Lt. Cmdr. Michael Smith, Commander, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs
15 March 2016
SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- The 10th biannual Nuclear Deterrent Symposium was held at the Silverdale Beach Hotel Ballroom March 11, to discuss the future of U.S. strategic forces.
Sponsored by the Air Force Association, National Defense Industrial Association and Reserve Officers Association, this year's symposium was titled "The Benefits of Strategic Nuclear Deterrence: Modernizing the Triad and Nuclear Deterrent Enterprise."
It provided an unclassified forum for policymakers and experts in nuclear matters to discuss issues about the current and future posture of U.S. strategic forces, with the primary focus on the nation's sea-based leg of the triad.
The United States currently maintains a nuclear triad, or a system of delivery vehicles comprised of a sea, land, and air deterrents, based on Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), intercontinental ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers.
Rear Adm. David Kriete, commander, Submarine Group 9, welcomed over 150 military, government officials, and representatives from various industries and academia to the conference. Kriete is responsible for all submarine matters in the Pacific Northwest. He opened the discussion by highlighting the importance of strategic deterrence and the nuclear triad.
"We are focused on the strategic mission every single day," said Kriete. "Our SSBN [ballistic-missile submarine] crews are dedicated to excellence in every facet of operations. They exercise diligence, rigor and adherence to very high standards of performance. These efforts are tried and true at maintaining a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent."
Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, director, Strategic Systems Programs, and Rear Adm. Charles A. Richard, director, Undersea Warfare Division (N97) also provided remarks.
Haney, the event's keynote speaker, discussed strategic deterrence in an uncertain world.
"Nuclear deterrence in the triad remains a vital and essential element of our national security," said Haney. "Make no mistake, today U.S. strategic commands are a ready force capable of delivering comprehensive warfighting solutions for the commander in chief."
One of the key purposes of U.S. submarine forces is to provide conflict deterrence through the use of undersea advantages, which provide a survivable strategic deterrent that deters both nuclear and conventional conflict.
Richard provided updates on the progress of the Ohio Replacement Program. Richard stressed the importance of maintaining the current schedule for the Ohio Replacement Program in order to meet future strategic commitments.
"The Navy is answering the bell," said Richard. "The Ohio Replacement, specifically, is the department's number one priority. We recognize it as foundational to our survival as a nation."
The Navy's ballistic missile submarines, often referred to as "boomers," serve as an undetectable launch platform for intercontinental missiles. They are designed specifically for stealth and the precise delivery of nuclear warheads. Naval Submarine Base Kitsap-Bangor is one of only two locations that are home to Ohio-class Trident ballistic-missile submarines.