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  Issue/Date 20180319


Thursday, March 22, 2018 08:14 AM



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Stuff you won't see in the local fish wrappers"


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Esquimalt-Based Submarine Back In Port After Epic Journey

Navy Officer Who Fled Vietnam Returns On Board Carrier Vinson

Falling Commissary Sales Are Raising Risks to Shopping Benefit

Russia Claims Its Nuclear Sub Went ‘Undetected’ On US Coastline

Navy, Coast Guard Divers Recover Torpedoes in Freezing Arctic

China Wages a Drug War

Drop Dead Date for Ordering Engraved Bricks for Deterrent Park Semi-Annual Installation

A Comparison of U.S. Navy and Royal Navy Officer Training

ICEX 2018: Proving Ground for Submarine Arctic Operability and Warfighting

USS Connecticut journeys to the Arctic

2018 World Navies in Review

Esquimalt-Based Submarine Back In Port After Epic Journey

Richard Watts, Times Colonist, March 21


Family, sailors, submariners and commanding officers were on hand at CFB Esquimalt on Wednesday to welcome home HMCS Chicoutimi after a record deployment.

HMCS Chicoutimi, a Victoria-class submarine, and her 59-member crew were deployed in the Asia Pacific region for 197 days, the longest Royal Canadian Navy deployment ever for that class of sub. The previous record of 101 days was established by HMCS Windsor in 2015.


The deployment also marked the first time a Canadian navy submarine has visited Japan in nearly 50 years. The last vessel to do so was HMCS Grisle in May 1968.


Rear Admiral Art McDonald, commander of Canadian Maritime Forces Pacific, said the long voyage, the exercises completed and the diplomatic goodwill established by HMCS Chicoutimi are part of what is expected of all Canadian navy vessels.


“So this is like pay day … You can see it in the smiles and the pride in the faces of every family and sailor here today,” he said.


While on the deployment, HMCS Chicoutimi also visited Guam and Hawaii and took part in exercises with the U.S. and French navies and the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force.


HMCS Chicoutimi is one of four diesel-electric submarines of its class in the Canadian navy. HMCS Victoria and HMCS Cornerbrook are also based out of CFB Esquimalt, while HMCS Windsor is based out of CFB Halifax.


All the subs were built for the British navy. They were purchased by Canada in 2000, and underwent a lengthy refit.


Early on, the purchase appeared to be ill-fated. Technical problems were ongoing, and in 2004 there was a fire on HMCS Chicoutimi in which one person died and nine were injured.


But navy Capt. Chris Robinson, commander Canadian Submarine Force, said Wednesday those technical issues are well behind and the sub class can be regarded as “steady state.”


Robinson said HMCS Chicoutimi’s deployment came out of a decision to operate the submarines around the world, part of a plan to project Canada’s naval strength.


Robinson said it was a good experience for the vessel and crew, as regions have different ocean temperatures, marine traffic patterns and fishboat densities.


“It’s good for the boat, good for the crew,” Robinson said.

“It gives them all a chance to operate in areas they don’t normally.

“And they all performed really well,” he said.

“This is a great submarine crew, one of my top submarines.”


Dockside greeters had little on their mind save the return of loved ones.


Kyla O’Rourke, waiting for her husband, P.O. Derek O’Rourke, said their youngest, two-year-old Liam, has little awareness of what’s happening.


But six-year-old Michael is a different story. Michael is looking forward to a promised fishing trip with his father, perhaps as early as Friday.  “He’s very aware of what is going on and how much he has missed his dad,” O’Rourke said.^


Navy Officer Who Fled Vietnam Returns On Board Carrier Vinson 17 Mar 2018 By Richard Sisk


Navy Cmdr. Hien Trinh, whose family fled Vietnam in an overcrowded fishing boat after the fall of Saigon, came back last week on board the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the ship's historic port call to Danang.

"A Navy ship picked us up, and that's one of the reasons why I'm actually in the Navy," Trinh, a dentist in charge of the Vinson's clinic, said in an interview this week.

Trinh's return to Vietnam as part of a historic port call underscores how relations between the two countries have changed in the four decades since the war ended. The visit comes as the United States takes steps to strengthen relations with the country amid rising tensions and hostilities in the region. For Trinh, who had returned to Vietnam only once before, a decade ago, to participate in dental clinic work with his wife, the visit was a time for reflection and for pride.

Ashore in the land of his birth, Trinh said the bitter aftermath of what the Vietnamese call the "American war" was subsumed in efforts of the U.S. and Hanoi to forge a new relationship.

"The people there were incredibly friendly. We had a great welcome from the people of Danang. They all knew that sailors were in town," Trinh said. "They all greeted us with a nice smile and tried to feed us way too much and feed us all kinds of stuff we probably wouldn't have tried unless we were there."

After a four-day visit to Vietnam last week -- the first by a U.S. carrier in the 43 years since the war ended -- the Vinson and its strike group were back in the South China Sea. The strike group was conducting exercises with the Japanese helicopter destroyer Ise on Tuesday when Trinh spoke with by phone.  Read All


Falling Commissary Sales Are Raising Risks to Shopping Benefit

By Tom Philpott |


Military Update: Sales at on-base grocery stores have fallen six percent in the past year, 21.3 percent since 2012, putting the shopping benefit at greater risk, say commissary executives.

The worry is that falling sales leave commissaries open to criticism that they’re losing relevancy as a military perk, or becoming too costly for taxpayers to support, given the fierce competition for customers from commercial grocers.


The Defense Department’s top two executives overseeing commissaries – one responsible for all military resale policies and the other for day-to-day operation of 237 commissaries worldwide – have conceded in separate interviews that falling sales are alarming and must be reversed.

But both also said they are confident current actions to transform commissaries into “business-like” operations can succeed -- in preserving current patron savings, lowering taxpayer support and improving shopper satisfaction.

The transformative steps include: phasing in variable pricing to replace the tradition of selling base groceries at cost-plus-a-five-percent surcharge; offering commissary label goods to deepen discounts; and, in time, adopting at least for new hires the more flexible wage schedule used in military exchanges, which run on-base department and convenience stores at a profit.

Leading commissary operations since November has been retired Navy Rear Admiral Robert J. Bianchi. He is interim director of the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) while remaining chief executive officer of the Navy Exchange Service Command (NexCom).


“I have been charged with instituting reforms and procedures [to] drive down expenses, allow us to still offer the benefit at the prescribed level [of savings] Congress is looking for and, hopefully, offset those expenses by running the commissary more like a business,” said Bianchi.

The first obstacle in his way, he suggested in an hour-long interview, is a “significant” drop in commissary sales, from $6.1 billion in fiscal 2012 to $4.8 billion in 2017. The sales slide has continued into fiscal 2018 though at a slower rate. Read All


Russia Claims Its Nuclear Sub Went ‘Undetected’ On US Coastline
Staff, American Military News, March 19

Russia’s nuclear submarine went “undetected” on its approach to the U.S. coastline during an exercise near American military bases, a submarine squadron commander recently told Zveda, Russia’s Defense Ministry’s official broadcaster, RT reported.

The news of the nuclear submarine activity was made in a military television series on Zveda. The episode’s focus was Akula-class Shchuka-B nuclear-powered submarines.

“This mission has been accomplished, the submarines showed up in the set location in the ocean and returned to base,” said submarine squadron commander Sergey Starshinov.

Starshinov said the submarine went “undetected” upon close approach to U.S. shores without violating maritime borders by staying in international waters. The date and location of the undetected activity was not been disclosed.

The U.S. Navy did not respond to a request for comment.

Russia’s submarine activity is at a post-Cold War high, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti – the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations, said Thursday.

