Testimony by Navy Rear Adm.
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members, I thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee on Seapower, representing the men and women of your
Undersea warfare consists of military operations that originate from the undersea or are directed into the undersea, ranging from survivable nuclear deterrent patrols by ballistic missile submarines to intelligence collection by attack submarines to surveillance by undersea sensors. It includes antisubmarine warfare by aircraft, Tomahawk strikes like those conducted by the guided missile submarine (SSGN)
Not all undersea warfare is done by undersea forces. For instance, antisubmarine warfare and maritime mine warfare are often done by airborne or surface systems and platforms. These cross-domain operations require careful coordination of efforts between Undersea Forces and surface ships, aircraft, space assets, communications systems, and headquarters facilities, but they often yield outstanding results and greatly improved efficiency. This is an area where we are applying greater emphasis in our maritime operations around the globe.
Today, though, I intend to focus on how Undersea Forces--the platforms and their crews that operate in the depths--contribute to Undersea Warfare.
The Unique Strengths of Stealthy Undersea Forces
The stealth of our Undersea Forces provides an advantage that no other part of the Joint Force can provide: persistent, undetected, assured access far forward and the ability to do valuable things with that access. By leveraging concealment, our Undersea Forces can deploy forward without being provocative, penetrate anti-access/area denial (A2AD) perimeters and conduct undetected operations. These operations might be precautionary preparatory ship movements, intelligence collection and surveillance, Special Forces support or nuclear deterrent patrols.
Should it be necessary, these forces can exploit the element of surprise and attack at the time and place of our choosing to maximize the desired effect while minimizing risk. These attacks could include efforts specifically focused on helping gain access for follow-on general purpose forces. Concealment enables survivability while operating independently with magazines focused on offensive payloads. Finally, stealth enables Undersea Forces to exploit ambiguity to sow disruption and uncertainty in adversary operations, diverting adversary resources and creating confusion.
Feedback from our operational commanders indicates that the demand for this capability is strong. As the threat grows from advances in sensors and weapons such as cruise missiles, anti-ship ballistic missiles and integrated air defense systems, more pressure will be placed on Undersea Forces. This pressure will be further amplified by the proliferation of these advanced systems to more adversaries and more regions.
In addition, the role of the undersea to the globalized industrial economies of the world is hard to overstate and is growing. The intercontinental telecommunications backbone of the world rides on the seabed, with undersea cables carrying over 95 percent of all traffic. Offshore oil and gas production is growing rapidly, and undersea pipeline infrastructure is proliferating to service fields in
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