More than 50 junior officers gathered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the inaugural Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Junior Officer Undersea Symposium and Training (JOUST) event, Nov. 14-18, 2022.
Pacific JOUST, which focused on developing the U.S. Navy’s future undersea warfare (USW) leaders, followed an earlier event which occurred on the East Coast in April and was led by U.S. 2nd Fleet and Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic. Junior officers from the aviation, surface warfare, submarine, naval special warfare, explosive ordnance disposal, and information warfare communities participated in the event.
“This symposium was an all-community event, planned and executed by our best and brightest junior officers, which will help the U.S. Navy maintain its advantage in the undersea domain,” said Rear Adm. Jeff Jablon, Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC). “We know that our competitors seek to challenge our undersea superiority, but events like JOUST are bringing together our warfighters in a way that will build unbreakable relationships which will become the foundation for our continued success in the next generation.”
During the five-day event, junior officers learned about adversary capabilities and threats, platform-specific USW capabilities and tactics, integrated USW operations with recent examples and lessons learned, theater contingency plans, and future force capabilities. They also toured USW platforms, including a P-8A Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft, MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), and Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Illinois (SSN 786); received insight from Flag Officer leadership; and participated in a tabletop wargame exercise that provided the opportunity to apply concepts learned during the week. Throughout each session, participants interacted with their peers from other communities in a way that allowed them to build the vital relationships which will benefit them as they progress through the ranks.
“I was asked to take lead on planning this inaugural west coast event, which was honestly a bit overwhelming,” said Lt. Dan Araki, the COMSUBPAC Assistant Senior Watch Officer and lead junior officer planning Pacific JOUST. “I’m proud of how the event turned out, and all we accomplished. This event was really about bringing together the future leaders in undersea warfare, and raising our shared level of knowledge in that domain, and I feel we succeeded at accomplishing that.”
Pacific JOUST was built around a culminating event: a table top exercise informed by real world events and scenarios. Participants were organized into cohorts, each representing a task group or task force which conducted planning and course of action analysis and development. The symposium culminated with a tabletop wargame exercise on the final day, with participants working together to apply concepts they had learned.
“It’s cool to see other communities’ roles in undersea warfare,” said Lt. j.g. T.J. Sulu, from Strike Group Oceanography Team San Diego. “You can get caught up in your own community, so being able to see other junior officers’ perspectives helps you to see and understand the bigger picture.”
Given this year’s overwhelming success of both the Pacific and Atlantic iterations of JOUST, efforts are now progressing to make these events occur on an annual basis.
“As you move forward, I encourage you to continue actively learning, leading, collaborating, innovating, and overcoming barriers – because these are the efforts that will collectively strengthen our team and maintain our overmatch in the undersea domain,” said Jablon during his closing remarks to the group.