Thank you very much for that gracious introduction. I’m very happy to be here and I always look forward to this event. This Corporate Benefactor Recognition Day event was my first real speaking engagement after coming to this job. It was at that point that I knew this was the audience that could help develop the Force’s strategy and ideas. If there’s a north star in the constellation of engagement opportunities, this is that Polaris. Many of my mentors, my colleagues, my advisors are here. You all are the folks who have positively influenced my career for many years. Thank you.
At this venue last year, I rolled out the initial shapes and shadows of the Design for Undersea Warfare. The input we received from this group helped sharpen our vision and we successfully rolled out the Design that following July.
We’ve come a Jong way since July and our vision has become much more unified, comprehensive and coherent. We also know that there is much work to be done and in the spirit of meaningful interaction, I want to talk about those directions that are starting to form. We’re putting together the first update for the Design for Undersea Warfare and we’re expecting to release that update in the summer.
What I’m going to talk with you about today is all extremely current. In fact some of the ideas I’ll talk about this afternoon were just unveiled and discussed in detail at the Submarine Flag Officer Training Symposium which we held on Tuesday.
For those who were at the Symposium this past October, you heard me talk a little about the 4•h Phase of Undersea Warfare and I think it could be argued that we’ve now entered this 4th phase. To recap very quickly, phase one would have been our experimental or exploration phase. The phase where we were trying to build something we could submerge and make it come back up again. Also this was the phase where we were trying to build an instrument that would become a useful warfighting application. Phase two was our World War II phase, where we really got our warfighting credentials. Phase three was, of course, the Cold War phase. By virtue of nuclear propulsion and nuclear weapons our domains were expanded and technology further enhanced our capabilities. Now, we’re entering a new phase defined by area of denial, access of denial and the proliferation of long-range precision weapons. We’re also entering the phase where cyber and soft attack requires us to have a deep understanding of many levels of the environment. I prefer to use the term soft attacks versus kinetic, non-kinetic. I think hard/soft is a little bit more descriptive. Using kinetic/non-kinetic is an abuse of a good physics term which never really sat well with me.
When I talk about these new missions, people often ask me what missions we’ll stop doing as times get challenging. It would be great if we had the luxury to pick and choose missions that we would no longer execute, but the enemy gets a huge vote and in today’s strategic environment it’s like playing 3 and 4 layer chess.
We are building nuclear submarines in exquisite quality and sophistication, but we’re building in low numbers. Our people are getting harder and harder to find. There are plenty of discussions about the economy, but the fact is our people are so highly qualified and desired that we’re seeing some make the jump from the Navy to civilian opportunities.
As we are transitioning into phase 4, I remain very optimistic. Having an appreciation of the 4 phases can give you a little bit of historical perspective. If you look back at those WWII and Cold War phases, those were existential crisis times-two went in and only one would come out. The stakes were incredibly high on a world-wide basis, but it was always the Submarine Force that led the way. We were the ones that would take the fight to the enemy in WWll and we certainly played a principal role in the Cold War-a decisive role. So the Submarine Force by virtue of our culture, our standards and the quality of our people will always have a tremendous responsibility and as always, we’ll get through these challenging times. I remain very optimistic.
During this transition it is time to do some work. It is time to describe, even publish, the results of the Cold War. The contributions that the Submarine Force brought to the war that was won without starting a major world conflict. Where we can, we must declassify information and tell the stories of these undersea warriors. I’ve been working hard to make this happen in a controlled manner. Once we get a body of work declassified, our story can be told.
Figure Three is our report card on the Design for Undersea Warfare. We got our group of major commanders together and we decided it was important for us to grade ourselves in tenns of executing the goals that we set in the Design. (Ed. Note: Since we do 11ot publish in color, the reader can easily visualize the character by the Admiral’s stop-light description). We can characterize our status in terms of a green-red-yellow stoplight. We can use orange-red for the two Virginia’s per year. In light of some of the recent decisions, I would probably include the OHIO Replacement Program as orange-red as well. We need to go back and re-articulate exactly what we’re after in terms of success for that program. Certainly we want to be superb in execution, but there’s probably a little bit more that we can do to express that goal more succinctly.
The report card demonstrated a good effort by the whole team. Where we can grade a goal green, we’re taking credit for being pretty much complete. We’re not done here in that we’ll stop paying attention to that goal-it’s more like we’ve achieved a new normal, and we’ll start to focus on the next challenge. We’re going to move on to other goals.
I want to come back to the topic at hand. Phase 4 and its implications for undersea warfare. In Figure Four, you see that many of these characteristics are ones you’ve seen before. Our stealth leads to access and once in there, freedom of action. Phase 4 will be a time where, more than ever before, being seen equals being vulnerable. With some of the newest long-range precision weapons, being imaged means being able to be targeted. While many forces will be working to break from the outside-in perspective, the undersea forces will be underneath the tents creating chaos, disruption, opportunity for the joint force from an inside-out perspective.
How do we define these disruptive opportunities that will enable the rest of the joint force and the Navy to get in? As we continue to define these roles, we know there will be a need to break down the anti-access force. A future conflict will require forces that can reduce the number and density of attacks. It will also require forces that can ride out attacks in both the physical and virtual environments. We already know how to define and gain maritime and air superiority … do we know how to gain network superiority so that we can dominate the conflict in that domain?
So, if you look at how undersea forces can play in terms of reducing the numbers of attacks, two ways come to mind. First, we can work to blind the enemy by disrupting the sensors network, and secondly, we can numb their nervous system-the command and control architectures. This is part of the inside-out approach that I spoke about a minute ago. These missions would be completely focused on allowing other forces to come in and fight from outside-in. In addition to sensors and C2, we would strive to strike the launchers to further reduce the attack density.
Another mission that will be intrinsic to undersea forces is that of restoring freedom of action, basically controlling the commons inside that finally denied area. This mission is an update that looks a lot like the fight we waged 70 years ago, in 1942. But our capabilities have moved far beyond those of WWII’s. I’m really talking about stopping a ship, stopping his screw from turning, doing something in that soft attack way that will cause the enemy to be disabled and deny him from meeting his objective without sinking the ship.
Figure Seven shows all the pieces that need to be done before we execute with precision. We need to establish the roles, the organizations and the undersea doctrine. We’re working very closely with Naval Warfare Development Center on many of these initiatives. It has been a growing and rewarding relationship thus far and one that will continue to tum out meaningful results.
The last topic, or concept, I want to talk briefly about is the role of the Undersea Warfare Commander. As we think about the proliferation of systems that are being used in the undersea domain, commanders will require a much higher level of awareness and situational understanding in that environment. We can start by talking about our forces, the blue forces. We have our traditional manned submarines, our unmanned submarines and even our distributed sensors. There is also an awakening to the infrastructure undersea in terms of making use of natural resources. Mirror these same efforts and technological advances by the bad guys-they are getting better in this domain as well. Then there is the white contribution of sensors and systems. As you can see, driving and platforming in this increasingly complex environment requires a very high level of awareness and coordination. This Undersea Warfare Commander role needs to be taken to a higher level and one that is established before we enter the fight. It’s a worthy discussion and one that we need to define soon.
Thank you again for this tremendous conference. I hope you found this discussion useful, and that it informs your strategies as well. The warfighting spirit and vision of the leaders before us … many in this room… has led to a force today that can go anywhere, capabilities that are enabling mind-boggling operations and Sailors that are unmatched.