Thanks to the National Defense Industrial Association for, once again, sponsoring the Joint Undersea Warfare Technology Fall Conference, a great annual event that has become an indispensable venue for sharing ideas, expanding working relation- ships, and synchronizing industry and laboratories with the Undersea Enterprise.
I want to give a special thanks to Mr. Bruce Spear, the NOIA ‘s Undersea Warfare Division Chairman and Mr. Paul Normand, this year’s Conference Chairman for organizing the conference and for providing a fitting theme, Solutions for a Complex. The five subjects selected for the technical sessions, Aviation USW, C41 & Combat Systems, Mine Warfare, Undersea Sensors, and Undersea Vehicles, represent some of our current and most difficult technology challenge areas.
I am very excited to be a part of this event and to be given the opportunity to speak with you this morning about the complex environment of undersea warfare today.
There arc three main thoughts that I will address with you this morning:
One – Irregular Warfare is getting much attention within the Navy today and submarines will play a significant role in this area.
Two – Anti-Submarine Warfare has been, and for good reason will continue to be, an area of emphasis for the Navy.
Three -The key to the success of the Submarine Force is, and will continue to be, the talented people that we attract and retain. We continue to be challenged to attract and retain the high quality people we need and I could use some help from those in the defense industry in this area.
I welcome your help and support in providing solutions to these challenges.
The complexity of undersea warfare and reliance on the help that the technical community can provide is certainly nothing new to submariner. The Submarine Force has a rich history of solving operational warfare needs with innovative technical solutions.
In June 1945, nine submarines making up the wolf-pack called Hydcman’s Hellcats (Sea Dog, Crevalle, Spadefish, Tunny, Skate, Bonefish, Flyingfish, Bowfin and Tinosa) all entered the well protected, land-framed Sea of Japan. This first successful penetration through the minefield protected Tsushima Strait was made possible by a new and innovative sonar called QLA. Developed by the University of California Division of War Research at the Navy Radio and Sound Laboratory facility in San Diego, QLA was a frequency modulated high definition sonar system that enabled U. S . submarines to safely traverse Japanese minefields.
This game-changing technology, dubbed ltell ‘s bells by the men who used it, provided the ability to negate the area denial strategy of the Sea of Japan during World War II. It enabled a devastating blow to the last Japanese shipping fleet and effectively severed communications between the five main Japanese Islands, significantly contributing to the eventual capitulation of the Japanese Empire.
QLA and other collaborative efforts of the military, university laboratories and industry helped win the war and established the value of military research and development. As the nation moved into the postwar era, it was agreed that continued military R&D was vital to national defense.
Like Hydeman ‘s Hellcats, submarines today have the role of providing assured access to areas where our enemies might try to deny our presence . Intelligence indicates this will only be more difficult in the future. So also like Hell’s Bells, technology will play a key role in maintaining the assured access we arc currently able to provide.
Today, submarines maximize combat power by maximizing payload flexibility and volume. The unprecedented payload capacity of the SSGN submarines deployed today and the cost effective interoperable redesign of the Virginia bow beginning with the I I 1h ship of the class, arc two examples of the direction that submarine design is headed to keep our options open for future innovations, such as unmanned vehicles and more versatile missile systems.
Additionally, linking submarines together and to the Joint warlightcr for real time communications will achieve exponential gains and has the potential of being a game changing capability. Through work with ONR and DARPA, we arc beginning to look at the next generation of Com ms @ Speed and Depth – Optical Laser Comms has never looked more promising.
These arc a couple of the things we arc doing to ensure U.S. submarines maintain their position as the best and most technologically advanced in the world. But, while we work to bring new solutions to submarines, we must remember to maintain the submarine’s enduring value of stealth.
Due to their stealth, self-sufficiency and significant lire power, submarines provide the National Command Authority, Joint Force Commanders and Theater Commanders with unique capabilities:
-to acquire early and accurate knowledge of precision situations and the battlefield.
-to prepare the battle space and enable the establishment and support of the expeditionary force on land.
-to clandestinely strike critical targets at sea and ashore.
-and to defeat enemy forces, control sea lines of communication and dominate the undersea battle space.
As I discussed earlier, Irregular Warfare is receiving a high level of interest within the Navy, and Joint Force Commanders arc recognizing the unique capabilities that submarines provide them. Employed properly, the submarine produces asymmetric advantages that can be effectively leveraged in virtually every aspect of Irregular Warfare.
While fighting experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have weighed heavily in the development of Irregular Warfare doctrine to date, we can help to expand the operational concepts to be more broad, enduring, and forward-looking. We must work to articulate how the submarine’s stealth and payload capacity can contribute to the Irregular Warfare fight, with its unique attributes and requirements.
