It’s a great time to be here with the Force. So George, thank you. APL, thanks for hosting this. Submarine League, Admiral DeMars, thank you for organizing this fine event. Admiral Chiles, great to have you here today. Sezin, you’re the real one I should say thanks to, I appreciate what you did and what you are doing to run this event.
It is a good time to be here and I think we’ve got a good morning lined up for you. After all, we are the greatest Submarine Force that’s ever existed. That’s pretty ominous when you put it that way, but I believe it’s true; I believe it in my heart and soul. The challenge is to keep it that way, and so I’m going to talk a little bit about that this morning.
Our Force is not just ships. It’s not just crews. It’s not just doctrine. It’s all of these, but it’s also the community and I include all of you in that community. The Force is what it is because of events like this. The rigorous introspection of our processes, our technologies, our equipment and so on, that we like to claim is landmark to us, is what keeps us where we are. So it’s great that we are holding this symposium. As Kirk Donald said yesterday, I’ve been to many of these and I always learn from them; from being here. So thanks for what you will teach us over the next couple of days.
Now, Jeff Cassius, ComSubPac, and I are going to do a little bit of a tag team. We’ve got about an hour, and if there’s time we will take questions, but not to extend the program. Ifwe don’t get to the questions, there’s the round table tomorrow. So keep track of your questions. We want to get them answered.
I’m going to talk from the strategic perspective today as Naval Submarine Force. And Jeff is going to talk from the operational perspective, focusing on the Pacific, but really across the whole globe. I’m going to talk about why and what, more than the how. He’ll talk a little bit about the how. And so, I’m going to talk principles. Why is it that we are doing this? What is it of value that we bring to our nation? I hope to go through that here in the next twenty minutes or so.
I thought principles were a pretty good place to start. So let me start with some engineering principles, which may make sense to some of you out there. I’ve got a few that make pretty good sense to me.
- The first principle doesn’t have a title, but it says the probability of a dimension or value being omitted from a drawing is proportional to its importance. Does that make sense?
- Another one says that tolerances will accumulate uni-directionally towards maximum difficulty of assembly.
- Interchangeable parts won’t.
- Another states that the necessity of making a major decision change increases as the assembly and wiring of the component approaches completion. That one’s clearly true, in fact, beyond completion will change the necessity for major design.
- And of course this one. I know you know this one. This is actually for Tom Elliot and his folks. An integrated circuit protected by a fast acting fuse will protect the fast acting fuse by blowing first every time.
- That’s the world we live in as we’re trying to keep these systems going. They’re much more stable and reliable than the sonars I grew up with, and I think, many of you all grew up with, too. And there are others we could say here.
- Lastly, I guess, a pretty good principle is, it always, always works better when you plug it in.
Anyway, those principles are about details. Those principles are about analysis. Those principles are about hard work. Those principles are about collaboration. And again, that’s what we’re about here today.
So let me start with an anecdote, because it sort of sets the stage for one of the principles that I’d like to get across. This goes back to the late 50’s and 60’s. The aviators were working on the next design for jet airplanes as we were getting into the supersonic flight regime, and that technology was moving us forward. The designers, together with the military resource folks, decided that the F-4 Phantom would be produced without a gun. That was because they looked out into the future, into the world you might expect. The need for that airplane, they recognized, was about missiles, not guns, and so they designed it and built it without a gun. As you know, I suspect from history, as the Navy and Air Force got into Vietnam, as they were tested in reality out in the real world, that gun became pretty important. They back fitted the gun into the plane and trained pilots how to do dogfights, how to use the gun, and life was better at that point.
I hope we don’t do the same thing. We are off designing new things. We are off looking at the world in a different way than it was a decade ago. And I am one that very much thinks we need to go forward. I’m not at all talking about sticking with legacy. The point is we need to make that transition very carefully, and that means holding onto legacy in some cases – legacy technologies, legacy principles; to make sure we make the transition and that we get the new thing tested in the real world before we give up and take our foot off the lily pad behind us.
