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We welcome the new year reflecting back on the remarkable year we had in 2013, and knowing that we have the talent to perform even better in 2014. Your reputation as a warfighting community is solid, globally dominating the undersea with outstanding crews and world-class boats. You conduct valuable missions in harsh environments. Our success through 2025 will build on our core submarine foundation and add innovative use of autonomous, unmanned vehicles that add reach, capacity, and presence.

The demand for the strategic capability of our SSBN force and tactical capability of our SSN/SSGN force remain high. The submarine and its crew will continue to be the foundation of our fighting force, but the age of undersea autonomy is coming fast. As with manned submarines, these unmanned undersea devices will only be valuable if we provide them with stealth, persistence, and capability. Combined with the world-wide access our submarine crews deliver every day, autonomous vehicles can be thoughtfully designed to exponentially increase our undersea influence.

It is worth noting that, while technology changes, our highly qualified Sailors remain the most vital component to our success. Thank you for executing the mission today and considering the exciting possibilities that lay ahead.

I am proud of you all.

Vice Adm. Connor Signature

M. J. Connor