This is my last report to you as Director, Submarine Warfare. By the time you read this I will have reported to Pearl Harbor and relieved RADM Jeff Cassias as Commander, Submarine Forces Pacific. We would all like to wish Admiral and Mrs. Cassias “Fair Winds and Following Seas,” and extend to them our heartfelt thanks for 30 years of tremendous dedication and service to our Submarine Force, our Navy, and our country.
As I reflect back on my tour here in the Pentagon, and look beyond the challenges of working through budget cycles, program reviews, and the ongoing churn that comes with a tour in Washington, D.C., I am encouraged by the hard work and dedication of the N87 staff and the Undersea Enterprise. This dedication has resulted in the delivery of new platforms and advanced capabilities to our Submarine Force. At the end of the day, it is this delivery of warfighting capability to our Sailors in the Fleet that makes what we do here in Washington so important.
We continue to improve mission capability through modernization. For example, 30 years ago the U.S. Navy took delivery of USS Los Angeles (SSN-688), the lead ship of a new class of submarine. Designed with speed and stealth, Los Angeles, and the ships that followed her, silently countered the threat posed by the Soviet Navy, and significantly contributed to our nation’s victory in the Cold War. Over the last 30 years we have continuously modernized these ships, and as a result, Los Angeles is as capable and modern – in some aspects even more modern – than USS Cheyenne (SSN-773), the 62nd and last 688-class submarine to be commissioned 20 years later. Today, 49 Los Angeles-class submarines continue to serve our nation in the Global War on Terror. They remain agile, adaptable, persistent, lethal, and forward deployed, doing our nation’s work in the most operationally challenging waters imaginable – and doing it well.
This past June, I had the opportunity to speak about our modernization efforts at the Naval Submarine League’s 24th Annual Symposium. Today, we are aggressively installing over 15 new or improved systems into our submarines Fleet-wide, and continue the development of numerous others that will reach their initial operating capability in the not too distant future. We are also using open architecture software and applying the ARCI sonar business model to our imaging, communications, electronic warfare, and combat systems. Just as ARCI delivered significantly improved warfighting capability at a reduced cost to our sonar systems, applying the ARCI business model to the majority of our combat systems will set the conditions for rapid, continuous, and low cost capability insertion for the life of the ship, and will ensure our continued undersea dominance well into the future. I discuss this initiative, along with several others on page 8.
In addition to an aggressive modernization program, we continue to deliver new platforms to the Submarine Force. In June USS Texas (SSN-775) passed her INSURV and was delivered to the U.S. Navy, and USS Hawaii (SSN-776) was christened by her namesake’s governor, the Honorable Linda Lingle. Additionally, we recently returned to service two completely overhauled, refueled, and transformed submarines, USS Ohio (SSGN-726) and USS Florida (SSGN-728). ADM Giambastiani, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks more about the success of this transformation on page 18.
Working with the Naval Submarine League has been one of the many highlights of my tour. I couldn’t ask for more ardent supporters than the active duty and retired submariners, industry partners, and the other supportive members of this outstanding organization. In addition to everything they do for the Submarine Force (and they do a lot), they also sponsor our annual submarine photo contest; the winners of which you can find on the pull-out gatefold. You can learn more about the Naval Submarine League and the work they do for the Submarine Force at www.navalsubleague.com.
As I depart Washington, D.C., and trade the Pentagon for Pearl, and the Potomac for the Pacific, I leave the Submarine Warfare Division in the capable hands of RADM Carl “Van” Mauney, who comes to us after commanding Submarine Group EIGHT in Naples, Italy. To those of you I have had the privilege of serving with here in Washington, D.C., farewell and best wishes. For those of you who are submariners in the Pacific, I’ll see you on the waterfront.