So let me talk about some of those things today. Let me start with the strategic framework of where we are and where we’re going. And so, I’ll use the vernacular of QDR, if you will, and briefly describe this slide. The left hand side is where we were. The left hand side is a world with that big circle that says 2MRC, 2MTW, focused on major combat. Our structure and our processes were focused on major combat and everything else was just assumed to be incorporated inside that structure. That’s what the last QDR said. That’s where we have been. The current QDR is ongoing today, and so I won’t say this is the answer, but the structure we think, from a Navy perspective, is different. Now we can argue about the size of the circles and about their placement, but the principle here is that the circles do stick outside and they’re larger than they were on the left.
So there are stability operations. There’s global waron terrorism. There’s homeland defense and homeland security, as well as major combat operations. And so, what is of interest, I think, in trying to understand the next requirements, what we need of the VIRGINIA, and what we need of the capabilities of the force in the future, is that intersection piece. We’ve got to design so we can do all four of those missions, and maybe we’ll end up designing for things outside the major combat ops circle. I’m not sure, that’s part of the current debate . . . how much do those circles overlap.
But a point I’ll come back to as we talk about what we need out of our next platforms, is the time span here, as well. This circle sort of implies that we have a force ready in waiting to take action for whatever the nation needs. These other three circles sort of imply a force that is working day in and day out producing a better world, taking action every day. And I’m going to argue that the Submarine Force is that latter, it is a force that works day in and day out and produces a product every day.
Now, we’re also ready to go fight the major conflict, whatever comes. We’re ready to do that. We’ ve got great kinetic systems; torpedoes and missiles and so forth. But we’re a force that does both, and that’s a little bit unique. In the past, we’ve not talked as much about that day in and day out activity. We’ve spent more of our time talking about the left circle.
So let me now tum and speak a bit to our products. I’m going to tell you that from my point of view SUB FOR has four products. I’m trying to produce four things. One is operational availability (AO), and I’ll come back to talk about this slide in just a second. Operational availability is putting boats forward around the world for them to work day in and day out, and I’ll talk about what our product is while we’re doing that.
The second product is future capability. Part of my product has to be a capability for the future so we have a force 10, 15, 20 years from now.
The third effort we’re working on is the CO decision. It’s part of the product. The product any crew provides us is the decision that the CO makes. He makes a decision, the crew then takes action from that decision. And that action produces a product that is important for us today .
So I’ll talk just briefly about that because it relates to some of what you do. And the fourth thing I do is put the right people in the right place.
I’ll concentrate most of what I want to say today on operational availability, the first product, and our future capability, the second.
So in operational availability, this is how we’re looking at ourselves today. It’s a model of months. Take any one submarine. This is months along the deployment cycle. Here’s where they’re deployed for six months. Then they’re back for a turnaround period. So we ‘re structuring our system to look at readiness and look at what activities take place in these various stages. You might think there is nothing remarkable here and ask why are we looking at this? Come back to the point I made before. The Navy is talking about fleet response plan, FRP, about forces here and being ready to surge, or emergency surge to go fight that next war fighting activity. And we ‘re doing that. That’s important for us. But go back to the point I made before. We are also rotationally deploying forces forward six months at a time to work day in and day out. Our plan is to have 10 submarines deployed on any one day of the month; 10 submarines deployed forward doing that day in and day out work, an additional 15 that are available to surge and go fight a war or address a crisis, and another 10 in emergency surge that, with some notice, could get out and go. So we’ve got about 35 submarines that are available to do the nation’s work.
