SUBMARINE FORCE HOLDS CHANGE OF COMMAND
10 September 2021
Norfolk, VA --
Vice Adm. William Houston relieved Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle as Commander, Submarine Forces/Submarine Force Atlantic/Allied Submarine Command during a change of command ceremony on Naval Station Norfolk, Sept. 10, 2021.
Since taking command in August 2018, Caudle shaped the future of the Submarine Force and led the fleet through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. As Commander, Submarine Forces, he focused his efforts on ensuring the Navy maintains undersea superiority today and into the future. As Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, he had operational command of all U.S. submarines home ported on the Atlantic coast, as well as supporting shore activities. As Commander, Allied Submarine Command, he acted as the principal advisor to NATO on submarine plans, operations, and doctrine.
“Despite the global challenges and threats we face each day, we will continue to confront the future from a position of great strength,” said Caudle during his remarks. “Our Navy will continue to be the best equipped, the best trained, and the best led force in the world. The strength of our Nation is our Navy; the strength of our Navy is our Sailors; the strength of our Sailors is our families. This is what makes our Submarine Force so special and so successful.”
Adm. Christopher Grady, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, was the guest speaker during the ceremony. After welcoming and recognizing the many distinguished guests in attendance, Grady took the time to highlight Caudle’s key leadership of the Submarine Force.
“Your exceptional strategic vision, unrelenting focus on mission execution, and profound expertise formed through years of experience have inspired everyone you encounter, and I truly believe that maximized the efficiency, effectiveness and lethality of the entire Submarine Force,” said Grady. “You uniquely understand the challenges of the persistent proximate threats posed by our Nation’s adversaries, you understand the importance of maritime homeland defense, and the importance of a strategic deterrent. And you certainly grasped the overt challenges to our long held concept in the Navy of ‘defend far forward’ in this era of renewed strategic competition.”
Grady continued by recognizing the efforts of the Submarine Force Atlantic staff during their time under Caudle and offered words of encouragement going forward.
“You all know too well that the world is ever-more dynamic and complex in this infinite game of Strategic Competition,” said Grady. “You have seen first-hand the capability of our adversaries and the threats that await us just over-the-horizon, and sometimes even nearer to home. In this era of multi-domain, multi-phase, multi-regional threat, your capability and capacity to protect our national interests at home and abroad is at a premium. We are counting on you to adapt with a sense of urgency, to be prepared to close with the enemy swiftly, to fight, and to win.”
Caudle will be promoted to four-star admiral when he takes command of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, which trains, certifies and provides combat-ready Navy forces to combatant commanders that are capable of conducting prompt, sustained naval, joint and combined operations in support of U.S. national interests.
“To everyone here, and those watching virtually, I want to thank you for attending,” said Caudle. “I am proceeding on to be commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, and I truly look forward to that assignment. While the scope of the job may change, the dedication, energy and passion I bring to our mission will not. I look forward to continuing our work together to ensure peace and prosperity continues to bless the United States in the years to come.”
Upon assuming command, Houston thanked Caudle and the Submarine Force Atlantic (SUBLANT) staff for a seamless transition.
“First, I would like to thank Vice Adm. Caudle and his wife Donna for the welcome you gave us here, and for the SUBLANT staff I thank you for everything you’ve done,” said Houston. “It’s just amazing to lead a group of dedicated professionals like you.”
Houston went on to outline his priorities for the Submarine Force as he assumes command.
“To the Submarine Force, my priorities are simple: warfighting, people and safety,” said Houston. “Fleet Adm. Nimitz, Pacific Fleet Commander, a submariner, said after World War II that it’s the everlasting glory of the Submarine Force that they held the line in the Pacific against the Japanese while the rest of the fleet reconstituted. In the hour of need, hour of peril, they held the line. There’s storm clouds right now, and the Western Pacific is eerie similar to what it was in the 30’s.
Houston further stressed the importance of the Submarine Force’s lethality and fearlessness in confronting any challenges that may lie ahead.
“We will hold that line as a Submarine Force,” continued Houston. “We will not fail America. We are the most lethal, capable Force. We are the apex predator of the sea, and as such we fear nothing. We fear nothing above the sea, nothing in the sea, or nothing on the sea.”
Before taking command, Houston served as director, Undersea Warfare Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (N97).
The mission of the Submarine Force is to execute the Department of the Navy’s mission in and from the undersea domain. In addition to lending added capacity to naval forces, the Submarine Force, in particular, is expected to leverage those special advantages that come with undersea concealment to permit operational, deterrent and combat effects that the Navy and the nation could not otherwise achieve.
The Submarine Force and supporting organizations constitute the primary undersea arm of the Navy. Submarines and their crews remain the tip of the undersea spear.