I am very grateful for the opportunity to present the Undersea Force Vision 2025 in this forum. It is no coincidence that we chose this meeting with our vital industry partners to first unveil this vision outside Navy lifelines.
This past October, our CNO directed us to come up with our vision for 2025. In his direction, he stated the requirement to “define where our service is going and what it will look like in the future.” Today, I will share this vision with all of you.
Also, in December he designated us as the lead for the Under- sea Domain. This designation was a critical step because it helps to create unity of effort in the warfare area. This idea of an Undersea Domain commander is very much in the initial stages of planning and we are still scoping what responsibilities will be required to execute the vision, but the end goal is to create a single point of contact for all undersea activities, regardless of warfare community, to make it easier for our Operational Commanders to leverage the capabilities we currently have in the undersea domain.
We are committed to staying ahead of the potential threats and preserve our superiority in the undersea domain. The challenge we face is how best to address essential undersea warfighting issues of a very complex world in the face of extremely tight fiscal realities. To do that we need a coherent plan.
The CNO specifically tasked COMSUBFOR to act as consultant for all programs and investments for the undersea domain, including ASW, ASUW, JSR, protection of appropriate infrastructure, and other operations under the sea. COMSUBFOR will be lead for developing operating concepts and doctrine that in turn will guide program and training development. My Executive Director Chuck Werchado is leading an IPT at the fleet stakeholder level to move ahead on this effort.
As lead for the Undersea Domain, it is my job to figure how to use our all of the unique characteristics of our various navy communities- I USS, Surface, air, mine warfare … and sometimes SOF, to collectively deliver military effects in the Undersea Domain. Most of the time, SOF area unique and valuable entity that stands apart from the collective Undersea Forces- Also, the Undersea Domain will support other Domain leaders- surface, air, and cyber- with Undersea Forces to deliver effects in the other domains.
The important thing to remember when thinking about Under- sea Warfare, and working to maximize every bit of advantage we have, is that it’s a team sport, and every member of the team has different things that they are best suited to accomplish.
In our vision of future combined-arms USW, the submarine is the best platform to be utilized within 100 fathoms of water, – closer to land- and to a minimum depth of about 20 fathoms. In water shallower than 20 fathoms up to the sea- land interface, we will leverage SOF, expeditionary forces and emerging undersea capabilities that include UUVs and distributed netted sensors. Our surface forces, IUSS forces, maritime patrol aircraft and allies are best employed for wide area search of the undersea domain.
Our acquisition processes are a proven model. And I think we are all familiar with the outer ring of this diagram. Most importantly, I think we’re all familiar with the time label for the outer ring- decades.
It takes a very long time, in our normal procurement process, to adjust to changing requirements of the battlespace if the base platform- submarine, ship, or plane has to be changed to make the adjustment.
The VIRGINIA Class is certainly our platform of the future. It provides tremendous capability. It’s a model program that continues to perform under time and under budget.
The flexibility that will be provided by Block V is unparalleled and gives us the opportunity to shorten the response time to a change in the battlespace by giving us the ability to employ various payloads.
I think the real agility of our future force will depend on the ability to shorten the amount of time needed to respond to a new threat by creating, fielding, and employing payloads- UUV’s, UAV’s, long distance torpedoes, and distributed netted sensors- that accomplish new tasks as they are identified.
The assumptions that we are making regarding any future war is that the only part of our military that can be relied upon to get into weapons range is the Submarine Force. We have to do our job before anyone else can get in to do theirs. The VIRGINIA is definitely the platform that can execute this tasking, and the payloads that can be placed on her- the stuff that you folks here today are working on day in and day out- are what will ensure that once we get on station, we will have the tools we need to do our job as the enabler for all follow-on actions.
As you can see, it’s a terrific time to be a member of the undersea force. What we provide to the force commanders has never been in higher demand, and it continues to go up. The Undersea Domain will be the battleground of the future and we are taking the necessary steps to ensure our current dominance continues well into the future.
Thanks very much for your time today.