“They are deploying more and they are deploying at a higher rate,” he said. “The forces they are deploying are being modernized, particularly with their weapons systems.”

Scaparrotti told the House Armed Services Committee that the U.S. needs to invest more to keep up with Russia’s naval activity.
Scaparrotti said last week that the Russian military may surpass U.S. military capability in Europe by 2025.

“Given their modernization, the pace that it’s on … We have to maintain our modernization that we’ve set out so that we can remain dominant in the areas that we are dominant today,” Scaparrotti said. “If we were not to do that, I think that their pace would put us certainly challenged in a military domain in almost every perspective by, say, 2025.”

Scaparrotti also said Russia was doubling down on efforts to control Arctic sea lanes. “They would have the capability in some time, perhaps two or three years, to control the Northern Sea route if they chose to do so,” he said, adding: “We’re not keeping pace.”


Navy, Coast Guard Divers Recover Torpedoes in Freezing Arctic

COMSUBPAC Public Affairs,, March 17


ICEX 2018 is a five-week biennial exercise that allows the Navy to assess its operational readiness in the Arctic, increase experience in the region, advance understanding of the Arctic environment, and continue to develop relationships with other services, allies and partner organizations.

During the exercise, the Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) and the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) each fired several training torpedoes under the ice. Training torpedoes have no warheads and carry minimal fuel.


"The primary objective of this year's ICEX is to test new under-ice weapons systems and validate tactics for weapon employment," said Ryan Dropek, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport, RI Weapons Test Director. "Once the divers recover these torpedoes, we can extract important data about how they perform and react in these conditions."


After the submarines fire the torpedoes, helicopters transport gear and personnel to the location where the positively-buoyant torpedo is expected to run out of fuel. Each torpedo has a location device in order to assist in the search. Once found, a 3-4 person team will then drill a series of holes for the divers to enter and exit, as well as one hole for the torpedo to be lifted by helicopter.


"Once we know the location of the torpedo and drill holes, our divers slip into the water to begin placing weights on a line attached to the tail end of the torpedo," Chief Warrant Officer Michael Johnson, officer-in-charge of MDSU-2 divers, explained. "The weights help shift the torpedo from a state of positive buoyancy to neutral buoyancy under the ice."


Once the torpedo is neutral, the divers place brackets with cables to the top and bottom of the body of the torpedo. A helicopter then connects to the torpedo before lifting it vertically out of the hole.


The three dive teams completed additional training in preparation for diving in the unique environment of the Arctic Ocean.


"To prepare for ICEX, we completed training at the Coast Guard's Cold Water Ice Diving (CWID) course and earned our ordnance handling certification from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center," said Johnson. "Additionally, each unit completed MK48 Torpedo recovery training and Unit Level Training (ULT) classroom training on hypothermia, frostbite, ice camp operations, dry-suit, and cold-water ice diving."


The USCG CWID course is a two-week course in Seattle, WA hosted by the USCG instructors at Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC) which focuses on the use of equipment and diving operations in harsh Arctic waters. During the course, divers complete a diving practical in Loc de Roc, British Columbia at 5,000 ft. elevation to put environmental stresses on the divers and equipment to acclimate to the cold and altitude.


"Our Underwater Construction Teams have always had the ice-diving capabilities, so it was awesome to be invited out to this exercise to make sure we're keeping up with something that we say we can do," said Builder 1st Class Khiaro Promise, assigned to Construction Dive Detachment Alfa.


During ICEX, the divers conducted dives using two different types of diving methods. UCT-1 and the USCG dove with SCUBA equipment, which provides divers with an air supply contained in tanks strapped to the backs of the divers. The divers equip themselves with a communication "smart rope" which is a protected communication cable to the surface that acts as a tending line so support personnel on the surface has positive control of the divers and so they can quickly return to the dive hole.


MDSU-2 divers used the diving system DP2 with configuration one, which provides voice communications and an air supply provided by the surface. This configuration allows the divers to swap the composite air bottles without the diver resurfacing and without interrupting their air supply.


"We decided to use the DP2 system because it performs in arctic conditions very well," said Navy Diver 1st Class Davin Jameson, lead diving supervisor for MDSU-2. "The ability to change our air supply during the dive is critical and allows us to stay under the water a lot longer."


Not only did the divers have an essential role in torpedo recovery, they were also essential to camp operations. "Prior to torpedo retrieval dives, all the divers on ice helped set up the camp and in the building of two runways (one 1,300 and one 2,500-ft)," Senior Chief Navy Diver Michael McInroy, master diver for MDSU-2. "In the camp, everyone has responsibilities to keep operations on track. The divers worked hard to do their part in and out of the water."


MDSU-2 is an expeditionary mobile unit homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Ft. Story (JEBLCFS) in Norfolk, Va. The unit deploys in support of diving and salvage operations and fleet exercises around the world. The primary mission is to direct highly-mobile, fully-trained and equipped mobile diving and salvage companies to perform combat harbor clearance, search and expeditionary salvage operations including diving, salvage, repair, assistance, and demolition in ports or harbors and at sea aboard Navy, Military Sealift Command, or commercial vessels of opportunity in wartime or peacetime.


UCT-1 is also homeported at JEBLCFS and is worldwide deployable to conduct underwater construction, inspection, repair and demolition operations. Seabees operated off the coast of Alaska for the first time in 1942 when they began building advanced bases on Adak, Amchitka and other principal islands in the Aleutian chain.


ICEX divers and their support elements are a proven and vital component to the success of this five-week exercise. The partnership between the Navy and Coast Guard builds on the foundation of increasing experience and operational readiness even in the one of the harshest regions of the world.


"The brotherhood in diving means we have a lot of trust in that other person when you go underwater, and you get close to your coworkers, it's more of a family," Promise said.^


While Beijing and apologists for the Communist Party of China (CCP) seek to place the responsibility for these deaths on the demand from an immoral and decadent American population, the fact remains Americans are being killed by a lethal drug that is being manufactured in, and transported from, the PRC. 

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), China provides the majority of all the illegal fentanyl that is shipped to the United States. While most of the interdicted drugs have been through the mail or within shipments of heroin smuggled across the southern border, there is growing evidence of just how much fentanyl is being shipped by sea. 

For instance, Anne Arundel County Maryland reported nearly 200 people died in overdoses in 2017. Despite devoting increased resources to fight this influx, the county lost more lives to opioid overdoses than traffic accidents, homicides, and suicides in all of 2016.  Anne Arundel County is not Appalachia; it is an upscale country, home to the U.S. Naval Academy, the National Security Agency (NSA), and lots of high paying-government contracting jobs. Yet this county has been inundated by a wave of fentanyl from China that comes into the state through the Port of Baltimore. What is of concern is how much is coming by sea and how to deal with this influx, especially in view of the PRC’s reluctance to support requests from the U.S. government to crack down on production and shipping of this deadly drug.

In October 2017, for instance, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the first indictment of two PRC nationals for illegally shipping fentanyl into the United States. The PRC’s National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC), the equivalent to the U.S. DEA, however, reported that the two individuals had not been arrested because it was unclear if they had broken any PRC laws and that the United States was at fault for having state-level marijuana legalization laws that are contributing to the increase in fentanyl abuse.

Whether or not this response is indicative of a purposeful PRC strategy to erode U.S. national health and security, illegal opioids from China are killing U.S. citizens.

