Undersea Warfare Team,

Greetings all!

Since the last issue of UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine there has been significant activity in the Pentagon regarding the future of the Navy under our new administration. Of particular note, across all communities, we have shifted our capability and investment discussions from community centric (e.g., submarines) to domain centric (e.g., undersea)—meaning the N97 team now has a voice in all effects under or from under the sea, including air and surface assets. This approach has broadened the understanding of overall warfighting capability and capacity and is providing focus on our most critical Navy capabilities. Aligned with my "mission discussion" last issue, N97 is the domain lead for both Strategic Deterrence and Theater Undersea Warfare.

Strategic Deterrence. Although there has been tremendous budget uncertainty across the federal government, the most critical programs continue to be supported. Through a committed effort by the Pentagon and Congress over the holidays, and despite the stalling of all other funding efforts, special funding was approved to transition the Ohio Replacement to an official program of record—a reflection of the common understanding of this program's importance to the nation. ORP is now a boat with a name and a sobering purpose; she is Columbia, and she remains our most valued national asset. This 12-ship class is now firmly planned as the phased replacement for the Ohio class and will take station as the foundation of the Strategic Deterrence Domain.

Theater Undersea Warfare. With the combination of the multiple blocks of Virginia class, the new Columbia SSBN, and our family of UUVs, as a nation we are entering the most complex undersea vehicle construction era in decades. To ensure efficient merging of technologies and vehicles, we have inaugurated the Tactical Submarine Evolution Plan, or simply referred to as TSEP. There's nothing simple about it. This complex plan establishes the basis for quickly leveraging evolving improvements and revolutionary technologies, establishing the clearinghouse for inputs from the fleet, industry, and builders. A clear example of how this will be used is our intention to "up-arm" our SSNs by leveraging existing weapons to improve our lethality in multiple domains. Stay tuned.

In this issue you will have the opportunity to read about new technologies we're pursuing, including our family of unmanned vehicles, mixed reality solutions, cognitive computing, and fundamental shifts in our build philosophy. Also in this issue, RADM Fritz Roegge shares his insights as Commander, Submarine Force Pacific, a very active part of the world.

Keep up the great work out there; we're behind you 100 percent. You are part of the domain team that is expected to own the seas before and during any conflict, no matter the adversary, no matter the location. Wear that pin proudly. Like so many before us, the nation depends on our ability conduct its business far forward, with certainty.

W.R. Merz