Thank you Admiral Emery, it is truly a pleasure to be here. And thanks to Admiral DeMars and the Naval Submarine League and Dr. Roca and the staff of Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory for organizing this event. This is my first opportunity to address this distinguished group as Commander Naval Submarine Forces at one of the most important forums I attend, whose importance grows every year. I am truly honored to be here. I am particularly pleased that I get to lead off a morning of presentations that will give you all a sense of what the Fleet is doing with your technology developments. There are two things I would like to talk about today. First, I want to bring you up to date on the changes that have taken place in the business of setting Fleet requirements. Then I will cover a few of my challenges for which you may be able to provide some help.
Those of you who follow things Washington know that the requirements process itself is in a constant state of flux as we find our way to a true capabilities based system. One that also recognizes the value of platform-based integration of those capabilities and a necessity for taking care of the less glamorous, but equally important, things that are essential to delivering true war fighting capabilities, things such as maintenance and integrated logistics support for systems we have already fielded. One of the most notable outcomes of this chum has been a shifting of responsibilities for requirements generation from Washington, DC toward the Fleet. Notice, I say toward; meaning we are engaged in a work in progress. We are seeking a balance of roles where the Fleet advocates have influence in those areas where they are truly authoritative such as current readiness, while our friends in Washington focus more on the longer-term requirements. With our burgeoning role in the requirements process at Naval Submarine Forces, we are starting to look a little different in Norfolk.
Recently, during our Type Commander staff rationalization process, an effort designed to build the most efficient organizations at our TYCO Ms, we have consolidated the bulk of the N8 organization at Naval Submarine Forces. Other warfare communities have also consolidated their requirements staff at the Norfolk based Type Commander. This provides better opportunities for collaboration across the warfare communities and, most importantly, with Fleet Forces Command. The single voice for undersea requirements, my N8 shop, led ably by Captain Brad Kratovil and Mr. John Moss, is focused in four specific areas: warfare development, articulation of requirements, programming, and assessments.
The current method used to identify needed capabilities is called the Naval Capabilities Development Process. It is an ongoing process that, not surprisingly, consists of functional areas similar to those in our N8 staff alignment. The process starts by assessing current capability gaps. We take an operational construct and game it against our current and projected capabilities. Through this process, we identify gaps in our capabilities that are catalogued by Mission Capability Packages or MCPs.
The result is a list of MCP gaps that focus the Fleet in generating requirements to close the gaps or enhance current capability. Fleet Forces Command validates the MCP gaps from an operational perspective by utilizing the Fleet Collaborative Teams. As one of the four Type Commanders, which includes Commander Network Warfare Command, we work closely with Fleet Forces Command to generate requirements, which fill the MCP gaps. The next step in the process is to develop solutions to the requirements. That may be done with innovative tactics, techniques, procedures or concepts of operation and will likely involve the science and technology community and industry. A venue for demonstration and experimentation is provided through our Sea Trial process.
The Navy Sea Trial process is a response to the fact that technology often emerges before a requirement is developed and institutionalizes a corporate mentality that some level of risk is acceptable and expected. Fleet Forces Command has overall responsibility for executing Sea Trial with support from the Naval Warfare Development Center. Sea Trial initiatives can be submitted by any organization within the Navy and are vetted through the Operational Agents and Fleet Collaborative Teams I mentioned previously. An Executive Steering Group reviews the proposals and decides which initiatives will be funded from a pot of Sea Trial money. There are many possible venues to trial an initiative, however the most comprehensive is an experiment, where promising solutions can be tested in live conditions. Data collected during the experiment can be used to inform a decision about accelerating delivery of the tested system, returning it for further development, or scrapping it all together.
This year, there will be two experiments conducted exploring capability to enable assured access. The SILENT HAMMER scenario will investigate how networked Special Operations Forces sea based on the SSGN and operating inland can assure access for a larger follow-on ground force. UNDERSEA DOMINANCE will explore how to create a Sea Shield around naval forces in a conflict against a near peer competitor in the undersea environment. Our goal for the experiment is to develop a better sense of the unmanned vehicles, distributed sensors, communications networks, weapons and command structures required for future undersea warfare.
I want to come back and spend some time explaining the Fleet Collaborative Teams, because they are not only essential to the new capabilities based requirements process, they also demonstrate a new business model that leverages existing manpower. There are fifteen teams organized by functional area, and each team contains members, or subject matter experts, from all of the warfare areas. They are aligned under and tasked by the operational agents for the Sea Power 21 pillars, namely Second Fleet, Third Fleet, and Network Warfare Command. The teams meet virtually, either via email or video teleconference, to vet issues and provide recommendations. Some examples of how they are utilized include reviewing the MCP gaps, sea trial initiatives, and Fleet lessons learned. This allows an issue to quickly be vetted to a wide audience without having to maintain a standing organization.
