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On behalf of the Submarine Force leadership, I would like to extend holiday greetings to all in the UNDERSEA WARFARE community – especially those of you forward deployed defending America’s interests overseas and those of you on strategic deterrent patrols. Your sacrifices and commitment allow our nation to remain at peace and guarantee the blessings of freedom for all Americans.

I am pleased to report the inaugural issue of UNDERSEA WARFARE has generated great enthusiasm. We received a tremendous amount of feedback on the magazine with many positive suggestions and recommendations. I appreciate the efforts of those who took the time to provide comments and look forward to your continued input and suggestions.

In this second issue of UNDERSEA WARFARE, you’ll see more focus on the outstanding people who make up today’s Submarine Force. I need your help in finding and telling the people stories of our force. Please contact our new military editor, LCDR Jim Doody, with stories of your submarine’s accomplishments. Additionally, we plan to publish letters, questions, comments, and discussion about Submarine Force issues. I hope this magazine will serve as an interactive forum for issues of concern to the undersea warfare community.

The lead feature of this issue discusses the Virginia-class New Attack Submarine (NSSN). The Navy recently signed a contract to build the first four of these superb ships. For many of you, this article may be your first opportunity to read about this incredible submarine under construction today. Virginia will incorporate land attack capability that is second to none, including a unique nine-man lockout chamber, special fittings for the Advanced SEAL Delivery System mini-sub, and a more capable communications suite. Virginia will be even
stealthier then Seawolf, including better non-acoustic stealth, and will possess a more robust mine reconnaissance capability. Moreover, these impressive characteristics will be delivered with a simplified power plant, reduced watchstation manning, and significantly lower cost compared to the Seawolf. Finally, the Virginia class will be able to evolve over the years because of an aggressive technology insertion program that will ensure U.S. undersea supremacy well into the 21st century.

In this issue, we also discuss the recently released Defense Science Board (DSB) report on the Submarine of the Future. I would like to make two major points about this study. First, the DSB was directed to examine the operational utility of future generations of submarines and the impact of the littoral environment on submarine design and operation. Although tasked specifically to look at post Virginia-class design, the DSB strongly endorsed Virginia, calling it “a major step” forward. Secondly, the DSB report emphasized that in the 21st century threat environment, submarine stealth will be an increasingly valuable commodity. The Board, reasoning that future CINCs will have an increasing need for submarines, called for “more, not fewer SSNs.”

Again, I want to thank all of you who contributed to the successful start of UNDERSEA WARFARE. May God bless all of you and your families as we begin the New Year.

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Malcolm Fages
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

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U.S. Submarine Force Vision

The U.S. Submarine Force will remain the world’s preeminent Submarine Force. We will aggressively incorporate new and innovative technologies to maintain dominance throughout the maritime battlespace. We will promote the multiple capabilities of submarines and develop tactics to support national objectives through battlespace preparation, sea control, supporting the land battle, and strategic deterrence. We will fill the role of the Joint Commander’s stealthy, full spectrum expeditionary platform.