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(The following is from the executive summary of Undersea Warfighting, an important new publication on basic submarine doctrine issued by Commander, Submarine Forces, in July 2011. The full text of Undersea Warfighting is available at http://www.public.navy.mil/subfor/hq/PDF/Undersea Warfighting.pdf.)

The Navy's undersea warfighters bring a set of tools and capabilities to U.S. national security that are unique and indispensible. Enabled by stealth, surprise and boldness, undersea forces provide impact and influence far out of proportion to their size and quantity. When our lethal and undetected undersea force operates in concert with the visible power of carrier strike groups and the expeditionary capacity of the Marine Corps, the Navy-Marine Corps team provides a formidable, flexible and daunting power projection force.

The role played by the undersea forces on this team is centered upon the military advantages provided by undersea concealment. Whether the water is deep, cold and empty arctic waters or shallow, warm and crowded tropical waters; whether it is peacetime or wartime; whether it is calm or stormy—virtually everything our undersea forces do is to exploit concealment to enhance deterrence or warfighting capability. This concealment enables a wide variety of undetected operations, permits the penetration of enemy defenses, allows attacks to be conducted with surprise at the time and place of our choosing, promotes survivability, and creates uncertainty and ambiguity that greatly complicate enemy planning and operations.

But none of these advantages or attributes can be achieved without the tireless efforts of smart, audacious warriors. Our undersea forces must be manned by a cadre of undersea professionals with special technical and military expertise, skill at employing stealth, self-sufficiency, initiative, a penchant for tactical innovation, and aggressive warfighting tenacity. These bold undersea warriors ensure that our exceptional undersea forces are ready to fight on short notice, can gain non-provocative early access far forward, exploit the full undersea maneuver space, seize the initiative with offensive action, and quickly adapt to changing situations, including the dynamic chaos of war.

As undersea warriors, it is important that we understand the nature of this unique role we play, and the importance it has for the security of our Nation. Although the technologies, the adversaries and the locations have varied over history, the fundamental military purpose of our undersea forces has remained constant: to leverage the concealment of the undersea environment to provide military advantages for the United States. The skill set of the undersea professionals that deliver this military advantage is likewise unchanging.

The purpose of Undersea Warfighting is to provide our undersea warriors with a shared professional foundation and perspective that will serve as a common bedrock upon which we build training, exercises and peacetime operations. This robust foundation will enable a smooth transition from peace to war should that be necessary. And to minimize the chance that such a war should be necessary, this foundation will help ensure that there is no question in the mind of any potential adversary about the lethality, survivability and effectiveness of U.S. undersea forces.

 

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