Good afternoon and welcome to the 261h Annual Naval Submarine League Symposium. I’m deeply honored to stand before you as Chairman of the Naval Submarine League. I’d like to take this moment to thank my predecessors for their leadership and stewardship in advancing and promoting the League over the past quarter century. Their initiatives arc the foundation for the tremendous success and vitality of our League.
I’d also like to recognize our Naval Submarine League officers under the strong and aggressive leadership of our President, the irrepressible Admiral J Guy Reynolds and the day to day efforts of our support staff under the leadership of Captain Mickey Garverick. Without them events like this would not be possible. Please join me in thanking all of our past and present officers and staff for their leadership and support of our membership.
For those of you new to the League, we continue to promote four programs each year that are growing in terms of excellence and attendance.
First, our Corporate Benefactor Recognition Day. Last February’s recognition day set a new record with 70° o of our Benefactors in attendance.
Second, our Annual History seminar conducted under the co-sponsorship of the Naval Historical Center and the Naval Historical Foundation. Under the leadership of Admiral Jerry Holland, this past year’s seminar featured a review of Fifty Years Under the lee, commemorating the historic journey of USS NAUTILUS on the first polar transit. We had a great turnout. I want to thank Northrop Grumman for sponsoring that event for the past three years.
Third, the Annual Submarine Technology Symposium, conducted under the co-sponsorship of the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University. Last May under the leadership of Vice Admiral George Emery from the League and Dan Tyler from the Applied Physics Laboratory we celebrated our 2111 Submarine Technology Symposium. The Symposium focused on the theme-Assure, Dissuade, Deter through Innovative Technologies and we had a record turnout. The 2009 program, scheduled for I 2-14 May, is already underway with a call for papers posted on our webpage. The theme-Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World-will provide a classified forum for examining current, emerging, and future technologies. A highlight of the 2009 STS will be an examination of the next generation joint US/UK sea-based strategic deterrent-the replacements for the Vanguard and Trident Submarines. So please mark your calendars.
And fourth, this event-our Annual Naval Submarine League Symposium. This year’s theme-SSGN-On Station Fighting the Global War on Terror-is n tribute to the highly successful conversion of four Trident Submarines to Guided Missile Submarines. Two are deployed now and two are completing their post-overhaul testing and are expected to deploy in the next six months. The word tra11sformatio11a/ is often thrown around loosely these days; but I can state these submarines are truly the most transformational platforms in our Navy-and most importantly they are on schedule and within budget. You’ll hear a lot more about them today and tomorrow.
This year we have a chance to honor all past and present Submarine Force Master and Senior Chief Petty Officers and Chiefs of the Boat as the League’s 2008 Distinguished Submariner.
Our senior enlisted leaders are the heart, the soul, and the backbone of our great Submarine Force. They play a number of critical roles. They serve:
- As technical experts-the corporate expertise, knowledge and glue that breathes life into our ships
- As lenders-not just managers but leaders of young men and women
- As role models-as living examples for those who follow in their footsteps
- And as teachers-to train and mentor not just those who work for them but often, more importantly, the officers under whom they serve. I know I was blessed with a number of chiefs who skillfully taught me how to be n better officer, without knowing I was being taught.
So we will celebrate and honor our senior enlisted at our banquet tomorrow night.
This has been another banner year for our Submarine Force. Just lo mention a few significant events:
- In April, USS FLORIDA (SSGN 728) commenced her maiden SSGN deployment
- In May, USS NORTH CAROLINA (SSN 777) was commissioned.
- In August, USS NEW HAMPSHIRE (SSN 778) was delivered and USS LOUISIANA (SSBN 743) conducted the 124th consecutive successful 05 launch-an unprecedented record.
- In September, USS PENNSYLVANIA (SSBN 735) completed her 60111 deterrent patrol and the 5001h for the 05 Strategic Weapons System.
- In September, USS MISSOURI (SSN 780) conducted a keel laying ceremony.
And we have a few significant events ahead before we close out the year.
- This weekend, we will comm1ss1on USS NEW HAMPSHIRE and for the first time in over a decade deliver 2 submarines in the same year.
- In November, we will retire NR-1 ending almost 4 decades of service to our Navy and Nation.
- In November, USS MICHIGAN (SSGN 727) will deploy marking her maiden deployment and the 3’d overall SSGN deployment. In December, we will christen NEW MEXICO (SSN 779)
And the Virginia Class continues lo lead the way in responding to emerging requirements by increasing the investment in creating modular payloads and driving down the acquisition costs to meet the goal established for building two submarines a year. I note with pleasure that the Congress has agreed with this assessment and has approved the FY09 budget to support two VIRGINIA Class submarines per year, with an anticipated start date of 2011.
- And it has been a banner year for our Naval Submarine League as well as you will hear in greater detail from J. Guy Reynolds in our business meeting
- Our membership continues to remain strong
- We have a firm financial foundation to continue to fund the educational grant program
- And most importantly our corporate benefactors remain as the firm foundation of our League. We could not accomplish what we do without them
Although we lost a few through consolidations, we added eight new benefactors and now have a total of 72 Corporate Benefactors. You can identify them by the navy blue ribbons on their name tags. Please thank them for their support. Twenty one Corporate Benefactors have exhibits here today. I encourage you to visit them. I would also like to draw your attention to the banner displayed behind me that recognizes 14 of our Benefactors who have generously sponsored this Symposium. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize each sponsor and their level of sponsorship:
Booz Allen Hamilton
The Babcock & Wilcox Company
Curtiss-Wright Flow Control
Nuclear Fuel Services
Sargent Controls and Aerospace, and
Systems Planning and Analysis
In closing I’d like to remind each of you that for an island nation like the U.S., the sea can be our ally or adversary depending upon what we make of it. History has taught us that lesson over and over. And today in the Global War on Terror and tomorrow in the uncertain world of a resurgent Russia or an emergent China, it’s no different. America will always be an island nation, a maritime Nation.
We are witness to a profound shift in the size and character of future navies with increased emphasis on undersea warfare. A future where stealth is wealth. Our Submarine Force is a crown jewel in our Nation’s defense. It is rapidly becoming capable of delivering non-nuclear firepower similar in mass and impact to that deliverable from carriers, at much less risk in warfare against our most capable adversaries; a force capable of engaging important Third World targets that threaten our interests, with much greater economy of force and with far less risk of politically embarrassing losses of forces and people; and the ability to sustain presence and to deter or counter hostile action against US or Allied interests with much lower expenditure of resources than is now possible. The submarine promises to be the capital ship of the future; but your sustained support and commitment to our Submarine Force and its people are required to make that vision a reality.
And it’s important to realize that in the end, the Submarine Force isn’t just about ships or nuclear power or precision weapons or technology-its about people. It is the submarine people who have breathed life into our submarine hulls and passed down the character, spirit and personality of our predecessors to younger generations of submariners who in tum will breathe life into our future submarines. It’s primarily for the people that we gather today. So please take time to meet our people in uniform and thank them for their selfless service.
Again welcome to our 261h annual symposium and thank you for your great support.