Contact Us   |    Join   |    Donate


Thanks to Naval Submarine League and Admiral De Mars for setting up this opportunity for us to talk to you all and a very special thanks to Admiral Giambastiani for making the time for us today. Rear Admiral Jeff Cassias will be following me with a brief that focuses more on submarine worldwide operations, while I will be giving you more of the strategic view. I’ll talk about where we are headed, and he will talk about what we are doing. Lets set the stage with a story -first let me stipulate up front that there are only great engineers and managers in this audience … ok? … the story.

A man is rowing a boat out here on the Potomac and realizes he is lost. He spots a man over on the shore, so he shouts “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?”
The man on the shore says: “Yes, you’re in a rowboat about 20 yards from the shore.”
“You must be an engineer” says the rower.
“I am” replies the man. “How did you know?”
“Well,” says the rower, “everything you have told me is technically correct, but it’s no use to anyone.”
The man on the shore says “you must be in management.”
“I am” replies the rower, “but how did you know?”
“Well,” says the man, “you don’t know where you are, or where you’re going, but you expect me to be able to help. You’re in the same position you were before we met, but now it’s my fault.”

As the manager of managers, I hope to show you that we do know where we are going and how we are getting there. We are focused. We are aligned, and coming at you with both a purpose and a product. We provide the tools and talented folks that our Combatant Commanders (COCO MS) need and are using, we perform day in and day out as a scout for our Nation in areas others can’t go, and if needed, we are ready to quickly strike on Combatant Commanders’ direction for our national interests.

That brings me to our agenda. I’ll spend some time talking about four key areas: 1) our unique product for which we continue to work to propagate brand recognition and how this fits into the overall Naval Strategy; 2) how we are postured with men and the ships they go to sea in; 3) Submarine Force’s desired effects; and 4) a discussion of our Undersea Enterprise, who we are, where we are, where we are going, why. I’ll also include some examples of our successes.

Last year at this forum I spoke to you all about establishing our Undersea Warfare Brand Recognition. I’ve reinforced that in various forums to many of you who were in attendance at the NOIA Clambake, at the NSL Corporate Benefactors Days, some of you who may have been at the Submarine Industrial Base Council, and last month at the NSL Submarine Technology Symposium. The strategic themes that make up our brand recognition are:

1. Presence with a product -bringing back knowledge collected in phase zero that can shape decisions that prevent escalation to Major Combat Operations.
2. Day in day out-Walking the field often where others can’t go to allow Navy, Joint, and National command levels to act from a position of understanding.
3. The Persistent, Clandestine, Agile, Mobile Scout
4. When needed, the on-call Shooter

These messages are the unique selling propositions of our brand and they bear repeating to the point where all the Submarine Force’s associated characteristics automatically come to mind like all the imagery and themes of your favorite marketing campaign-like the Nike Swoosh.

The Submarine Force is doing well. There is no need for us to re-brand us with a new message, because we’ve got it right. All those requirements that make up our brand name are well aligned with the attributes that will be needed throughout the Long War on Terror-ism, a long peace, or future Major Combat Operations. We have the capabilities to add strength to the COCOMs and Joint Forces in all of those contingencies. So with the brand reinforced, let’s move on and discuss the changing strategic landscape .

Our Strategy

Our Strategy ….a.a Pictured is the refined force planning co11stn1ct from the 2006 QDR under which we are operating. As Admiral Giambastiani discussed in his remarks, there is a major shift in the way of looking at the world that has taken place with the advent of the Long War and the current global security situation. The 2006 QDR continues a shift that was discussed in the 2001 QDR toward Capability Based as opposed to Threat Based planning. That means we do not make a list of enemy capabilities, project how they will grow into the future, and then make a plan that addresses each threat. Rather, under this planning construct, we recognize uncertainty and manage risk associated with that uncertainty. We need to establish the right capabilities to cover the contingencies-including contingencies we haven’t even considered.

So let’s look at the roles we execute as the Submarine Force in that Long War. The CNO just signed the Navy Strategic Plan this May. That plan lays out the approach for the near future and addresses the priorities to be pursued in the current budget cycle for the FYDP. It will be accompanied very soon by the Naval Operations Concept a supporting document to From the Sea or the subsequent Forward, From the Sea documents. Together these two new documents will portray a Navy made up of forward forces that are distributed and networked for day to day Maritime Security missions, but that can be aggregated as a consolidated fighting force to support the Joint Warfighter.