The others are in depot maintenance, and I’ll mention just briefly, when we get to it that that’s a problem for us, because this does not contribute to Operational Availability, or AO. So one way to improve AO is to get these ships out of the depot maintenance period. Now you might notice the difference from the annual numbers at the top, and that’s by design. We’re structuring ourselves to look at the world on a monthly basis, to recognize the months that are higher intensity for the surveillance that we do, and months that are less important. We try to structure our annual plans so we put the submarines where they need to be when world events are taking place in order to bring back the product from those events. That’s the notion here, the concept is AO, operational availability.
The second product is future capability. Our effort at SUBFOR is to make the annual plan more efficient every year, to have the future force structure level that allows 35 to go do the work with a total of 45 to 50 boats. Then we need to work readiness down here, to make sure these that are out can perform their jobs and are ready to go work.
And many of you are working on this future capability; that’s the substance of much of what we’ re talking about here today.
The third product is CO’s making better decisions, which is crucial from my view. Maybe we are different than other comers of our military structure. A submarine is very commanding-officer-centric. That submarine will succeed or not, it will excel or not, based upon the decisions that the commanding officer makes. Now I don’t mean to say it’s solely his decision. We want him to have a structure inside the ship where it’s collaborative, where he’s being informed by the best insight of his key advisors, his department heads, his chiefs and so forth. But in the end it’s his decision, and the ship will implement that decision, and succeed or not.
So we’ve placed a lot of emphasis there, I’m not going to say much more about it today. But if you’ve got a piece of that, if you’re designing a piece of display or a piece of gear, or a layout in control or in sonar, your goal ought to be to design it so that the CO can make the best decision. Best does not always mean fastest. But it needs to be timely with regard to the situation.
Lastly, the right people right place, and then I’ll come back and talk AO and future capability more clearly. I think the right people in the right place is a product we provide to the Department of the Navy. And a perfect example of this is here with us today, Mike Tracy, a submariner who is one of our first strike group commanders. It is great to have Mike here today. He was the right person in the right place to get us into that business, to understand it, and to inform them of some of the principles that we hold dear. It’s a great effort. We have 16 submariners who are chiefs of staffs outside the Submarine Force; in various places around the world, at the fleets, they’re either chiefs of staffs or EAs. That’s a product we supply. It’s an intellect. It’s a rigor. It’s an attention to details. It’s a discipline that I think we provide, a culture if you will, that we provide to the rest of the Navy.
Let me then come back now and dive in a little bit more to this OA piece. So let’s look at it in a value chain sense. And what is the value of what we bring back? I’m going to tell you. What we have that makes us of value is that we can go places that others can’t. That’s the bumper sticker. We can go places that others can’t go. And in doing so, there are significant products that we bring back. But I don’t mean to say that this is always the most important product of our force. The point is that we’ve been adaptable, flexible and agile over our history.
You heard from one of the speakers yesterday that prior to World War II, our submarines were designed as scouts to go out and sense the environment, and, yet, after Pearl Harbor, they were the main event. They kept us going, they were the main attack force, much more than scouts. We evolved. The SSBN force evolved out of the SSN force. The 688, designed to go with the carriers in an escort mission, do much more than that today. I don’t want to leave you with the impression that this is a static, always has been, always will be reason for our existence. But I believe today, and into a long future while we’re in this global war on terrorism, while we’re in this world of competition for resources, that what we have of value for our nation is that we can go where others can’t go. And so while we’re there, we can go to the littoral regions on the other shores of the oceans and understand those places. And we can make them our home field. And that’s very important when we have to return to address military activity there.
Let me come back to this time dimension then and use a chart. I’ve said this already, but I think it’s really important. Because we work in this left hand side of the chart. It’s called phase 0, in the vernacular of those that talk strategic thought, phase 1, 2 and 3 take place in this short period of time when the crisis or the war fighting takes place, phase 4 is stability operations after the war fighting event. And as I said before, much of our strategic discussion recently has been about this piece of spiked intensity. It’s important. We obviously need to be able to do that, and the Submarine Force can.
