Undersea Warriors,

Greetings from Norfolk! Last issue we spoke about the Asia-Pacific, its dynamic environment, and the highly professional submarine forces that partner with us there. This issue covers the work of other crucial Submarine Force partners: the highly capable research and development organizations ensuring that we own the best systems and platforms. Much of this issue specifically discusses expanding the reach of those platforms with a new generation of autonomous undersea vehicles.

The time for these systems is clearly now. The Navy's Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority points out how the increasing rate of technological creation and implementation drives the rapidly accelerating changes we face in the maritime environment. Our adversaries are aware of, and adapting to, these changes. We need to get faster in our operations, learning, processes, acquisitions, and innovation to outpace them.

Reading through this issue will give you a couple of examples of how we're doing just that; from the use of virtual and mixed reality for the purpose of production and training to advancements in Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs) and cognitive thinking Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (AUVs). Our record of success is growing as demonstrated by the shortened delivery schedule and reduced cost of the Virginia-class, which was designed in a virtual environment. The use of virtual technology has enabled the inexpensive delivery of immersive environments for the purpose of training, while augmented reality delivers amplifying details to allow for more effective and efficient real-time decision making. Taking it a step further, we're looking to equip AUVs with "intelligent autonomy" to carry out an independent decision-making process based on decades of corporate knowledge and then execute based on those decisions.

One thing hasn't changed though. It doesn't matter if the machine is manned or unmanned; any submarine sitting at the pier is capable of doing just one thing by itself; rusting. It is the people who design, test, build, operate, and maintain the machines who determine how effective they will be in combat. Make no mistake; combat is our business. I could not agree more with Rear Adm. Roegge's statement in this issue that, "the quality of our Submariners is the best it has ever been." The intelligence and resiliency of our Submariners and supporting partners allow us to make our force stronger. There's an old saying: "if you're not getting better, then you're getting worse." No matter where you are in the force, I challenge you to continuously improve the processes where you are today to produce a leaner, more flexible, more efficient and lethal force.

That is how we all get better.

That is how we will win.

Thank you for all you do. Keep charging!

J.E. Tofalo