What can be done?  Well, short of stopping and searching all container ships coming from the PRC, the U.S. Sea Services can do a few things today:

1.  Intrusive Leadership If there ever was a time for military leaders to get closer to their young service members, it is now. In addition to drug testing, the more important effective course of action will be for leaders to personally educate their people about the exceptionally lethal nature of opioids like fentanyl. For instance, a recent bust in New York in December 2017 took in 196 pounds of this synthetic drug, enough to kill every person in New York City…eleven times over. It is so deadly, the CBP agents wear latex gloves and masks because ingesting just a few milligrams of this drug could kill them. The risk of death from opioid overdose is not like taking one too many drinks at the club or smoking marijuana and getting behind the wheel of your car (both of which are illegal). Service members need to know how lethally volatile it is and that even just one trial use could end their lives.

2.  It’s about National Security .  While we certainly owe it to our Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and their families to warn them about this plight, we need our senior leaders to take a stand and call attention to this issue in our multitude of mil-to-mil engagement activities. While it has been standard protocol for U.S. military leaders not to engage in contentious political issues when conducting international engagement events, the fact that the Commander-in-Chief has stated that this is a national security issue should impact how U.S. military leaders engage with their Chinese counterparts. Considerations should be made to introduce this issue as a talking point during future high-level dialogues. To the extent that there is no reduction in the inbound flow of Chinese fentanyl to our shores, then further actions like deferring the PRC’s participation in events like the Rim of the Pacific exercise should be considered.

Seasoned experts have recommended that the ultimate solution for fighting the drug wars, especially this opioid crisis, is curbing demand. While limiting demand will continue to be a focus of effort for many, the message for the U.S. military is that we are now engaged in a drug war with China. It is a war we must fight to protect U.S. national security and our most precious resource—our people.

Captain Fanell served as a career naval intelligence officer whose positions included the senior intelligence officer for China at the Office of Naval Intelligence and the chief of intelligence for CTF-70, 7th Fleet, and the U.S. Pacific Fleet. He retired from the Navy in 2015 and currently is a government fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

William Triplett was a former chief counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  ^


Drop Dead Date for Ordering Engraved Bricks for Deterrent Park Semi-Annual Installation

Posted March 18, 2018


New engraved bricks are installed semi-annually in the missile deck of the full scale top side model of the USS Woodrow Willson (SSBN 624)  at Deterrent Park on the submarine base, NBK, Bangor. Newly ordered bricks are installed in May and November.

Since day one, over 2400 engraved bricks have been installed.

In less than two months, the drop dead date for ordering bricks for May 27th installation is May 10th, 2018.

The price per brick is $40.  Half of that goes for bricks & engraving, while the other half goes into the base treasury tagged for charitable functions such as scholarships for Subvets children and grandchildren.

Go for more info about Deterrent Park.^

A Comparison of U.S. Navy and Royal Navy Officer Training

Proceedings Magazine - March 2018 144/3/1,381 By Dr. Anthony Wells

As a former Royal Navy officer who had the pleasure of serving with the U.S. Navy at sea, I have perhaps unique insights into the differences between how the U.S. Navy and Royal Navy train their junior officers. The differences between the Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) at Dartmouth and the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) have been significant since the beginning of both institutions.

Dartmouth is not a degree-awarding institution like USNA. It solely is dedicated to the mission of training young naval officers for sea duty. BRNC concentrates on hands-on seamanship training and leadership, including all the necessary professional skill sets needed on board modern warships—from navigation, shiphandling, and nuclear/biological/chemical defense, to marine and electrical engineering, leadership skills; how to be a good junior divisional officer; dealing with unstructured challenging situations; and being toughened in rigorous physical environments for the challenges of fighting at sea.

University-style academic training—and the resultant environment of a college campus—is not the mantra at BRNC, except insofar as naval history, engineering, and subjects like celestial navigation, international rules of the road, and communications directly impinge on professional duties. In the 1960s, graduate intakes were just becoming the norm at BRNC. Today, Dartmouth has a 30 weeks basic training course followed by intensive professional training at sea and specialist shore training establishments. This 21st century program recruits directly from universities, with young acting sub-lieutenants having acquired their degree and, in some cases, having been members of their universities’ officer training corps. At sea in the English Channel and on the river Dart, hands-on seamanship training always has been paramount at BRNC, with divisional yachts providing ocean sailing alongside at Sandquay a myriad of small power and sailboats. Small boat training and sailing are mandatory at BRNC from day one and occupy a key part of the daily routine training. Parade training is intense. Officer trainees are taught how to handle a variety of small arms and, for those inclined to aviation, fly small aircraft trainers out of nearby Roborough Field.

By contrast, USNA is a four-year degree-oriented program with academics as a high priority. Annapolis strives for high rankings among U.S. universities, and its students can choose from a wide variety of academic majors. There is, therefore, a strong academic emphasis to the four-year program from day one, sustained by an academic faculty that is both professionally strong and seeking the same academic recognition as in any other U.S. university.

I keep an ocean-going sailboat close to the Naval Academy in Annapolis and have observed for years what goes on from USNA in the Chesapeake Bay. It bears little resemblance to BRNC with, by comparison, minimal seamanship training. Sailing seems to be a sport for some midshipmen rather than a major professional focus for the brigade, despite the large array of sailboats alongside the Academy walls. One of my own crew, a retired U.S. Army colonel, has participated in USNA’s sail-training program in a leadership capacity. He has completed several major sails and is disappointed at the small number of participants in the program.

The Chesapeake Bay is alive with large merchantmen transiting to and from Baltimore. The channel is well marked. I talk continuously on VHF to large cargo ships and oilers as my sailboat transits to and from the Atlantic. I enjoy routine chit-chats with merchant ships, starting typically after a mariner’s greeting with, “What are your intentions?” After a short exchange on the radio, both vessels know exactly what we intend and how we will pass or overtake. Every day on the Chesapeake there is enormous opportunity for USNA midshipmen to become conversant and confident talking to merchant ships and figuring out how to avoid any possibility of a collision. My crewman assures me that USNA yachts from time to time sail the Delmarva—a circumnavigation of the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and the coastal Atlantic Ocean, typically up to 50 nautical miles offshore. However, these training voyages involve a small minority of midshipmen.

I fear the U.S. Naval Academy sets a trend that may pervade the U.S. Navy. It is possible that a USNA graduate may not be a hands-on seaman upon graduation, and may not be ready to be a junior officer of the watch or divisional officer.

In the 1970s, I first served at sea on exchange from the Royal Navy with the U.S. Third Fleet. Prior to my appointment with the U.S. Navy I had taught as a lieutenant commander at the Royal Naval College Greenwich, including the Lieutenants’ Greenwich Course (LGC). Later, I was responsible at sea in the Dartmouth training ship for the planning of all Royal Navy, Commonwealth, and other foreign navies’ junior officers’ sea training from midshipmen to sub lieutenants, as well as being a senior instructor. In 1977, I was standing on the bridge wing of a U.S. Navy surface ship with Vice Admiral Samuel Gravely, Commander of the U.S. Third Fleet—the first African-American to gain three stars and fleet command and a distinguished World War II veteran. The commanding officer and his crew were being put through various drills, under the watchful eye of the admiral. At one key point, Admiral Gravely turned to me and asked what I thought of a developing situation. I responded that the ship should alter speed and course immediately, and take evasive and emergency action. The admiral was displeased with the commanding officer’s poor seamanship.

A few days later, during the exercise, the admiral summoned me to his cabin. He asked me to be frank about my observations of this ship. This was a delicate conversation, and in hindsight it seems relevant 40 years later. My chief observation was that there seemed to be insufficient connection between the officers and the enlisted crew members. Unlike the Royal Navy, the social environment on board seemed sterile, without the level of camaraderie that I had enjoyed in Her Majesty’s ships. As a result, I assessed that the ship was lacking spirit and the atmosphere was mechanical, with the crewmembers doing their jobs without an “all-of-one-company” attitude. I had spent more time with lookouts, for example, than many of the officers onboard. I had given them instruction, conversed with them regularly, so I got to know them as people. The wardroom atmosphere was routine, with people appearing for meals and disappearing. I explained that in a Royal Navy ship, the social levels in the wardroom, chief petty officers’ and petty officers’ messes, were dramatically different—true social entities with great camaraderie, which I believe is reflected in performance.