An area of Irregular Warfare that requires some attention is the developing threat to our national interests in the undersea domain. The maritime domain not only includes the sea volume in which we operate and the air/water interface, but also the sea bed and the associated infrastructure that exists on it. We need to break the paradigm that undersea warfare is only sub on sub or sub on ship or sub JSR (in the classic sense).
While we arc and will remain preeminent in these areas, the undersea domain is much larger than that classic perspective and we should expand our thinking in areas that have a significant role to our nation’s security.
We play an integral part in developing this Undersea Maritime Domain Awareness by providing accurate and timely Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JSR), a bread and butter mission of submarines. Submarines and other sub-sea systems (the term used in the commercial world to identify systems used under the sea) can ensure the U.S. Navy remains the master of the undersea domain for both defense and offense by providing a critical Undersea Maritime Domain Awareness. We will provide information that only the submarine can acquire to thwart our adversaries from gaining the initiative on our critical undersea infrastructure.
The right group to lead this charge has not been determined, but the Submarine Force will play a key role in broadening the traditional definition of undersea warfare to encompass this revised vision. As a result of this potentially new definition, the capabilities needed to deny or exploit this realm require significant attention. The global undersea infrastructure is growing and fully exploitable by anyone with the technological means. How do we defend it or hold it at risk against our adversaries?
As I look to the future, some of our technological needs will be Unmanned Undersea Vehicles or UUVs, Remotely Operated Vehicles or ROVs and small manned submersibles, operating independently or in coordination with surface ships or submarines.
Stealthy underwater gliders, used today to collect oceanographic information, have the capability to operate silently for weeks at a time, covering hundreds of miles. These battery-powered vehicles alternately pump ballast water in and out to change their buoyancy, enabling them to glide forward as they rise and fall through the ocean. The gliders’ efficiency and stealth allow them to gather essential environmental data in denied areas and could one day be used to perform surveillance or patrol duties for extended periods. What we need from these new capabilities arc Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), as well as actions based on the information obtained.
What I mean by !SR here is not just the classic above the water using the undersea as a form of concealment, but !SR of the undersea domain. But also, these vehicles should be able to take action based on what they observe, to exploit the adversary’s undersea domain or defend our own. Submarines will need the ability to reliably communicate with these autonomous and semi autonomous systems to provide the necessary command and control.
The development of this capability and the knowledge that flows from its use will allow us to find and exploit potential adversaries’ undersea infrastructure and to cause an adversary to expend enormous national treasure in defense. If we do not develop the capability, we risk having our adversaries execute a similar dynamic against our undersea interests.
The goal here should be to expand our dominance and superior- ity in the currently defined undersea warfare realm into the undersea warfare realm, as it will be re-defined.
This will require thinking beyond the typical campaign or platform centric analysis of the past and into critical enablers like UUVs, ROVs, and submersibles that will expand our capabilities beyond the sea volume of submarines and onto the sea bed and undersea infrastructure.
As we better understand this newly considered and complex undersea environment, we must carefully examine areas where we currently assume undersea dominance to detect possible unidentified gaps.
We must ask difficult questions like:
-How will the changing undersea environment impact the strategic triad?
The timing is right to ensure the next generation of Sea Based Strategic Deterrence is prepared to maintain its position as the most .favorable leg in a complex and changing environment.
While we address the Irregular Warfare needs of the Joint Commander, we must not lose sight of the growing threat of China’s Submarine Force.
As I previously indicated, Anti-Submarine Warfare (AS W) rightfully has high level Navy interest and we will need your help in developing the solutions to this problem. In many ways ASW and undersea warfare today arc different than the ASW of the past. We must better understand the differences and develop an effective strategy that focuses on new capabilities that provide the biggest bang for the buck.
But one thing that has not changed- Submarines bring a sensors and weapons advantage that is unmatched and arc a major asset to theater ASW. And what is becoming very clear from exercises is that the proficiency of submarine Sonar Operators is extremely high in comparison to their surface counterparts. While the reason for this may seem obvious, we must look deeper into the cause. Certainly part of the answer is that the Submarine Force has some of the best simulators and trainers in the world, like the Submarine Multi-Mission Team Trainer or SMMTT.
In addition to developing and maintaining the proficiency of the best Sonar Operators in the world, we arc finding other uses for the SMMTT. With the increased pressure on research and development funds, we need cost effective and time efficient ways to test new concepts and develop the Tactics, Techniques and Procedures they require. SMMTT has sufficient capability and fidelity to allow us to do experimentation that previously we could only conduct with expensive, at sea events. Using the SMMTT, we’ve recently conducted experiments to look at the impact of future capabilities with respect to an SSN’s ability to execute specific CONPLANs.
