Born ill the Portsmouth Naval Hospital in 1984, LT Leavitt is the son and grandson of career Submarine Officers and the great grandson of a Navy Chief As his mother is originally from Spain, he grew up spending summers and some winters in Spain as well as completing his B’h grade studies in Madrid. Returning to the United States in 1998 for High School, he participated in track and field and cross country throughout his 4 years, earning many varsity letters and naming a mile in 4 minutes and 46 seconds. Throughout high school and college. he spent several months overseas in Austria and Germany, volunteering with Doctors Without Borders in Vienna, Austria. He was selected to study at the prestigious Goethe-Institute in Munich, Germany during the summer of 2005. Graduating from the Naval Academy in 2006 with merit and in the top quarter of his class with a B.S. in Political Science (International Relations track) and two language minors, LT Leavitt has not only studied foreign cultures but has lived them as well.
After graduating from the Naval Academy in May of 2006, he was selected for assignment as an intern to the Defense Attache Office in Madrid, Spain directly supporting the Assistant Naval Attache on a range of issues. LT Leavitt reported to Nuclear Power School in September 2006. After completing the Nuclear Power Pipeline in tire top half of his class, he completed Submarine Officer Basic Course in December 2007. He reported to the USS Maryland Gold (738G) in Kings Bay, Georgia ill February 2008. While assigned to the 738G, he served as the Reactor Controls Assistant and then Assistant Weapons Officer. He earned his dolphins on une 25th, 2009. After 36 months onboard the 738G, he reported to the Navy Office of Diversity and I11c/usio11, OPNAV NI 34. Assigned initially as a data analyst, he made a huge impact by leading the standardization of racial and ethnic reporting Navy-wide, with ramifications DOD-wide. As a fluent Spanish speaker, he was subsequently hand-picked as the Hispanic Outreach officer. He took on additional responsibilities by assuming Asian and American Indian out-reach, roles previously filled by senior O5s. Additionally he serves as the NJ34 website coordinator, training officer, Navy Diversity Awards coordinator, and assistant data analyst. He is currently enrolled in JPME (Editor’s Note: Joint Professional Military Education) phase I with an ECD of Feb 2013. He completed a master’s in Engineering Management from Catholic University in August 201 land is currently pursuing a master’s in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.
This paper describes the importance of common submarine rescue standards. While many nations are operating or developing advanced submarines, only 15 have any submarine rescue capability .1 The development of common submarine rescue standards is essential in minimizing the time to rescue and maximizing the probability of success. The urgency of developing common and integrated rescue standards became overwhelmingly apparent following the loss of KURSK in 2000. This paper discusses current submarine rescue systems, the process for developing and coordinating submarine rescue standards, and benefits from common standards.
While proper engineering safety standards and practices in the design and maintenance of submarines undoubtedly reduce the probability of submarine accidents (such as the Navy’s reputable record after implementing the ‘SUBSAFE’ program after the loss of USS THRESHER in 1963), proper awareness and maintenance of submarine rescue standards provides a reasonable assurance that if and when a submarine sinks, chance of rescue is probable. With over 40 countries operating over 400 increasingly sophisticated submarines worldwide, and increasing amounts of marine activity, future submarine accidents are almost inevitable.2 Between 1981 and 2000, there has been an average of more than two potential rescue/escape scenarios per year with over half of these incidents in rescue capable waters (depth less than 2,000 feet).3 The rate of potential scenarios since the year 2000 does not appear to be subsiding. As nations develop submarines with ever increasing endurances (both nuclear and air independent propulsion), the possibility of a nation having a submarine accident outside of their own territorial waters is increasing. Additionally, as nations face fiscal tightening, they must find ways to save money without comprising submarine safety.
WHY DO WE NEED SUBMARINE RESCUE STANDARDS?
The importance of common submarine rescue standards has never been more important. Admiral Popov, then commander of Russia’s Northern fleet, when asked whether there were naval guidelines on searching for a submarine (in reference to KURSK incident) responded “No, there are no guidelines, because disasters do not repeat themselves.’.4 Though most disasters are not identical, many are similar and developing a set of standard search and rescue practices (and updating them with lessons learned) is paramount in maximizing the possibility of rescuing a distressed submarine. When a submarine does sink, it is imperative that pre-established procedures and compatible rescue standards are present to ensure the highest probability of rescue.
