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Giambastiani: Submarines Critical to Current, Future U.S. Operations

By Tech. Sgt. Adam M. Stump, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE NEW LONDON, Conn., April 18, 2007 – Ground operations in the Middle East may dominate national headlines, but the 107-year-old submarine force is a critical part of current and future U.S. operations, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said during a meeting here yesterday with Submarine League members.

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Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, left, speaks to a Naval Submarine League member before speaking at the United States Submarine Veterans Club in Groton, Conn., April 17, 2007. Defense Dept. photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Adam M. Stump

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

"All too often I meet submariners or I meet others associated with undersea warfare and there seems to be thought processes out there that this area of business may not be as important because so much is going on in places like Iraq and Afghanistan," Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani said.

"One of the capabilities of the submarine is being stealthy, being covert, and its ability to be in places where people don't know you are, so that you can collect intelligence," he said. "That is a capability that not a lot of platforms have."

"Your nation's leaders appreciate and value the unique capabilities provided by the submarine force," Giambastiani said. "They depend on you to maintain, develop and extend undersea capabilities."

"Strategically, the submarine force provides an unsurpassed deterrent capability for the nation," he said.

The admiral said the Trident submarine is an example of the submarine force being fundamental to all aspects of national security and the national military strategy. He added they will remain "a bedrock" for many years to come.

Giambastiani said senior leaders are planning how to keep the submarine force active for years to come because of the platform's ability to deter.

"The mere existence of a capable, agile and lethal submarine force by the United States acts as a powerful force to dissuade others from developing a similar capability," he said. "In business, some call this cost avoidance. I would call it risk avoidance."

Operationally and tactically, submarines continue to add enormous value to the plans and operations of combatant commanders around the world, Giambastiani said.

"In an era where intelligence is both more important in many ways and ever so much more difficult to come by, adding new capabilities and operating concepts to the fleet -- for example, the new Virginia class submarines and the re-commissioned Trident SSGNs (nuclear-powered guided missile submarines)--I predict these platforms will be of even greater importance and even greater demand as we continue on this second century of the submarine force," he said.

The value of submarines was evident in the 2006 quadrennial defense review, the admiral said.

"It validated the need for a robust submarine force and specifically called for reaching and maintaining a two submarine per year construction rate for our Virginia class submarines," he said.

The admiral said another key component in helping strengthen a submarine's ability to deter is the development of a reliable replacement warhead.

The last component of keeping the submarine fleet strong is enforcing the highest standards of integrity, accountability and responsibility, from seamen to flag officers, Giambastiani said. "These traits have stood the submarine force in very good stead for 107 years,” he said. “They will be critical to our success in the next 100 years."

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Adam M. Stump is assigned to the Joint Staff public affairs office.)

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Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr., USN
Naval Submarine Base New London

Click photo for screen-resolution imageVice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani fields a question from a Naval Submarine League member during the admiral's question and answer session April 17, 2007, at the United States Submarine Veterans Club in Groton, Conn., April 17, 2007. Defense Dept. photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Adam M. Stump  
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