Career General List British naval officers (equivalent to career unrestricted line officers in the U.S. Navy) all are trained as “Seaman Officers,” so that they are all “SWOs” irrespective of later specialization. Submariners and aviators will revert back to the surface navy typically after a command as a commander.

Does all this result in seamanship performance differences between the Royal and U.S. navies? One indicator comes from U.S. Navy officers who have served at sea in Royal Navy ships. In 2009, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Mitch McGuffie wrote in Proceedings that his exchange tour with the Royal Navy showed him how much he did not know about seamanship and navigation. My recommendation is for the two navies to learn from each other.

The U.S. Navy has an impeccable warfighting tradition, yet its incidents at sea in 2017 signal underlying problems. As one who graduated from and later served at the BRNC, I know the benefits of its singular focus on seamanship. The U.S. Navy may wish to consider and analyze options for change at USNA and its other officer accession programs, perhaps refocusing the curriculum and training objectives to seamanship training and all the arts and sciences that accompany these key skill sets. In addition, USNA may want to look at its recruitment strategy, with alternatives for recruiting and training graduates as seaman officers first before any specialization, and creating more flexible career paths that permit a wider range of attendees at USNA other than mainly high-school graduates. USNA may wish to review its academic emphasis and the curriculum structure, and even reduce the course length if the emphasis shifts to professional sea and officer warfighting training. If a degree is mandatory, then perhaps the focus should be programs concentrating on professional naval engineering and operations.

Dr. Wells is the author of the recent U.S. Naval Institute Press book, A Tale of Two Navies: Geopolitics, Technology, and Strategy in the United States Navy and the Royal Navy, 1960-2015 . He has served at sea and ashore with the Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy, and is believed to be the only living person to have worked for British intelligence as a British citizen and U.S. intelligence as a U.S. citizen. ^


ICEX 2018: Proving Ground for Submarine Arctic Operability and Warfighting

Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2018 is underway in the Arctic Ocean.

The five-week biennial exercise allows us to assess our operational readiness in the Arctic, increase experience there, advance understanding of the Arctic environment and continue to develop relationships with other services, allies and partner organizations.

Two U.S. fast-attack submarines that have the Nutmeg State to thank for their names are working together near the top of the world.


Los Angeles-class fast attack sub USS Hartford and Seawolf-class fast attack sub USS Connecticut both surfaced through the ice in the Arctic Circle on Friday, according to the Department of Defense.


The submarines are taking part in a five-week maritime Ice Exercise (ICEX) along with the United Kingdom Royal Navy submarine HMS Trenchant in the Arctic Circle north of Alaska.


The exercise is a way to train crews and test the capabilities of the submarines in extreme cold-water conditions, according to the Pentagon.


“From a military, geographic, and scientific perspective, the Arctic Ocean is truly unique, and remains one of the most challenging ocean environments on earth,” said Rear Admiral James Pitts, Commodore, Undersea Warfighting Development Center.


Good show with videos   and ^


USS Connecticut journeys to the Arctic

Julianne Stanford, jstanford@kitsapsun.comPublished 10:00 a.m. PT March 11, 2018


The crew of the Bremerton-based USS Connecticut will spend the next few weeks navigating the sea-ice-covered waterways of the Arctic Ocean as participants in a biennial Navy exercise that will culminate with surfacing at the North Pole.

The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine, based at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, is joined by the USS Hartford from Groton, Connecticut, and the U.K. Royal Navy's Trafalgar-class submarine HMS Trenchant.

For five weeks, the three submarines will work together as participants in Ice Exercise 2018, shortened to ICEX.

During the exercise, the submarines will practice navigating through Arctic waterways, participate in training exercises, test launch torpedoes without attached warheads, surface through the ice and collect scientific data.

The exercise aims to test the Navy's operational readiness in the Arctic's frigid temperatures and water conditions as well as demonstrate international cooperation in the region.

"With every ICEX we are able to build upon our existing experience and continue to learn the best way to operate in this unique and harsh environment," said Rear Adm. James Pitts, commander of Undersea Warfare Development Center in Newport, Rhode Island.


Hector Castillo watches daily operations while communicating with the command hut at the Applied Physics Lab Ice Station as the Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut prepares to submerge under the ice during ICEX 2011. (Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin O'Brien)


Typically, crews can check for ships or small boats above them with their periscopes before surfacing. Breaking through the Arctic's ice floes presents additional challenges, said ICEX spokeswoman Lt. Courtney Callaghan.

"During normal submerged operations in most waters around the world, the crew needs to know what is below them and what is in front of them," Callaghan said. "In the unique Arctic environment, the crew must also know what is above them. This includes knowing if there is ice or low-hanging ice keels above them, which may pose a hazard to transit."

The potentially dangerous ice aren't just stationary chunks of frozen water sitting in the water that can be easily navigated around, either.


"The ice floes are constantly moving, many times at relatively noticeable speeds," Callaghan said. "Before the submarines can surface, they must consider the thickness and match the speed of the ice flows."

While training in the area, submarine crews will collect data on their surroundings, such as the water temperature at various depths of the ocean, water salinity and seafloor surroundings for depth.

The collected data will be unclassified and provided to various organizations for research, Callaghan said.

About a year before the start of the exercise, the Navy's San Diego-based Arctic Submarine Laboratory started preparations to establish a temporary base camp on top of a sheet of ice alongside partners from the Undersea Warfighting Development Center Arctic Submarine Laboratory, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC) Science
(An Alaska Native Corporation/ed) Read all ^


2018 World Navies in Review

Proceedings Magazine - March 2018 144/3/1,381 By Eric Wertheim

The proliferation of sophisticated naval weapons and technology has reached fever pitch during the past few years. Sales of advanced submarines, long-range antiship weapons, and cutting-edge surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) have provided asymmetric capabilities to all interested parties. Modern navies must now come to grips with these challenges, and they must be prepared to face even the most advanced military threats anywhere and everywhere they operate.

This review of the world’s navies presents a snapshot of activities and developments during the past year. It is arranged by region, with nations discussed alphabetically under each subheading



Australia’s first new 7,000-ton Aegis-equipped guided-missile destroyer (DDG), HMAS Hobart, was commissioned into service in September 2017. Two others, the Brisbane and Sydney, are planned for service by 2020.

As the Hobart-class DDGs join the fleet, they are replacing upgraded Adelaide-class frigates, including HMAS Darwin, which was decommissioned in December 2017. The Australian Navy has been working to upgrade all eight of its Anzac-class frigates with active phased-array radars and other improvements. The Anzac class eventually will be replaced by nine future frigates beginning in the mid-2020s. The German OPV-80 design has been selected for Australia’s 12 new 1,760-ton offshore patrol vessels, with construction set to begin on the new OPVs in late 2018.

In 2017, the first steel was cut for Australia’s Pacific patrol boat replacement (PPB-R) vessels. Nineteen will be delivered between 2018 and 2023 for donation to 12 Pacific island nations. Australia also is enhancing its own coastal security and in 2017 commissioned two Cape-class 190-foot patrol boats under a lease agreement.