BRIEF HISTORY OF SUBMARINE RESCUE STANDARDS 1900-1939
While submarines have a long history and the first submarine used in combat dates back to the 18’h century, the submarine was not developed in any significant quantities until the early 201h century. With the purchase of the USS Holland in 1900, the U.S. Navy entered the modem age of submarines. The first U.S. commissioned submarine to be lost occurred in 1915. Though several more submarines would sink (for various reasons) in the coming years, it was not until the late 1920s that the U.S. Navy would invest serious efforts into improving submarine rescue capabilities.
Charles Momsen, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and submarine commanding officer, after discovering the loss of USS S-51, decided to dedicate his efforts to developing a rescue chamber capable of rescuing submariners from a distressed submarine. Despite his proposals to the Bureau of Construction and Repair, it wouldn’t be until another disaster occurred that his concept would be realized. The stimulus behind investing in more advanced submarine rescue methods was the tragic loss of S-4 in 1927 in 110 feet of water.5 Despite several survivors onboard who were able to escape to a non-flooded compartment, Navy divers were unable to rescue the survivors. In the wake of this tragedy, the Navy would adopt Momsen’s concept and turn it into reality.
The rescue chamber, later called the McCann rescue chamber (named after LCDR Allan Rockwell McCann who was in charge of developing the rescue chamber), was developed by Momsen between 1929 to 1931 while assigned to the Bureau of Construction and Repair. This pear-shaped chamber was designed to be carried on a support ship and could be lowered to rescue personnel from a distressed submarine up to a depth of 850 feet. This rescue chamber proved to be critical in the rescue of the USS SQUALUS (SS-192). In addition to the rescue chamber, Momsen also helped develop an escape breathing device (the Momsen lung) in case rescue was not a feasible option for the distressed submarine.
On 23 May, 1939, while engaging in sea trials, USS SQUALUS sank in 240 feet of water. The submarine rescue ship, USS FALCON (ASR-2) was deployed to the scene shortly thereafter and was able to rescue 33 survivors onboard. This rescue proved to be the first submarine rescue of its kind and was a testament to the success of the engineers, particularly Momsen, who developed this submarine rescue chamber. There were several key factors which contributed to the USS SQUALUS’s rescue. The launching of a smoke bomb by USS SQUALUS alerted her sister ship (with the help of a sharp lookout), USS SCULPIN, that she was in distress. In addition, she was able to communicate for a brief period with USS SCULPIN via a communication buoy. These factors and the creation of the submarine rescue chamber contributed to the success in rescuing the crew of USS SQUALUS. Despite the success in rescuing the survivors from SQUALUS, only a week later, a British submarine, HMS THETIS would be lost with crew still onboard. While HMS THETIS sank in only 120 feet of seawater (due to human error and poor engineering design), only four crewmembers were able to escape before succumbing to carbon dioxide asphyxiation. Despite being located by the destroyer, HMS BRAZEN, less than approximately 18 hours after the sinking, the destroyer had no submarine crew rescue capability (An attempt was made to raise the whole submarine, but failed due to the hawser parting under the increasing weight of the submarine. While most British submarines of this time were equipped with escape chambers and devices, there was no robust external crew rescue capability such as the Mccann rescue chamber).
No major changes to submarine escape or rescue emerged throughout World War II. The next development would come in 1961 when LT Harris Steinke develop a new escape breathing device called the Steinke Hood. This device would become standard issue for all U.S. submarines during the Cold War and until the end of the 20th century.
Along with the introduction of nuclear power onboard submarines during the 1950s, submarines were designed to go deeper and faster than ever before. Despite these increased operating depths, submarine rescue standards had not yet adapted to these changing operating environments. In 1963, USS THRESHER (SSN 593) was conducting a deep dive after undergoing shipyard repairs. Most likely due to a failure in a silver brazed piping joint in a salt water piping system, the Engine Room began to flood causing the reactor to shutdown. The loss of propulsion and inability to rapidly restart the reactor (due to inadequate operating procedures) directly contributed to the loss of USS THRESHER. USS SKYLARK, a submarine rescue vessel accompanying the USS THRESHER did have a submarine rescue chamber, but would not have been able to conduct rescue operations due to the depth of water.