Our brand name capabilities fit into several of the objectives and desired effects spelled out in the Navy Strategic Plan. These desired effects are directly addressed by our capabilities. Our ability to scout the blue and green water with persistent clandestine presence and our ability to project Special Operations Forces (SOF) into the brown water and ashore is one set of capabilities that caulks these seams. Our future Small Combatant Joint Command Center on the SSGNs will bring a unique maritime capability to joint forces by allowing a forward command element to operate from a clandestine posture with minimal to no footprint ashore. We also deliver unique maritime capabilities with our ability to strike with both kinetic and information attacks from a clandestine platform, and our ability to provide ASW defense to other joint forces. We have unique capabilities to sustain persistent forward presence free from support even in anti-access areas. Finally, the Submarine Force is uniquely positioned to take advantage of a common submarine culture to encourage maritime cooperation with those strategic partners that have Submarine Forces of their own.

So we support this QDR construct through acting as the Scout for our nation, direct action with SOF, artillery/shooter with TLAM, torpedoes, or electronic attack, and our capabilities as defender from the tactical level of ASW defense of the joint force to the global level of nuclear strategic deterrence .

Our Posture

Here’s a way to look at how our ships and people are postured. The SSNs, SSGNs, SSBNs, and IUSS assets are operating at different conditions of readiness that I will discuss in more detail later. Key to achieving those different readiness conditions is our people. This top line shows how we have spread out 1120 talent across an array of the COCOMs, OSD, and Joint Staff. We are scoping down the weighting in STRA TCOM billets and working to increase our presence in others. At the 0-6 level, we are currently filling six key billets on CARGRU or CRUDESGRU staffs, five critical Chiefs of Staff, including CNI, 7th Fleet, CCSGS, CCSG 7, and FLT ASWCOM, five Executive Assistants, and seven key positions at OSD.

Twenty-seven and one-half percent of all l 120s have a graduate degree. If we just look at the group that has had opportunity to attend post-graduate schools by removing Junior Officers, we have 59.4% of all the remaining 1120s with Graduate Degrees.

With respect to joint -if you look at the population that has had time for a joint assignment and forecast about 18 months into future we will have worked so that 2/3 of that group has joint duty.

We have a total of 23,439 people in SUBFOR. That includes 17, 726 active enlisted, 2,309 active officers, 1,567 civilians, 526 contractors, and 1,311 Reservists.

The average sea shore rotation is undergoing some changes. The shore tour length is staying 36 months, while the average non-nuclear sea tour is going from 49.4 months to 51.8 months.

Retention is OK with Zone A at 67%. Meanwhile, Zone B retention is 70% and Zones C and D are at 80%.

The Undersea Enterprise is clearly an organization focused on Effects Based Thinking. This approach is a way to begin with the desired end in mind. In one sentence that captures all of our desired effects, I’ll say that our enterprise is all about having ships and crews at work that are properly aimed, providing submarine expertise, ensuring a healthy submarine culture, and programs to provide future capability. Let’s look at each of these five effects to show you how we’re going about reaching them.

Ships at Work

This picture displays how we’re getting operational availability from our ships. This slide shows all of our SSNs, SSBNs, and SSGNs. We have ships that are still under construction, and we have ships that are in extended maintenance periods and are not ready. The remaining SSNs are shown in the middle as they rotate through the cycle of readiness that supports the Fleet Response Plan.

As ships come out of maintenance and start the path towards a normal rotational deployment, we start the training cycle by working on the basics. During this period, these ships are Emergency Surge Capable. If needed to deep surge for Major Combat Operations, they would go within some reduced work-up time frame.

As the ships progress through the normal preparations for deployment, they advance to the Surge capable category within the POM cycle. These ships can be sent out for crisis response, if necessary, with much less additional preparation than those in the Emergency Surge category.

The rotation plan puts ships out on deployment to scout for the nation and bring back product day in and day out. When they return, they are still available to surge back out for crisis or MCO response until they go back into maintenance.

Properly Aimed

This slide shows all of the functions that go into delivering product. We must have the ship available, of course, and we have to task it by sending it out on deployment. The CO must make good decisions that balance risk with rewards, and the crew must take actions based on those decisions.

The ability of the crew to act properly on the decisions depends on the skill sets they have developed. We do pretty well on Warfighting skills and we hold a pretty even keel on Engineering Skills. The area of focus this year is Mariner Skills.

The outer ovals are the external contributors to the process. The one we are focusing on right now is the assessment role played by both the ship and the ISIC.