Two new replenishment vessels are planned for the near future, both of which will be built in Spain and based on the Cantabria class. These new oilers, to be named the Supply and Stalwart, are expected for delivery in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Australia plans to acquire 12 new 4,500-ton French-designed submarines to replace the six existing Collins-class boats. These 12 diesel submarines are expected in service from the early 2030s.

Two 27,000-ton Canberra-class amphibious assault ships recently entered service. They suffered some early propulsion difficulties, but the problems appear to have been corrected by late 2017. Australian defense forces reportedly are considering acquisition of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and UH-1N utility helicopters for use on the Canberra class in the future.

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also is increasing in the fleet, and some warships are deploying with new unmanned Scan Eagles as well as manned MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. Australia has begun receiving its first Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, and 12 P-8As currently are planned for delivery through 2020. Additional P-8As are expected to be ordered in the future. A total of 7 MQ-4C long- range Triton UAVs also are planned for service beginning in the early 2020s.

Bangladesh became a full-fledged submarine operator in 2017 with the transfer of two aging Ming-class (Project 035) diesel-powered boats from China. China also delivered two newly constructed 211-foot guided-missile patrol craft that are based on its own Type 056 corvette. Bangladesh has ordered two additional Dornier Do-228NG aircraft to boost maritime patrol and surveillance capabilities.

The 55,000-ton Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning was operational with the People's Liberation Army Navy in 2017. More and larger aircraft carriers are in development

China’s naval forces continue to make great strides, rapidly eroding Western technological advantages. As its power projection capabilities continue to grow, naval assets reach further into the Indian Ocean region as well as the South and East China seas. China’s first aircraft carrier, the 55,000-ton Liaoning, now is operational, and speculation has shifted to future carrier designs. Current plans include two domestically designed and built non-nuclear carriers known as the Project 001 and Project 002. The Project 001 was launched in the first half of 2017 and is expected to enter service in the early 2020s. Similar in appearance to the Liaoning, the Project 001 will be larger and faster and is expected to carry roughly 40 percent more aircraft than the Liaoning. The Project 002 aircraft carrier currently is in the final stages of development and will be bigger than its two predecessors, displacing 85,000 tons. The Project 002 is expected to be fitted with a new Chinese version of the electromagnetic aircraft launch system rather than a ski-jump.

This past year China opened its first overseas military base—in Djibouti—and is expected to increase use of the Chinese-funded port at Gwadar, Pakistan. China reportedly has doubled the size of the People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps from 10,000 to 20,000 troops, and long-term plans call for an increase to 100,000 marine personnel. China launched its fifth Yuzhao-class/Project 071 17,000-ton amphibious transport dock, which is expected to commission this year.

Construction of a new 35,000-ton big-deck amphibious ship (Project 075) is reportedly under way. The Project 075 is expected to have well decks to operate the new Yuyi-class (Project 726) air-cushioned landing craft under construction.

China’s surface combatant fleet has been expanding. Its first new, 10,000-ton Renhai-class (Project 055) guided-missile cruiser (sometimes classified as a destroyer) was launched in summer 2017. Project 055 armament is thought to include at least 112 vertical launch system cells, advanced SAMs, land-attack cruise missiles, and the 290-nautical-mile range CH-SS-NX-13/YJ-18 antiship missile. Two Project 055s are reported to be under construction, and it appears at least four are planned. China’s sixth Luyang III–class (Project 052D) destroyer was commissioned this past July, and the 13th unit of the class was launched that same month. The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s 26th 4,000-ton Jiangkai II-class (Project 054A) guided-missile frigate entered service in January, and its 37th Jiangdao-class (Project 056) 1,500-ton missile corvette also joined the fleet.

New auxiliary vessels are supporting these increased operations. The first of a new 41,000-ton class of Project 901 replenishment ships entered service, while a second unit of the class is planned for delivery later this year. A sixth 6,000-ton Project 815 intelligence collection ship entered service in January 2017, with an additional unit launched during the summer; more are expected. A large 50,000-ton dual-use, civil-military heavy-lift ship also became operational early in 2017 and is able to transport up to 10,000 tons of outsized cargo.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, China has completed six of the Shang I/II-class Project 093/093A nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), and a new variant—the Project 093B—is thought to be under development. Up to 14 next-generation Project 095 SSNs may also be planned for the future. Four Jin-class (Project 094) nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs), armed with JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) have been completed, and a fifth is thought to be under construction. Development is also under way on the Project 096 SSBN that should begin construction in the early 2020s and be armed with the new JL-3 SLBM. A sub-launched variant of the 290-nm range YJ-18 antiship missile is under development to arm the Shang-class (Project 093), Song-class (Project 039), and Yuan-class (Project 041) submarines. Production of the Yuan-class is reported to have restarted after a pause of several years; at least three new boats were seen fitting out in early 2017. 
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Trump Pardons Navy Man Who Took Illegal Submarine Photos

The Associated Press |9 Mar 2018 |By Ken Thomas

WASHINGTON — The White House announced Friday that President Donald Trump has pardoned a Navy sailor who took photos of classified areas inside a submarine and served a year in federal prison.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Kristian Saucier was pardoned by Trump and the president was "appreciative" of his service to the nation. "He has been recognized by his fellow service members for his dedication skill and patriotic spirit," Sanders said.

Trump has referenced Saucier's case often when criticizing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server. In a January tweet, he referred to the "Deep State Justice Dept" and criticized the agency for jailing a sailor instead of a top Clinton aide.

It was Trump's second pardon as president. He pardoned Joe Arpaio, a former six-term sheriff of metro Phoenix, in August.

Saucier's attorney, Ronald Daigle Jr., said his client was "ecstatic. He's so grateful that the president saw there was an injustice in this matter and he took action on it."

Saucier pleaded guilty in 2016 to unauthorized detention of defense information for taking photos inside the USS Alexandria while it was stationed in Groton, Connecticut, in 2009.

Saucier had said previously that he had only wanted service mementos. But federal prosecutors argued he was a disgruntled sailor who had put national security at risk by taking photos showing the submarine's propulsion system and reactor compartment and then obstructed justice by destroying a laptop and camera. Saucier claimed his prosecution was driven by sensitivity about classified information amid the scandal involving Clinton's emails.

Saucier, of Arlington, Vermont, was a 22-year-old machinist mate on the nuclear-powered attack submarine when he took the photos. His lawyers said he knew the photos would be classified but he wanted to show his family what he did in the Navy. He denied sharing the photos with any unauthorized recipient.

After Trump won election, Daigle discussed the case at Trump Tower with Michael Flynn, the president's former national security adviser, who encouraged a formal pardon request. Trump was later asked about the case during an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity and said it was "very unfair."


If Not Razor Blades,then What?



Women are sticking with US submarines at same rate as men

By JENNIFER McDERMOTT | Associated Press

When the U.S. Navy sought the first female sailors to serve on submarines, Suraya Mattocks (USSVI Bremerton Base Member/ed)  raised her hand because she had always thought it would be a cool job, not because she wanted to blaze a trail. She did anyway.


It has been eight years since the Navy lifted its ban on women in submarines. The chaos and disruption some predicted largely haven't materialized. Women like Mattocks are focused on doing their jobs well. Their retention rates are, to some surprise to the Navy, on par with those of men, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.


And they want to be seen simply as "submariners," not "female submariners."


"That'll be a great day when it's not so new that everyone wants to talk about it," Mattocks told the AP in a rare interview. "Females on my crew, they really and truly just want to be seen as submariners. That's it."


The Navy began bringing female officers on board submarines in 2010; enlisted female sailors followed five years later.


By now, the first 19 female officers have decided whether to sign a contract to go back to sea as a department head, which keeps them on the career path for a submarine officer, or have chosen a different path. Five women signed. Fourteen women have either left the military, will soon leave or are serving elsewhere in the Navy, according to records requested by the AP.


