Good afternoon and thank you for that warm introduction. Admirals, leaders and friends of the Submarine Force-it is a pleasure to be here today.
I want to thank all the leaders in the Submarine Force to include ADM Donald, and others, for their steady guidance and support … always, but especially this past weekend.
I’m going to spend just a few minutes talking and then Admirals Caldwell and Bruner will continue. Between the three of us, we are going to tell you what the priorities are for the Force, where we are going operationally and where we are going with our ships, weapons and other payloads.
If we are successful today, we will have conveyed what our vital missions are, how they will evolve over time, what we need to do to sustain those missions in the future, and what we need to help us get the Undersea Force where it needs to go.
I will cover the underpinnings. Frank Caldwell will show you what the future of Undersea Warfare Operations will look like, and Barry Bruner will discuss the requirements for the tools that will enable this future. Then the three of us will take any questions.
Let’ s start by reviewing what we provide – and why it is vital.
As you all know, here is what we produce:
- Survivable sea-based deterrence.
- Covert surveillance and reconnaissance.
- Undeniable wartime access with credible combat power.
We provide these outputs 24/7 365 days a year. But we have a problem. These outputs are like oxygen-underappreciated until in short supply and-potentially-not fully appreciated until they run out. So-I would like to paint a picture of what the world looks like if we were negligent enough to let these things run out.
Let’s picture a world without a survivable sea-based nuclear deterrent.
- First it means that we lack credible second strike capability.
- Which means that when tensions rise an adversary might have an incentive to strike us first.
- and also means that we don’t have the ability to rapidly strike without over-flying other nuclear powers.
- Which altogether mean that we don’t have this powerful deterrent to nuclear war -OR – to major power conventional war.
This will bring us back to the good, old days that so many seek-like the Global Zero crowd. So let’s talk about the good old days-before those nasty nuclear weapons came on the scene. On average-during the 400 or so years prior to nuclear weapons, major power war killed about 1 % of the population-the world population-every year!!
In a bad year that number approached about 3%. So what I am saying here is that if we manage to squander the sea-based nuclear deterrent, it could lead us to a time when in a typical year about 70 MILLION people might die in major wars that can no longer be effectively deterred. In a bad year, that number would push 200 MILLION. Numbers like this sound a little far-fetched in a time when a terrorist attack that kills four people dominates headlines for weeks.
So let’s just think for a moment about the people who put the architecture of the strategic triad together. They were people like General Curtis LeMay and ADM Arleigh Burke. People like Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy. What did these people have in common? Well they all fought in at least one and sometimes two world wars. They knew what massive casualties, military and civilian, looked like, smelled like, and felt like. They were great warriors-who hated war. And they set about the task of making major power war a choice that no one would ever make again. They have been successful-for 67 years and counting. Now-three generations later-some forget how this unprecedented period of relative peace came about.
I ask you to continue spreading the word about what the world without the oxygen of sea-based nuclear deterrence would be like-and the importance of your own contribution to making the world a better, safer place.
This is among the most important work being done by any-one-anywhere on the planet-and we need to make sure that we take it seriously, insist that it be done right, whatever role we play in that process. I will be taking this message everywhere I go, and I ask you to do the same. Barry Bruner will have more on this and he will give you some tools to help you do your part.
Covert surveillance and reconnaissance. We have been doing this for decades-and use it to ensure that we know more about potential enemies than they know about us. This process allows us to build weapons and develop tactics that give us an edge. It allows us, as a nation, to make decisions with better insight as to what our adversaries are thinking. Sometimes-for that last decade or so-we use a different name for this. We call it finding and fixing the enemy-so that we, or one of our brothers in arms, can finish them. We struggle to meet the world wide demand for this product. Our submarines continue to surge early, stay on station longer and deploy early because our unique ability to get to the right places with the right equipment to help our national leaders understand what is going on in the world is considered indispensible. What does the world look like when we don’t have this? Well
- We start to lose track of the actual capabilities of potential adversaries, cracking open the window for strategic surprise.
- We would no longer be able to identify vulnerabilities that we can leverage.
- We would lose our comfort operating in the far forward regions, in the process ceding a home field advantage to those who chose to strike our interests abroad.
- Our regional allies and partners would lose the confidence that these operations generate.