Many lessons were learned from the loss of THRESHER. Perhaps the most significant was the establishment of the submarine safety program known as ‘SUB SAFE’. Following its implementation, strict standards were promulgated for initial tightness dives and for conducting deep dives (such as that the initial tightness dive shall be conducted in shallower water and that standard increments for changes in depths during deep dives).7 SUBSAFE was designed to ensure hull integrity to prevent flooding and in case there is flooding to be able to recover from it. Since its inception, no SUBSAFE certified submarine has been lost. Another major lesson learned was the requirement to improve submarine rescue standards. Though USS THRESHER sank in water much deeper than her collapse depth, her sinking high-lighted the need for submarine rescue systems capable of rescue at deeper depths. This led to establishment of the Deep Submergence Systems Project (DSSP) which was tasked with creating a relevant rescue capability. By 1970, the U.S. had launched the first Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle, Mystic (DSRV-1), followed by Avalon (DSRV-2) in 1971. The DSRV was essentially a mini-submarine that could be mated to a mother submarine (MOSUB) and driven to the last known position of the DISSUB.
1970 marked the beginning of the DSRV phase of submarine rescue. By providing a rescue asset that could be transported by air, the DSRV provided a timely solution to any DISSUB situation in remote waters. Along with the development of the DSRVs came increased international cooperation. Soon after the development of the DSRV, other nations decided to modify their own submarines to make them compatible with the DSRV. The U.S. entered agreements with various nations and conducted inspections of foreign navies to ensure that their submarines were capable of DSRV and SRC rescue. In 1986, NATO hosted the first multinational submarine rescue exercise.
The loss of the Russian submarine KURSK in 2000 high-lighted the need for increased multinational cooperation. KURSK, which sank in only 350 feet of water, had multiple survivors in a non-flooded compartment. Due to Russia’s refusal to accept assistance until it was too late, all survivors onboard perished. Russia did learn its lesson from this tragedy and in 2005, when one of its submersibles, PRIZ (AS-28), was entangled in underwater cables at 625 feet, international assistance was requested in a timelier manner. The multinational effort was able to rescue the crew unharmed.
Two other significant developments with regards to submarine rescue occurred since 2000. First, the Steinke Hoods were replaced with the SEIE (Submarine Escape Immersion Equipment) Suit. This suit provides for escape from a depth of up to 600 feet from a distressed submarine. Some of the major improvements over its predecessor include thermal protection and a life raft as part of the suit. The other major development was that of the Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System (SRDRS). In 2008, the last U.S. DSRV (DSRV-1) was replaced with the SRDRS. The SRDRS is comprised of three systems. The first is the Atmospheric Diving System (ADS-2000-able to dive down to 2,000 feet) capable of inspecting a DISSUB’s suitability to mate a rescue module. The second system is the pressurized rescue module or PRM, a remotely operated vehicle which can be operated from the deck of a vessel of opportunity (VOO). The third system is the transfer under pressure (TUP) facility which mates with the PRM for decompression treatment (TUP is scheduled to come online in 2014).
The SRDRS provides significant advantages over the DSRV system in large part due to the role of standards. First, it is compliant with an existing NA TO submarine rescue standard (ST ANAG 1297, to be discussed later) which will make it interoperable with all nations which have ratified and implemented this standard. Second, by adopting ISO (International Standards Organization) standard container (20 foot standard) characteristics for the subsystems that make up the SRDRS, all components can easily be transported rapidly by air, then by truck or van, and finally to a vessel of opportunity (VOO) that meets certain space and strength requirements. This container standard allows for welding to begin prior to the entire SRDRS system arriving onboard the VOO and reduces the overall amount of welding required, minimizing Time to First Rescue (TTFR). Third, the umbilical used to connect the YOO to the PRM is of sufficient length and width to meet standard Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) umbilical requirements. This umbilical also provides continuous power to the PRM, a large improvement over the DSRV system which was dependent on its battery life for operation (the PRM has batteries for emergency operation).
NATIONAL SUBMARINE RESCUE STANDARDS
The national standards body for submarine rescue is the De-partment of Defense. Public Law 82-436, “Cataloging and Standardization Act” creates a single, unified standardization program in the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense Standardization Program Office (DSPO) is the lead office in charge of promoting “standardization throughout DOD to reduce costs and improve operational effectiveness”.10 Underneath the DSPO is the Department of the Navy Standardization Office under Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). NAVSEA OSS, is the organization responsible for specifications and standards. Just like all other federal agencies, the Department of Defense in accordance with Public Law 104-113 (the “National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act”) is charged with adopting voluntary consensus standards (private sector standards) as much as practicable.
