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AUSTRALIAN SUBMARINE INSTITUTE AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE SUBMARINE CAPABILITY-THE WAY AHEAD VADM JAY DONNELLY, USN COMMANDER, NAVAL SUBMARINE FORCES

I appreciate the kind introduction and warm welcome that I have received here in Canberra. It is truly my honor to participate in this wonderful venue for sharing innovative ideas about the future of submarines.

Thank you to Rear Admiral (Ret) Peter Briggs for the invitation to speak this morning. Also, thanks to the many others who have worked so hard to put together this well organized and impressive conference.

I 00 years ago, The United States Navy’s Great White Fleet visited Sydney, Melbourne and Albany. This was a historically significant event for both of our countries and planted the seed for what has blossomed into a robust and important alliance between our two nations.

When the fleet entered Sydney Harbor on August 20th, 1908, they were enthusiastically welcomed. Some accounts say that liberty was so good in Sydney that at the planned time for their departure, almost 100 sailors failed to report.

I too have been graciously welcomed and entertained this week from the moment I arrived and my staff may have a difficult time locating me when it is time to leave Canberra later this week.

During the one hundred years after the last ship of the Great White Fleet departed Albany’s Princess Royal Harbour, our two Nations and Navies have cultivated a close and lasting partnership that is extremely important to the future of the United States, Australia and the entire Western Pacific Region.

My experience as Chief of Staff, U.S. 71h Fleet, Commander Submarine Group 7 in Yokosuka, Japan, and Deputy Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet have provided me with some insight into issues that we will face in this important part of the world in the 2025 to 2050 timeframe. During my discussion today, I will focus on 3 main points.

  • First-My Nation’s new Maritime Strategy will require strong international relationships, such as we enjoy with Australia, to prevent wars and provide regional stability.
  • Second-The Western Pacific is of significant global importance. The military advancements of the Chinese and the lack of transparency of their intentions arc of concern and bear close watching.
  • Third-And most important to my discussion today, Australia and your Submarine Force is and will continue to be critical to the stability of this region

During my tours in the Western Pacific, I became very familiar with the close relationship that my Navy shares with the Royal Australian Navy, especially our Submarine Forces. Many of my Commanding Officers get the opportunity during their preparation for command to train on your submarines with your crews. Each year a group of Perspective Commanding Officers (or PCOs) spend 3 weeks operating with Collins Class submarines, alternating years between the western Australia exercise areas and Hawaiian operating areas.

These interactions allow our officers to share warfare tactics, learn about your submarines and develop long-lasting professional and personal relationships. The experiences of our PCOs and the interactions through larger exercises like Talisman Saber and the Rim of the Pacific (referred to as RIM PAC) continue to enhance the interoperability between our Submarine Forces and Navies.

This interoperability has also improved through the partnerships our nations share in the defense industry. HMAS Waller was not only the first Collins-class submarine to be equipped with Raytheon’s advanced tactical command and control system (AN/BYG-1), but this past July was the first submarine ever to launch a live MK-48 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System torpedo (or CBASS), sinking a retired U.S. warship. The interoperability that CBASS provides, coupled with the AN/BYG-1 Combat Control System, is a force multiplier for both of our nations, making our submarines the deadliest in the world. Projects that increase our submarines’ interoperability, along with the things we arc doing to fortify our relationships, arc essential to further strengthening the ability of our Submarine Forces to meet current and future threats.

This is the core of the United States Navy’s new Cooperative Maritime Strategy for the 21 ”Century. The security, prosperity, and vital interests of the United States are increasingly coupled to those of other nations.

One of the major tenants of our strategy is to foster and sustain relationships like the one we share with Australia. We believe expanding cooperative relationships with other nations will contribute to the security and stability of the maritime domain for the benefit of all.

My Navy’s challenge is to apply seapower in a manner that protects U.S. vital interests even as it promotes greater international security, stability, and trust. Because, while our forces can surge when necessary to respond to crises, trust and cooperation cannot be surged. They must be built over time so the strategic interests of our nations will be continuously considered while mutual understanding and respect arc promoted.

I believe that the 21″ century will be the century of the Asian Pacific and this new strategy specifically calls for credible combat power to be continuously postured in the Western Pacific to protect our vital interests, assure our friends and allies of our continuing commitment to regional security, and deter and dissuade potential adversaries and peer competitors.

Economists have said that during the 2025 to 2050 time frame, the Asia-Pacific region will be home to some of the largest and most dynamic economics in the world. These economies will be closely connected to each other and the United States though trade and investment. While this will bring much opportunity to our two countries, it will also bring risk to stability and security.

We need to continue to cultivate our cooperative approach to ensure we are ready to respond to threats and political concerns in the region, such as:

  • Increased militarization
  • Ongoing threat of terrorism
  • Unresolved questions of sovereignty between China and Taiwan
  • Challenges to our energy supplies and economic security
  • And unresolved boarder issue

Though progress has been made in resolving or managing many of these concerns, surely some of these will influence tensions. Maybe the biggest concern for the future of the region is China’s increased military spending and arms build-up.

Analysis of People’s Republic of China budget data from 1996 to 2006 indicates defense spending has increased an average of 12% annually (inflation adjusted) with an increase of 19% in 2007 and a similar trend for 2008. The published budget docs not include large expenditures, such as the expense for strategic force development and other Research and Development. This lack of accounting transparency makes Department of Defense estimates difficult and, while the large number of ships being constructed by the Chinese is cause for concern, more important is that we simply don’t understand the rationale for many of 1hcir activities.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has developed a variety of kinetic and non¬∑kinctic weapons and jammers against space¬∑bascd systems. They are researching and deploying capabilities intended to disrupt satellite functionality without inflicting physical damage.

