Good afternoon. I’d like to thank the Naval Submarine GLeague, specifically CAPT Garverick, Admiral Padgett, and Admiral Mies for the invitation and everything they have done to put this amazing venue together. The venue here is a great one-and this event is one that I look forward to every year.
I’d also like to tell you how pleased I am to be part of the Submarine Team, working with Admiral Connor and Admiral Caldwell. As I think most of you know-Admirals Connor and Caldwell work Lines of Effort one and two-and I am responsible for Line of Effort three, ensuring we are procuring the right platforms, payloads and people for the future. And that is what I will talk about today. I am going to focus on two critical areas; Strategic Deterrence and Fourth Generation Undersea Warfare.
Let me get to the bottom line up front, there are three things I want you to take away from this talk. One-Strategic Deterrence is a National Imperative. Two-OHIO Replacement is the right submarine to take us through the 2151 century-all the way to 2080. And three-We are building the OHIO Replacement class at a responsible cost.
Admiral Mies has a great diagram that he uses to demonstrate the significance of strategic deterrence and Admiral Connor also displayed it in his brief – it clearly demonstrates the impact of a successful nuclear deterrent on the number of world-wide deaths due to combat. Not only does it deter a nuclear attack on the United States, it also deters conventional warfare between major powers. It is clear to me, with the results demonstrated by his figure, and as stated by our Nation’s senior leaders in the 2010 National Policy Review, “As long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States must maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal”, we need Strategic deterrence now-and in the for-seeable future. This is a need that is not going to go away.
We are not in the business of competing with the other legs of the Strategic Triad-in fact, each leg brings it’s own strengths. You can read them on slide 2-but the one important thing you should take away from this slide is the fact that the SSBN leg of the triad is the most survivable. The New Start Treaty shifts 70% of the strategic warheads to be carried on SSBNs. A fact recognized by all. As Chairman Dempsey said-“I consider it indispensable”.
(Slide 3) Now I would like to talk about the OHIO Replacement SSBN. There has been quite a bit of discussion about the number of SSBNs that will be built in the new class, the OHIO Replacement. The right number and the required number is twelve. This graph depicts why we need twelve-and not ten. You can see that we are currently living with a deployable force of sometimes ten-or sometimes eleven SSBNs today out of a total force of fourteen. The reason for that is that three to four of the current class is in long term maintenance, or going into-or coming out of that long term maintenance at the same time. We will begin to come out of that trough in around 2018 as we stop performing those long term maintenance periods. In the late 2020s, as the OHIO class is decommissioned and the OHIO Replacement class begins to come on line, we will be back at ten again-for about a decade. Then the number of OHIO Replacement SSBNs will come back up to twelve-and that is a necessity because around the middle of the century we will have to place this new class of submarines into a long term maintenance period also. But, since the ship is being built with a life of the ship core and with a focus on reducing long term maintenance-the time period the ships will out of service is only two years, vice the three to four years for the current OHIO class. So-we must have a class of twelve OHIO Replacement submarines-this is why and it is a must. (Slide 4)
OHIO Replacement is not just a modernized OHIO class submarine. Nor is it a big VIRGINIA Class submarine. It certainly uses lessons from both of those classes-but let there be no confusion, it is a new submarine with new technology. This submarine will take us to nearly the end of this century. What’s new? A life of the ship core-This makes the maintenance requirements for the ship much less than the OHIO Class. Also, it will have a new propulsion and X-stern. New arrays, space and weight for new coatings-this is a new submarine. One designed with current state of the art technology but also with flexibility to ensure modern technologies can be back-fitted into the ship decades from now when it is needed. The other key improvement is that this submarine is being built from the very beginning to have a 42 year service life. We are maximizing the re-use of OHIO and VIRGINIA class components where possible to keep the cost down; -bottom line; this is the right submarine to take us through this century and it is being built at a responsible cost.
Now I’d like to shift gears to SSNs. We need to build an asymmetric capability that can be used against our potential adversaries-a capability that they will have to react to, to defend against, to have to spend money on and invest in. The historic example I use to describe this concept is the invention of the bow and arrow. This is an asymmetric capability because it forces every warrior of the opposing force to carry a shield- even if there is only one arrow available to the enemy. Unfortunately-we, our nation, have been reacting far more defensively like the shield carriers vice causing the enemy to invest in shields. We have to fix that. And the submarine is the best, most effective and easiest way to do that. We can get inside the adversaries defense, we can offer disruptive capabilities that have to be defended against- even if we are not there. That is what our SSNs offer. The question is how do we capitalize on it?
These are some of the ways we can better enable that asymmetric capability. A modular torpedo enables us to build torpedoes that can operate at longer ranges, have different missions, carry different-and multiple payloads, and most importantly-we can get a modular torpedo production line going fairly quickly. Some might say that our torpedoes are already modular, but this new torpedo needs better modularity up to the level of today’s technology. We tried to fund this last year but we just could not find the money. I think we have a lot more support for this effort this year and I am confident that as part of POM-15 we’ll be able to get moving on this project.
We published an “Unmanned Undersea Systems Strategy” earlier this year. In it we laid out a blue print for UUVs, up to and including potential uses, the development of a UUV Squadron and use of the Universal Launch and Recovery Module. The ULRM with a Marlin will happen in the near term. UUVs are clearly key enablers that we must invest in to make best use of our unique access in an A2AD (Anti-Access, Area-Denial) environment. This is asymmetric. I can foresee a day when the crew of submarine loads UUVs before deployment as they load torpedoes today. A good sailor with a checklist marking it off as it comes aboard. When it comes time to use it on mission, the CO launches it with procedures much like the one we use to launch current payloads.
There has been a lot of talk the past few months about Conventional Prompt Global Strike-what it will be, when it will be fielded, etc. The bottom line is that whatever missile the Navy develops in the future we need, no, we must, be able to deploy that from a submarine. Only we have the unique access required to make best use of that missile-whatever it is.
Lastly, we have successfully launched UAVs from submerged submarines. I’ll talk more about that in a minute. But, along with UAVs, we have the capability-with appropriate investments, of launching anti-aircraft missiles against adversaries. Although we are not known for sinking a lot of money into defensive payloads, this is something that we are also looking at.
(Slide 8) Virginia Block V and Virginia Payload Module are keys to our Navy’s future. Not only does it largely make up for the loss of our SSGNs, recapitalizing strike payload volume, when they are decommissioned in the late 2020’s-VPM also allows deployment of all the payloads mentioned in the last slide, plus the SOF capability required for the future. These are just two examples of where we could go in our effort to support our SOF brothers. VPM will allow not only vehicle capability – but also space for SOF planning, berthing and the like. For all intents and purposes, a VIRGINIA class submarine with the VPM is a small SSGN. It is absolutely needed for the future.
I recently spoke to a group in New York City and at the end of my speech I was asked some questions. One of them was new-I had not been asked that before. The question was, “what keeps you up at night?” I had to stop and think for a minute but my answer was that the need, the imperative that we invest in the right things today so that years from now, long after I am out of the Navy, those that come along behind me are able to fight and win with the tools they have. The tools that we are investing in today-that they are the right ones. That is what keeps me up at night. I thank you for your attention this afternoon and I ask for your help to ensure we are investing in the right things in the future. It is a team effort-I am open to help.
So let me close with this-if you only remember one thing, or three, remember that first-Strategic Deterrence is a National Imperative. Second-OHIO Replacement is the right Submarine to take us through the 21st century-all the way to 2080. And third -We are building the OHIO Replacement class at a responsible cost.