The submarine force needs to develop common communications capabilities with surface forces if it wants to be plugged in to today's naval operations. This new communications link should not, however, come at the cost of stealth.
The submarine force has been scrambling to get a place at the table within greater Navy roles and missions after its traditional role of independent antisubmarine warfare operations against Soviet submarines all but evaporated in 1990. In applying to join the existing U.S. Navy "union," one of the prerequisites is that submarines need to become just as connected as cruisers and destroyers. Submarines must conform to fleet command, control, and communications practices and expectations if they want to play. In response, the submarine force has begun a number of communications initiatives while being somewhat concerned as to whether violating the laws of physics is a misdemeanor or a felony. It has been suggested that, sometime in the past, the surface fleet came to a fork in the road and took the path less beneficial, let alone less traveled.