U.S. Commander, Submarine Group (COMSUBGRU) 7 conducted bilateral talks with the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) Nov. 24-26 at Chinhae, Republic of Korea (ROK).
The 40th Submarine Warfare Committee Meeting (SWCM) brought together representatives from the U.S. and ROK navies.
SWCM is a semi-annual flag conference between COMSUBGRU 7 and commander, Submarine Flotilla (COMSUBFLOT) 9. Established in 1994 during the birth of the ROKN submarine fleet, the conference has evolved into a discussion between U.S. and ROKN submarine forces focused on submarine tactics, force integration and future submarine development.
Rear Adm. Stuart Munsch, COMSUBGRU 7 commander, led the U.S. delegation that also discussed planning combined exercises, training and continued development of integrated anti-submarine warfare plans. The underlying theme of the talks was expanding the alliance between the U.S. and ROK navies.
“These Submarine Warfare Committee Meetings provide an excellent venue for interaction with our Korean counterparts,” said Munsch. “In addition to improving our planning and coordination, we gain a greater understanding of the Korean culture and values.”
The three-day conference included a number of events including a tour of the Submarine History Museum, numerous discussion periods a tour of Jinhae Basin, and interaction with residents at the Jinhae Hope Children’s Home where U.S. submariners regularly volunteer during port visits.
Other events were designed to increase understanding and respect for Korean Culture. The delegation toured the Gyeongju National Museum and Bulguksa Temple.
Planning has already begun for the next SWCM. Before the next SWCM, the ROKN submarine fleet will undergo significant changes as Submarine Flotilla 9 becomes Submarine Forces command. With the new title comes greater authority and rank for its commander and responsibility for the operation of ROK submarines.
“It’s always a pleasure to meet with Rear Adm. Lee and his staff,” said Munsch. “Seeing first-hand the advancements they’ve made in submarine warfare, gives me great confidence in our partnership and ability to maintain stability in the region.”
Press Release; Image: US Navy