Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, director of the Undersea Warfare Division of the chief of naval operation’s staff (N97), released an industry version of the internal secret-level “Integrated Undersea Future Strategy” to help contractors better identify Navy priorities and technology gaps.

Tofalo, speaking at the Naval Submarine League’s annual conference Thursday, said that the IUFS outlines the platforms, platform enhancements, payloads, posture and people needed to achieve undersea dominance.

Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, director of the Undersea Warfare Directorate on the chief of naval operation's staff (OPNAV N97)
Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, director of the Undersea Warfare Directorate on the chief of naval operation’s staff (OPNAV N97)

He said the document had been around for a while, serving to smooth out leadership transitions and keep offices within N97 on track. But, for the first time, Tofalo decided to condense the 200-plus page document into a five-page document available to Distribution List D contractors. Those with CAC cards can visit to download a copy, and those without CAC cards can contact N97 to request a copy.

“I want people to know where we’re going, that shouldn’t be part of the mystery,” Tofalo said during his speech.

“The more industry understands where we’re trying to go, the smarter they can be about how they spend their own IRAD, their own research and development dollars,” he told Defense Daily after his speech. “It’s just more efficient for everybody when we’re all pulling in the same direction.”

Some of the priorities in the IUFS are fairly well known, he told the audience during his speech. For instance, platforms–being the most expensive group of investments–have to come first, with the Ohio-replacement program being the top priority. Building two Virginia-class attack subs a year and sustaining the existing Ohio-class fleet are also high-ranking priorities.

Platform enhancements are next on his list and include the Virginia Payload Module as well as several efforts to maintain acoustic superiority in the attack submarine fleet.

With these major efforts, “these are pretty well established and, frankly, the main challenges are fiscal,” he said.

But Tofalo said there were more technological challenges in other priorities in the IUFS, particularly in payload development, and that is where sharing the IUFS industry overview would do the most good.

“These are the areas that require industry expertise to move from a concept or basic design to the capability that we need to use to maintain that undersea dominance,” he said. These priorities are “things that we know we want to accomplish but frankly we’re still figuring out how best to do that.”

Among these payload goals in the IUFS are producing a new 21-inch modular undersea weapon family; ensuring acoustic superiority; enabling employment of large unmanned underwater vehicles and Shallow Water Combat Submersible (SWCS); and developing and integrating advanced multimission missiles.

What Tofalo hopes to get from industry are ideas related to key enabling capabilities: endurance, modularity, large vertical arrays, coating, energy, autonomy, targeting, and commonality among the payload vehicles.