Pacific Fleet Submarine Commander Visits RAND

Rear Admiral Padgett, the highly decorated commander of all submarine forces in the Pacific Fleet, visited RAND on January 23 to give an unclassified presentation on the submarine force, past, present, and future. RADM Padgett discussed current submarine operational capabilities, future submarine designs, force size, and other issues pertinent to his ships as well as to the entire submarine force and the Navy.

RADM Padgett presented a survey of some of the latest next-generation, high-tech submarines. The new Virginia Class Attack Submarine, for example, is an advanced stealth multi-mission nuclear-powered submarine for deep ocean anti-submarine warfare and shallow water operations. The Virginia class sub boasts improved stealthiness, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and enhanced flexibility and adaptability for future technological advances. Another impressive member of the future submarine force is the nuclear-powered guided-missile SSGN, called a "transformational submarine" by the U.S. Navy. With its advanced network connectivity features that allow it to perform long-term surveillance and intelligence-gathering even while submerged, the SSGN provides tremendous leverage for the Joint Task Forces.

RADM Padgett also discussed the biggest challenges the Navy submarine force currently faces today. Force protection, especially after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, is an important issue. A submarine has no inherent protection against terrorist attacks while on the surface; therefore, protective assets must be established wherever a sub is deployed. Force structure issues include the need to make sure that the amount of submarines being built keeps pace with the nation's security needs. According to RADM Padgett, the pace of modernization is a key factor in confronting these challenges. By 2010, there will be many aging subs that will need to be upgraded with the latest electronic and acoustic technologies.

At sea, RADM Padgett has served on four different nuclear submarines, including command of the USS Omaha. He has also served as Executive Assistant to the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations(Undersea Warfare) in Washington, DC, Commander, Submarine Squadron ELEVEN in San Diego, California, and as the 75th Commandant of Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. As a flag officer, RADM Padgett has served in assignments including Director of Combat Operations Staff and Deputy Director, Operations and Logistics, United States Strategic Command; Deputy Director, Submarine Warfare Division, on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations; Commander, Submarine Group TWO; and Commander, Navy Region Northeast.