That's a retention rate of 26 percent for the first female officers, just shy of the roughly 27 percent of male officers selected for submarine service in 2010 who signed a department head contract. The Navy had been looking for at least 15 percent for women.


Nine more female officers were picked for submarine service in 2010, but with the intention they would return to jobs in the supply departments on surface ships or ashore — a normal career path.


"You always want higher" numbers, said Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, but he is encouraged by the initial results and the growing number of female officer candidates who want to be submariners.


"I think if there was a sense it was not doing well, we wouldn't have those types of numbers," he said.


Richardson led the submarine force at the beginning of the integration, from late 2010 to 2012. At that time, some submarine veterans, wives of submariners and active-duty members were calling the change a mistake. The living quarters were too tight, there was little privacy and romantic relationships could develop, they feared.


Many now say that the transition went smoothly, with one major exception. Male sailors were prosecuted in 2015 for secretly videotaping female officers and trainees as they undressed on the USS Wyoming.


"They did court-martial the perpetrators. It wasn't laughed off, and that's a good thing," said retired Navy Capt. Lory Manning, director of government relations for the Service Women's Action Network. "I don't think, in general, it dampens the effort."


To address privacy, the Navy is retrofitting subs with extra doors and designated washrooms. Future subs will be built with the height, reach and strength of women in mind.


Mattocks is on the USS Michigan, a sub that splits its time between Washington state and Guam. Sailors have in some cases organically changed their behavior to accommodate changing times.


Some accustomed to sleeping in their underwear now don a robe or sweats to go to the bathroom, for instance, in case they encounter another gender in the hall.


"That goes for both sides. It's not that all females have to wear this and males can do whatever they want," Mattocks said. "It's just little things like that, having both genders in a small space. You figure out things you never would've thought of before."


One-fifth of submarine crews are integrated. It will take until about 2026 before a woman could be in command of a U.S. Navy submarine.

Lt. Marquette Leveque, 29, is finishing her assignment this summer as the women in submarines coordinator, in which she manages the integration, advises Navy leaders and helps mentor future applicants. She is proud of her service as one of the first female officers on the USS Wyoming, she told the AP.


Among her peers, one was selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate, others joined the corporate world or moved to different Navy jobs. Some are new mothers.


Mattocks, a 34-year-old yeoman first class from Dover, New Hampshire, will soon retire from the Navy. She said she probably would have chosen to stay in the submarine force if it weren't so late in her naval career. She joined the Navy after graduating from high school and plans to retire when she hits 20 years of service.


"I found something I love, something new in the Navy that I love," she said. "I wouldn't have gotten bored with it."


Megan Stevenson, 25, trained at the Naval Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut, this spring before heading to the USS Louisiana in Bangor, Washington. Stevenson said she would sometimes get double takes.


"The way I look at submarines is kind of like an astronaut," said Stevenson, of Raymond, Maine. "It's a unique experience that so few people have done; I want to experience that." ^


Return to Trust at Sea through Unmanned Autonomy

By Commander Chris Rawley, U.S. Navy

The prevalence of unmanned systems operating below, on, and above the oceans over the next few decades will inevitably influence the Navy’s culture and approach to operational art at sea. Today most of these vehicles are controlled remotely, with a human operator directing the platforms, monitoring their systems, and re-tasking them as the weather deteriorates, operational priorities shift, or mechanical problems occur. In the near future, however, changes in technology and threats will drive unmanned naval systems away from remote operation and toward autonomy.

Technological breakthroughs in artificial intelligence have already developed autonomous behavior in some systems. For example, the Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Carrier Air System Demonstration program validated autonomous functions across the aircraft’s flight profile, including takeoff, landing, and even aerial refueling. This innovation also produces cost savings and efficiency. Existing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are generally each flown by a single pilot. Improved autonomy will allow a single operator to pilot several vehicles, which will reduce the most expensive component of these systems— people.

The Need for More Independence

More than any other factor, though, platforms operating in contested electromagnetic environments will require higher levels of independence. Unmanned systems will increasingly operate beyond the line of sight of their controllers and in areas prone to GPS or other electronic jamming, spoofing, and interference by adversary forces. Counterterrorism intelligence gathering and strike missions currently flown by UAVs in low-threat environments allow for constant data links and telemetry; a challenged electronic spectrum will require UAVs to make their own decisions.

Environmental factors also necessitate autonomy. Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) need automation for the reasons mentioned above plus the simple fact that normal methods of navigation such as GPS do not work due to the limitations of electromagnetic propagation under water.

Someday, autonomy will allow dynamic re-missioning of unmanned naval platforms without human intervention, improving their effectiveness in battle. As noted in the U.S. Air Force’s Technology Horizons: A Vision for Air Force Science and Technology, 2010-30, autonomous vehicles will enable “operational advantages over adversaries who are limited to human planning and decision speeds.” One of the first tests of this sort of autonomy will occur in a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program called the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV). This detects and tracks quiet diesel electric submarines across thousands of miles of ocean for several months at a time. In order to perform this mission, ACTUV will need to demonstrate several facets of advanced autonomous operation. The most fundamental is navigation. The ability to safely negotiate long transits in open water while following the rules of the road, avoiding collision, grounding, and counter-detection is not a trivial task. Whereas UAVs can operate safely in a “stack” separated from manned aircraft by altitude, the ACTUV and other autonomous surface vehicles will avoid collision through reliance on advanced sensors and artificial intelligence in place of the seaman’s eye. The ACTUV’s other more tactical operations may require a degree of autonomy, such as the decision to deploy or direct various sensors in response to radar or sonar contacts.

The upper end of the decision-making continuum for unmanned systems is combat. It is not a stretch to assume that one day smarter, more discriminating sensors will allow unmanned platforms to make their own attack decisions in certain combat environments. Contemporary discussions on the ethics of unmanned platforms gloss over the fact that legacy weapons such as land and sea mines kill much more indiscriminately than weapons enabled with smarter software algorithms. Tomahawk missiles can be sent on a one-way trip to a certain geographic location; “fire and forget” anti-ship missiles may be shot along a bearing toward a radar target dozens of miles away. Though precisely targeted and accurately guided, there is no guarantee that these weapons will hit their target at a time and place that minimizes harm to non-combatants. Despite ever-higher aversions to collateral damage in modern warfare, it is still assumed to be culturally acceptable for these relatively dumb weapons to be used in high-end naval combat.

The People Factor

Advances in sensor technology will allow mission planners to direct unmanned vehicles to automatically execute a general task, for example “find and destroy the enemy submarine matching a signature” that adheres to criteria such as specific electronic emissions or sonar characteristics. Note that regardless of the autonomy inherent in future unmanned systems, the development of rules of engagement and the initial decision to kill will remain with a human commander, just as they are today. If anything, unmanned maritime systems will be more discriminating than contemporary weapons and subject to self-recall or mission abort if targeting criteria are not met.

Unmanned systems will enhance the distribution and number of naval platforms. Whereas in the past an individual ship or submarine might have been put on station to collect intelligence, tomorrow that same vessel may act as a mother ship for dozens of unmanned “drones” operating independently and scouting an area of interest. So while a shrinking Navy may result in fewer ships on station in a given area, the actual units of action at sea will be higher in number and require delegated operations.