One of the roles for the Navy that continues to grow is the use of Navy Personnel to relieve stress on the Joint Warfighters. This role plays into our desired effect of providing submarine expertise across the Joint, Interagency, and Combined Spectrum. The specialized skills of our submariners have application and are in demand outside the limited field of Undersea Warfare. One of the success stories I think we should be proud of is our outstanding success rate at deploying Individual Augmentees. Navy wide, there has been a 22% Failed to Deploy rate oflndividual Augrnentees that receive orders to deploy. Many of those tum out to be due to conditions that were known and represent failures of pre-screening processes-Up to date security clearances, satisfactory physical condition, sound medical and dental condition, and with financial, legal, and personal affairs in order. We have provided 143 Individu-als to date that are now serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and JTF-Hom of Africa. Of the SUBFOR individuals who have received orders, only 3 have been determined to be undeployable.

That’s a clear indication that our culture is aligned with the quote here from VADM John Harvey, “There’s an awful lot of skills these great Sailors have that are directly applicable. The requests I’ve seen pretty much run the gamut of what the Navy is able to provide. There are no sidelines anywhere. If you’re wearing this uniform, you are on the front lines of service.”

Healthy Culture

Our desire for a healthy submarine culture dovetails with all the points I just made with respect to the Individual Augmentees. Our Submarine Culture is a unique one. It’s a combination of scientist and Warfighter. It’s a combination of maverick and engineer. We show the ability to take difficult situations of mismatched tactics, training and materials to develop whole new methods of employment and tactics on the fly. At the same time, we have the cultural background to analyze a process and make it unimpeachably safe, secure, and consistent. We can train, drill, and maintain to rigid procedural compliance, and fully analyze failures and implement process changes to prevent recurrence.

Future Capability

These are only a few of the programs we are working through in the current budgeting cycle. Let me explain how we prioritize them.

1. Safety/Obsolescence -Some things will become obsolete and replacing them is not really a matter of choice. An example is our submarine batteries. They have a limited life and the old batteries aren’t made anymore -they’re obsolete, so we have to modernize them. We don’t really have much choice.
2. Warfighting Parity (Maintain Gap)-These things keep pace with advancement of threat and complexity of environment and are necessary just to keep from falling behind.
3. New Capability/Enhancements/Gap Closure -These initiatives expand our reach and provide new capability. These will be the hardest to fund in times of the tight budgets we foresee for the immediate future.

One important issue is the Virginia Class Build Rate. In order to afford the build rate that we need to keep the force structure we need, we must get the cost down from about $2.4 Billion to $2 Billion per ship in FY 2005 dollars. We’re going about that task from three directions. By ordering in multi ship contracts we will reduce the cost per ship by allowing the builders to purchase components in more economic quantities. A seven ship Multiyear Contract will save money on each ship. We are also focusing on ship design alterations for less expensive components that retain the same capability wherever possible.

Finally, we are working on improving the shipyard productivity to allow the construction processes to be more efficient and cost less. One example of that last focus area is the Capital Expenditure Program. So far we have set aside $91 Million to provide for shipbuilder investment in facilities and process improvement. The $40 Million we have spent so far is expected to save a total of $300 Million across the rest of the ships of this class. These capital improvements allow increased modular construction, an improved sheet metal fabrication facility, and final assembly & test improve-ments. All of these will also enable updates to the build plan that result in more efficient production and reduced construction span time.

You see a splash of color on the chart for the Submarine Design Base. For the first time since 1960 we find ourselves without a new class of nuclear submarines in the design phase. The expertise associated with Submarine Design is not something easily reconsti-tuted if it is allowed to disperse. We’re looking at the right way to maintain that design capability at the right cost through this period between new classes of submarines.

illustrates the need for a true Enterprise approach. Future capability touches so many different organizations at so many different levels.

Undersea Enterprise – A Decade of Development

This is the path we started on back in 1994 to link across the different organizations that touch undersea warfare. As time progressed we have developed a structure to bring business practices to bear on the challenges we face. The precept of the Enterprise approach is to view the organization not under the lens of traditional command structures, but as functional contributors working together to produce some product. We have OPNA V Codes, NAVSEA, Submarine Leaming Center, PERS Codes, and others brought together to produce Undersea Warfare Capability oriented towards the five effects I showed you earlier.

We’ve been integrating across traditional command lines for quite a while now. Oversight is provided by the Board of Directors, who set the vision, strategy, and objectives of the enterprise. Below the Board of Directors are four different Cross Functional Teams that work to improve productivity of the processes and act on the decisions of the Board to create our desired effects. This approach has yielded a lot of successes. I briefed the CNO in May on several of those successes, and one I’d like to highlight to you now is the success of our ARCI program.

