Fellow officers active and retired, Senior Executive Service representatives, members of the Naval Submarine League, industry leaders, distinguished guests and especially to all submariners past and present greetings. It an honor to address you today.
Thanks VADM Reynolds for inviting me here today. What a fantastic venue today. l am really looking forward to working together to capitalize on the early success of our SSGNs.
This is my first opportunity as the Director, Submarine Warfare Division to address the Annual symposium and I am looking forward to updating and synchronizing with you on our ongoing efforts. Before I start, V ADM Donnelly’s Albert Einstein joke reminded me of another story about the great scientist that I think is appropriate for me today:
Albert Einstein was getting tired with making the same presentation over and over again at different meetings. So one night, after a long day, his chauffeur jokingly said I’ve heard your speech so many times, I know it word for word! Why don’t you take the night off and let me deliver the talk this evening?” Einstein agreed. When they arrived at the venue, Einstein put on the chauffeur uniform and hat, and sat at the back of the hall. The chauffeur took his place on the podium, and effortlessly delivered the speech, and invited the audience to ask questions. He convincingly answered the first few, but then one man stood up and asked a very difficult question on his theories of relativity. The chauffeur was flummoxed, but calmly said, why, that question is so very easy, I will let my chauffeur answer it!
Now, I assure you that it is really me up here but, Joe, my Flag Lieutenant, is ready in case I get in trouble here.
Today is an auspicious day.
On Oct 22, 1941, PCU Trigger was launched at Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, CA. In her short 3 year life, Trigger completed 12 war patrols, receiving 11 battle stars, and a Presidential Unit Citation for her 5th, 6th, and 7th war patrols. She is credited with sinking 18 ships totaling 86,552 tons and is the genesis of the famous poem I’m the Gal/opi11g Ghost of the Japanese Coast.
On Oct 22, 1965 PCU BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (SSBN 640) was commissioned at the Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, CT marking the commencement of almost 3 decades of strategic deterrence service to our great nation. On Dec 6, 1965 the Gold Crew successfully launched a Polaris A-3 missile in close coordination with an orbital pass of the Gemini 7. During her 69 strategic deterrent patrols, she carried the Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident missile demonstrating the nation’s prudent investment in both platform adaptability and missile technology.
What an incredible testament to our early pioneers in not only fighting our nation’s wars but also preventing them from ever occurring again. That is the kind of effect that our Submarine Force is recognized for.
Today, I hope to briefly touch on the following topics: a recap of where we have been over the last year or so; an update on the current fiscal considerations as we move into this fall’s events; an overview of our efforts to properly capture the value and effect of our submarines in the various strategy and policy efforts that are currently underway; a review of some threats to the undersea domain and some of our current efforts to ensure our undersea dominance; where I see the Navy’s S&T and R&D focus moving in the near term; a review of some technologies that hold promise to further expand the payload capability of our submarines; and finally an update on our OHIO recapitalization efforts.
We continue to build momentum. Our Submarine Force continues to be in high demand by the Combatant Commanders because of their stealth, survivability, and multi-mission capabilities. The VIRGIN IA program continues to deliver the most advanced and capable submarine in the world on-cost and on schedule. With the commissioning of NEW HAMPSHIRE this weekend we will for the first time in over a decade commission 2 submarines in the same year. NEW MEXICO is following closely behind and will be christened on 13 December. OHIO and FLORIDA are on their maiden deployments and have by any measure delivered the goods. Open sources reported that China’s official Xinhua news agency called the OHIO a warehouse of explosives and a devil of deterrence. Sounds good to me! The Chinese must also have read our Maritime Strategy. Finally, when MICHIGAN deploys next month we will have 3 SSGNs on deployment with GEORGIA following closely behind. What a great set of achievements for us all to be proud of!
I am happy to report that President Bush signed the FY09 National Defense Authorization Act and Appropriations Bill. The Virginia program received full funding, plus Multi-Y car Procurement authority. The President’s FY I 0 budget request is due to Congress on 2 February, but this may be a placeholder submission to be followed later by a full budget. This potential budget delay is typical in the first year of a new Administration and is reflective of our healthy political process.
With respect to DoD financial challenges, do note that the national level investment in DoD is at an historic low as it relates to GDP. However, national level requirements and expectations are conversely at historic highs. This situation will continue to force us to make hard choices in the coming years.
