Submarines have long played a key, but less visible, role than carriers in the Navy. The conflicts of the 21st century signal it may be time for a big change. Sub junior officers can and should lead the way.
"Of all the branches of men in the forces there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the submarines," Sir Winston Churchill once said, following the action submariners saw during World War II. Submarines have come a long way from their modest beginnings as small wooden submersibles with hand-crank propellers. Today's billion-dollar vessels carry some of the most technologically advanced equipment and powerful weapons known to man. For decades they have provided America with a powerful and precise weapon of war. But the submarine's greatest advantage has been its versatility, a quality often best exploited by the junior officer. This flexibility has allowed the submarine to undertake new and demanding roles and missions, a trend that should only increase in frequency in the future.