One example of the use of private sector standards is related to the certification process for the SRDRS. The U.S. Navy utilizes the System Certification Procedures and Criteria Manual for Deep Submergence Systems (SSSOO-AG-MAN-010/P-9290 Rev A), also known as the P-9290. Submarine rescue systems must be maintained and operated in accordance with this certification. Appendix H of the P-9290 allows for the use of American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) design standards. By adopting commercial standards in this design process, companies would not have to invest extra funds and time to ensure that their designs were compliant with P-9290 standards. This not only would reduce costs, but would reduce development time, and increase competition. In this case, the adoption of commercial standards allowed for competition to improve the engineering design process.
Similar to some degree in the way in which the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredits confonnity assessment bodies (CABs), NA VSEA has entered into a memorandum of Agreement (MOU) with the American Bureau of Shipping to conduct initial certification, lifecycle certification, installation certification, and deployment authorization of SRDRS systems aboard a VOO. This MOU relies on the classification and certification capabilities of ABS (following all applicable rules such as the ABS Rules for Building and Classing Underwater Vehicles, Systems, and Hyperbaric Facilities (2002), Appendix 4 (Certification of Handling Systems) to determine whether or not a vessel could be a VOO in the case of a DISSUB alert. By maintaining an up to date certified list of vessels, timely identification of candidate vessels for SRDRS systems is facilitated, a vital capability in any DISSUB situation. While there may be risks with this approach (i.e. less oversight), a carefully managed process simplifies the certification process, reduces lifecycle costs, reduces time for certification, and provides other benefits.12 Additionally, by de facto accrediting the ABS to conduct certifications, NA VSEA is allowing for a smooth transition for any potential replacements to the current contract owner of the SRDRS ~Phoenix International Holdings, Inc.) which ends on November 301, 2013.
INTERNATIONAL SUBMARINE RESCUE STANDARDS
OPNAV Instruction 5711.95D governs the U.S. Navy partici-pation in the International Standardization Process. While there is no single international organization that all navies participate to develop submarine standards, one of the most important international standard bodies is the NA TO Standardization Agency (NSA). This agency is responsible for the “standardization of operational and logistical procedures, tactical doctrines, and measures to achieve interoperability and interchangeability”. This agency develops STANAGS (Standardization Agreement) and APs (Allied Publication), several of which govern international submarine rescue standards.
STANAGS are “negotiated among nations, discussed with NATO commands, ratified by a majority of member nations, issued by NSA, and issued to Ministries and Departments of Defense and NATO commands.” Once the respective nation’s defense departments have issued all applicable guidance and instructions for the STAN AG, it is implemented.
Perhaps one of the most important STANAGS (among nu-merous such as STANAG 1074, 1298, 1320, 1391, 1450, etc.) regarding submarine rescue, is STANAG 1297, requirements for a common submarine rescue seat (the technical characteristics of the hatch seating surface). This standard, being in the 1000 series, is governed by the Conference of National Armament Directors (CNAD) and subordinate groups. The purpose of this particular ST ANAG is to standardize requirements for a common submarine rescue seat. This document also establishes procedures for determining which rescue vessels can mate to particular rescue seats. Lastly, it establishes a certification and accreditation process for submarine rescue seats. The Rescue Certification Authority Approval Team (RCAA T) is in charge of approving lower level certification authorities (Approved Certification Authorities, or ACAs) based on audits and inspection of their certification records to include Objective Quality Evidence (OQE) that their certified rescue seats meet ST ANAG 1297. Figure 6 illustrates the roles and responsibilities in the Submarine Rescue Seat certification process.
The Submarine Escape and Rescue Working Group (SMERWG), was established under the NATO Standardization Agency as a forum to “initiate, develop, and staff proposals for military standardization and common doctrine for the conduct of submarine Escape and Rescue.”14 This standards development organization is open to both NATO members and non-NATO members. In 2003, after the KURSK tragedy, NATO and the SMERWG established the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO). ISMERLO operates under the SMERWG (hosted by the Allied Submarine Command in Norfolk, VA) as a “clearing house for escape and rescue information, including facilitating rescue efforts.” ISMERLO participates in international submarine exercises and has also shown effective-ness in quickly responding to a DISSUB alert (USS SAN JUAN) as recently as 2007. While this DISSUB alert proved to be a false alarm, the rapid mobilization and immediate response (facilitated by ISMERLO) from international partners was “superb.”
