“As you reflect back on the Holidays and the many successes over the last year, remember what we are fighting for, and never forget that you are in the thoughts and prayers of the American people, now, and always. Thank you for your service, and may God bless you and your families.”
VADM Jay Donnelly, USN, Commander, Submarine Force
Several changes have occurred in the Navy community in our Nation’s capital since I last had the opportunity to address you in this magazine. A Sailor was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) for the first time in over two decades. ADM Mike Mullen was sworn in as the 17th CJCS on October 1st after three years of outstanding leadership as the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), with Marine Corps Gen James Cartwright as his Vice Chairman. ADM Gary Roughead assumed office as the 29th CNO during a ceremony on September 29th. The preeminence of these leaders from the Navy/Marine Corps team indicates the enduring strength of our Navy in training and developing strong leaders, and reasserts the relevance of our mission in an ever-changing world.
Tragically, the appointment of the first Admiral as CJCS in 22 years coincides with the passing of the naval officer who last held that distinguished position. It is with deep remorse that we bid farewell to ADM William Crowe. He served as Commanding Officer of the diesel submarine USS Trout (SS-566) from 1960–1962, the Commander in Chief of U.S. Pacific Command from 1983–1985, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1985–1989. Following military service, ADM Crowe served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1994–1997 and then taught for several years as a visiting professor at the Naval Academy. Throughout his career ADM Crowe sought opportunities to diversify his understanding of how the components of the national defense team work in coordination to protect our Nation’s economic, political, and military interests. His example should remind us of the importance of maintaining a well-rounded perspective on issues as they extend beyond the Submarine Force, the Department of Defense, and our Nation as a whole. The Submarine Force offers its most sincere condolences to ADM Crowe’s family as this distinguished submariner goes on eternal patrol.
Additionally, I would like to wish VADM Van Mauney all the best in his new position as Deputy Commander, U.S. Strategic Command while thanking RDML Bruce Grooms for stepping up to serve as Director, Submarine Warfare. VADM Mauney’s successes in supporting major programs such as the Virginia-class and SSGN have paved the future of the Submarine Force with robust capability. RDML Grooms will soon be relieved by RADM Haney as Director, Submarine Warfare and RDML Grooms assume command of Submarine Group TWO.
In October, I had the chance to address some of the most ardent supporters of the Submarine Force at the Naval Submarine League (NSL) Symposium in McLean, Va.. I am always inspired by the dedication and creative resourcefulness of our supporters—uniformed, retired, and civilians alike —in their altruistic drive to maintain the competitive advantage of the premiere submarine force in the world. Thanks to the Naval Submarine League for their continued support.
On October 17th the Chief of Naval Operations unveiled the new maritime strategy to representatives from nearly 100 nations at the International Seapower Symposium in Newport, R.I. Why the change? This new strategy stresses security and prosperity, which are vital interests to the United States. Our Nation’s interests are best served by a Navy that helps foster a peaceful global system comprised of an interdependent network of trade, finance, information, law, people and governments. At the same time, our Navy must be fully ready to fight and win if called to do so. Submarines will play a critical role in this new maritime strategy.
My three priorities are closely aligned with this new maritime strategy. Our operational performance continues to improve, and our personnel are doing extraordinarily well. With the new Virginia-Class and SSGN operational, and a robust continuous modernization program, we are the modern force of tomorrow. While the demands that the new maritime strategy places on the Submarine Force are great, we are ready to answer the call. More importantly, we’re continuing to invest in the thing that has made the Submarine Force the greatest in the world for decades, our people.
Please accept my warmest wishes and gratitude for your service to our nation. Service in the Submarine Force often demands long deployments and periods of family separation, which are especially difficult during the holiday season. For those of you standing the watch far from home, please know your sacrifices are recognized, your mission is important and your service, as well as that of your families, is deeply appreciated by the American people.