But we also work in this long term phase 0 piece. During the Cold War, the 30 years of the Cold War, this is where we worked. And we produced a product that helped ensure a hot war was never fought. So that’s what we’re about for phase 0. And when you think of it that way, it takes a different set of processes and gear than being able to work in the high intensity time. Now, we have to be able to switch from one to the other on a moment’s notice, therefore altering some of the challenge that we face, and this comes back to design of equipment at the same time.
spike, not what might happen to a peer competitor, then maybe the future is just the phase 0 day in and day out activity; the things we were doing to kill terrorists, the things we were doing to find them, the things we were doing to move them from one place to another so we can better get at them. And this is going to be our 30 years of activity, different from the cold war but the same sorts of activity.
Let’s now switch to the take. That’s the why, that’s what we’ re after, that’s the environment we’re operating in. I’ve described the ten-fifteen-ten ship distribution, how we deploy forces to that model and work on that effort. I’ve talked about day-in day-out being more than just ready to go to a major event. Let me talk about what we bring back. Let me talk about the take here for a little bit.
It’s not well understood because we’ve probably focused on that MCO more than the day-in day-out stuff. But having submarines around the world brings back information that allows us to follow a value chain in these four categories and allows us to find product at the end of these value chains. So the chain starts with the take, the intelligence nugget, the understanding, the knowledge that we bring back from this littoral area, a sensitive area most likely forward on the other side of the oceans. We’re there every day and we bring back information that works in these four parameters. One, as it was in the Cold War, is ground truth. It’s a set of information that allows our country, our National Security Council or President to understand what’s going on in that other country, sometimes at the highest levels, and this obviously gets into the very classified nature of what we do.
But as we did that in the Cold War, we’re doing that today, in the global war on terrorism. Working in that environment and bringing back information knowledge that helps us write better war plans for the possible MCO. We were doing that in the Cold War, to affect the plans, should we have had to go to war with the Soviets. We’re doing that today with what might become peer competitors, and so, we can follow the take, the nugget we bring back, follow it into the war plans and operational plans, and we know that we’re making an impact there, a significant impact.
Likewise, new tactics: going where we go, by going where others can’t, by watching ground truth, we’re bringing back the nuggets that many use to help us with tactics and equipment development. They sort of go hand in hand. DEVRON 12, in Groton, works with a larger part of the Navy on the tactics, and it’s not just submarine tactics. Some of the current tactics for our surface force come from our understanding by having been there and watching the activity that goes on.
And likewise, equipment design. A great, great example here is ARCI, Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion. The displays that I see on VIRGINIA, the displays that I see on modem ARCis, are worlds ahead of where they were just a few years ago. And that’s because we bring back information of the real-world environment, from the shipping congestion, from the oceanography, from the SVP structure that allows you to make better displays so that we’re better when we go back the next time. So there is a lot of take here and we don’t often talk about it but I wanted to spend a few moments on that today.
Let me shift gears and move on to future capability, and this is where I’m not going to talk that much, because other speakers are going to cover this either later today, tomorrow, or they did yesterday. But let me put it in some context. First of all the future has to be integrated. This future of platforms, this future of weapons systems, this future of networks, has to all be integrated together in a holistic, end to end fashion, much like Admiral Elliott’s group was talking about yesterday. It really is about how they all tie together. Nothing can be done as a single individual node any more, at least not very effectively. So it is about holistic and end-to-end, and is also about testing it in the real world. It’s not about view graphs. It’s about getting a design, the rigor of the design, getting it in place, and taking it out into the real world and testing it.
So, turning to platform strategy; John Butler talked a little, Ron O’Rourke talked a little, Admiral Donald talked some. We need to come to grips onto a single vector that we’re going to head from where we are today into the future. And that vector has to get us to a place that first maintains capability, and I define capability as what we have in the VIRGINIA today. I cannot imagine that we need less capability than that with the uncertain future that is in front of us, so this vector has to maintain capability. Secondly, numbers are pretty important. Ron O’Rourke said yesterday, more than 40 submarines are required, and I think more than 45 will be needed. Ana so that’s a real challenge for us and I don’t have the answer to that today, but it’s a challenge for all of us to understand the economics of our nation for the next I 0, 20 years, and how are we going to make capability and numbers at the same time.
