, to believe the collective submarine attributes of stealth, endurance, flexibility, and lethality will be critical to success in future conflict. We must be ready to go and stay places where others cannot be, and survive. Today, submarines deliver real capability, surveilling that battlespace, collecting intelligence, developing situational awareness and building a body of experience in those tactically significant areas of future conflict. If things go hot, we will be able to join with our brethren in combined arms to establish the Sea Shield around our Sea Base of operations. And if so directed, we will take the fight to the enemy.
Through our experimentation, innovation and smart investment in our ships and our people, we are developing the Force of the future that will extend our area of regard in the undersea and terrestrial domain. I see the submarine entering the battlespace undetected and undeterred, well in advance of hostilities, to weave an intricate web of sensors precisely placed in the most strategically significant areas. A net that is fully integrated with onboard sensors and with that of the distributed battle force. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities, the submarine will maintain situational awareness, he will hold the enemy at risk, and be ready to interdict when directed or when rules of engagement allow.
We have the finest people in the World. They operate routinely in littoral waters and are improving our ability to penetrate anti-access environments and to kill enemy submarines and thwart mining efforts. They are people who think, act and constantly improve. They are people of vision who are working hard to build ties with other nations so we can share ideas and unite if called upon. We will continue to give our people the tools necessary to do this great country’s work.
Now if we are going to realize this dream, we must today, OPERATE in the real environment, boldly EXPERIMENT with technology and tactics, INVEST in those with promise, and ADAPT to change. However, through all this, we need to stay grounded in the realm of the real and be ready to deliver real capability, real ordnance on real targets TODAY, tomorrow, and in fact the next day!
Thank you again for the great support of this group. It is wonderful to be here .