GROTON, Conn. — The outgoing commander of an undersea warfighting center in Connecticut says he has been working to make sure technology being developed for the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet is useful when it gets into sailors’ hands.
Rear Adm. Jeffrey Trussler, who has led Undersea Warfighting Development Center in Groton since its creation a year ago, is turning over command to Rear Adm. James Pitts at a ceremony Wednesday.
Pitts, a native of Milton, Florida, served as an officer on several attack submarines and was assigned most recently to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations as leader of a branch dedicated to planning, programming and development.
Trussler said the command has been developing tactics, techniques and procedures for employing unmanned systems and other technologies, which may work differently in different environments.
“You just don’t receive an unmanned vehicle out of a box, open it up and say, ‘We’re going to war.’ Turn it to on, throw it in the water and go,” he said at a defense conference in Newport, Rhode Island, in August.
Trussler said sailors are employing these technologies, not the contractors that built them, in peacetime and in war, and it’s the center’s job to help “get every ounce of capability out of those systems.”
“People get really enamored with technology. In the end, it’s still people who have to operate these systems,” he said. “Our organization is making sure people are best prepared to operate the capabilities we have, and articulating what we need. We’re the go between.”
The command also assesses warfighting readiness and capabilities, works with training centers and coordinates efforts to bring new capabilities to the fleet.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, a Connecticut Democrat, said it’s critical that the Navy maintains its undersea dominance, particularly as China and Russia modernize their submarine fleets, and that’s what the center aims to do.
“The mission they’re on right now is absolutely the issue of the day,” he said.