And third, part of that, maybe second order, but it’s so important I’ll talk about it as sort of a first order effect, is our ability to keep designing submarines. It’s not sufficient to get capability, to get numbers, but not have an ability to design and build out into the future. My view may be colored, but I think submarines will be here for a long time. We’ve been here 105 years, and I think what we bring will be of value for another l 05 years and probably more. They won’t look the same as today. We don’t look today like we looked l 05 years ago, not by a long shot. To be under water, to take advantage of stealth and mobility and persistence, are all parameters, which will be important in the future. So design; our ability as a nation to design these submarines and systems, the whole system, is crucial, so that’s got to be part of this direction that we take.
Others will talk more about this, but that’s a key strategy that I wanted to leave with you today. Now let me dive down one more layer, a couple pieces for how do we do that, and there’s lots that we’re working. One is just to make the cost of building the submarine cheaper. There are contracting actions that can take place to enable cheaper production. There’s design activity that can take place to make the building easier. There’s design activity that can probably take place to give us the same capability but with a different design, if that design is less expensive. On the operational side, there are things we can do. The real metric is that AO metric that I spent some time talking through, not necessarily the number of submarines. There are things we can do on our side to increase AO with whatever number of submarines the nation can give us, and we’re doing that. We’ve put three submarines in Guam; Jeff Cassias will talk about that in a moment. I think three is about the right number, because of the infrastructure there and because of the vulnerability of that place in the future, that gives us more AO. Those submarines are closer to the fight, that gives us more AO.
We’re looking very hard at where we put our SEA WOLF class submarines. They have the speed and agility to get to the fight very quickly, so we’re looking at where will we homeport them and make use of that. We’re looking at ways to make more operational time available out of any one submarine. This goes back to my point about maintenance. We need to do the maintenance that has to be done so that we can safely submerge, but we need to do it efficiently and keep the submarine out where it’s supposed to be around the world. Those are things that we’re working on our side to maximize this AO. And then obviously, new capabilities are coming to us, which we’re dealing with here.
It’s a wonderful year. Since I took over six months ago, we’ve commissioned the VIRGINIA and JIMMY CARTER. We’ve had two of four SSGN’s through construction, the OHIO, out of the dry dock, and ready to be delivered this year. So there’s some great capability coming, and it really is different. The VIRGINIA, if you haven’t had a chance to see it, is everything we hoped it would be. It’s just eye-watering what the capabilities are in that control room. It’ s now a control room/ sonar room combined.
Let me digress. This is such a wonderful story for the nukes out there, and I’ll stay on time. I took the Vice Chief down to the VIRGINIA and we toured him through the whole ship. It was wonderful. We went to maneuvering, the control space for the propulsion plant. And so here we are, and I know this was staged, but it’s staged based upon reality. So we walked into maneuvering and the Shutdown Reactor Operator (SRO) is there, and so is the Engineering Duty Officer. The Shutdown Reactor Operator turns to the Engineering Duty Officer and said, “Sir, request permission to take logs”, since it was 11 o’clock on the hour. And as I expected, the Engineering Duty Officer said, “Shutdown Reactor Operator take the logs”. Normally on the 688 the SRO would pull out this clip-board, and on this clipboard there would be 15 log sheets. He’d look at each meter and write down the readings. It takes about 10 minutes. Well, in this case, on the VIRGJNIA, the Shutdown Reactor Operator turned and said with a smirk, “Take logs, aye,” and went up to the panel, pushed one button, pulled his finger back out, and said “Logs taken.”
