The remarks below are the text of a speech Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Dr. Stephen Cambone delivered to the nation's submarine community on the 103rd anniversary of the submarine service's founding.
TRANSFORMATION OF THE SUBMARINE COMMUNITY
April 26, 2003
Stephen A. Cambone
I don't know who said this, but it's a good rule to live by: that the finer the meal, the shorter the speech ought to be, which means I'll be speaking for a very brief time.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this remarkable group, one that includes so many of America's best, on the 103rd birthday of the United States Navy's submarine service. My thanks go to Rear Admiral and Mrs. Sullivan, and Vice Admiral Mrs. Szemborski, for inviting me and making me feel so welcome here this evening, and to Mrs. MacNeil of the Navy League for the outstanding support of her organization.
I would also like to recognize Admiral and Mrs. Bowman, Vice Admiral and Mrs. Nathman, Admiral and Mrs. Chiles, Admiral and Mrs. Mies, Vice Admiral and Mrs. Reynolds, and Vice Admiral Bacon.
I'd like to recognize Captain and Mrs. Rush -- Charlie Rush, of course, holds a singular spot in history for his actions on USS BILLFISH in 1943. And, of course, a special debt of thanks goes from all of us to Mrs. Eleanor Rickover, whose husband, the father of the nuclear Navy, contributed so much not only to the submarine service and the Navy but to the defense of our country. You should know, Mrs. Rickover, that there are a lot of submariners in this room who take special pride in being able to say that they are one of Rickover's boys.
I would like to recognize as well the officers and crews of the submarines deployed tonight around the world in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and other contingencies.
I've observed something interesting about our country's military forces over the years -- an apparently mundane point, but actually quite telling.
Our nation's military forces are loud.
From the Army's "Screaming Eagles," to the barking Devil Dogs of the Marine Corps, to the fighters and bombers that the Air Force celebrates in its hymn as having "one hell of a roar" -- when America's Armed Forces show up, everybody in the neighborhood knows about it.
Not so in the case of the United States Navy's submarine community, the nation's "silent service." Teddy Roosevelt would have loved you guys. No service walks more softly or carries a bigger stick. And, as the face of warfare changes in this new millennium, your prowess and adaptability remain as critical as ever to our nation's military successes.
In a speech to The Citadel in September 1999, then-candidate George W. Bush said, "The best way to keep the peace is to redefine war on our own terms." In a sentence, the president defined the purpose and objective of the department's effort to transform itself.
As a way of underscoring his determination to bring about that transformation, the president reminded his Citadel audience of an earlier time when a free people -- the British during the 1930's -- confronted what he called "rapid change and momentous choices."
It was a time when Nazi Germany was seeking to redefine war and Britain was reluctant to rearm and remodel its armed forces. It was then that Winston Churchill sounded this clarion call, repeated by the president as an expression of his own concern: "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedience, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences."
Unhappily that period of consequences arrived for us on September 11, 2001.
Each of the services has turned to in the effort to transform the defense establishment. Together they have shifted nearly $80 billion over the current fiscal year defense plan to transform the force. As a result, the department has programmed or planned for the initial deployment of missile defense; the launch of a space-based radar system; deployment of laser-based satellite communications systems; procurement of high-speed vessels, UCAVs, and the Army's Future Combat System; and the Navy's next generation aircraft carrier, the CVN-21.
And your own community, as well, continues to transform itself. After all, submarine warfare has been about transformation for over 100 years -- its birth was difficult as it struggled against the naval establishment's view of warfare, and it wrestled with the constraints of physics and the limits of technology. Submarines were originally assigned as mere scouts to the main battle fleet. When that fleet was disabled at Pearl Harbor, the submarine force went forward -- alone and unafraid -- to operate with audacity, courage and malfunctioning torpedoes. The submarine assault on the Imperial Japanese Navy and the blockade of Japan, came at the cost of 52 submarines and more than 3,500 valiant men. But it dealt a crippling blow to Imperial ambition. You led the way to victory in the Pacific.
Following the war, you followed the spectacular with what many thought to be the impossible. You led the world in a radical leap into the nuclear age. When USS Nautilus shifted colors the morning of January 17, 1955 and got "underway, on nuclear power," you did something no one else had ever done.
Your community continued to transform rapidly during the 1950s and 1960s, becoming a key to victory in the Cold War. You led the way in nuclear deterrence, taking ballistic missiles to sea. You led the way on cruise missiles. Stealth operations became your stock in trade. And you invented modern anti-submarine warfare. The nearly 4,000 strategic deterrent patrols to date, coupled with strike and fast-attack war-fighting savoir faire, enabled our nation to defend itself and its friends while thwarting Soviet ambition in a succession of quiet duels under the oceans. Many of you know the details of those duels. For the rest of us, we will wait for those stories to be told. When they are told, the people of this nation will marvel at your deeds and give full expression to the gratitude it owes to its silent warriors.
