Washington Watch

RDML Joseph A. Walsh, USN, Director, Submarine Warfare

“One of the main tenets of ADM Vern Clark’s vision for the Navy in the upcoming year is, “Bringing the fight to our enemies,” and no one is better suited for that task than the Silent Service. With the commissioning of the first Virginia-class submarine and the last of the Seawolf-class, we are more prepared than ever to take on the dynamic threats posed by our longtime foes and emerging enemies.”
Photo of RDML Walsh

 

A s the Submarine Force surges into 2005, we face unique and exciting challenges, as well as opportunities we never thought possible when Holland joined the fleet 105 years ago. Since that time, our submarines have progressed into the most silent and lethal assets in the fleet, crewed by the sharpest, most forward-thinking Sailors of any navy in history. And it is with these crews and cutting-edge boats that we stand ready to implement the CNO’s Guidance for 2005.

One of the main tenets of ADM Vern Clark’s vision for the Navy in the upcoming year is, “Bringing the fight to our enemies,” and no one is better suited for that task than the Silent Service. With the commissioning of the first Virginia-class submarine and the last of the Seawolf-class, we are more prepared than ever to take on the dynamic threats posed by our longtime foes and emerging enemies. USS Virginia (SSN-774) is the first submarine built with the post-Cold War era in mind, and she embodies the warfighting and operational capabilities required to dominate the littorals while maintaining undersea superiority in the open ocean. USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23), the third and final of the agile Seawolf-class, is a full 100 feet longer than her sister ships Seawolf and Connecticut, giving her increased mission flexibility in the undersea environment without sacrificing the significant warfighting capabilities of the rest of her class.

Also on the CNO’s radar for this year are several major Sea Trials. This past fall, we conducted the Sea Trial experiment Silent Hammer – one of 43 different experiments executed by the Navy last year – which tested SSGN effectiveness in a joint scenario with networked forces at sea, in the air, and on land. We will push beyond the successes and lessons-learned from Silent Hammer, refining additional concepts of operation for the SSGN/SOF team with future exercises. You can read more about Silent Hammer in our special feature beginning on page 11 of this issue.

As evident from both our current performance and strengthening position, we have taken on the issues of recruiting the right people, increasing retention, and attacking attrition. We continue to fill our diverse ranks with the nation’s best and brightest. In particular, the important contribution that diversity makes to our excellence is showcased in our feature article “Saluting Diversity” on page 20.

“Surge” is the future watchword of the Navy, and few can do it better than the Submarine Force. The CNO’s Fleet Response Plan mandates major increases in the operational availability of our forces, and we’ve already demonstrated our capabilities in that area. In response to Operation Iraqi Freedom, we surged USS Boise (SSN-764) and USS Toledo (SSN-769), while other ships accomplished
early or extended deployments.

Spawned by both the demands of the Cold War and technological breakthroughs in underwater acoustics, the Navy’s Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) helped keep tabs on the lurking submarines of the Soviet Union for many tense years. In a final historical reflection, out-going UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine Senior Editor, Dr. Ed Whitman, describes the scientific evolution, engineering development, and operational capabilities achieved by SOSUS and its operators around the globe in his article “SOSUS – The “Secret Weapon” of Undersea Surveillance” on page 22. Dr. Whitman has been a “plank-owner” of the magazine since its inception over six years ago and has contributed some two dozen insightful articles over that time. I’d like to wish him fair winds and following seas in all his future endeavors.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Naval Submarine League for their continued support of UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine’s Annual Photo Contest, an event they persistently sponsor and feature each year at the annual Naval Submarine League Symposium. You can find out more information about this year’s contest and how you can enter on the inside back cover of this issue.

On the horizon, we have much to look forward to this year. Virginia has joined the fleet and soon will be underway on the first of many silent patrols, while her sisters Texas, Hawaii, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and the newly-named New Mexico prepare to embark with the Submarine Force in the first decade of another 100 years of distinguished service.

RDML Walsh Signature

Cover of Undersea Warfare Magazine Winter 2005