Greenert Issues Guidance

October 11, 2012 - via Inside Defense

CNO: New Sub-Hunting Capabilities Challenge U.S. Undersea Dominance

Emerging foreign capabilities to hunt and defeat stealthy submarines will force the Navy to find new ways to maintain dominance in the undersea warfighting arena, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert writes in new internal guidance.

In a Sept. 26 memo to his Strategic Studies Group, Greenert says revolutionary warfighting concepts must be developed to preserve the Navy's undersea edge in the coming years despite an array of rising challenges. The undersea environment "is the one domain in which the United States has clear maritime superiority -- but this superiority will not go unchallenged," he writes. Inside the Pentagon reviewed a copy of the memo.

New sub-hunting technologies and other developments could jeopardize this advantage, which is key for deterring and defeating threats, reassuring allies and partners, gathering information and understanding potential enemies, according to the memo, which launches a major assessment to grapple with the challenges and inform Navy investment plans for fiscal year 2015 and beyond.

"A growing number of nations are developing capabilities to find and defeat submarines and exploit the undersea domain for their own purposes," Greenert writes, without citing examples. "At the same time, commercial and academic interests are monitoring and exploring the undersea domain to unprecedented degrees," he adds. "To keep our undersea advantage, we need a combination of new operating concepts, innovative technology and the continued proficiency and confidence of our sailors."

Undersea infrastructure is increasingly important to global trade, energy, communications and support for U.S. military power, the memo states.

"Cables, pipelines and other systems on the sea floor can be targeted by adversaries seeking to disrupt economies or militaries," Greenert writes. "The ability to sense and respond to threats to undersea infrastructure will be a growing concern."

The memo calls for the development of new concepts that address how the Navy will maintain its undersea superiority through 2030 despite "adversary efforts, commercial endeavors, fiscal challenges and force structure limitations." The assessment should consider a range of undersea platforms, systems and unmanned vehicles as well as the networks that connect them, Greenert writes.

The admiral wants an interim progress review by June 2013 to provide him "any urgent recommendations" that should be considered in the Navy's FY-15 budget submission. The Strategic Studies Group's final product must include recommendations and detailed roadmaps that describe the actions needed, starting in FY-14.

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Author:Christopher J. Castell

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