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FEATURES – COMMANDER, NAVAL SUBMARINE FORCES at INDIA’s New London Clambake September 11, 2007

Fellow flag officers active and retired, senior executives, member of the National Defense Industrial Association, distinguished guests and especially to all the submariners past and present -Greetings. It’s an honor to address you this morning.

Thanks to Mr. Paul Normand and the National Defense Industrial Association for organizing this year’s Joint Undersea Warfare Technology Fall Conference.

What a great venue with a wonderful tradition. This is my first Clambake as Commander, Submarine Force and I am looking forward to the opportunity to carry on a conversation about Mai11-tai11i11g the Competitive Advantage and to synchronize the Undersea Enterprise with you, members of the industrial and the technological communities.

Lee lacocca once said, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”

Today and tomorrow we, the members of the Undersea Enterprise, will attempt to get across our ideas. We will tell you about the things we are hard at work on and how you can help us to maintain the competitive advantage. And we will listen intently to your ideas during the technical sessions tomorrow and Thursday.

Lee Iacocca was a master of maintaining the competitive advantage. He did this by quickly recognizing changes that were occurring in the automobile business, adapting his efforts based on the changes, and routinely leading the way to the marketplace with new products.

His competitive acuity was behind the original Ford Mustang in the 1960’s, in 1971 he marketed the first domestic subcompact for under $2000, in the 1980’s he transformed the Jeep line with the modem SUV, and in 1983 the first mini-van was introduced when Chrysler was having trouble paying the bills and maintaining product competitiveness.

Under his leadership Chrysler quickly gained the competitive advantage and has maintained it to this day. They are still the leader in mini-van sales with 40% of the market.

Lee Iacocca did not beat the other automobile manufacturers by inventing new technologies that the others did not have access to. Instead, he followed the trends in the market and outraced the competition to the finish line, over and over again.

On this day in 2001, the Nation received a catastrophic message that our competition had changed. With that change, a new strategy was needed to maintain our military advantage. The focus of U.S. national security is no longer a single country, but on several potentially hostile states, as well as sub-national terrorist organizations. The ability of these adversaries to gain access to basic weapon technologies, many of the same technologies used by our military, is becoming greater every day.

Like Lee Iacocca’s strategy, U.S. military dominance today comes from rapidly integrating commercial technologies that are available to everyone, into military capability that can be promptly delivered to, and exploited by, a well-trained and well-led military force. The nm faster strategy.

The United States maritime strategy is changing to meet the challenges presented by an interdependent global system. While the U.S. remains the world’s leading superpower, we share the rest of the world’s dependence on the global system and therefore have a stake in the health and welfare of the greater global community. The Navy will play a critical role in deterring, preventing, limiting, and localizing disruptions to the global system. The Navy, and therefore the Submarine Force, must be flexible, adaptable, versatile, and, when necessary, lethal, to remain ahead of those that wish to harm us.

To accomplish this, the new maritime strategy will focus on using the maritime domain to influence actions that will prevent wars.

While remaining fully capable of winning wars, we must enhance our ability to influence events around the world and win military conflicts before they occur. It will require a thorough and in-depth situational awareness, a Maritime Domain Awareness.

The Submarine Force will be critical to the success of this new strategy.

We will play an integral part in developing this Maritime Domain Awareness by providing accurate and timely Intelligence, Surveil-lance and Reconnaissance (JSR), a bread and butter mission of submarines. Information that only the submarine can acquire and provide will be needed to thwart our adversaries from gaining the initiative on our forward deployed forces.

However, unlike our traditional stealthy posture, we will have to readily communicate with U.S. and international coalition partners as part of an enhanced maritime information sharing network.

This will be a challenge for the Submarine Force with the limited bandwidth of our current communications systems and must be addressed.

Nuclear-powered submarines, as elements of Sea Power 21, will provide the President, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Combatant Commanders with persistent, clandestine, non-provocative options and, when appropriate, overt, rapid, and unanticipated striking power to address a broad range of complex threats to security. These capabilities are a critical component of the maritime strategy in dealing with both state and non-state sponsored threats across the spectrum of conflict.

Submarines provide these capabilities through the unique combination of stealth, endurance, agility, and firepower made possible by operating undersea independently or as part of an interoperable Joint Force. They can provide these capabilities from the deep ocean or the littorals.