NATO Tasking Authority for Submarine Rescue ISMERWG) shall:
- Promulgnte the COMMON SUBMARINE RESCUE SEAT STANAG 1297.
- Endorse the Rescue Certification Authority Approval Team (RCAAT).
Rescue Certification Authority Approval Team (RCAAT) shall:
- Report to the SMERWG vin the appropriBte Panel.
- Approve I endorse independent Approved Certification Authorities (ACA).
- Maintain appropriate records.
- Verify continuing compliance to the STANAG 1297 methodology.
Approved Certification Authority (ACA) shall:
- Be certified by the RCAAT.
- Review data and approve certification of submarine rescue scats.
- Maintain auditable records of ench certification.
- Document their certification process.
- Maintain and adhere to the latest revision ofSTANAG 1297.
Requesting Country shall:
- Perform inspections as illustrated in STANAG 1297 with the resulting actions and objective quality evidence being certified by an RCAAT Approved Certification Authority.
- Maintain certification by verifying the condition of their Rescue Seats triennially.
NATO also developed and published standards for submarine search and rescue operations when specific international procedures were not yet developed. As early as 1968, NATO published the A TP-10 (Allied Tactical Publication) which describes search and rescue tactics and procedures. Revisions to this publication have been difficult to promulgate as there have been disagreements and inability to reach consensus from all concerned nations. Following in NATO’s footsteps, the Interna-tional Maritime Organization in conjunction with the International Civil Aviation Organization developed a Search and Rescue manual (IAMSAR). Much like OMB circular A-119 directs federal agencies to adopt private standards where practical, NA TO seeks to adopt civil standards wherever practical. For this reason and others (doctrinal conflicts with another ATP revision), one course of action may be for NA TO to adopt the IAMSAR manual and cancel the ATP-10.
While ATP-10 is specific to search and rescue with a minor section on submarine rescue, ATP-57 is specific to submarine rescue. This manual provides procedures and discussions regarding many aspects of submarine rescue including the search phase, escape and rescue phase, medical issues, mobilization of assets, and consolidated lists of submarine specific data by nation. This set of standardized phases and procedures improves understanding and coordination during exercises and will improve cooperation and interoperability during a real life scenario.
BENEFITS OF COMMON SUBMARINE STANDARDS
Adopting international submarine rescue standards has multi-ple benefits. First, standards reduce Time to First Rescue (TTFR) by improving interoperability. When rescue assets are compatible with STANAG 1297 and have been certified as such, any nation can rely on the assets of another certified nation (for reasons such as proximity to DISSUB, availability of assets, better rescue capability for particular scenario, etc.) in assisting with rescue. Second, adoption of international submarine rescue standards increases readiness. When more nations make their rescue assets compatible with STANAG 1297, the number of rescue assets available at any given time in any given region is maximized. If maintenance is being conducted on the SRDRS and a U.S. DISSUB alert is issued, because other submarine rescue systems are certified to NATO rescue standards (including NATO’s Submarine Rescue System or NSRS). rescue can still be executed. Third, in a time of increased fiscal constraints, adopting interna-tional standards to the maximum extent possible reduces and shares costs. Using standards such as the ISO container standard makes the logistics of getting rescue assets to the scene not only faster, but cheaper. By not requiring specialized transport to get to the port nearest the DISSUB, assets are not constrained to one particular aircraft or vehicle. Finally, by implementing interna-tional standards and coordination, understanding and interoper-ability between coalition forces will be improved. By increasing the use of both private sector and international standards (such as STANAGS) where applicable, submarine rescue standards will streamline and better coordinate submarine rescue capability across the globe.