(Editor’s Note: See the more detailed explanation of the Undersea Enterprise in the Staff Brief following VADM Munns presentation)

ARCI COTSification

The success story of ARCI (Acoustic Rapid COTs[ consumer off the shelf Insertion Sonar system) started a decade ago and was the result of an effects based effort to achieve the processing improve-ment over legacy systems that allowed this improved acoustic perfonnance. We partnered with business to make this possible. By focusing on the right effect instead of focusing on how to make the legacy process work better, we reaped the rewards of all of these second and third order benefits. We get our desired order of magnitude improvement in performance with respect to acoustic advantage, but we also get these orders of magnitude improvements in detection time, and most importantly in cost. As a bonus we can upgrade the systems every two years for software and every four years for hardware to have a more modernized fleet on an ongoing basis. We have a more standardized common baseline for all our units for more productive training and logistics. We also have other potential benefits we are still exploring in the area of maintenance such as Maintenance Free Operating Periods and distance support that could change our approach to shipboard maintenance and pipeline training for even more savings in the future.


I finish with a look back at our people because we should emphasize the talent they bring to the ships and to the force. It is our people that go forward with clandestine persistent presence where others cannot go and act as the nation’s scout. They do that now and they will do that in the future with continually evolving capability that will keep that role vibrant and productive against an asymmetric enemy and an unpredictable threat environment.


The Undersea Enterprise is composed of all stakeholders and resources supporting or operating SSNs, SSGNs, SSBNs, fixed surveillance, or mobile surveillance forces. The primary elements of the Enterprise and its Resource Sponsors include dollars and manpower for current and future platform and crew readiness. Commander Naval Submarine Forces (CSF), the head of the Undersea Enterprise, sets the strategy, priorities, requirements, and overarching direction for suppliers, resource sponsors, and producers to ensure a quality product for the enterprise customers.

Why was the Undersea Enterprise (USE) Established?

  • The Commander Naval Submarine Forces (CSF) established an enterprise governance structure in order to more effectively and efficiently provide undersea combat power as directed by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (CFFC).
  • USE focuses on achievement in five key areas, as measured by the key Effects Metrics
    • Operational Availability-“Around the World; Around the Clock” -Submarines and undersea surveillance assets deployed for sustained battle space preparation and deterrence
    • Improved Commanding Officer Decision-Making -CO’s making optimal decisions under the demands and complexity of the undersea environment
    • Submarine Expertise -Experienced people integrated throughout the Joint wartighting, military technology, and defense/government management communities
    • Culture/Standards/Conduct -“Pride Runs Deep”-Assimilating new crew members into the submarine culture, while maintaining high standards and conduct
    • Future Capabilities -Forecasting and meeting tomor-row’s requirements for undersea superiority
  • The Commander, Naval Submarine Forces (CSF), as the CEO of the USE, sets the strategy, priorities, requirements, and overarching direction through the BOD, whose membership includes suppliers, resource sponsors, producers, and customers of the Enterprise.
  • The USE BOD works to improve Enterprise productivity by changing processes and removing productivity barriers, while also providing specific standards of accountability. Oversight is provided by the USE Core BOD, whose members include CSF and the CSF and CSP deputies, OPNAV Nl87 and N13, Director, Strategic Systems Program, and NA VSEA 00.
  • The USE structure includes Cross Functional Teams that are used to integrate enterprise activities and meet USE objectives.
  • Cross Functional Teams manage integration in four areas:
    – Maintenance/Sustainment
    – Total Force Readiness
    – Resource Management
    – Operations
  • Execution is carried out by Sub-Process Teams, including:
    – Maintenance/Material-Warshot Reliability Action Panel, SUB TEAM ONE
    – Personnel -Undersea Warfare Training Council (UWTC)
    – Acquisition -USE Shipbuilding Strategy
    – Operations -Tactical Requirements Group, SSGN Team

Examples of USE initiatives in two Cross Functional Teams

  • Total Force Readiness CFT. The group worked to refine submarine manning factors, permitting a 9% reduction in officer accessions in FY04 and a 13% reduction in FY05 (which saved $3 I .3M in FY04 and $72.3M in FY05 in manpower costs).
  • Maintenance/Sustainment CFT. The team has initiatives in Production, Contracts, and Design to reduce VA-class Subma-rine cost to $2B per ship.
  • Maintenance/Sustainment CFT. It is implementing a number of performance initiatives to eliminate the loss of l,100 ship days in FYOS caused by maintenance schedule overruns.

Naval Submarine League

© 2022 Naval Submarine League