Their closed environment, ability to operate in close proximity to adversaries without provocation or detection, and inherent defense against anti-access threats enable our subs to apply their persistent multi-mission capabilities from areas that are beyond the reach of other Joint Forces.

The Combatant Commanders (COCOMs) are relying on us and we must be prepared. The submarine is the platform that will be called upon to operate in an anti-access environment. Later this morning RADM Walsh, Commander, Submarine Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, will tell you how the Combatant Commanders plan to use submarines to fight in the Pacific, if required.

As the U.S. Joint Force transforms to meet new challenges in an uncertain world, four Strategic Concepts guide the role of our submarines in Sea Power 21.

Assure Access -Our submarines must maintain the ability to penetrate and operate in hazardous littoral areas where others cannot in order to hold anti-access threats at risk and deny sanctuary to adversaries.

Develop and Share Knowledge -Our submarines must maintain the ability to clandestinely observe the undersea, surface, air and land environments, as well as the electromagnetic spectrum. They must be able to communicate the information gathered to the Joint Force Commander with the responsiveness necessary to rapidly defeat threats to our national security. The submarine’s inherent stealth helps counter deception and denial attempts. This provides national and military leaders with critical insights into an adversary’s capabilities, tactics and operating patterns.

Strike Rapidly, with Surprise -Our submarines must have the ability to rapidly provide offensive attack options ranging from strike warfare and special operations forces, to information operations.

These attacks, emanating from apparently empty oceans and littorals, create uncertainty in a potential adversary, disrupt and complicate his planning, and cause him to devote assets to defense.

Dissuade and Deter-Some states are deterred from using their naval forces to coerce neighbors or disrupt commerce because our submarines can hold them at risk. The nuclear-powered submarine’s ability to gain access under all circumstances, obtain penetrating ground truth, and strike with swiftness serve to counter both state and to non-state sponsored threats. Survivable submarines, equipped with conventional and nuclear weapons, serve as a deterrent to other nations that would threaten the United States and our allies.

The submarine has been and will continue to be under high demand. The COCOM demand signal has gone from 15.4 SSN-Years in 2005 to 19.55 SSN-Years next year.

But, we are a low density asset. In 2007, we were able to meet only 56% of the COCOM demand for our units and currently there are 52 fast attack submarines in the force. In the next decade this number will gradually drop to 48 SSNs. Under the current ship building plan, during the 2020 to 2034 time frame we will dip below 48, the number of submarines needed to meet our obligated requirement of 10-15-10 to the COCOMs, and will reach a minimum of 40 SSNs.

To meet our Surge Ready requirements with this shrinking force, we are transferring FIVE of our SSNs from the Atlantic to the Pacific fleet. This year 3 were transferred.

We will move one next year and one in 2009. This will place 60% of the operational fast attack submarines in the Pacific and, as the Virginia Class begin to become available in 2009, they will be distributed to maintain the 60/40 split between the Pacific and Atlantic fleets.

Another key initiative to reducing the impact of force shrinkage is the Virginia Class cost reduction plan. We are well on our way to providing 2 Virginia Class submarines for 2 billion dollars each in 2012, commonly referred to as 2 for 4 in 12. RADL Hilarides will speak about this success story in the afternoon, but 2 for 4 i11 12 is not enough to prevent the size of the force from dipping below 48 fast attacks.

More will have to be done. We are working to reduce construction time to 60 months. We may be able to selectively extend the operational life of some of our 688-class SSNs to help fill that gap beyond the year 2020. We must find ways to shorten maintenance periods, perform major modernization during depot maintenance availability, and lengthen the time between availability to recover operational time. This afternoon, RDML Eccles, Deputy Commander Undersea Warfare and Deputy Commander Undersea Technology, will talk more about the need to plan and execute availability more effectively.

We are currently nearing the end of the LOS ANGLES Class maintenance bow wave that was created by changes to the class maintenance plan. Today I have thirteen ships in the shipyard and am only meeting 32 of the 35 deployable submarines needed to meet the Fleet Response Plan requirement. As little as a one month delay in the shipyard maintenance period for some of these ships at the wrong time in their life cycle could result in the loss of a deployment over the life of the ship. A ship only has 15 deployments during her life, so the loss of a deployment has a big impact on the return on investment to the taxpayer.