ISSUES AND CONSTRAINTS
With over 60 submarines in operation, China is second only to the United States in the number of submarines it possesses. In the Pacific region, the size of China’s submarine fleet dwarfs all other nations both in size and capability18• Despite this, China has been slow to take a submarine rescue standards and coordination role commensurate with the responsibility it should have. According to ISMERLO, “No details [regarding submarine rescue capabilities and standards] have been received from the People’s Liberation Anny (Navy) (PLA(N)).” Because of this, it is not known whether Chinese submarines are compatible with ST ANAG 1297. China has taken some significant steps to improve submarine rescue capability and transparency. In 2004, China conducted its first major submarine exercise (perhaps after realizing the inadequate rescue capability it had following the loss of the entire crew of the Ming 361 in 2003).’9 In 2010, China sent two observers to the Pacific Reach exercise (an exercise similar to NATO’s Bold Monarch exercise which conducts realistic submarine rescue drills). Recently, China has also reached out to James Fischer Defense, a leading submarine rescue company (which participates in the SMERWG and is ISO 900 I :2008 certified) for submarine rescue support and training. While Russia has learned many lessons from the KURSK (as evidenced by its active participation in the 2011 Bold Monarch exercise, including mating with a U.S. rescue system), China has not yet provided transparency or cooperation on a scale proportional to the size and capability of its Submarine Force.
While adopting non government standards (NGS) provides numerous advantages when it can fulfill a specific submarine rescue standard, caution must be taken to ensure that the end user is aware of how (or it) a referenced NGS affects a military certification. One example is the military specification MIL-H-22 l 7D which is listed as active on the Department of Defense Standardization Program Website. This specification, which governs hose assemblies, wire-reinforced rubber, and submarine rescue chambers, adopted an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard (D 750, Standard Test Method for Rubber Deterioration Carbon-Arc Weathering Apparatus) which it references. This ASTM standard has been revised twice since the publication of the military standard (once in 2000, once in 2006). Additionally, according to DOD 4120-24-M (Defense Standardization Program-Policies and Procedures), adoption of a NGS is a one-time event. This means that the ASTM standard referenced in MIL-H-2217D automatically rolls to the newest revision. Attention to detail is vital to ensure that the NGS revisions still meet the technical certification requirements from the military specification. Additionally, the end user (i.e. a certification authority) must ensure that they are using the most updated NGO standard.
Because submarine rescue involves personnel from active duty, reserves, contractors, and civilians, an evaluation should be made whether these manuals (NTTP 3-50. 1, OPNAVINST 3130.6, Joint Pub 3-50, NA VSEA 5711.1A, OPNAV 5711.95D, etc.) are different from international standards (such as ATP-57 or the IAMSAR manual). Consolidating these manuals where relevant, will reduce the cost of maintaining these publications (especially important now with reduced staffing and budgets) and increase the relevance of the remaining documents.
China should be strongly encouraged (in a politically and culturally competent way) to assume a more meaningful role in submarine rescue standards and coordination in the Pacific region via the Asia Pacific Submarine Conference (APSC) and other military forums. Though countries such as Singapore and Indonesia recently developed a joint standard for submarine rescue and have also developed an ASEAN website for submarine rescue information sharing, China has not taken such an active role.20 While China may hesitate to share military capability, the information required to be shared for submarine rescue purposes would not reveal any military secrets. Given the fact China has not been immune from submarine accidents and that it possesses a large submarine fleet in the Pacific, improving its submarine rescue standards and coordination will benefit it in various ways. First, it will make it easier for other countries to provide assistance in case one of its submarines becomes a disaster victim. Also, if China develops a robust submarine rescue capability with common rescue standards, they would be able to rescue DISSUBs from other nations. Finally, by assuming more responsibility and transparency in submarine rescue standards, it will improve its standing among submarine operating nations.
Lastly, the United States should encourage countries which are developing a submarine capability to adopt existing submarine rescue standards. By adopting existing standards such as NATO’s STANAGs, developing countries will not have to invest a large amount of resources in developing their own standard which may not be compatible with other STANAG compliant submarines. STANAGs for submarine rescue should be made accessible and affordable to all developing countries regardless of whether they are a NA TO member, what their submarine technology is, or what their form of government is. Sharing these standards will benefit countries with a strong submarine capability and those which are just developing them.
Despite the ability for many nations to operate complex sub-marines, no country is immune from potential failures. As submarines increase their endurance and ability to operate forward, the probability that a submarine will sink in waters away from its homeland is much greater. The only logical approach that will significantly reduce TTFR is a coordinated, international approach. For this reason, it is vital that countries adopt common technical standards, develop common rescue procedures, and conduct frequent exercises to ensure that when a submarine does go down that those inside will come back up.