I tell you all this to emphasize the importance of this forum. It gives us all an opportunity to synchronize our thinking, our planning, and, ultimately, our technology investments and products with the requirements that are being generated by the Fleet operators. I just love the theme of this Symposium, “Developing and Demonstrating Submarine Technology in Support of Fleet Operations . I certainly hope that we will have the same two-way discussion between operators and industry that has been a mainstay of U.S. undersea warfare development for over I 00 years. This active dialog has been instrumental in areas ranging from modern diesel propulsion for Fleet boats, to more effective and lethal torpedoes, increased undersea sensor capability, and revolutionary hull forms. I need to hear from technologists and industry as to the current technology vectors, the art of the possible, and how they are answering the fleet requirements. We need to tell you what we need from technology, what is working well, and what problems we are having. And you need to know how best to inject your ideas for technology solutions for Fleet problems.
In the very near future, we will publish a document further refining our strategic vision for the Submarine Force roles and missions in the Joint war fighting environment. This product has been a collaborative effort, born out of the work of our Future Studies Group. The Future Studies Group is a key element of our strategic planning process that includes members from OPNA V N77, Naval Submarine Forces, the Submarine Program Office, Submarine Development Squadron TWELVE, Naval Reactors, Strategic Systems Program, and industry. It has written concept statements on submarine payloads, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and mine countermeasures which now help guide our investments in those areas. Also, it carried a lot of the intellectual water in creating our broad strategy: Submarines … The Road Ahead.
Today, they continue this effort, however they have also begun working with the acquisition community, the Fleet and N77 to help create bridges between near term programs and the future war fighting capabilities we seek in our vision.
There are four strategic concepts that frame our vision:
- Submarines must be able to penetrate anti-access defenses to prepare the battle space and neutralize barriers to Joint force access.
- Submarines must be able to develop and share knowledge about an adversary’s capabilities, tactics, and operational patterns in a manner that is persistent, timely, non-provocative and resistant to an adversary’s deception and denial attempts.
- The submarine must be able to strike rapidly with surprise utilizing an arsenal of kinetic weapons, Special Operations Forces, and information operations.
- The Submarine Force must be viewed by our adversaries as a deterrent; dissuading them from offensive actions against our forces.
These strategic concepts drive five technology vectors that should help guide your efforts. The vectors are:
- Integrated electrical systems
These vectors are intended to focus research and development efforts, requirements generation, programming, and acquisition.
As I was thinking about what to talk about today, I found myself looking over the agenda. I also happened to be pretty distracted that day as I pondered my growing to-do list of taskers, projects, initiatives, and the like that come at us from all directions. Before I knew it, my nuclear instincts overwhelmed me and I started auditing this agenda against my to-do list. As you would certainly hope, there was a good bit of intersection between our two lists, where your great work is whittling away at those key technology requirements I just reviewed. For example, there are several presentations that talk to enhancing the submarine’s ability to maintain tactical control. Additionally, there are presentations about automation, training, and getting electric. This intersection suggests that past dialogues have been successful in properly focusing research and development efforts.
However, because we are limited in time, I found some areas where I need help but we aren’t going to have the opportunity to discuss in much detail. First, we aren’t talking much about specific technology associated with unmanned vehicles. If you have followed the news lately, there is a great deal of chatter regarding unmanned vehicles and what they can provide and what we want them to do. There is a wide gap between the two, and you, in this room, hold a large part of the solution to bridging that gap. To be relevant in future Joint conflicts, the sphere of influence, or area of regard as defined by Secretary Stenbit yesterday, commanded by the submarine and its off board sensors must extend well beyond the current organic horizon and, in fact, must reach even further inland. There are some tough technical issues that need to be resolved if we are going to get off board, and in the case of UUV s, those issues include: navigational accuracy, power density, real-time communications links, vehicle autonomy, and cost.
A second area of concern is force protection. Following the suicide attack on USS COLE in 2000, force protection assumed an entirely different character. After a decade of taking down fences and opening up bases, we reversed that trend. Back up went the fences, up popped security checks at our gates, and patrol boats hit the water again. Following September 11, 2001, we accelerated our efforts. Our security posture is clearly visible and our folks are better trained and certainly more wary.
Next, we are making huge strides in the processing power, fidelity, and capabilities of our combat systems, but in many ways the processes that the operator has to perform have changed very little. Rather than expanding combat systems to present more information in more ways to potentially more operators, I need systems that correlate and integrate the available data across multiple sensors, perform the routine analysis, and then present the command team with a coherent, fused tactical picture. I don’t expect to be able produce the same degree of precision for the underwater picture as a radar can above the water, but we should be able to build a system that can detect and track the easy contacts, and present what can be deduced about their position. This would allow a smaller number of operators, who no longer have to concentrate on the background clutter, to focus on finding, tracking and targeting the difficult targets.
