U.S. looks for ways to combat rise of Russian and Chinese submarines

NORFOLK, Va. - The rise of submarine activity from both Russia and China has the United States looking for ways to stay lethally competitive.

Admiral James Foggo serves as Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe, and Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Africa. He has talked about the rise of Russian submarine activity in recent years.

Recently, on his podcast "On the Horizon," Admiral Foggo said "the security environment has changed dramatically over the last few years."

He added, "Russia has renewed its capabilities in the North Atlantic and the Arctic in places not seen since the Cold War."

“I think Russian submarines today are perhaps some of the most silent and lethal in the world, with the exception of our own. I think we still in the United States Navy hold the edge," Admiral Foggo shared on the podcast.

His comments build upon an article he wrote in Proceedings Magazine called "The Fourth Battle of the Atlantic," published in June 2016.

In it, he postured, "these are not the submarines we faced during the Cold War. There may be fewer of them, but they are much stealthier, carry more devastating weaponry, and go on more frequent and longer deployments than before. The submarines of the Russian Federation are one of the most difficult threats the United States has faced. This threat is significant, and it is only growing in complexity and capacity."

It's not just the rise of Russian submarine activity that has the United States concerned.

Ronald O'Rouke, a Specialist in Naval Affairs for the Congressional Research Service, prepared the July 2018 report "Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress."

In it he writes "In light of the recent shift in the strategic environment from the post-Cold War era to a new situation featuring renewed great power competition that some observers conclude has occurred, [anti-submarine warfare] against Russian and Chinese submarines may once again become a more prominent mission for U.S. Navy [submarines]."

The United States is not alone with their concerns. Thirteen NATO allies, including the United States, have pledged to cooperate on the introduction of Maritime Unmanned Systems.

The agreement comes following a summit in Brussels in July. This month they signed a declaration of intent to cooperate on the systems.

"The use of unmanned systems is a potentially game changing leap forward in maritime technology. They will enable us to be significantly more effective in crucial areas such as detecting and clearing mines, and finding and tracking submarines. Working alongside traditional naval assets, these unmanned systems will increase both our situational awareness and our control of the seas," read a statement from NATO about the initiative.

Other nations included in the agreement are Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.