Unmanned-system swarming is another concept challenging the status quo of operational art. John Arguilla and David Ronfelt describe this tactic for modern warfare as a seemingly amorphous, but deliberately structured, coordinated, strategic way to strike from all directions at a particular point or points, by means of a sustainable pulsing of force and/or are, close-in as well as from stand-off positions . . . Swarming will work best—perhaps it will only work—if it is designed mainly around the deployment of myriad, small, dispersed, networked maneuver units. Swarming occurs when the dispersed units of a network of small (and perhaps some large) forces converge on a target from multiple directions. The overall aim is sustainable pulsing—swarm networks must be able to coalesce rapidly and stealthily on a target, then dissever and redisperse, immediately ready to re-combine for a new pulse.1

The advent of lower-cost, more capable unmanned systems brings Arguilla and Ronfelt’s vision closer to reality. Swarming as an asymmetric tactic will be applied across all domains of naval warfare. In May 2013, researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School flew ten UAVs simultaneously to test swarming behaviors including target engagement, defense, search, and survey. The aircraft were remotely controlled, but in the future autonomous swarms will be possible, mimicking the biological behavior of insects or schooling fish operating in concert with one another. Other ongoing experiments with swarming UUVs will enhance the speed and efficiency of underwater survey work and mine countermeasures.

Command and Over-Control

Ironically, as we become more comfortable with machines making their own decisions, the opposite situation has emerged with human operators. Vast ocean distances meant the Navy traditionally prided itself as the service in which commanders operated remotely and independently from higher authority. Because of this, for hundreds of years commanders relied on succinct guidance usually relayed by various minimalistic forms of transmission such as signal flags, flashing light, or teletype. Higher-echelon commanders’ guidance delivered prior to battle required independent execution by Fleet units in the event those arcane communication methods were not available. From Lord Horatio Nelson’s simple battle orders that “no captain can do wrong if he puts his ship alongside the nearest enemy” to Vice Admiral “Bull” Halsey’s terse direction to task-force commanders prior to Santa Cruz: “Attack—Repeat—Attack,” naval commanders aggressively interpreting orders have produced success in sea combat. These orders were issued on the assumption that the flag officers’ subordinate commanders were competent and would make solid decisions in the heat of combat.

Fast-forward to the past 30 years, when the introduction of high-bandwidth satellite communications, always-on email, and computer chat have changed the way the Navy commands and administers the Fleet. Unfortunately, the quantity of required reports and data has also increased to fill these new forms of communication. The concise and even pithy operational guidance in World War II has given way to minutely detailed operational tasks for each warfare area, with concomitant real-time oversight during mission execution. Bandwidth-hogging quad charts, multi-slide concepts of operations, innumerable and often redundant electronic reports for operational units at sea have become so burdensome that the Navy recently introduced a crowd-sourced effort to reduce administrative distractions in the Fleet.

Additionally, rightly or wrongly, Fleet-level maritime operations centers (MOCs) are now making decisions that once were made by local task-force or unit commanders. Even video teleconferences to afloat units are commonplace. The necessity of seeking permission to conduct activities that previously fell under the authority of seagoing commanders slows down the decision-making process. In peacetime these delays are a nuisance, eroding the authority and trust placed in commanding officers. But in combat they will be deadly.

This constant stream of communications is not all bad. Timely email to sailors’ loved ones and the opportunity to watch the Super Bowl live at sea are certainly morale builders. More important, the capability for ships to have access to the same intelligence and high-resolution imagery that are normally only available at the Fleet level is an operational benefit.

In the other direction, real-time video gives distant Fleet and higher-level commanders a better perspective on the battle situation. The now-famous photo of the National Command Authority in the White House situation room watching live UAV video feeds during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden demonstrates improved situational awareness without the accompanying micromanagement that is a risk with this technology. Regardless of these positives, the net result of these technologies in the Navy has been a slow cultural shift undermining the confidence in our frontline leadership.

Return to Past Practices

The same operational and environmental factors impacting unmanned systems will disrupt the links between ships and their higher headquarters ashore, meaning that a return to past practices is clearly necessary. Even with modern encryption, data links and communications pathways can be jammed or otherwise disrupted. Networked weapon systems and perhaps engineering controls of future combatants might be vulnerable to hacking or takeover. When fighting in a so-called anti-access/area-denial environment, emission control will once again become paramount for U.S. Navy platforms, as it was during the Cold War.

Might these threats become the impetus to transition the Navy back toward our more traditional roots of command by negation? And will scores of unmanned systems operating dispersed across the sea spur a return to decentralized command and control in naval warfare? Interestingly, the normally big formation-fixated conventional Army, recognizing that future battlefields will be more distributed with smaller ground units of action maneuvering alone, has turned to a concept called mission command. According to joint doctrine, this “is the conduct of military operations through decentralized execution based upon mission-type orders.” Sound familiar?

Even with autonomy, tracking and controlling distributed unmanned systems will be a challenge for future naval platforms. Trying to control them all centrally from an MOC or higher headquarters will be virtually impossible, in terms of both data bandwidth and span of control. As ships delegate decisions to smarter and more autonomous off-board systems, the ships themselves will need freedom to improvise in war and peace without the constant supervision enabled by higher levels of data transmission.

Technological improvements and their accompanying cultural shifts are a recurring theme in naval warfare. From sail to steam, battleships to carriers, and guns to missiles, newfound confidence in technology has driven wholesale changes in the philosophy of command and control. It appears inevitable that we’ll have no choice but to empower unmanned systems with the ability to make certain operational decisions. Will we again do the same for our human operators? Historically, trust and confidence in subordinate commanders has led to innovation, an imperative in wartime leadership.2 A shift in culture to accommodate the multitudes of naval drones in tomorrow’s Fleet can also help reverse the erosion in trust of our combat leaders.

1.John Arguilla and David Ronfelt, Swarming and the Future of Conflict (RAND National Defense Research Institute, 2000).
2.B. J. Armstrong, “Long Nights and Book Strewn Desks: Trust and Innovation,” Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, 12-14 October 2013,

Commander Rawley is a surface warfare officer serving as the deputy commander of a joint special-operations element in the Horn of Africa.

Navy to Send More Unmanned Systems to Sea
Jon Harper, National Defense Magazine, March 5

The Navy is moving ahead with unmanned surface and undersea vehicle development, and pursuing enabling technologies that will make the platforms operationally effective.


A wide range of USVs and UUVs are in the works, littoral combat ship program executive officer Rear Adm. John Neagley said during a presentation at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

“Those capabilities will be delivered over the next couple years and start to get into our procurements in ‘18 and ‘19 and really start hitting the fleet,” he said.

Neagley’s portfolio includes the unmanned maritime systems program office, PMS 406.

“LCS was built from the ground up to really leverage and take advantage of unmanned systems,” he said. “It’s a modular ship … [with] a lot of reconfigurable space.” It has a built-in capability for launching and recovering UUVs and USVs, he noted.

Unmanned vessels can range in size from small man-portable devices to extra-large platforms that are more than 50 meters in length. They allow the U.S. military to take warfighters out of harm’s way and perform certain missions more effectively and efficiently, he said.

Surface vehicles that are in the works include the unmanned influence sweep system minesweeper (UISS); the mine countermeasures USV (MCM USV); and the Sea Hunter medium displacement UUV, an anti-submarine warfare continuous train unmanned vessel.

Operational evaluation of the UISS is slated for spring 2018, and Milestone C is expected in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year, according to Neagley.

Construction and payload integration for the MCM USV is underway with initial operator testing in fiscal year 2019.
The Sea Hunter recently transitioned from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to the Office of Naval Research, where development and testing will continue.
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Submariners are a rare breed; it is an assignment requiring a special set of skills and a special kind of both physical and mental toughness.