Submarines will be relied upon to be up front scouting and striking the highest value targets, the carrier strike group will come in shortly thereafter-and with a lot more weapons. We need to be there first because for the foreseeable future, in a high end scenario, we will be the only ones with an initial ability to get our weapons within effective range of their assigned targets. If the goal is to take and hold territory, it will be a Navy-Marine Corps team that does that, but it will be our submarines that prepare the battlefield.
OK … you probably see a pattern by now.
And if we do squander the oxygen that is covert surveillance and reconnaissance, we:
- Eliminate our ability to open the door for other forces that bring the majority of combat power.
- Which means that this strike group would never get to the fight because they would be destroyed before they got within weapons range.
- Which means that our ability to prevent limited wars as countries compete for resources and territory would be lost.
These are not pretty pictures that I have painted.
So-what must we do to prevent these scenarios from coming true?
Let’s talk about what we must do-using the terms that CNO uses-Platforms and Payloads-and adding a couple of other factors-Partnerships and People.
When we speak about platforms and payloads, we are speaking about an approach where we invest in a solid, versatile ship that is intended to last for a long time, and built with the intent that it will be able to evolve over time and out-pace the competition by providing a flexible enough backbone to easily change its payloads-the weapons, sensors and so on. The most dynamic part of the process then becomes the payloads. Payloads are designed and built with the full understanding that today’s state of the art may be obsolete in a few years.
We only have 2 priorities in the platform area:
The OHIO replacement SSBN
The Virginia Class SSN
We need the OHIO replacement SSBN to continue our most critical mission-deterring war between major powers. We have established the right requirements in the areas of size, stealth, payload volume and self defense capability for a ship that has to meet our platform attributes until about 2080. As a result the costs are in the range where they will fit in a smaller defense budget provided we keep our priorities straight. You will hear more details from Barry on this- our most important funding priority.
Our other platform is the Virginia class submarine-the best attack submarine ever built. We are at a steady production rate of two per year-a production rate that will slow-but not stop-the decline in the Force as those great Los Angeles class subs that we built in the 1980’s reach end of life and we face the impact of the procurement holiday we took in the l 990’s. So we need to keep that production rate at two per year. We will have to fight to maintain this rate, ship by ship and one budget cycle at a time as there will always be a reason why someone will propose that we abandon the proven tenets of stable production and block acquisition that made-and continues to make-this program the most successful acquisition program in the Department of Defense. The Virginia class is the platform that underpins the second and third major deliverables of the Submarine Force-covert surveillance and undeniable wartime access.
We do have a one major change coming in this program, however. Starting with Block 5, which begins construction in 2019, we will stretch all of the ships to include a payload module that will multiply its capacity for missiles and other developing payloads. We need to do this to sustain the payload volume we will lose when the SSGN force retires and more importantly-to ensure that we have enough payload volume on the ships that are able to get into firing position in the world’s hot spots.
While you could probably summarize the next two decades of platform acquisition as steady as she goes- that is not the case in the payload area. This is where the most dynamic change must take place. This is where the pace of innovation must be the fastest. This is where the greatest marginal return on the next warfighting dollar will be found. Barry Bruner will give you the juicy details on the projects we are working, but I wanted to give you some of the basic principles that underlie his efforts.
In the torpedo area, as the warfighting planners assign more and more targets to Submarine Forces due to our ability to get to those challenging targets, our aging torpedo inventory is shrinking. So we must build our inventory. We also need to extend the range of our torpedoes because there is a growing mismatch between the range at which we can sense our targets and the range at which we can kill them. There is also a huge body of existing technology that we can leverage if we are willing to trade torpedo speed for better navigation and sensing where appropriate. If we follow this path, the amount of territory that each of our submarines can influence with torpedoes will grow.
The missile area-land attack and anti-surface-will also prove to be fertile ground. In the continuously morphing war on terror, which is changing from a land war focused in one or two countries to a widely dispersed war on multiple continents, these are the weapons that we shoot the most. But, if we are to do what is expected of us in a high-end fight, we need our missiles to evolve. We need to have an anti-ship missile so we can influence larger areas at sea during the times when we will be the only forces in the fight. In order to be flexible across the mission set, we must have a missile that has a credible capability against both sea and shore-based targets.
We will need to bring higher performance missiles to bear, in terms of speed, payload and autonomy-as the senior leadership expects our SSGNs and SSNs to focus on increasingly challenging targets.
Vehicles will be the key to increasing our reach in the under-sea. With the budget pressures we face, we will not be able to go force on force with our rapidly growing competition. We will need to look at the degree we can use unmanned vehicles for sensing, attacking, and deceiving those adversaries, while focusing our submarines on the missions that only they can do.