And that was it, I mean it was put on for us I know, but it’s systemic of the capability throughout the whole ship, and that set of log readings now is electronically captured by a database, and their activity now is not l 0 minutes out of every hour writing down these numbers. Instead, their activity is analysis, looking at trends, looking at maximums, minimums, and using the computer as the computer is meant to be used. And that philosophy applies in control and maneuvering and everywhere throughout the ship. So we’re making great inroads.
So let me end that section. Others are going to talk about what we need in the future. I’ll come back to payload because that’s my next point; come back to designing these systems and getting with the whole purpose of AO, getting that submarine forward, underwater, doing those things that I discussed earlier, or others as the future might demand ofus. And so, we can look behind us here for maybe a benchmark.
I know things are harder today, but I was at a SEADEVIL reunion down in Norfolk about three months ago. CAPT Mark Stiles, some of you may know, was the commissioning CO of SEADEVIL, the World War II diesel SEADEVIL, in 1943. He’s about 94 years old. He gave a better keynote speech than I did. He was wonderful. But what he said, going back and living the time that he lived was inspiring. From the day that the keel was laid for that SEADEVIL, to when the crew sank the first Japanese freighter was 300 days. The ship was built in Kittery, Maine. You obviously know where the Japanese freighter was. So in 300 days the keel was laid, the ship was built, got underway, tested, through the Panama Canal, into the Pacific, to the war zone with torpedoes on the war patrol and they sank a ship. Now I know things are harder today, John …
And that’s a different ship than we’re building today. And it’s not just the PEO (Program Executive Officer). It’s all of us. It’s an anecdote, but it’s what we really need to be working hard on. As we go forward on this path of future capability, as we maintain that capability, keep the numbers up, part of the answer is getting the submarine out into the world’s littorals and spending more time out there.
Let me come back. Payload strategy is next. We’ve got a platform strategy that in order to be effective, needs to be connected to a payload strategy. You’ll hear others talk today. Steve Johnson, Charlie Young and Terry Benedict, will be talking about some of those pieces. The first payload we need is for that day-in and day-out activity that I mentioned before. This is not necessarily kinetic payload, but this is payload in order to do information operations where we actively engage in a network, a computer network, in that littoral overseas. Or payload in order for us to better tie together the intelligence collector to the intelligence analyst. The success of what we’re doing in Iraq right now and that piece of the global war on terrorism, the success that our forces are having there is due, in part, to their ability to get the analyst together with the intelligence collector, the troops, working quickly in situ to get a better under-standing of what they’re learning so they can exploit the situation. That synergy they’ve developed over the last year is the kind of thing we need to develop more. So those are the early kinds of payloads. Charlie’s going to talk about ballistic missiles and how we are trying to make them more precise, and the effect that that might have on us as we go forward.
Let me wrap up. I was going to spend a few minutes on CO decision making as the next important thing. I think I’ve already said that. If you move beyond AO, which is where I’ve been camped out here, the next important thing for us to do is to improve CO decision making. I’ve said what I wanted to say of that.
So in the way of wrap-up, as we design and implement these capabilities for the Force that is needed for our future, I think it’s about being flexible and agile. It’s about putting in place what we need today, but putting it in place in a way that it can do something different tomorrow or ten years from now, as we have done for the last hundred years. It is about addressing these day-in and day-out activities that the ship performs. That’s just as important as what it does to be ready to go war fight, and again, don’t minimize the war fighting piece, but this day-in and day-out piece is central to what we do. It’s about developing solutions for this new world, this global war on terrorism world, this competition for resources as we go forward with maybe a peer competitor, without forgetting the major combat op, should it come to that.
So again I complement this session. Thanks for listening to me today. Thanks for being here. Thanks for thinking hard about these issues. I was really taken by Admiral DeMars’ and Admiral Emery’s points; that there were a hundred submissions to this symposium from people who have ideas that want to talk about betterment of our Force, and that’s really a fantastic world to live in.
Unfortunately, my time is up. Thank you very much.