Undersea Warriors,

As my three-year tenure as Commander, Submarine Forces draws to a close, I want you all to know that it has been the greatest privilege of my career to be your Force Commander. It has been an honor to work with the best people on the best warships supported by the best families!

For much of the last century, we really only had one main competitor on which to focus. We are now in a world where we not only have two near-peer competitors with which to contend, but also three non-near-peer adversaries that challenge us as well—overall a much broader field.

As far as missions go, ours has historically been fairly focused. There has not always been the broad range of missions that our submarines have today: strategic deterrence, strike, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, mine warfare, arctic operations, and insertion of Special Operations Forces. I challenge you to find another platform in the entire Department of Defense that has that breadth of mission sets, from Phase Zero strategic deterrence to Phase Two kinetic high-end warfare.

Then there are the domains in which we operate. Today we are under the ice, on the seabed, interacting with the surface, shooting ballistic and cruise missiles thousands of miles, conducting electromagnetic warfare, and using unmanned aerial and undersea vehicles. It’s a full spectrum of cross-domain interaction. You’ll read about a great example of this throughout this edition of Undersea Warfare, discussing how earlier this year the fantastic crews of USS Hartford (SSN 768), USS Connecticut (SSN 22), and HMS Trenchant (S 91) conducted multinational submarine operations in the Arctic. These teams validated and enhanced our ability to sustain maritime superiority and preserve freedom of the seas in the most challenging undersea domain.

Despite all of the changes we’ve had to adapt to, one thing remains consistent—our people continue to be the foundation of our strength. Everything we do is only made possible by our fantastic Sailors and their families who support them. I’m extremely proud to have served with every single one of you, and I can’t thank you enough for your devoted leadership, your tireless dedication, and your selfless sacrifice. Thank you for all you do. Keep charging!


J.E. Tofalo