Commodore of Submarine Squadron 2 presents USS Providence Battle ‘E’

Commodore of Submarine Squadron 2 presents USS Providence Battle ‘E’

GROTON, Conn. - The commodore of Submarine Squadron 2 presented USS Providence (SSN 719) leadership and her crew with the Battle Efficiency "E" during an awards ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London Jan. 13.

Captain Michael Holland's participation marked the last time he will present an award to a Submarine Squadron 2 assigned submarine. An official disestablishment is scheduled for the same day at the Shepherd of the Sea Chapel in Groton.

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Article published Mar 15, 2011
Groton sub near Libya
Jennifer McDermott
A Groton-based submarine crossed the Suez Canal Saturday and headed north to the Mediterranean Sea.
The defense department has repositioned ships in the central Mediterranean Sea, should they be needed to respond to the situation in Libya. The USS Kearsarge, USS Ponce and USS Barry remain off the Libyan coast.
A Navy spokesman confirmed Tuesday the route of the USS Providence (SSN 719) into the Mediterranean Sea, but said he could not discuss the details or assets being directed toward Libya, especially submarines.
The Los Angeles-class submarine traveled with the USS Enterprise carrier strike group. A destroyer, the USS Mason, also crossed the canal with the Providence, the spokesman said.

Article published Mar 16, 2011
USS Providence among U.S. naval forces off Libya
By Jennifer McDermott Day Staff Writer

The Groton-based USS Providence crossed the Suez Canal Saturday and headed for the Mediterranean Sea, where other Navy ships are waiting to respond to the violence in Libya if needed.

Submarines are uniquely suited for gathering intelligence on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's attacks on the opposition, according to Loren B. Thompson, chief operating officer at the nonprofit think tank, Lexington Institute.

"Submarines are so stealthy, they can collect intelligence that other means cannot," Thompson said Tuesday. "And having a ship like the Providence nearby makes a big difference in terms of understanding what's actually happening in the area."

A Navy spokesman confirmed Tuesday the route of the Providence (SSN 719) into the Mediterranean Sea, but said he could not discuss the details or assets being directed toward Libya, particularly submarines.

The USS Kearsarge, the USS Ponce and the USS Barry are in the Mediterranean. A destroyer, the USS Mason, also crossed the canal with the Providence, the spokesman said. The Los Angeles-class submarine traveled with the USS Enterprise carrier strike group.

"It's not the number or type of ships that matter just yet as much as the missions they are assigned," said Peter W. Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative and a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. "And as of yet, that exact mission doesn't seem to have been decided by the U.S. and international leadership on the political side."
The Navy ships could be used for anything from mere presence patrols to enforcement of a no-fly zone or blockade, Singer added.

Tuesday, the foreign ministers for the eight most powerful industrialized nations met but could not agree on a no-fly zone or any other military operation. Thompson cautioned that the buildup of Navy assets is unlikely to significantly influence the conflict without the establishment of a no-fly zone, since without one "it's obvious we're not going to do anything more ambitious."

It would take a "major military provocation" by Gadhafi to elicit a U.S. response, in which case submarines could be used to fire missiles, intercept electronic messages between Gadhafi and his military personnel or send special operations forces ashore, Thompson said.

In 2003, the Providence fired missiles into Iraq from the Red Sea. Eighteen months earlier, the sub had fired some of the opening shots against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

The submarine was built at Electric Boat and delivered to the Navy in 1985.

First wave of allied assault hits Libya
Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:55

First wave of allied assault hits Libya
20 March 2011 | 10:10:59 AM | Source: AAP

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stout launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. (Getty)

US and British ships and submarines have launched the first phase of a missile assault on Libyan air defences, firing 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles at more than 20 coastal targets to clear the way for air patrols to ground Libya's air force.

In announcing the mission during a visit to Brazil, US President Barack Obama said he was reluctant to resort to force but was convinced it was necessary to save the lives of civilians. He reiterated that he would not send American ground troops to Libya.

"We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy," he said in Brasilia.

It was clear the US intended to limit its role in the Libya intervention, focusing first on disabling or otherwise silencing Libyan air defences, and then leaving it to European and perhaps Arab countries to enforce a no-fly zone over the North African nation.

Navy Vice Admiral William Gortney, director of the Pentagon's Joint Staff, told reporters the cruise missile assault was the "leading edge" of a coalition campaign dubbed Operation Odyssey Dawn. Its aim: prevent Muammar Gaddafi's forces from inflicting more violence on civilians - particularly in and around the rebel stronghold of Benghazi - and degrading the Libyan military's ability to contest a no-fly zone.

A chief target of Saturday's cruise missile attack was Libya's SA-5 surface-to-air missiles, which are considered a moderate threat to some allied aircraft. Libya's overall air defences are based on older Soviet technology but Gortney called them capable and a potential threat to allied aircraft.

Also targeted: early warning radars and unspecified communications facilities, Gortney said. The US military has extensive recent experience in such combat missions; US Air Force and Navy aircraft repeatedly attacked Iraq's air defences during the 1990s while enforcing a no-fly zone over Iraq's Kurdish north.

Cruise missiles are the weapon of first choice in such campaigns; they do not put pilots at risk, and they use navigational technologies that provide good precision.

The first Tomahawk cruise missiles struck at 3pm EDT, Gortney said, after a one-hour flight from the US and British vessels on station in the Mediterranean.

The US has at least 11 naval vessels in the Mediterranean, including three submarines, two destroyers, two amphibious warfare ships and the USS Mount Whitney, a command-and-control vessel that is the flagship of the Navy's 6th Fleet. Also in the area are Navy P-3 and EP-3 surveillance aircraft, officials said.

Gortney said it would take as long as 12 hours to assess the effectiveness of Saturday's strikes. Then a high-altitude Global Hawk unmanned surveillance plane would overfly the target areas to get a more precise view, the admiral said. He would not say how long the attacks on Libyan air defences would last, but he stressed that Saturday's assault with cruise missiles was the first phase of a multi-stage mission.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who was scheduled to fly to Russia on Saturday afternoon to begin a week-long overseas trip, postponed his departure for 24 hours. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Gates decided he should remain in Washington to monitor developments in Libya at the outset of US strikes.

Gates had been sceptical of getting involved in Libya's civil war, telling Congress earlier this month that taking out Libya's air defences was tantamount to war. Others have worried that the mission could put the US on a slippery slope to deeper involvement in yet another Muslim country - on top of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hours after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attended an international conference in Paris that endorsed military action against Gaddafi, the US and Britain kicked off their attacks.

At a news conference in Paris, Clinton said Gaddafi had left the world no choice but to intervene urgently and forcefully to protect further loss of civilian life.

"We have every reason to fear that, left unchecked, Gaddafi would commit unspeakable atrocities," she told reporters.

Clinton said there was no evidence that Gaddafi's forces were respecting an alleged ceasefire they proclaimed and the time for action was now.

"Our assessment is that the aggressive action by Gaddafi's forces continues in many parts of the country," she said. "We have seen no real effort on the part of the Gaddafi forces to abide by a ceasefire."

Among the US Navy ships in the Mediterranean were two guided-missile destroyers, the USS Barry and USS Stout, as well as two amphibious warships, the USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce, and a command-and-control ship, the USS Mount Whitney. The submarine USS Providence was also in the Mediterranean.