“You take a little steel tube, pack a nuclear reactor and high power steam propulsion plant with high pressure and temperature steam. You also use the steam power plant to produce high voltage un-grounded electricity which you route throughout the boat in exposed cable bundles. You pack in 24 intercontinental ballistic missiles and the rockets that propel them out of the submarine (just 1 stage of 1 of these rockets is enough to liquify the submarine internals) that can each potentially be armed with up to 8 ballistic nuclear re-entry bodies that each by themselves can potentially be 20 times as powerful as those dropped on Japan in WW2. You route high-pressure air and hydraulics throughout this tube to operate all this large machinery required to move the tube around. You pack in up to 40 ADCAP Mk 48 torpedoes who have an auto-catalytic fuel that could utterly destroy your tube (see Russian submarine Kursk) and pack it full of high explosives. You pack all of these extremely dangerous things into that small metal tube, climb inside it with 120 people you love to hate (the feeling is mutual too), seal it up, drive it out thousands of miles into the middle of the ocean, and sink it.

If a fire burns for longer than 15 seconds without an extinguisher on it, it begins to grow rapidly and in as little as 2 minutes can render the entire space untenable. The loss of any 1 space on a submarine is likely a loss of the ship. There are a lot of things on a submarine that wants to burn or start a fire. And a lot of things on a submarine will explode when exposed to high heat. As such, every single person on a submarine has to know how to combat a fire by himself and call for assistance. On no other platform in the military is the success and survival of the whole ship dependent on the individual performance of each sailor as it is on a submarine.

This is all backdrop to some of the nation’s most vital clandestine operations (just 1 of the large number of missions a submarine can perform) which you never read about due to the nature of the missions. The stakes are high, and there is no room for error. It is a lot of stress. It is also a lot of pride.

Other than Seals, no other community asks more of its men and women than the submarine service. And as such, being a submariner is a certain badge of honor that is respected by the other communities and services. It is an arduous, thankless, and dangerous job.

So, what would attract one to this assignment? It is far and away the people. The shared responsibility for each other and the shared experience forges an extremely tight bond between the crew of a submarine, one that can only be rivaled by marine/army combat units, and even then it is still a different type of bond as each man is just as important as the one next to him. It is less steeped in the rigid structure of the rest of the military, and lines of rank are blurred more in submarines than anywhere else. This appeals to certain types of people and not to others.

So when you ask a submariner what it is he misses about submarining once he’s gone, he will always respond “I miss the people.^


Scottish Submarine Captain Who Had Finger On Nuclear Button Reveals Chilling Cold War Secrets

Stephen Stewart, Daily Record, March 5

He had his finger on the nuclear button, ready to unleash World War III.

Now, former Faslane Commodore Eric Thompson – who commanded five nuclear submarines during his career – has lifted the lid on the chilling secrets of the Cold War.

Eric revealed that the frontline subs were issued with a secret letter from the prime minister to be opened in the event of nuclear Armageddon.
The note – which was kept in a safe on board – would tell the crew to either retaliate by launching a cataclysmic nuclear strike or stand down.


Thankfully, Eric never had to open his letter.

Eric, who was born in Coatbridge, won a scholarship to Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth at 16. He served as an engineer officer before going on to submarines.

Nearly 40 years later, he retired as Commodore of Faslane, Britain’s principal nuclear submarine base.

Among the dangers of the Cold War, Eric also shares some funnier times.

He said: “Britain’s nuclear deterrent Polaris submarines were continuously at 15 minutes’ notice to launch a nuclear counter-strike on Russia in response to any Soviet nuclear strike against the UK.

“As I served in Polaris submarines during this period, I can testify to our readiness being a grim but effective reality. On taking office, every prime minister selects three nuclear ¬deputies from his or her ministers.

“They are appointed to take over the firing decision should the prime minister be killed.

“If London had been reduced to rubble, there was a risk the prime minister’s firing order could not be sent.

"To deal with this possibility, every new prime minister writes a personal sealed letter addressed to the Polaris submarine commanding officers and it is carried on board the submarines on patrol.

“In these letters, the prime minister gives instructions to the commanding officers on what to do if all normal communications are lost – ‘lost’ being taken as four hours with nothing heard.

“This is called the letter of last resort and, ¬sometimes, the letter from the grave. It is kept in a safe within a safe in the submarine control room. One such letter was held in my submarine, HMS Revenge.

“As far as I know, no prime minister’s letter has ever been opened, nor have the contents of any ever been disclosed but the possible options are obvious – retaliate, do not retaliate, seek refuge in a friendly country, or ‘you decide’.

"These letters are destroyed without being opened every time the prime minister changes.”

Eric served in five submarines, two squadrons, the staff of Submarine HQ and the Ministry of Defence. His MBE was awarded for leadership during a submarine emergency on patrol.

He would often have to go on a 10-week nuclear deterrence patrol on a sub with no contact from the outside world. In his new book, he argues that nuclear weapons were directly responsible for the avoidance of World War III.

He said: “Perhaps we should indeed thank God for the 73 years we have enjoyed without a Third World War.

“Kim Jong-un could fill the streets of Pyongyang with nuclear weapons but all he would achieve is the economic ruin of his country. We’ve been here before – that’s what finally cracked the Soviet regime. If Jong-un was to use his nuclear weapons, his regime would be wiped out. He knows that.”

Eric stokes controversy in his book by claiming Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could leave Britain’s defences vulnerable.

He wrote: “In 2015, Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong nuclear activist and one-time vice chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, became leader of the Labour Party.

"Were he to be elected as prime minister, he could, hypothetically, select the ‘do not retaliate’ option. If a potential aggressor were to be aware of this, our independent nuclear deterrent would have lost all credibility.

“From a national security point of view, the content of the letter of last resort must never be revealed. Potential enemies must always believe that intolerable nuclear retaliation will be the inevitable consequence of their own first strike.”

Eric, who was widowed in 2005, has two adult sons and lives near Helensburgh. He said one of the greatest vices of his career was practical joking.

He said: “I had brought some exploding cigar tips for insertion in the wardroom panatelas that were passed round after mess dinners.

"One night, I snuck the wardroom cigar box into my cabin, removed two panatelas from their tubes, unwrapped their cellophane, inserted the explosive tips and returned the box to its cupboard.

“The trick worked to perfection. At the Trafalgar Night dinner, there was a small explosion as the end of the executive officer’s cigar blew off in mid-puff, leaving him sucking on a tattered stump.

“The other spiked cigar was either not smoked or failed to explode. I had not considered that at the end of our patrol, we would be handing the boat over to the other crew, including the cigar box.

“A tradition of the deterrent programme is that a VIP meets every returning nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine in the Clyde estuary and rides it back to Faslane.

“VIPs range from the prime minister down to senior admirals. Another tradition is that after lunch, the VIP is invited into the captain’s tiny cabin for coffee and a cigar.

“Four months later, the captain of the other crew was entertaining his VIP guest, the commander-in-chief, in the privacy of his cabin when the end of the great man’s cigar exploded.

“Until writing this book, the perpetrator of that joke has never been identified. In military speak, it’s called, ‘Third party targeting’.”

Deterrent Park Volunteer, but.....

(Posted February 28 , 2018)


Recently you may have seen my plea on this site and in the base newsletter, Puget Soundings, for a a relief to take over the administration of the engraved brick ordering, engraving and installation at Deterrent Park, NBK, Bangor.


Right away, the  main installer, Ron Lewis, that enjoys doing the "grunt" work, as he calls it, called and said he would gladly continue on in that capacity, but could not handle the administration.  THANK YOU RON.


So I still do not have a relief on the Admin side.


Please consider this "light duty".  Please call me at 360-602-0250, or 360-509-0250 or e-mail to give you more information. V/R Don Bassler, Webmaster. ^


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