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Navy to Stand up Fleet Anti-submarine Warfare Command

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS040317-10

Release Date: 3/17/2004 6:03:00 PM

By Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Navy is boosting its antisubmarine warfare capabilities with the creation of the Fleet Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Command (FASWC) in San Diego April 8.

The new operational command's mission will include integrating advanced ASW networks, establish doctrine and new operating concepts, fleet ASW training and assisting naval leadership with ASW policy.

FASWC's primary goal will be to ensure Navy warfighters can neutralize enemy submarine threats. To do this, Navy ASW must be able to detect and engage ASW threats at will. It must also be able to form maritime shields against submarines and mines that will permit U.S. and coalition forces protected passage to and from operational theaters.

Adm. Walter F. Doran, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, recognizes the need for increased emphasis in ASW excellence.

"When I look at the threats we may face in the 21st century, one emerging challenge is the improved diesel submarine technology, and the threat that technology poses. Antisubmarine warfare is a Navy core competency, which needed a reinvigorated focus. We have recognized that we must take positive action and re-organize to meet this challenge ... and why I have made ASW as my number one warfighting priority," said Doran.

Bob Brandhuber, the director for ASW improvement and deputy chief of staff for training at U.S. Pacific Fleet, said the resurgence in ASW is a major step in the right direction to meet new threats in shallow, brown-water areas, as well as open ocean.

"ASW is a critical enabler, and there are a lot of submarines out there that will prevent us from doing that.and how we as a Navy bring surface, air, submarine, integrated underwater sonar system arrays, and integrate that in a common undersea picture so that we can control the water column to exert the influence that we need to exert in the littorals," said Brandhuber. "That's why ASW is important; that's what FASWC is going to be all about."

The Chief of Naval Operations-directed review, Task Force ASW, has started two teams of planners and fleet operators to work on the challenges of operations and technology.

Team "A" looks at the science and technology aspects of ASW, aligning themselves with the defense industry to pinpoint key requirements and emerging new technologies. That partnership will help transform ASW capabilities to improve littoral effectiveness, and reduce the time between finding a threat and neutralizing it.

"Think of how many billions of dollars have been spent on ASW research. It's not an easily solvable problem. There is a science and an art to it," said Brandhuber.

Blending the science and art is the training and operational concepts mission for Team "B." This team will be constantly testing and evaluating ASW tactics, improving on them and developing better training in order to improve warfighting skills. This includes integrated training on a fleetwide scale under the guidance of FASWC.

Rear Adm. John J. Waickwicz, who currently serves as commander, Iceland Defense Force; Fleet Air Keflavk; U.S. Anti-Submarine Warfare Reconnaissance Forces Eastern Atlantic and Island Commander Iceland, has been selected by the Navy as FASWC's first commander.

The Spencer, Mass., native will be the Navy's foremost ASW advocate, re-directing the focus of the Navy back to ASW and overhauling it as a critical core competency for Navy warfighters.

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