Just as spring marks the season of beginnings, it is only fitting that the Submarine Force enters 2005 in the same fashion. Along with several other important milestones, USS Jimmy Carter’s (SSN-23) commissioning on Feb. 19 ushered the Silent Service into a new era of adaptable, multi-mission capable warfare. Jimmy Carter provides us with new levels of adaptability, with an almost “plug and play” setup, allowing for different mission modules to be easily loaded and offloaded, essentially changing her roles and missions to fit the environment. You can read more about Jimmy Carter’s commissioning in this issue on pg. 4.
Within Sea Power 21, the CNO’s transformational vision for the future of the U.S. Navy, ADM Clark states “…our Navy must expand its striking power, achieve information dominance, and develop transformational ways of fulfilling our enduring missions of sea control, power projection, strategic sealift, and forward presence.” Our Submarine Force is already addressing many of these challenges and setting the pace as torchbearers for the new, more agile, adaptable Navy. It is with these directives to meet the current and future challenges of the new security environment that we transition into this new season.
The Submarine Force has a history of innovation that has exploited the inherent strengths of submarines to provide revolutionary warfighting capabilities in response to current or emerging threats. This is no more evident than with the SSGN conversions. This March, USS Georgia (SSGN-729), the fourth and final SSBN to SSGN conversion, began its overhaul and in November of this year, USS Ohio (SSGN-726) will enter service as the Submarine Forces’ first fully operational nuclear-powered guided missile submarine.
The goal of the U.S. Navy is not undersea superiority, it is total undersea dominance. To this end, we have initiated a resurgence in our commitment to ASW. I recently had the opportunity to brief Congress on several pressing issues facing our Force, the greatest of which are the challenges and successes we have encountered with ASW. As you all know, the seas are not transparent and our potential adversaries continue to exploit this through the development of quieter, less detectable platforms. The Silent Service and the Navy as a whole are confronting these challenges at every available opportunity with updated strategies, technologies, and knowledge. UUVs will prove to be an important component in ASW; you can read about the Navy’s new UUV Master Plan on pg. 10 of this issue.
Many of you are familiar with the Naval Submarine League (NSL), which was established in 1982 to “stimulate and promote awareness, by all elements of American society, of the need for a strong submarine arm of the U.S. Navy”. As a liaison member of the NSL Board of Directors, I can attest that the NSL continues to do this most worthwhile function while providing significant support to myself and my staff in the Pentagon as we work with our Defense and Navy leaders along with the Congress. The NSL has local chapters in all submarine homeports and it provides many worthwhile individual benefits to members such as our quarterly publication The Submarine Review, regular e-mail updates, invitations to submarine related symposiums and conferences, and a ready source of submarine related materials for the asking. Finally, it sponsors grants for key undersea warfare research and studies and supports an informative Web site. It is the only organization of its kind and one the Submarine Force and all elements of undersea warfare need!
If you are not already a member, and you are reading these words, you are eligible to join the Naval Submarine League. I recommend that you join the approximately 4,000 current members at a minimal annual cost by contacting the NSL office at (703) 256-0891 or by visiting their Web site at www.navalsubleague.com. The NSL is for everyone interested in submarines and undersea warfare, be they civilians, active duty or reserve officers and enlisted, or retirees.