We are working hard to provide deployed SSNs to the Combatant Commanders, but it comes at a cost. In order to meet operational commitments, we have compressed the Fleet Readiness Training Plan schedules, referred to as the FRTP. The FRTP is the period of time between deployments that we use to prepare the ships and crews to go out again. Average FRTP length across the force has decreased from greater than 17 months to just over 16 months, decreasing the time that the Commanding Officer has to train his crew and maintain his ship.

This has also reduced the time available for experimentation, modernization and other CNO tasking. Reducing the FRTP length has enabled us to meet the COCOM demand in the short term, but is certainly unsustainable over the long term. We must do a better job of completing shipyard maintenance on time for the future health of the Force.

As I said earlier, the COCO Ms are asking for over 19 SSN Years of forward deployment in 2008 and we are only able to provide them with 10. That means those ships will be expected to work hard during their deployments to meet as many of the high priority COCOM requirements as possible. So, they must deploy with 100% capability. But, we have had some real problems with reliability of some of the tactical systems onboard.

Currently the reliability of our TB-29A towed arrays and handling systems is at 15%. Based on casualty reports we are also experiencing high failure rates in the AN/BQQ-1 O(V) I Tactical Sonar System and with the Type I SB periscopes. We must do better than this.

In the new maritime strategy, the submarine will need a new range of tactical systems and payloads. We need innovative solutions, like the Littoral Warfare Weapon, which will allow us to maintain security while conducting higher risk missions, like Special Operations Force (SOF) insertion or ISR in the littorals. We need to be able to reliably employ UAVs and UUVs while operating submerged. And to be able to tactically control them with the ability to receive and direct Fire Support electronically.

They will need to be modular, integrated with other payload systems and affordable. But, Commercial off the Shelf Technology is not the panacea for providing these new systems at reduced cost. We have found that these proven technologies still require careful planning, good engineering and hard work to ensure they provide reliable capability at the right cost.

The message I want to clearly get across is that we need more reliability from our ships and tactical systems with less maintenance time required.

Thus far I have spoken a great deal about SSNs, but our SSBNs are a vital part of the Submarine Force and will also play a critical role in the new Maritime Strategy. The men on our ballistic missile ships make up 32% of the operating personnel in the Force. Like the fast attacks, they are in high demand because they are the only I 00% survivable leg of the Strategic Triad.

Our 14 SSBNs are currently meeting the COCOM demand. For the next 11 years, we will have more than one SSBN in an Engineered Refueling Overhauls at one time, and we are just meeting our employment requirements with degrades on a case by case basis. There is no room for an overhaul to overrun. We don’t have the flexibility to absorb that maintenance delay and meet our commitments to STRATCOM. Any further degrade of a submarine requirement could have a significant impact on STRATCOM ability to execute their mission. We can let this happen.

The OHIO Class ships begin decommissioning in 2027. Planning for the replacement Sea Based Strategic Deterrent is being considered. The 30-year shipbuilding plan calls for a 20 I 9 construction start date with design efforts starting in 2014. A recent Rand Corporation Study recommended commencing design efforts 5 years early in order to maintain the industrial design base and achieve a more mature design at the start of construction, saving money in the long run. RADM Mauney, Director Submarine Warfare Division, OPNA V N87, will speak to you next and provide more detail on this project.

SSGN is a reality!

Twelve years ago, the idea was developed to take advantage of the highly successful OHIO Class submarines that were no longer needed for their strategic mission and convert them into powerful multi-mission platforms.

This fall the first conversion, USS OHIO, will make her first SSGN deployment and the others are following shortly behind. The FLORIDA completed a highly successful Strike Op Eval this past Summer and will deploy in the Spring of 2008. MICHIGAN is finishing up her modernization and will soon begin her first 15 month operational cycle. The last, but certainly not the least SSGN, the GEORGIA will return to service in March of next year. They are here on budget and on schedule. And they have arrived just in time. The COCOM demand is high. OHIO’s first deployment will be to the U.S. Pacific Command’s Area of Responsibility. This part of the world is becoming an increasing area of concern. RDML(sel) Bonnelli, Deputy Commander Naval Special Warfare Command will tell you more about the need for SSGN in the Pacific tomorrow.

As you can see, the demands on the Submarine Force are great and are growing. To maintain the competitive advantage with a shrinking force, we must continue to employ Lee Iacocca’s nm faster strategy and do it better by delivering ship’s on time, on budget and with highly reliable capabilities.

Thank you for your attention and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas over the next few days.

Naval Submarine League

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