We are looking now at how we might best improve knowledge management in the control room. I see the control room of the future as a very small enclave of advisors and decision makers presented with just the information needed for any given situation at just the right time. It will be presented in a manner that can be quickly internalized, categorized, and transformed into knowledge. Since each person has a unique method that best fits his style of learning, the displays must also be flexible enough to support the specific person sitting in front of it. The control room party will be able to quickly recognize and adapt to changing situations and be able to reasonably predict future events based on their enhanced knowledge. Not only will our operators be more situationally aware and better prepared to deal with the uncertainties of the undersea battle space, we just might be able to reduce the manning on our ships.
Piloting in restricted water is an area where we currently throw too many people at what should be a relatively simple problem. Commercial mariners accomplish this task with 5 people. The procedures we use now require us to have a minimum of 19 people, all devoted to determining where the submarine is, and where it should go, and then getting it to where we want it to go. We are conducting an experiment on USS OKLAHOMA CITY and USS KEY WEST to see if we can reduce this number of people, still using current technology, to 14. It’s working.
When we have a fully certified electronic navigation and charting system implemented on a boat, we should be able to reduce this to 9, because the electronic navigation system is able to present a complete, integrated picture of exactly where the submarine is, and where all the other ships are, without the need for any operator involvement.
Let’s talk about training and I will start with my message-WE NEED TO DO BETTER. I am sure most of you remember the picture of (then) RADM Giambastiani showing the exponential growth in processing possible with a technology investment in Acoustic Rapid COTS. And we all know the results of one of the Navy’s most successful investments in this technology. Our crews today have in their hands an explosion of sensory and processing information unimaginable when many of us were in their shoes. And today it is not just in acoustics, but in imagery, weapons system, communications, networks, electronic surveillance, and the list goes on. Couple this with the ways our crews sense information from off board-unmanned vehicles, debarked SOF, unattended sensors and you have a confluence of data that gives tremendous ability to operate with speed, reach, capacity and persistence. But what have we done to facilitate and advance our crew’s human capacity to match this technology? Rear Admiral Johnson, with his superb PowerPoint skills, showed a great slide yesterday that captured the very essence of the challenge: the gap that exists between our capability and our ability to wring every drop of war fighting readiness from that technology. Recently, I was in Groton and I saw the great things Amie Lotring at the Submarine Leaning Center and Don Gerry at the Submarine School are doing on the land based side of the training empire, and it is impressive, but-on board our ships we are not on such a firm foundation. Our crews are training the same way we were doing it decades ago, except now we build our lectures on Power Point. We need to get our training on the same business model we were on l 0 years ago for sonar processing. Our training needs to unleash the capacity of our human capital like COTS unleashed the capacity of our sensors.
We recently took an initial step toward the future of integrated Naval training during the Multi-Battle Group Import Exercise. Once the exercise control people flipped the 011 switch, the participants, including two submarines, had a hard time remembering that they were still import because the feeds they were receiving closely mimicked a real operation. So why was an exercise of this scale just the beginning? First, the submarines couldn’t participate from their own ships; they had to go to the trainer.
Second, if we wanted to do the same exercise today, we would have to rebuild the architecture. What we need is a standard protocol to interconnect all of our afloat and ashore training assets so that we can build virtual Expeditionary Strike Forces that can train in a more realistic and cost-effective manner.
This is not typically a forum where we talk about things as unimaginative as money, but I am going to risk it. It is early in the day, and I might have a slight chance of keeping you awake in your seats. To get straight to the point, we are facing substantial fiscal challenges in future years and unless we want to be a significantly smaller, less capable Force, we have got to become more efficient at running our business. One virtual graphic should give you a sense of the challenge we are facing. Put a black line on the top for what we need to operate the Submarine Force based on last year’s model. The next line is lower and is the current budget for fiscal year 2005. And if this virtual graphic doesn’t get your attention, consider this profile does not take into account the full financial impact of an ongoing war, nor does it reflect a recapitalization plan that meets our needs for more, newer ships. And I am sure there are more issues out there that will challenge us. From where 1 sit, I can influence those curves most in two ways: maintenance and manpower.
In the area of maintenance, I will address two areas where we need help:
- Repair activity maintenance at the depot and intermediate level
- Crew preventative and corrective maintenance
At the repair activities, there is potential for gain if we improve the processes used so that they require less rework, less manpower, and less overhead. Portsmouth Na val Shipyard has demonstrated this in recently completed availabilities where they have come in under cost and schedule. This is an area with technology written all over it. And since we have only a few shipyards now, any improvements must be shared and implemented across the board to maximize our savings. Our shipyards have started this process and are on a positive slope toward shorter and more cost effective depot maintenance availabilities.
