NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The submarine force surged and deployed 17 submarines and a submarine tender in support of Summer Pulse '04, the Navy's first exercise under the Fleet Response Plan (FRP).
Summer Pulse '04 tested the full range of skills involved in simultaneously deploying and employing carrier strike groups around the world. Under the FRP, the Navy can provide six Carrier Strike Groups in less than 30 days to support contingency operations around the globe.
According to Vice Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, commander, Naval Submarine Forces, submarines provided a significant portion of the credible combat force during Summer Pulse '04, and demonstrated the ability to quickly surge significant combat power across the globe by operating in multiple theaters with other U.S., allied and coalition forces.
"Surge deployments in support of the Fleet Response Plan and Summer Pulse '04 are historical demonstrations of the Navy's ability to efficiently provide combat power to meet any challenge," Donald said. "Every submariner and those who support submarine operations is contributing to the Navy's combat force."
According to Rear Adm. Paul F. Sullivan, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, submarines have proven to be instrumental in implementing the FRP.
"At any given time, roughly eight out of 10 of the Navy's submarines are able to respond to emergent fleet requirements," Sullivan said. "The increased surge readiness has already been used in multiple cases this year to fulfill vital 7th Fleet operational commitments, including the surge deployments of USS Columbia (SSN 771), USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716) and USS Honolulu (SSN 718), twice in Honolulu's case."
In addition to the attack submarines homeported in Hawaii, USS San Francisco (SSN 711) and USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705), stationed in Guam under Submarine Squadron 15, provided added flexibility to the FRP and surge requirements.
In the Atlantic, 10 submarines were deployed to four areas of responsibility, exemplifying the concept of surge readiness. USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) and USS Miami (SSN 755) both deployed during different phases of their Fleet Readiness Training Program. Four months after returning from a six-month deployment with the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to the Persian Gulf, Miami surged with the Enterprise CSG again during Summer Pulse '04. Albuquerque was two months into her Pre-Overseas Movement process, preparing for a deployment in the fall, when the surge order came.
"I think the FRP worked fine from a submarine force perspective," said Albuquerque Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Stuart B. Munsch. "We're usually ready at any time when they call upon us, and this is a good illustration of the number of boats that are able to get up and go."
According to Vice Adm. Michael McCabe, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, the ability to return from a deployment, make necessary repairs, and be ready to go back into harm's way is something that the Navy, and in particular, attack submarines, are very capable of doing.
"We've tightened up our whole approach to rotation of equipment and personnel and training," McCabe said. "This is to be both more efficient from a financial standpoint and more responsive from a deployability standpoint, to offer the leadership of the country, the president, the opportunity to have forces available to him more rapidly."
For related news, visit the Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/sublant.