Just over 66 years ago, one of the Navy’s most secretive communities began. Its members went by the code word SOSUS, which means “Sound Surveillance System.” A new front line in the Cold War, they had one mission: FIND SUBMARINES.
Lack of knowledge and information concerning oceanographic and acoustic conditions off the continental coasts hampered the U.S. Navy’s efforts against the submarine threat during World War II. It was apparent the German Navy had better information and a better understanding of how to use the Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, since the war, the U.S. Navy has maintained a continuous program of oceanographic surveys designed to provide more detailed information on currents, temperature, salinity, and other factors that comprise the oceanic environment and affect the transmission of sound in saltwater. The U.S. Navy was determined never to again lag behind others in its knowledge of this vital battlespace.