PLA planners are focused on targeting surface ships at long ranges from China’s shores. By combining advanced ballistic and cruise missiles with a modern command and control architecture, the PLA is seeking the capability to degrade an adversary’s force generation by striking aircraft carriers, logistic nodes, and regional bases.

As part of its planning for a Taiwan contingency, China is prioritizing measures to deter or counter third-party intervention in a future cross-strait crisis. To provide a supporting defensive layer for its long-range anti-access systems, they arc acquiring an extensive undersea warfare capability including submarines (KILO, SONG, SHA NG, and YUAN-classes) and mines.

We must be fully aware and ready with the right mix of capabilities to adequately respond to any contingencies that might arise. The U.S. Navy is moving 60% of the submarine fleet to the Pacific for just this reason. But, while the United States has the capabilities required to forward deploy and project power as necessary, our concerns arc world-wide.

Today, more than 40 countries have Submarine Forces amounting to over 400 submarines. And this number is growing! The War on Terror will not be a short effort with Iraq and Afghani-stan as our current focus. Russian military operations are on the rise. North Korea and Iran arc of concern. But the part of the world you live in is extremely important to both of our nations and the United States relies heavily on Australia to maintain the watch on the day-to-day security of the region.

With the increased regional military power and the apparent area denial strategy of China, the submarine is the platform that will be called upon to operate in an anti-access environment where other naval forces can’t. Providing:

  • Persistent Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
  • Early indications and warning
  • And to be the first to respond if needed

The Australian Submarine Force today is on the right track and ready, if called upon. Submarines, like your six COLLINS Class boats, will play critical roles in the strategy required in the years to come. Submarines are the ultimate stealth platform, able to operate in areas where sea and air control is not assured and gain access to areas denied to others. Large submarines like COLLINS arc able to operate at long ranges and remain on task for weeks. They carry flexible sensors, weapons, Special Forces and payloads to provide the Joint Task Force Commanders with the situational awareness they need and the ability to strike without warning.

But soon, you will be facing a decision on the Collins class replacement. We made a similar decision recently with our replacement for the Ohio Class ballistic missile submarines.

In 2027, the U.S. Navy will begin to retire the oldest of the 14 OHIO-Class SSBN’s as they reach the end of their service life. We decided to replace these submarines with a follow on Sea Based Strategic Deterrent (SBSD) submarine. The plan requires the first of this new class to be ready to commence operations by 2025 and t will take about 15 years to design and construct the first ship.

While this may seem like a long time, appropriate investment in SBSD research and concept development is essential to building a reliable and adaptable submarine, prepared to face an uncertain future. Beginning Research & Development (R&D) efforts in 20 I 0 will allow technologies to mature, lowering cost and schedule risk. The proposed plan focuses on maturing required technologies and leveraging the lessons learned from our current efforts with our Virginia Class submarine to reduce construction and life cycle costs.

To make all of this happen in time for the ship to deploy when needed, we arc starting the initial planning now.

While I do not presume to know the specifics of your acquisition strategy for the Collins replacement, the basic principles of research and development, design and construction arc certainly similar. Your Collins class design and construction ran a similar 15 year timeline to what we have planned for SBSD. In 2025 the Collins will be 30 years old and approaching the end of its service life. To prevent a gap in needed capability, the replacement must be able to deploy by about 2025. Achieving initial operating capability by that time requires starting R&D efforts very soon.

Admiral Chester Nimitz once said, “Our armament must be adequate to the needs, but our faith is not primarily in these machines of defense but in ourselves.”

The right warfare capabilities and force structure arc certainly important to be ready to provide the security and stability our nations’ expect. But these machines by themselves do not win wars. To get the most out of the technology, we need well trained sailors and officers.

Your people are top-notch professionals. That does not just happen by accident. It requires continuous effort to grow and maintain a culture of first-class professionalism. Both of our countries need to place strong emphasis on providing cutting edge training for our Submarine Forces to remain competitive into the future and ensure we retain our best and brightest.

In that light, next summer MICHIGAN and one of our fast attack submarines will participate in Talisman Saber 09 here in Australia. This is a joint Australian and U.S. military exercise, focusing on operational and tactical interoperability through a power projection, forcible entry scenario involving live, virtual and constructive forces. During the event some of your Australian Special Forces will join our Navy Seals onboard the MICHIGAN to jointly conduct several Direct Action training missions.

Talisman Saber is one of the most important high-end joint exercises our two countries conduct together. This is an extremely rare opportunity for my crews and our countries Special Forces to receive quality training in a realistic live scenario.

This Task Force level training will significantly increase the effectiveness of our two militaries to utilize the interoperability and capabilities we share. This is the sort of thing we must continue to do to be ready for the threats to our nations security in the years to come.

To Summarize:
The U.S. maritime strategy today reaffirms an enduring commitment to the Western Pacific Region demonstrated for the first time by the Great White Fleet 100 years ago. The United States and the U.S. Submarine Force in particular, very much value the cooperation Australian and United States forces demonstrate in working together to meet security and strategic challenges, both regionally and globally. We look forward to working together to continue pioneering innovative and groundbreaking approaches to provide fully capable, sustainable, and interoperable submarine forces to meet the challenges of the future.

Thank you

LIFE MEMBERS
CAPT Gregory E. Bajuk, USN(Ret)
Mr. Gary Cooper
CDR John M. lannettia, USN(Ret)
ET2(SS) Thomas A. Kokinda, USN
CDR Charles Thomas Weaver, USN(Ret)

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