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Our undersea forces provide critical access and persistence in an increasingly contested operating environment. As discussed at STS 2017, undersea forces utilize this access to deliver a spectrum of effects from under the sea; effects that may be delivered within the undersea domain or across domain boundaries. STS 2018 will focus on the necessary advances to design the undersea force of the future. The sessions are structured to evoke discussion about the envisioned employment of the fleet of submarines in a wide range of missions and warfare areas. The sessions provide the opportunity to discuss the design of the next generation submarines, the technology advances required for critical enablers to the undersea force as part of distributed warfare operations, and the technology advances to disrupt and outpace the adversary. Submarine leadership is present throughout STS and welcomes this opportunity for debate and dialog in this time of unprecedented opportunity in the design of future submarines and undersea systems.

Symposium Topics

Next Generation Warfare from Under the Sea
Accelerating Design to Capability
Future of Strategic Deterrence (Nuclear and Conventional)
Distributed and Cross-Domain Warfare Enablers
Anticipating and Disrupting Adversary Technology


Session Chair: Tim Rennick, Battelle
Assistant Session Chair: David Pyle, Battelle

The advancement of U.S. and adversarial sensors, weapons, and platforms has changed the face of undersea warfare. New emphasis on the strategic and tactical use of the seabed calls for radical changes in the ways submarines and their payloads collaborate with other systems in the undersea environment. The undersea community needs to continue to mature disruptive distributed/combined tactics and state-of-the-art technologies to maximize its asymmetric advantage against future threats. The 2018 Submarine Technology Symposium is seeking input from industry, academia, and government to answer critical questions regarding the next great leaps in undersea warfare, such as:

  • How might the submarine force evolve to realistically support a National Military Strategy that must deal with mounting challenges in disparate, geographically separated theaters with a diverse and rapidly changing set of adversary capabilities?
  • How might we best employ submarines: Independently? In independent wolf packs? Interconnected with distributed forces?
  • How could periscope-depth type operations be conducted at greater depth by our submarines?
  • Will submarine weapons require third party targeting? How well can we fight disconnected?
  • What is the role of our undersea forces in distributed maritime operations?
  • How might we improve command, control, and communications while maintaining a low probability of intercept or detection?
  • How might we successfully operate in a contested environment that includes undersea autonomous vehicles and distributed sensor systems?
  • How might we improve the speed and quality of decisions in the undersea fight (e.g., decision support tools and technologies such as deep learning)?


Session Chair: Alex Erving, Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding
Assistant Session Chair: Tom Ruzic, Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding

Development and acquisition of technology and platforms is guided by detailed reviews, testing, and validation to ensure that the submarine force receives mission-essential capabilities while respecting cost and schedule constraints. Design decisions may enable rapid delivery of successful results, or conversely force extended and costly build processes. Importantly, the design process itself must be flexible in evolving platform capabilities in response to a rapidly changing national security environment.

The 2018 Submarine Technology Symposium is seeking input from industry, academia, and government regarding the ways in which we can more rapidly provide capability to our submarine force, to include:

  • How might we increase payload capacity without requiring larger hull submarines?
  • Does one submarine size or shape fit all missions? What are the potential benefits of considering smaller, faster submarines?
  • What technology solutions can be used to enhance the mission-effectiveness of smaller hull sizes?
  • How might we optimize speed versus stealth? How fast is fast enough?
  • What are the viable options for compressing the submarine design phase?
  • What techniques might improve our timely grasp of design opportunities and constraints?
  • What will drive requirements for the submarine ocean interfaces? What are innovative options for future ocean interfaces? What are the limitations? How would these interfaces differ in a larger hull platform versus a smaller submarine?
  • What will drive requirements for the submarine network interfaces? What are the limitations?
  • What technologies should be integrated into the next generation SSN? What disruptive technologies are on the horizon?


