The following is a summary of RADM Barry Bruner’s speech at the 2013 Naval Submarine League Corporate Benefactor Days.
1. The Design for Undersea Warfare is divided into three Lines of Effort. N97’s responsibility under the guidance of VADM Connor and the Design for Undersea Warfare is the third LOE: Define the future role of undersea forces and the requirements for future platforms, payloads, payload volume, people, and posture in order to guide decisions, policy and funding. N97 developed the Integrated Undersea Future Strategy to guide resource decisions to support this LOE. Throughout the past year the IUFS has proven its worth by providing the Submarine Force a course to navigate during these fiscally challenging times. The Submarine Force priorities have remained the same over the past year – On time delivery at a responsible cost of OHIO Replacement, Two VA Class SSNs per year, and VA Payload Module and the payloads that go with them. (Slide #2)
2. The SSN Force Structure Gap, sometimes called the SSN bathtub, is a 13-year span in which the SSN inventory will be less than the requirement. The low point in the SSN force structure occurs at the same time as the transition to the OHIO Replacement and the decommissioning of the SSGNs. This will make the mitigation of the SSN shortfall much more challenging. (Slide #3)
3. The number one Submarine Force priority is delivering OHIO replacement on time and at a responsible cost. Strategic deterrence is a national imperative. OHIO Re- placement is the right ship to protect the country into the 2080s. A sustained, survivable strategic deterrent is not a burden, but a vital investment that will protect this country for over half of this century. (Slide# 4)
4. The OHIO to OHIO Replacement transition is divided into three key areas. Before the OHIO Replacement begins de- livery, there will be 14 OHIO Class SSBNs following the completion of their overhauls. OHIOs will be replaced, one per year, starting in 2031. During this period, there will be only 10 SSBNs to maintain 10 operational. This is feasible since no major maintenance periods are planned early in the ship’s life. When the OHIO Replacement SSBNs begin to undergo mid-life overhauls, there will be 12 ships available to maintain 10 operational. (Slide # 5)
5. The Navy continues to drive down the cost of OHIO Replacement while ensuring requirements will satisfy essential military capabilities. Significant savings have been achieved through thorough scrubs of the requirements. We are getting closer to our target cost of $4.9B. Leveraging features from the current OHIO-Class and Virginia-Class has provided savings as well. Even with proven technology, this will have to be a new ship with many components with new design to ensure the ship’s success for its 42-year life. The design of this ship will ensure survivability until the 2080s by allowing flexibility to accommodate new threats as they emerge. (Slide # 6)
6. The primary purpose for VPM is to m1ttgate the lost undersea strike capacity that will occur in the mid-2020s upon the retirement of the SSGNs. Undersea strike is critically important today in countering near-peer nations’ anti-access, area denial (A2/AD) capabilities that hold Joint Force air and surface forces at risk. This demand signal is expected to increase in the future as these A2/ AD capabilities continue to mature and proliferate. SSGNs fill the need for Undersea Strike now; however, they will re- tire without replacement between 2026-2028. VPM is also critical in providing payload volume for other future pay- loads, allowing the implementation of the Integrated Undersea Future Strategy to more effectively employ the fewer submarines we will have in the future. Even though VPM is being designed for TLAM, the concept has been studied and determined to be capable of hosting other future payloads including other missiles, UAVs, and UUVs, as well as increasing the capacity of Virginia Class SSNs to support SOF missions. The common host infrastructure will ease the design or adaptation of these future payloads for submarine use. (Slides 7 & 8)