New Undersea Warfighting Development Center Gets Started In Groton
By Julia Bergman
September 21, 2015
Groton — Navy officials from across the fleet marked the return of a flag officer to the Naval Submarine Base Monday at the formal opening of the Undersea Warfighting Development Center, which is now headquartered there.
The new command, which has been several years in the making, will train the submarine force in advanced tactics, techniques and procedures for anti-submarine warfare. It is part of a larger reorganization by the Navy of its warfighting development centers.
"The concept started back in 2012, 2013 to do a little bit of reorganization in how the Navy trains and gets ready to fight," said Rear Adm. Jeffrey Trussler, who is leading the UWDC, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the command.
The command began operating Sept. 1 in the same building where Submarine Group 2 was headquartered until it was disestablished in August 2014. Since Group 2 left, the base has not hosted a flag officer, an officer with the rank of rear admiral or higher.
"We have a lot of work to do," Trussler said. "We are put in place to align the theater, operational and tactical levels of warfighting."
The building has a lot of empty space at the moment, he said. The staff consists of three people, including himself. Trussler's immediate task is to introduce himself to the various detachments the command will work with.
Next summer the Tactical Analysis Group from Submarine Squadron Twelve, which now falls under the command, will move into the building in Groton. Detachments in San Diego and Norfolk, Va., are currently under the center's command, and in 2017, Trussler said, a small detachment will be established in Bangor, Wash., "supporting us with unmanned vehicle tactical development."
Bob Ross, executive director of the state's Office of Military Affairs, said the new center is "a bigger deal than Group 2," given its implications for the Navy as a whole. Ross was at one time a staff officer with Group Two. He noted that the State of Connecticut on behalf of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy welcomes the new command.
Groton is a logical choice for the command to be headquartered given that the bulk of submarine training starts there.
"Many of our great undersea warriors have learned their trade right here on this very base," said Vice Adm. Joseph Tofalo, who less than two weeks ago took over as the commander of Submarine Forces.
"Our undersea forces ... are very familiar with what it takes to be first, whether it's first to the fight or first to come to grips with the enemy. The things that our submarine force is expected to do on the first day of some of our potential conflicts are absolutely sobering. Rear Adm. Trussler and his team here will ensure that we stay poised to do that, not just the submarine force but other portions of the Navy as well," Tofalo said.
Tofalo's counterpart in the surface Navy, Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden was present at the ceremony, Tofalo said, showing the significance of this new command, and the idea that anti-submarine warfare is a cohesive process.
One hundred years ago, in 1915, submarines first arrived at the base, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, pointed out in his remarks, and the command is the "beginning of a new era" for the base, he said.
"The work that's going to be done here is really about national and international significance for our nation in terms of its challenges to provide the national defense for our country," Courtney said. "Anti-submarine warfare, whether you look at Asia Pacific, North Atlantic or even in the Middle East, is the emerging threat which we are briefed about over and over again at the House Armed Services Committee."
Members of the southeastern Connecticut delegation were present for the reception after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.