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01
The Design for Undersea Warfare

August 2011 - Navy
By VADM John M. Richardson

The Undersea domain is complex, dynamic and vital to national security. As such, it is important for us to have a shared sense of objectives in this important warfare area, and to align our efforts to achieve them. In July 2011, the submarine force introduced The Design for Undersea Warfare to serve as that guideline. This Design was developed to provide specific, clearly defined objectives, while being flexible enough to encourage initiative and boldness throughout the force.

Main Objectives

We will be masters of the undersea domain, able to establish undersea superiority at the time and place of our choosing. Consistent with decades of past success, our undersea force will apply itself along three main lines of effort:

1. Ready Forces: Provide undersea forces ready for operations and warfighting.
2. Effective Employment: Conduct effective forward operations and warfighting.
3. Future Force Capabilities: Prepare for future operations and warfighting.

Warfighting and peacetime operations are closely related. Our undersea forces conduct peacetime operations to prevent war by deterring and dissuading our adversaries and by assuring our Allies and partners. Peacetime operations further serve to help us understand and shape the battlespace and to learn the capabilities of potential adversaries. Our goal is that by virtue of our robust and focused operations, we will clearly be ready to prevail in any conflict. The warfighting readiness and effectiveness of our undersea force should serve to compel potential aggressors to choose peace rather than war, restraint rather than escalation, and termination rather than continuation.

To meet this goal, our undersea force depends on dedicated, technically skilled and engaged warriors. Our submariners are our most valued asset and prepared to meet the challenges of the undersea domain.

There are a number of long-term national security trends that interact to make undersea operations and warfighting capability increasingly important. The Design for Undersea Warfare is a framework for action that defines our way forward in a complex and often unpredictable environment. To ensure that necessary changes can occur, The Design for Undersea Warfare has assessment and learning built in. As such, it will continue to evolve, for it is not a rigid plan. It is something that will guide our undersea forces through these future challenges, keeping us ahead of our enemies and ensuring stability in the undersea battlespace.


About VADM Richardson

Vice Adm. Richardson assumed his current duties in November 2010. As Commander, Submarine Forces, he focuses the efforts of the U.S. submarine force to ensure that the U.S. Navy maintains undersea superiority today and into the future. As Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, he has operational command of all U.S. submarines homeported on the Atlantic coast, as well as supporting shore activities. As Commander, Allied Submarine Command, he acts as the principal advisor to the NATO on submarine plans, operations, and doctrine.

Richardson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982 and has earned Master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the National War College. (For his complete biography, please go to Web site http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/ bio.asp?bioID=440)

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