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China Is Sweating: One-Third of U.S. Navy Pacific Submarine Force Is Training for War

Underwater Drone Aircraft Carriers
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (March 17, 2018) A U.S. Navy submarine surfaces near the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58), March 17, 2018. Laboon, homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, is in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners and U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kallysta Castillo/Released) 180317-N-ET513-020.

The U.S. Navy’s submarine force has been long known by the moniker the “silent service,” but during Exercise Agile Dagger 2021, which kicked off last Thursday, it was bound to make some noise.

Multiple submarines departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and joined subs from Bremerton, Washington, and San Diego. During the training exercise, one-third of the Pacific Submarine Force took part to assess warfighting readiness and to build capacity for the joint force.

“The Pacific Submarine Force is always ready,” said commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Jeff Jablon. “Exercise Agile Dagger 2021 allows us to test our capabilities and showcase our warfighters’ ability to rapidly deploy armed submarines into the Pacific.”

The Pacific Submarine Force, which compromises fast attack as well as ballistic and guided-missile boats, routinely sends its submarines to sea to test and validate combat response capability. While underway, the submarines regularly conduct combat readiness training and employing undersea warfare capabilities in support of a wide range of missions the U.S. Navy said via a statement.

The mission of the U.S. Pacific Submarine Force is to provide anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, precision land strike, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and early warning, special warfare capabilities and strategic deterrence around the world. AD21 was conducted to ensure the Submarine Force remains ready for global tasking to deliver a full range of undersea lethal effects.

“Our Submarine Force ensures capabilities overmatch by sharpening warfighting capacity in this short notice exercise,” added Jablon. “Our unparalleled key to success in undersea dominance is the U.S. Navy Sailor. We have, and must continue to develop, the best trained Sailors; so we must test our ability to load out weapons and supplies for extended combat operations, deploying to multiple locations in the Pacific.”

On social media on Thursday, the official Twitter account for the Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (@PacificSubs), shared images of the USS Missouri (SSN 780) as it departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as well crew of the Fast-attack submarine USS Columbia (SSN 771) preparing the boat for the exercise. @PacificSubs posted, “Pacific Submarine Force submarines participate in Exercise Agile Dagger 2021, which tests capabilities and warfighters’ ability to rapidly deploy armed submarines. @USNavy @USPacificFleet @INDOPACOM @US7thFleet @US3rdFleet  #Pacificsubs #submarines.”

Military Activity Increasing

The U.S. Navy’s Exercise Agile Dagger 2021 wasn’t the only operation held in the Pacific, and it coincided with a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) exercise that began on Wednesday. According to Newsweek, the PLAN flotilla comprised a guided-missile destroyer, a guided-missile frigate, and a supply ship.

The recent U.S. Navy training drills were also seen as a warm-up for what has been described as the biggest naval exercise in a generation. The aptly named, “Large Scale Exercise 2021” is planned to span seventeen time zones with sailors and Marines in the U.S., Africa, Europe, and the Pacific taking part. It will involve more than 25,000 personnel and multiple strike groups and multiple numbered fleets.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.