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SUBJ/75 YEARS OF POWERING MARITIME DOMINANCE - CALDWELL SENDS//
RMKS/1. On Friday 4 August 2023, we commemorated the 75th Anniversary of the
founding of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP) with then Captain
Rickover as its FIRST director. In recognition of this anniversary, Naval
Reactors (NR) kicked-off a year-long tribute to the program and our people.
This message invites you to find ways to COMMEMORATE, CELEBRATE and CONTINUE
the legacy of our Program.
2. Importantly, the NR legacy and contributions to the U.S. Navy are not the
product of one individual, but are the result of phenomenal work over decades
by a collection of highly dedicated individuals, including active duty
members, federal employees in the Department of Navy and the Department of
Energy and other agencies, our partners in industry, our allies, and our
strong supporters on Capitol Hill. The Fleet has played and continues to play
an important role in delivering the platforms, the capabilities, and the
leaders that the NNPP produces.
3. First, I want to COMMEMORATE the bold vision of Admiral Rickover and the
tireless efforts of his team 75 years ago; they made the impossible,
possible. The NNPP came into existence on 4 August 1948 and just seven years
later, USS NAUTILUS (SSN 571) went to sea, changing naval sea power forever!
Just three years later, on 3 August 1958, the crew of NAUTILUS sailed under
the North Pole for the first time ever. Such a journey was previously
unthinkable, but this single event demonstrated the awesome, asymmetric
advantage that nuclear power afforded our Navy. This remarkable
accomplishment proved that the NAUTILUS could go to any ocean in the world,
anytime, and remain there virtually as long as desired.
a. The pace of the program in these early years was astounding. When NAUTILUS
went under the ice, the Navy was already sailing four fully-operational
nuclear powered submarines. We were also building the first nuclear powered
aircraft carrier - USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 68) with eight reactor plants. And our
first strategic ballistic missile submarine, USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (SSBN 598)
would go on the first strategic deterrent patrol within the next two years.
b. We could not have achieved this without Admiral Rickover's leadership. His
relentless energy, uncompromising high standards, and courageous impatience
transformed our Navy, transformed U.S. industry and shipbuilding, and built
the enduring culture of technical excellence that fuels the nuclear Navy to
this very day.
4. Second, I want to CELEBRATE the Program's contributions to America's
national defense over many decades including one of the most important
legacies of Admiral Rickover, that of delivering results. Over the life of
the Program we have operated 273 reactors, taken 562 reactor cores critical,
including 33 different designs, and steamed over 171 million miles
accumulating 7500 reactor years of safe operations. Today the U.S. Navy
operates 99 reactors and 79 nuclear powered warships including (fittingly)
the HYMAN G. RICKOVER (SSN 795) that just completed sea trials. Right now,
the largest, most capable warship ever built - USS GERALD R. FORD (CVN 78) -
is on her maiden deployment in European waters underway on nuclear power.
Concurrently this past week, 30 of our submarines were on patrol or operating
at sea with several executing missions that even Admiral Rickover could not
a. Over the life of the Program, there has been an amazing legacy that
includes: Longer lived reactor cores and components; stunning advancements in
submarine acoustic quieting that make our submarines extremely difficult to
find; truly impressive achievements in the application of material science
and manufacturing techniques; highly innovative designs including modular
construction methods and simplified human machine interfaces; and an
unwavering commitment to technical knowledge and operator training.
b. The Program has also made strong commitments to our partners and allies.
Most notably, our friendship with the United Kingdom's Nuclear Propulsion
Program is built on the 1958 MDA and is strengthened today by our combined
efforts to support DREADNOUGHT delivery. Also, over the decades the Navy and
State Department have teamed to expand our global presence. This is best
exemplified in the USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76)'s continuous deployment
out of Yokosuka, Japan, and recent first-ever port calls by nuclear powered
vessels in Vietnam and Iceland.
5. Finally, we should reflect on our future and our collective responsibility
to CONTINUE Admiral Rickover's legacy of innovation and delivering results
for the U.S. Navy. Today, we are building a reactor core that will have the
longest service life of any core in our Program for the COLUMBIA - over 40
years without refueling. We are taking our knowledge and application of
acoustic quieting to the next level with the electric drive on COLUMBIA,
performance enhancements on VIRGINIA submarines, and we are laying the
technical groundwork for the next generation of fast-attack submarine to
include greater stealth, speed, and payload volume. And we are investing in
and advanced manufacturing techniques such as additive manufacturing,
robotics, and machine learning to reduce costs, construction timeline and
maintenance spans. Our pursuit of innovative designs and concepts will enable
the next generation of instrumentation and control systems and has put us on
an aggressive path to revolutionize initial operator training through 100
percent use of high fidelity immersive trainers. Finally, under AUKUS we are
stepping up technology sharing with the United Kingdom and we are
aggressively moving forward to assist Australia in building their own nuclear
submarine capability creating an unprecedented strategic advantage for our
6. COMMEMORATING our Program's 75-year history allows us to reflect on our
past achievements with great pride, but as we CELEBRATE, we are also thinking
about CONTINUUING to Power Maritime Dominance for the next 75 years. We
remain committed to the principles of responsibility and stewardship that
Admiral Rickover annealed into the Program.
Our future success will depend on the strong support and lasting trust of the
great partners we have developed over decades, so accordingly, I want to
express my deep gratitude to:
a. Our highly trained Sailors, Chiefs and Officers in the Fleet who enforce
and maintain our Program's high standards on the deck plate and continue to
speak and live "the language of Rickover!"
b. Our Congressional leaders in the House and Senate who fund and support our
efforts to maintain the world's greatest nuclear powered warships.
c. Our nuclear capable shipyards, vendors, and DOE laboratories who continue
to carry what Admiral Rickover termed "the burdens of a strong defense" in
designing, building, and maintaining our fleet.
d. Our DOE partners, especially those at the National Nuclear Security
Administration, who collaborate with and help fund the research and
development efforts so vital to our program.
e. Our colleagues at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who have been, and
continue to be, valued partners in all we do.
f. And our foreign partners, including the United Kingdom, Australia and
Japan, to name only a few, who help us expand the reach of our nuclear
7. I invite and encourage you to help us celebrate our 75th Anniversary, to
include recognizing our nuclear trained Sailors, your command, and Program
accomplishments throughout the next year.
There will be many occasions to COMMEMORATE historical events, CELEBRATE
individual Sailors and command achievements, and CONTINUE to challenge what's
possible. Fittingly an upcoming important date will be the USS HYMAN G.
RICKOVER (SSN 795) Commissioning on 14 October 2023. I ask that you consider
other opportunities to tell our story including: Recruiting and STEM
events; Port visits and tours; Command awards and all-hands events; Ship
birthdays; and social media and individual Sailor highlights. My team is
standing by to hear your ideas, suggestions, and help highlight your efforts.
We have made resources available online at:
https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/NNPP. The NR Anniversary is an active public
affairs posture, please contact my POC for the communications plan or
8. Point of contact. NR POC is Kellie Randall, kellie.m.randall.civ
9. ADM Caldwell sends.
10. Released by Mr. Andrew Haeuptle, Director, Navy Staff.//