Our sensors and systems must evolve as well. Right now, there is an insatiable appetite for our submarines equipped with particular types of carry-on equipment. The phenomena is very similar to the one in which we took special purpose carry on sonar gear 20 years ago and turned it into a main stream-highly adaptive sonar approach called Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion or ARCI. We need a program called EWRCI-or Electronic Warfare Rapid COTS Insertion. It will be the only way to keep pace with the incredibly fast moving EW area.
There is a huge doctrine piece to our future as well. As we focus on doing the very important things that only we can do well, we need to work with others and shed some of our legacy missions. One area that we need to look at as low return-I think-relative to other things we need to get done-is man to man ASW. I’m not saying that we should not be able to fight our way through the enemy’s submarines or give up the far forward ASW mission. But, I am saying that subs may not be the best forces for wide area ASW search in wartime, given our other priorities. We need to pass much of that mission to allies, netted systems, MPRA, and surface forces who can do a lot these days with high-end active sonar systems. As the Force that will always have the best understanding of the undersea environment, we will need to actively coordinate this combined effort. This will require us to work more closely with our brothers in other warfare communities and with other resource sponsors.
We will continue to expect a lot of our people-may be even more going forward than in the past. We are sustaining high OPTEMPO due to worldwide demand. We are diversifying our mission set-and despite our best attempts to plan and predict, we know that the future is unpredictable. Therefore we will rely on our ultimate strength-the initiative, judgment, and courage of our people. If we are to expect more of them, it is only fair that they should expect more from us . We owe them world class equipment, a predictable schedule where possible, a maintenance commitment that ensures their safety, and – a willingness to listen to the incredibly talented people upon whom we depend so much.
The week after I relieved Admiral Richardson, Admirals Caldwell, Bruner and I met to work on the Update to the Design for Undersea Warfare.
The first update will be based on feedback from the Force and it sharpens our focus in several areas specifically:
- By Adding a Commander’s Intent-that will simultane-ously provide the foundation for our communications to the deckplate as well as to the broader Undersea Forces. Our focused efforts within the Design’s three Lines of Ef-fort (LOE) will achieve our three main purposes-deterring conflict, gathering unique and vital intelligence that only a submarine can access, and if necessary-decisively fight and win wars. The Submarine Force has, and always will provide our National Decision Makers great leverage in carrying out U.S foreign policy.
- The Update will add specific guidance from the Force Commander to the submarine Commanding Officers. This guidance will sharpen expectations for developing our people and maintaining proficiency in the Critical Core Competencies-such as navigation, contact management, force protection and safe reactor plant operations-to en-sure a solid foundation from which a crew can quickly build mission-specific skills-such as submarine tracking, shooting torpedoes, and shallow water ISR .
- It will add guidance to the Undersea Forces regarding a new Undersea Warrior Foundation of Strength – This foundation underlies all three LOEs and emphasizes the importance of every person in our small elite force.
- It will add an emphasis on building regional and technical specialization into our forces and people-We are facing a future that will demand greater levels of specialized exper-tise, both in our leaders and the teams they employ. We will do this while also maintaining our ability to surge as basic war fighters in response to world events. And …
- Adding an emphasis on exploiting the Cy-ber/Electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) and emerging un-manned systems-Our unique undersea access is impor-tant in the rapidly changing cyber and electronic warfare area. Unmanned systems-both undersea and aerial-are becoming increasingly important. We need to adapt to these developments with the same degree of energy and innovation that led to our mastery of undersea acoustics and weapons. Our Acoustic Rapid commercial off the shelf program, commonly referred to as ARCI-has been a resounding success. It is time we establish something similar for Electronic Warfare-EWRCI.
The Update has been reviewed by our major commanders. We are incorporating their feedback and plan to review the Update with fellow Submarine Flag Officers at SUBFOTS later this month. I look forward to discussing this more with you all in the very near future.
In summary, the importance of being able to dominate the Undersea Domain has never been greater. Stealth, agility, mobility, and war-winning capability … that is what we have that NO other force can bring to a battle. It is one area-maybe the ONLY area-where our nation sustains a clear advantage against all competitors. Each of our counterparts working for a near peer competitor nation is working diligently every day, even as I speak now-to close the gap. The advantage our nation enjoys in the Undersea domain is ours to squander if we become complacent. We have seen this happen in other areas throughout military history, and we cannot-will not-Jet it happen here.