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Good morning! What a thrill for Suzanne and I to be back here in Norfolk. I can’t believe it’s been over 20 years since we first reported here as XO of USS MONTPELIER. With seven tours in the Norfolk area since then, it’s so great to be back here again and see many old friends, both from Norfolk and numerous other duty stations over the years. For Admirals Greenert, Richardson, Connor and Hill, my four closest mentors, I recognize full well that this day would not be possible for me without your support. Thank you for leadership over the years, and for allowing Suzanne and me this tremendous opportunity to continue to serve—we are humbled…and we’re ready to hit the decks running. Admiral Haney and Admiral Caldwell, thank you for your presence here today, and for your guidance to me over the years as well. Both of you epitomize both selfless silent service, and steadfast leadership of the Silent Service.

Admiral Davidson, thank you for your very kind words. Admiral Davidson and I first met in 1979 as Naval Academy 6th Company mates, and next-door neighbors in Bancroft Hall for two years. We’ve both come a long way boss, and I look forward to working for you and being neighbors again. Admiral Connor, please accept my most heartfelt thanks to both you and Kate. Not only for your hospitality these past two weeks and for a fantastic turnover, but more importantly for your unequalled leadership and tireless service over your 36 year career. From your visionary Undersea Dominance Campaign Plan, to your forceful leadership of the Undersea Rapid Capability Initiatives, to the continued successful integration of women in submarines, and the overall outstanding performance of the greatest Submarine Force on the planet, all of us owe both of you a tremendous debt of gratitude. It has been an absolute honor to work for you, and I will endeavor to build upon your outstanding
legacy here.
Admiral Roegge, Admiral Richard, and myself, will be issuing a joint Commander’s Intent document. It will integrate and update several previous Force guidance documents but you will find that the fundamental direction from that previous guidance is preserved. This consistency and continuity should make it clear that we as a Force are on the right track—our foundation is solid, our traditions reinforce the right attributes, and we have much to be proud of. This is less of a course change, but rather some small rudder to keep us in the middle of the channel as we face changes in set and drift.

The situation we face presents us with challenges in at least
three world regions, each of which places substantially different operational demands on the Force. The future will also have increased emphasis on competitions short of war, requiring nontraditional special capabilities that are non-kinetic and non-lethal.

The situation we face does not require these special capabilities instead of our traditional warfighting skills—it requires them in addition to our traditional warfighting skills. Consistent with our history as a maritime nation, the responsibility to prevent challengers from using the sea to threaten their regions will fall predominantly on the United States Navy. As anti-access/area denial systems proliferate, the share of the Navy’s responsibility that falls on U.S. submarine and undersea forces will only grow.

To address this situation, our primary lines-of-efforts remain: Provide Ready Forces, Employ the Force effectively, and Develop Future Capabilities, with all three of these built upon the Foundation of our Strength—our undersea warriors, confident experts of the highest character, and their families. Some of the issues and initiatives, associated with the situation we face and these lines-of-effort, that will have my utmost
attention include:
x The changing landscape and emerging challenges in Europe, the Pacific, and the Middle East, go directly to how we prepare our forces to be ready, and abso-lutely requires their efficient employment. This must be built upon a foundation of operational safety and our continued pursuit of Force Improvement.
x We must continue to maximize SSBN operational
availability as we execute the Nuclear Deterrence Enterprise Review’s initiative to restore and maintain acceptable margin. With the extension of the OHIO Class submarines to 42 years, we’ve got to ensure that the only survivable leg of the nation’s nuclear triad stays on patrol until the OHIO Replacement comes on line in 2031.
x We must smoothly standup and mature the Undersea Warfighting Development Center, which opened its doors just last week—there is much to do to ensure we get this right,
x The continued successful integration of women in submarines, including the introduction of enlisted women who just started their training pipeline this past month.
x From a Future Capabilities standpoint, the 25,000 men and women of the Submarine Force should recognize this as an incredibly exciting time to be a part of this fantastic team.
x OHIO Replacement, which will carry 70% of our nation’s accountable nuclear warheads and be on patrol through the 2080s, is on track, and just had its requirements package approved by the Joint Staff.
x VIRGINIA Class two-per-year construction rate is in full swing, with both NORTH DAKOTA and JOHN WARNER commissioned in the last 11 months, both ahead of schedule, under budget, and with constantly improving quality.
x Both OHIO Replacement and VIRGINIA are centerpieces of our desired end state to own the best.
x The VIRGINIA Payload Module has been pulled to a 2019 start, and it is literally the doorway to an exciting future of new kinetic and nonkinetic payloads that will
ensure we grow longer arms, beat the adversary’s system, and both defend our strategic assets…and threaten theirs.
x The Submarine Force is setting the standard for working to get faster, and is leading the charge in innovation with things like the Undersea Rapid Capabilities Initiatives and the Theater ASW Offset Strategy initiatives, which must successfully standup starting in 2016.
x We’re forging new ground in the area of acoustic superiority with new sensors, coatings, and quieting techniques.
x And in the area of Heavyweight Torpedoes, in addition to the restart initiative that is now tangibly getting
traction, it’s been decades since there has been as much activity on the future of the Heavyweight Torpedo as there is today. Again, all extremely exciting, and words cannot describe the pride and energy I get from being a part of it. Having been in on the ground floor in the development of the Undersea Dominance Campaign Plan and the Undersea Rapid Capability Initiatives, I assure you I remain firmly committed to their core initiatives. In short we must continue to own the undersea domain.

Undersea forces operate far forward, are persistent and covert. Our non-provocative influence can deter and de-escalate potential conflicts by providing cross-domain intelligence, real-time warning to U.S. leadership, and rapid transition from peacetime if required. We are the anti-A2AD force, operating inside adversary defenses, using our access to set the table for the joint force, exercising stealth and surprise at the time and place of choosing. I am deeply committed to this vision, and I am deeply committed to the tireless pursuit of undersea superiority.

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