Turning to crew maintenance, the answer is quite simple: Less maintenance means I can focus my smart operators on doing just that: operating. I know that we can’t just throw a magic switch and suddenly double the mean time between failures, but there are other ways to get at this problem. If you can build in cost effective redundancy that allows for graceful failure and give me reasonable assurance that I will maintain full capability until I return to port, then I will do my repairs there. And maybe I don’t fix it, but rather yank out the old one and throw in a brand new or refurbished unit. We have a model for this in the experimental Maintenance Free Operating Period configuration that our Lockheed Martin partners are testing on some of our ARCI equipped ships. This won’t work across the board with our current submarine design, but we can implement where feasible now and make it a planning factor for the next submarine design. Considering that maintenance is the largest expense in submarine operations, any small percentage efficiency you can provide adds up to real money in a hurry.
The Chief of Naval Operations has tasked us to look hard at where we are expending our most valuable asset, our human capital. Do we have the right mix between Active Duty, Reserves, Government Service Civilian Personnel, Contractors, Officers and Enlisted? Are we recruiting the right people into the Navy and Submarine Force? Are we retaining the right submarine professionals for the future? As a general rule, we want to have: our Active Duty working in areas requiring military expertise; Reserves need to be where we need the Active Duty augmented for relatively short periods of time, specifically in times of conflict; our professional civilian work force should be accomplishing functions not inherently military in nature; and we should contract to the civilian industrial base for many of the non-governmental or non-military support functions and short-term projects. I want only the number of people, and the right mix of those people, I need to provide combat ready forces to the Combat-ant Commanders. We are going to be studying this over the next several months, and we are going to build a Human Capital Strategy that addresses these questions and issues.
Again, technology can be an enabler. The trivial solution set entails using technology to rid ourselves of mundane, repetitive work that can either be performed, eliminated or replaced with technology.
The more challenging solutions take this trivial solution further where we focus on improving the richness of the work experience for our 21″ century Sailors, Reservists, civilians, and contractors, all knowledge workers in the finest sense, ensuring they are increasingly empowered as decision makers and thinkers.
The ship control party of USS VIRGINA really illustrates what I am talking about here. On a 688 submarine, we use a minimum of 5 people to drive the ship. There is the Diving Officer, Chief of the Watch, Helmsman, Planesman, and messenger. On VIRGINIA, it only takes a pilot and co-pilot. To make this possible, we had to completely redesign the ship control technology and process and then reevaluate the mix of people to perform these jobs. In the old model, we had a mix from the newest guy onboard through an experienced chief or officer and in the new model we will use two experienced enlisted, probably chiefs. Overall, we save three people per watch section for a total of nine, however the six remaining watch standers will be senior, experienced and more valuable to the overall operation of the ship. Exactly the type of people we are going to need in the ever more advanced, complex, and demanding Force of the future.
If you don’t already know it, this year is a very special year. It is what I call the “Year of the Submarine . It isn’t official and you won’t find it on any calendar or on any official correspondence, but all you have to do is look around to see the truth of it. Not since the mid 1990s have we had so many submarines being built, converted and delivered.
On May 22″d, Mrs. Linda Bowman, wife of Admiral Bowman, presided over the keel laying of USS NORTH CAROLINA ship’s sponsor; a ship that at that time was 40% complete.
Just two weeks later, on June 51h, JIMMY CARTER was christened at Electric Boat by former First Lady Rosalyn Carter with its namesake, President Carter in attendance.
The following month, on July 3111, First Lady Laura Bush, the sponsor of TEXAS, will preside over the christening at Northrup Grumman Newport News Shipyard.
This summer, Captain Dave Kern and his crew will take VIRGINIA on her maiden voyage and will complete sea trials followed by its delivery to the Navy and commissioning.
And this winter, HA WAII, now 60% complete, will receive her second crew increment.
Not only are these five submarines well down the construction path, but six additional VIRGINIA class submarines are now under contract.
But this “Year of the Submarine is not all about SSNs. Three former TRJDENT SSBNs, OHIO, MICHIGAN, and FLORIDA, are currently conducting refueling overhaul and SSGN conversion, perhaps the most transformational platform of our time. A fourth TRIDENT, USS GEORGIA, is currently conducting SSGN proof of concept demonstration and will be the focal point for the SILENT HAMMER Sea Trial experiment this fall before she transits to Norfolk Naval Shipyard to begin her conversion.
If all of these events were not enough, mark your calendar, as many of you will probably be participating in another momentous occasion on September 30, when we celebrate the 501h anniversary of USS NAUTILUS’ commissioning in Groton.
All this is possible because of the good work all of you have done to continually improve undersea warfare. My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your efforts in keeping this the best Submarine Force in the best Navy in the world.