Today, the threat emanating from the deep ocean has been much diminished. But it has not vanished. For that reason, you continue your patrols, SSBNs and SSNs alike, in defense of the nation.
The reduced blue-water threat has not left the submarine community without a mission. Those who wish us ill know they cannot discount the capability of the silent service to reach out and ring their bell.
As an example, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, you demonstrated your skills with the usual aplomb, firing from 12 American fast-attack boats a significant fraction of the Tomahawk cruise missiles that helped bring down Saddam's regime.
There is a modus operandi associated with the submarine service. Even as you operate at a very high tempo, you continue to develop new technologies, new ways of doing business, and then use them with tremendous skill. That is very much the spirit of transformation.
As a result of the president's direction to transform the United States military, our military has a new defense strategy and, as part of that new strategy, is developing a new strategic triad, as laid out in the latest Nuclear Posture Review. The submarine force is a key component of the new triad's offensive and defensive capabilities.
As we transform intelligence, submarine warfare is on the cutting edge. We are looking to create intelligence capabilities that emphasize persistence and greater resistance to denial and deception. These have been the hallmarks of submarine operations and involvement in intelligence for 50 years.
Submarine operations also will play a role in homeland defense, tracking, intercepting, and, if ordered to do so by the commander in chief, interdicting vessels that transport or employ weapons of mass destruction.
You have already begun to transform the service. The conversion of four SSBNs to SSGNs, your development of a new special-purpose SSN, your development of new SEAL delivery systems, and your development of the Virginia-class SSN, slated for delivery in summer of next year -- ahead of schedule -- are all part of the changes you are making.
You have taken on new missions including increased and, in ways, more difficult intelligence missions and expanded your support to special operations forces, as the recent experiments with the USS Florida demonstrated. You are developing unmanned undersea and airborne vehicles to extend your reach and influence against a wide array of targets at sea and ashore. You continue to develop capabilities for collaborative, joint and coalition operations, in shallow water and littoral regions, and against asymmetric threats.
Today, submarines are fully connected and integrated assets in joint operations. We need continued advances in systems and tactics to give our submarine force new capabilities to reach further under ever more difficult conditions and with even greater security.
Much, then, is expected of you in the coming years. When we recall the words of candidate Bush on the aim of transformation -- of conducting warfare on our terms and maximizing our advantages -- undersea warfare should be brought to everyone's mind. Here is an endeavor where our preeminence is historic, enduring and unquestioned. I can think of no operational, technical or financial challenge, including missile defense that is more daunting, difficult and costly than preserving our freedom of action beneath the ocean's waves. Two world wars and a 40-year Cold War are proof. But the character of the threat is changing. Therefore, so too must our undersea warfare capabilities. We are looking to you, in the finest tradition of the service, to bring forward the technology, doctrine, and tactics to assure that we do not cede this preeminence, so dearly bought by your predecessors.
To that end, the Department of Defense committed last year to undertake a study on the future of undersea warfare. Its premise is that the United States must maintain its undersea preeminence. It seeks to provide help in answering the question, 'what investments to make to ensure that preeminence?' The study is to examine undersea forward presence, the use of special forces, ways by which to conduct information operations, and nationally tasked missions, all with the goal of learning how to best defeat anti-access threats, prosecute adversaries' undersea forces, and provide in the future the war-fighting capabilities currently fulfilled by the undersea warfare forces.
This study, and other investment decisions made by the Department of Defense, will provide this splendid community with the kind of opportunity it thrives on.
Capable, confident, audacious, and creative, you have the opportunity to chart the next leg of the course for the submarine service. You have proven before that you can loose yourselves from past dogma to embrace the promise of the future.
The nation needs such an effort from you again. It needs to have you succeed in transforming from a Cold War fleet to a 21st-century fighting force, able to provide a stealthy presence and defeat any enemy on or under the sea, even as you strike precisely and with devastating effect to the full depth of an adversary's territory.
The nation needs this effort from you because we are a nation at war; we do not know how long it will last, but it is unlikely to be short.
We cannot know where all of its battles will be fought. There are multiple fronts in this war, and there is no single theater of operations.
We do know that we are all at risk, at home and abroad, civilians and military alike.
We do know that battles and campaigns will be both conventional and unconventional in their conduct.
Some of those battles and campaigns will be fought in the open. Others will be fought in secret, where our victories will be known to only a few.
For the submarine service, it means that we are planning and fighting today's battles even as we prepare for that longer campaign. It is up to us to build on your storied legacy, build on its unequaled success and encourage the coming generation to reach for greatness by upholding the finest traditions of the "silent service."