The 2012 Submarine History Seminar was held on the evening of 24 April 2012, as part of the National War College Commandant’s Lecture Series in historic Roosevelt Hall at the War College’s Fort McNair campus in southwest Washington, DC. 2012 marks the 11th year that the Naval Historical Foundation has partnered with the Naval Submarine League to stage these compelling looks back at the U.S. Navy’s submarine force in war and peace. This year’s topic was “OUTLAW SHARK – The Beginning of Over-The-Horizon Targeting.” The seminar took an in-depth look back at the intensive effort in the 1970s and 1980s to develop over-the-horizon (OTH) targeting methods needed to ensure that newly developed HARPOON and TOMAHAWK cruise missiles could be employed reliably to their full range potentials. Moderated by NHF Vice President RADM Jerry Holland, USN (Ret), panelists included:
- RADM Guy Shaffer, USN (Ret), who had served for five years as Director, Navy Command and Control and Communications Projects for the Naval Electronics Systems Command in the 1970s;
- RADM Walter Locke, USN (Ret), who had served as Director of the Joint Cruise Missiles Project from 1977-1982;
- Dr. (and retired Navy CAPT) Robert Hess, who directed and performed contract analyses in areas of ocean surveillance, OTH targeting, command and control and related fields for numerous Navy and DoD offices in the 1970s and 1980s;
- CAPT Lynn Wessman, USN (Ret.), who served as project officer for OUTLAW SHARK at Submarine Group Eight in Naples, Italy in the late 1970s.
The audience of nearly 70 active duty and retired Navy personnel, plus eight midshipmen of the Naval Academy’s Dolphin Club, listened with rapt attention to the participants’ enthralling descriptions of the U.S. Navy’s ultimately successful effort to target the Soviet Navy before they were able to develop the same capability to target USN ships.
The seminar was preceded by food and refreshments sponsored again this year by the Northrop Grumman Marine Systems office and included a ceremonial cake to mark this month’s 112th birthday of the U.S. Navy’s submarine force.