COMSUBLANT and 2nd Fleet Host Second Annual Junior Officer Undersea Warfare Symposium and Training
12 May 2023
NORFOLK, Va. - Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet and Commander, Submarine Forces hosted a Junior Officer Undersea Warfare Symposium and Training (JOUST) event aboard Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, May 1-5.
The five-day symposium brought together 90 junior officers (JOs) from multiple warfare communities across the fleet from the U.S., U.K. and Canada in a collective forum to align knowledge, skillsets, strategy and tactics, discuss undersea warfare capabilities and doctrine and provide JOs a direct line of communication to leaders in the undersea warfare (USW) community.
"We, as a Navy, are the military branch that conducts anti-submarine warfare," said Vice Adm. Daniel Dwyer, Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet. "Because of this incredible responsibility to safe guard our national interests, we must stay ahead of our adversaries by developing innovative solutions against this persistent proximate threat. We must continue to adapt in this incredibly demanding and challenging environment, while bringing together all our assets to hold threats at bay, simply stated we must be the very best all the time. Bringing together warfighters like you, who are the best from each of your communities, make symposiums like this impactful to improving our capability in undersea warfare."
The goal of the symposium is to enhance integration, interoperability and operations efficiency amongst operators in multiple warfare communities and domains that conduct USW operations and to discuss how USW is employed across the fleet.
“Uniting our warfare communities through our shared undersea warfare (USW) mission demonstrates how we have the most talented and capable force against our enemy threats,” said Vice Adm. William Houston, Commander, Submarine Forces. “Anti-submarine warfare is a team sport that began in World Wars I and II. This history was built on a foundation of trust. Trust in not only each of our warfare communities working together, but of all our allied partners like those that are here from the U.K. and Canada. This symposium is a great opportunity to collaborate with one another and gain perspectives that you will see out in the fleet over your time in the Navy.”
During the symposium, attendees toured USW-capable platforms. To include a fast-attack submarine, a guided-missile destroyer surface ship, a P-8A Poseidon maritime and patrol reconnaissance aircraft and a theater undersea warfare watch floor. Other highlights included community warfare area briefs, conversations about the history of USW, recent operations, lessons learned, and the way forward for future operations.
“I was really excited about the opportunity to work with fellow JOs on challenges we may face in the future,” stated Lt. Audrey Knutson, a lawyer in the Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps from Region Legal Service Office Mid-Atlantic. “I had the opportunity to incorporate what I learned from my deployments in the breakout groups and other discussions with my peers. As a JAG, it was well worth my time to attend the symposium and see a part of the Navy most in my community do not have the opportunity to see”.
Senior leadership continued the conversation on theater USW operations with the JOs and shared their perspectives and insights of the USW force during a flag officer panel. Rear Adm. Christopher “Kujo” Kijek, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group; Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, Commander, Naval Forces Atlantic; Rear Adm. Brian Davies, Commander, Submarine Group TWO (SUBGRU2); and Rear Adm. David Patchell, Vice Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet chaired the panel and answered questions from the audience.
JOUST is designed to address challenges to future USW operations and leverage and maximize each other’s strengths and capabilities. The pinnacle of the symposium was the junior officer led small group discussion groups.
“The goal of the groups was to provide a space for participants to discuss current scenarios using their unique experiences,” said Lt. Jud Holcombe, a submarine officer and JOUST planner from SUBGRU2. “The breakout groups were made of junior officers from every USW community. This provided a diverse insight since each participant had a unique perspective from their experiences within their community."
As a keynote speaker, retired Adm. Robert Burke reflected on his time as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples. He highlighted the importance of operating together with our assets and allies to strengthen deterrence and defense efforts.
“I am incredibly proud of the JOs at SUBGRU2 for their hard work in putting together another successful JOUST,” expressed Rear Adm. Brian Davies, Commander, SUBGRU2. “Symposiums like the one this week are exactly what our JOs need as they are the future of our Navy. We are bringing together our warfighters to build bonds as the foundation of a strong fighting force. I am looking forward to carrying on this event for years to come!”
This was the second iteration of Atlantic JOUST held on Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads. During the five-day event, junior officers learned about adversary capabilities and threats, platform-specific USW capabilities and tactics, integrated USW operations with recent examples and lessons learned, theater contingency plans, and future force capabilities.
The Submarine Force executes the Department of the Navy’s mission in and from the undersea domain. In addition to lending added capacity to naval forces, the Submarine Force, in particular, is expected to leverage those special advantages that come with undersea concealment to permit operational, deterrent and combat effects that the Navy and the nation could not otherwise achieve.
The Submarine Force and supporting organizations constitute the primary undersea arm of the Navy. Submarines and their crews remain the tip of the undersea spear.
C2F, headquartered in Norfolk, Va., exercises operational authorities over assigned ships, aircraft and landing forces on the East Coast and the North Atlantic.