When this is evaluated with Navy Total Obligation Authority over the last few decades, you can see that despite a marked decrease in number of ships, aircraft and personnel since the I 980s, OMN costs have remained nearly constant, PERSONNEL costs have skyrocketed, PROCUREMENT costs show only a minimal increase and R&D funding is at the highest level ever. However, today R&D is much more than pure lab work and represents our drive for cutting edge technology. The question is now, more than ever, once a new technology is developed, how do we shift the newfound capability from R&D to steady state procurement? We are going to need to reevaluate this process.
In this recent time of global financial volatility, we are seeing dynamic changes in the following areas: global economic depend-ency; discretionary allocation apportionment; resource allocation; and political reform. These effects will no doubt influence the development of the current and future POM builds. At the end of the process, however, I believe that it comes down to balancing and value. The nation and the Navy have to find the right balance and invest in what brings the most value. I believe that our recent legacy with respect to delivering SSGN on time, on budget and the current success of the Virginia program will undoubtedly be respected.
Our persistent presence has resulted in measurable effects that have had global impact. I have already discussed the Virginia class as well as some of the contributions of our SSG Ns. While I don’t have time to list every contribution by the fine ships and Sailors that comprise our Submarine Force, 1 do want to highlight just a few from the SSBN world in particular.
On 25 August, USS LOUISIANA successfully launched two Trident II 05 Fleet Ballistic Missiles, demonstrating the continued reliability and credibility of the Fleet Ballistic Missile. These were the 123rd and 124th consecutive successful launch since 1989, a record achievement! On 26 September, USS PENNSYLVANIA returned to Bangor, WA following the successful completion of her 60th strategic deterrent patrol. The patrol also marked the 500th strategic deterrent patrol of the OHIO-class submarine Trident II 05 Strategic W capons System. This winter, our SS BN force will complete its 1, OOOth TRIDENT strategic deterrent patrol.
The value of submarines is increasingly recognized at the highest levels of the Navy. In my time as N87, four submarine COs have briefed CNO on their deployed operations and he is anxious for more. My staff is aggressively pursuing opportunities and avenues to provide our message to the legislative branch on the Hill. As a result of these and other efforts, our stature in relevant policy and strategy has grown. The soon to be released Naval Operations Concept (NOC) will align with our efforts to showcase our contribution and value. The NOC will describe how, when, and where U.S. naval forces will contribute to preventing conflict and prevailing in war in order to guide maritime strategy implementation. The NOC will inform naval participation in service and joint concept development and experimentation. Our country must understand we are a maritime nation and the value of the naval forces to achieve our national goals.
Today we live in a complex world. There arc many and varied threats in the Undersea Domain in the news today. Russia, flush with oil capital, continues to build and deploy very capable submarines. China continues on its quest to change its role from a regional influence to a global power. Iran’s interest in nuclear weapons development and indigenous submarine production has the potential to alter the calculus in the Gulf. Venezuela’s just announced strategic partnership with Russia coupled with her open efforts to purchase KILO and AMUR SSKs and other high technology military equipment, is sure to keep the 4th Fleet very busy. Finally, the increase in Self-Propelled Semi-Submersible activity in SOUTHCOM shows the level of commitment that today’s traffickers and smugglers will go to. While our competitors arc not 10 feet tall they arc committed and we have to remain vigilant in ensuring that we maintain our advantage in and across the undersea domain.
As I travel around, I am constantly exposed to smart folks doing great work. Recently I was exposed to an effort at NWDC in reviving our concept generation and CO NOP generation process by emphasizing the need to focus at the operational level of war. Concepts evaluated will include: near and far term objectives; strategic and operational perspectives in order to inform and shape tactical development; and the ability to both leverage and influence Joint and Coalition developments. Lessons learned from this effort will inform the need for changes and/or realignment in authorities, roles, responsibilities, and required resources required to ensure that the conclusions are championed into enduring program.
The first concept that will be explored will center on Undersea Superiority. Currently scheduled to get underway in the next few months, the initial cadre will consist of a small group of young and energetic experts charged with investigating the innovative employment of future capabilities as a methodology to address our most challenging undersea issues. From my perspective, I see unmanned systems as a critical clement to meeting our future requirements and expect innovative breakthroughs will result from a combined and layered approach with these technologies. Part of this effort will also have to be a fundamental cultural change among warfighters as to how they view these types of technologies as compared to legacy techniques. I am anxious for their work to produce tangible results.
As we continue to execute the imperative of the maritime strategy, we must continue to stimulate innovation, encourage prudent risk-taking, and inculcate the culture of command that has been the foundation of our Navy successes for more than two centuries. S&T and R&D is the foundation that stimulates innovation and ensures our ability 10 achieve and maintain superiority in all domains. We must continue to leverage S&T initiatives to ensure warfighting benefits accrue to future Sailors. Our S&T investments must address warfighting gaps and improve current effectiveness and efficiency. And finally, our S&T investments must deliver products that can be transitioned affordably to Fleet Operators within a timeframe that maximizes the value of their use. In the end, buying technology off the shelf ensures our parity not our dominance.