Our experiments focused on an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and the Submarine Littoral Defense System (SLDS) – formerly known as the Littoral Warfare Weapon. Our scenarios used real crews in several scenarios. W c conducted controlled runs without these systems and nearly identical runs with them. We were then able to evaluate the ship’s performance versus pre-determined metrics to gauge the impact of the systems on the ships’ perfor- mance. This is a cost effective way to learn about capabilities before sending them to the fleet for advanced demonstrations and testing.
As game-changing technologies needed for the Submarine Force of the future arc identified and developed, we must ensure human performance is appropriately considered. We arc pushing more and more data at our submarine crews and asking them to make the right decision in an increasing complex and fast paced environ- ment. A new way to integrate our people and technologies to a much greater effect could be the next big game changer. This would benefit the entire Navy, not just our submarines. Human System Integration is a worthy endeavor and a must do as capabilities for submarines arc developed. But the one thing that sets the United States Navy’s Submarine Force apart from the rest is the quality of the people that we bring in and retain.
At the beginning of my remarks, I mentioned that getting and keeping the right people continues to be a real challenge. The value of math and science education is becoming less and less appreci- ated by young people and those who mentor them. I could use your help in industry to seed tlte field by supporting math and science education in whatever way you can and promoting the enduring value of military service.
Those that answer the call will be joining an organization with a rich tradition and a very important and growing role to play.
The COCOM demand for our submarines (SSNs, SSBNs and SSGNs) remains great, even greater than we arc able to provide. This is because when submarines are called upon, they produce results. We have seen some highly successful deployments this year by our fast attack force. They arc providing the COCOMs with knowledge of the battlefield only a submarine can acquire and clandestine strike options never available before.
Our ballistic missile subs remain in high demand because of their long earned reputation for reliability and dependability, as the only 100% survivable leg of the Strategic Triad. All four SSGNs were delivered on budget and on time. USS OHIO and FLORIDA performed flawlessly during their first deployments, proving the operational concepts developed 13 years ago. MICHIGAN is completing her first Major Maintenance Period and will deploy before the end of this year, with GEORG IA following shortly after. As we look to the future, there is no sign of a downward trend in COCOM demand for submarines. In fact all indications arc that the demand will continue to rise. We must continue to reliably deliver capability and maintain the credibility we have worked so hard to earn.
Submarine acquisition programs hold a reputation second to none in the Navy today. The Virginia Class is well on its way to providing two Virginia Class submarines for 2 billion dollars each by 2012. One of the keys to our success has been the focus placed on open architecture, like the redesign of the bow in flight three and potentially the sail for future flights. Follow-on submarine pro- grams will certainly benefit from the work being done on interoperability and next generation sensors.
Even with the success of the Virginia Program to deliver new ships ahead of schedule, during the next decade the total number of SSNs will gradually drop below 48, the number of submarines needed to meet our obligated requirement to the COCO Ms of I 0 deployed SSNs, 15 ready for tasking and 10 surge ready. Under the current shipbuilding plan, during the 2022 to 2034 time frame we will dip below 48 and will reach a minimum of 41 SSN s. The second Virginia Class submarine being added in 2011 will delay the onset of the dip and made it smaller, but we will still have to selectively extend the operational life of some of our 688 class SSNs to help fill that gap beyond the year 2022.
We must find ways to shorten maintenance periods and lengthen the time between availability to recover operational time while providing the COCOMs with the reliable capability they have come to expect from the Submarine Force.
Even as we reduce the time submarines spend in availability, we must continue to maintain our submarines modern and reliable. Our modernization programs arc Jean and must be carefully managed to prevent creating a hollow force. Reliability and maintainability issues must be quickly identified and aggressively addressed to maximize operational availability. The success of the Submarine Force comes because of our willingness to look at hard problems and deal with them. It will take good planning and teamwork to make this work and we have to get this right.
The Ohio Class submarines have been an unprecedented example of reliability, maintainability and usability. As these great ships begin decommissioning in 2027, much will be expected of their replacement. We arc just beginning the Analysis of Alternatives that will define that replacement. One of our first efforts will be to establish and maintain a stable Research & Development program that will meet future requirements. We will certainly leverage what we have teamed with Virginia.
I thank you for attending this conference and look forward to your help with the challenges we face in Irregular Warfare, Anti Submarine Warfare and in attracting the right people.
In closing, I am proud to be able to brag a little on the good year that the Submarine Force has had and about our bright future . We continue to build on the coveted reputation forged from the steel of those submarines and submariners that came before us. Submarines and submariners like Hydeman ‘s Hellcats. Their hard earned and well deserved reputation will be carried forward by the talented men and women that design, build, operate and sustain today’s amazing warships. Many of whom are in this room here today. Thank you .