Session Chair: Ken Moriarty, General Dynamics
Assistant Session Chair: Jeb Chard, General Dynamics

Strategic deterrence has been the foundation of our nation’s security for decades. Since the end of the Cold War, the global security environment has changed significantly; peer adversaries continue to develop advanced nuclear, conventional, and cyber weaponry, while new adversaries are emerging who will pose new threats and necessitate new missions for our strategic forces. The challenge for the U.S. is to adapt our systems to ensure that they remain safe and secure, while addressing these new threats and missions. Creativity and technological advances can ensure the effectiveness of our submarine forces as a strategic deterrent.

The 2018 Submarine Technology Symposium is seeking input from industry, academia, and government to answer critical questions regarding the evolution of strategic deterrence by answering questions, such as:

  • What aspect of the global security environment should be the focus of our deterrence strategy?
  • How can we incorporate sufficient flexibility into the SSBN platform, weapon systems, and planning capabilities to address future target sets, alternate missions, and evolving adversary defenses?
  • What measures are necessary to ensure safety, security, and availability of the sea-based strategic deterrent in contested/degraded operating environments conceivably encountered in the 21st century?
  • What new technologies, design approaches, and operational concepts can maintain survivability and effectiveness of our submarine-launched strategic weapons in spite of future potential threats to the SSBN platform and mission?
  • How can advanced conventional weapons or new deterrence tactics complement existing nuclear forces and strategy in maintaining a credible sea-based strategic deterrent?
  • How can we ensure a skilled, trusted industrial base remains viable for the long term to sustain and modernize our strategic systems?
  • What unique capabilities might SSNs and SSGNs contribute to this mission?


Session Chair: Craig Payne, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Assistant Session Chair: Michael (Spike) Dixon, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

The Navy is shifting warfighting emphasis to more distributed targeting and weapons capabilities than is offered by the traditional carrier strike group model that has been the mainstay of navy power projection for decades. Enabling technologies for distributed and cross-domain warfare include federated systems of sensors, non-kinetic payloads, unmanned systems (UxVs), and third-party targeting across all Naval platforms. Advances in these areas will allow the Fleet to maneuver in all domains including the electromagnetic spectrum and cyber, confuse the adversary’s kill chain, and create new force projection opportunities.

The 2018 Submarine Technology Symposium is seeking input from industry, academia, and government to answer critical questions regarding the application of such technologies, including:

  • How could undersea technologies be used to create disruptive, cross-domain effects?
  • What payloads do submarines of the future need to carry? How do we ensure the payload options are scalable?
  • How do we support the distribution of our forces and their payloads?
  • What will the role be for non-kinetic payloads, such as Electromagnetic Waves (EMW)?
  • How should the role of UxVs hosted by submarines be defined? How should UxV’s deployed by others cooperate with submarines? Should UxVs be projecting force into far-forward areas or extending the reach of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR)?
  • What existing or new technologies can support third-party targeting?


Session Chair: Chris Kona, Naval Undersea Warfare Center
Assistant Session Chair: TBD

As the submarine force develops new technology to extend its reach from under the sea, adversaries will develop technologies and tactics to counter our investments. It is critical that the Navy’s development and modernization of future submarines outpaces emergent ASW and counter-ASW technologies. In addition to traditional threats, the Force must consider adversary development of non-kinetic payloads, advanced sensors, cyber weapons, and autonomous systems in its development strategy.

The 2018 Submarine Technology Symposium is seeking input from industry, academia, and government to answer critical questions concerning the fleet’s response to emergent adversary technology, including:

  • Do we need to optimize speed versus stealth of our submarines in contested areas of interest?
  • What counters have been developed against our ASW capabilities?
  • How do we counter our adversaries’ capabilities?
  • How do we maintain access to the adversaries’ domains (e.g., geographical, cyber, EM spectrum)?
  • How might we influence the adversary’s technological investments?
  • How might we develop new concept of operations (CONOPs) to mitigate vulnerabilities?
  • What key technical problems are slowing us down and are they amenable to a technical solution that is not being pursued?