However, in this pursuit of new technologies we must practice appetite suppression, recognizing that technology can deliver great capability, but we can only afford to invest in the capabilities that bring value and balance to our needs. Key measures of our success will be measured in ( 1) wartighting value and, (2) the ability and agility to quickly transition our S&T investments from development to acquisition to operation. I welcome interactions with you on how to best achieve these key measures.
I am often asked about the current and future status of Un· manned Undersea Vehicles, or UUVs. I believe that UUVs and Distributed Netted Sensors have the potential to take hold in the Navy today but must overcome technical and operational challenges to take on the expanded role needed of them in the future. I think that the stage we are at is similar to the point the Navy was at when CNO Burke signed the letter directing establishment of the Polaris Missile Program. The technology is possible but strong leadership and vision is needed to make it happen. 1 think that future UUVs will be most effectively employed to: close war· fighting gaps; gain access to places manned platforms cannot either due to environmental or survivability concerns; improve opera· tional speed and efficiency of our manned systems; and act as total force multipliers. These vehicles and sensors will best operate as a system of systems either independently, as extensions of our manned platforms, and/or where appropriate, surrogate platforms in addressing new and risky requirements.
The Navy has several UUV programs underway today. Most fall into the category of single mission systems deployed in benign environments. I believe that by using an incremental approach, we can translate individual successes into a comprehensive tool set to answer the following areas:
- Mission and capability definition-What are we going to use UUVs for and what capabilities will UUVs need in order to fill those roles?
- CONOPS-How, exactly, using end-to-end analysis, will UUVs be employed?
- Technology Development-What technologies require investment to achieve UUV readiness and when can adequate technology readiness be affordably achieved?
- Experimentation-What demonstrations are needed to prove technologies and build operational experience?
- Campaign Analysis-What warfighting impact results from different combinations of UUV capability and capacity?
- Funding and schedule to address key warfighting gaps-What funding in what years are required to put this vision in place?
- Proposed Way Ahead-Identify opportunities today with current technologies and programs to develop options for aligning resources including personnel demands and organizational efficiencies.
I know that your contribution to these efforts will be critical.
As many of you know, in 2027, the Navy will retire the oldest of the 14 OHIO-Class SSBNs when it reaches the end of its service life. Over the subsequent 13 years the Navy will retire the remaining OHIO-Class SSBNs at a rate of I per year, concluding in 2040. The Navy intends to replace these OHIO-Class submarines with a follow-on Sea Based Strategic Deterrent (SBSD) submarine. The Analysis of Alternatives is ongoing and will guide programmatic requirements in accordance with the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System process. One of our current efforts is focused at understanding the strategic environment that will shape the required capabilities and attributes of the OHIO replacement capability. The entire OPNA V staff NI, N2, N4, N3/5, and N8-is working to ensure that the warfighting requirements are leading the process. Earlier I said that it was all about balance and value. I am convinced that appropriate investment in SBSD R&D and concept development is essential to a reliable, persistent, survivable and adaptable sea-based strategic deterrent prepared to face an uncertain future. Defense Secretary Gates recently stated nuclear weapons will continue to be required for the foreseeable future. The future security environment is very uncertain, and some trends are not favorable … the U.S. nuclear arsenal continues to serve as the ultimate guarantor of security Although details about the future inventory of nuclear weapons and the make-up of the US nuclear force arc uncertain, it is certain that as long as other countries possess nuclear weapons, there will be a need for a credible SSBN force.
I want to leave you with the thought that it is our great legacy of warfighting, deterrence, and prudent investment that has proved our value to our Navy and Nation. TRIGGER, BEN FRANKLIN, and OHIO all delivered. Our nation demands similar performance from us today and tomorrow. Submarines arc a high-demand, low-density asset and we are playing an increasingly critical role in ongoing strategy and policy efforts. Their contribution to forward presence and deterrence is recognized. There is a broad-based top-down resurgence in the recognition of the inherent value of submarines and the Undersea Domain. We, together, need to work to continue the current momentum of delivering on-time, on-budget value and effect.
This concludes my remarks for today. Thank you for your time, your effort, and most of all your experience. I look forward to continuing this discussion and engaging with you for your thoughts and ideas. I would be happy to address any questions that you might have.