Undersea Warfare Team,
It was a busy spring for the Undersea Warfare Community and our allies. In the last several months we executed a spectrum of operations. USS John Warner (SSN 785) supported U.S. and Allied forces to enforce the President’s policy in Syria and became the first Virginia-class submarine to launch Tomahawk missiles while deployed. USS Maryland (SSBN 738) conducted an overseas port visit to Faslane, Scotland demonstrating U.S. capability, flexibility, and continuing commitment to NATO. USS Connecticut (SSN 22), USS Hartford (SSN 768), and HMS Trenchant (S 91) participated in the biennial Ice Exercise (ICEX) in the Arctic to evolve our tactics, techniques, and procedures for operating in this harsh and unique environment. The Submarine Force’s ability to execute a wide range of missions worldwide is what helps maintain the United States’ maritime superiority.
The last couple months of submarine operations is a demonstration of our unparalleled dominance in undersea warfare. We operate the best platforms, train the best crews, and continue to foster a culture of integrity and high-velocity learning to maintain our competitive edge. Our competitors know our strengths and equally value the importance of advantage in the undersea domain, which makes us a target. Our competitors across the globe are improving their capabilities at a fast rate, are determined to further erode our undersea dominance, and are willing to do it by any possible means. We not only need to protect our classified technologies, but we should also know that our adversaries can use the aggregation of unclassified and FOUO procedures and capabilities to gain advantage. Protecting our capabilities, tactics, and operating patterns is paramount to the safety of our Sailors. Each Sailor, despite his or her experience and seniority, knows something that would benefit our adversaries in closing that gap. It is time to tighten our discipline with operational security; every use of social media (tweet, Facebook post, Snapchat, etc.) you send can be read by our adversaries. It’s your job to stop and ask yourself “Am I comfortable hitting send on this e-mail?” As the director, I am focused on improving our networks to protect all information. It’s time to develop a mindset of “constructive paranoia” toward how we communicate to intensify our efforts to protect our advantages to maintain undersea dominance.
In this issue we focus on ICEX. The Submarine Force is the primary means the U.S. Navy uses to project power and protect U.S. national interests in the Arctic. ICEX 2018 was successful at expanding our understanding and building proficiency in Arctic operations. This year’s events included testing new ice-avoidance sonars, experimenting with under-ice weapon systems, validating tactics for weapon employment, and employing Navy divers in extreme-cold-weather diving for torpedo retrieval. Most important, the involvement of HMS Trenchant in ICEX 2018 marks a return of the UK to the Arctic, demonstrating our ability to operate with our allies in this challenging environment.
It is my responsibility to support the Fleet through proper resourcing to ensure that our ships, submarines, and aircraft and our Sailors and Marines are ready for both their peacetime and wartime missions year-round. Our current budget prioritizes restoring Fleet readiness while making the necessary targeted investments in future capabilities to maintain our undersea advantage against a backdrop of growing competition. Make no mistake, our Submarine Force is ready to confront the adversary—any time, any place, and at the time of our choosing—and today’s investments will ensure that we can maintain this confidence in the future against an ever more capable adversary.
J.W. Tammen, Jr.