Undersea Warfare The Official Magazine of the U.S. Submarine Force Spring 2004 U.S. Submarines... Because Stealth Matters Cover USW Magazine Spring 2004
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Photo caption below
Secretary England addresses a formation of Sailors and Marines stationed at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, in November 2003. The All Hands call was part of a holiday season visit by the SECNAV to forward deployed troops.
Q & A SECNAV's
Principles of Leadership for the U.S. Submarine Force

“America owes a profound debt of gratitude to all those who have volunteered for the silent service,” comments Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, about the USS Nautilus’ recent 50th anniversary of her christening. England is only the second person in history to serve twice as Secretary of the Navy and the first to serve in back-to-back terms. England has been the 72nd and 73rd Secretary, but his service was interrupted when President George W. Bush tapped him to serve as the first Deputy Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security in November 2002. England, a native of Baltimore and long time resident of Fort Worth, Texas spent nearly 40 years in industry, including stints as President of General Dynamics Land Systems and General Dynamics Aircraft Company, later Lockheed Aircraft Company. He also led General Dynamics as Executive Vice President before joining the Navy Department in 2001. Recently, Secretary England took time to address questions on the minds of many in today’s submarine force.

Q: How important has the Submarine Force been in the Global War on Terrorism?

A: The Submarine Force has played a vital role in our Navy for many decades, and this vitality will continue. From World War II, throughout the Cold War and the first Gulf War, the submarine service has contributed significantly to peace and security. I’ve visited several boats while visiting the fleet and the crews are magnificent. In the Global War on Terrorism the strike, surveillance, and special operations capabilities of our Submarine Force have and will continue to play a large part in winning this war.

Q: The Navy is investing in new submarines and you have visited some under construction. What’s your impression?

A: I’ve been very impressed. America has the finest shipyards and builds the best boats in the world. The men and women at Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Newport News have a vital role to play in our national defense, and they take great pride in the work. We will continue to invest in the Submarine Force, which provides special capabilities to our war fighters and leadership. The congressional leaders from Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island and other key states have been very supportive as well. Our submariners deserve the best, and our shipbuilders consistently provide it.

Q: You recently visited Hawaii and saw first hand the Advanced SEAL Delivery System. How important is that system for our SEALs and the Submarine Force?

A: Our SEALs are the best at what they do, and the ASDS enhances their capabilities even more. This program is very complex but also very important to our nation. I visited the SEALs in Hawaii who are training with ASDS to see the system first hand. This program provides our Navy with a unique ability to utilize our special forces more effectively then ever before.

Q: The Navy effectively grew the Submarine Force by retaining four SSBNs and converting them to SSGNs. What effect will those submarines have when they finish reconfiguration and rejoin the fleet?

A: By reconfiguring four of our SSBNs and converting them to SSGNs we are enhancing our combat power, improving our special warfare capabilities and saving the tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars. These “new” boats will be capable of a variety of missions and with UUVs [unmanned underwater vehicles], they will be able to adapt and expand their missions in the future.

Q: Unmanned and remotely piloted aircraft, vehicles and vessels are playing a larger role in our military. Do you see these systems as having an important role in the Navy’s future?

A: Unmanned systems will play a very important role in all areas of the armed forces and our day-to-day lives in the near future. The Submarine Force is at the cutting edge in many of these areas, and together with the Office of Naval Research and our partners in industry and academia we will see further advances in this new science and capability.

Photo caption follows Gordon R. England, Secretary of the Navy, speaks to Sailors on board the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Charlotte (SSN-766) pierside at Naval Submarine Base Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in February 2004. The Secretary arrived in Hawaii following a trip to the Asia-Pacific region that included visits to Japan, Singapore and Guam.
Photos by PH2 John F. Looney
Photo caption above