A spokesperson for the Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet said the Navy could not discuss specifics relating to an undersea surveillance system for “operational security reasons” but a recent Reuters report made an astounding accusation. “The U.S. Navy is carrying out the biggest overhaul of its top-secret undersea surveillance network since the 1950s” reports Reuters.
The reasoning is due to “China’s naval power surges and new technologies” which “are fast reshaping maritime warfare.” The spy station island sits 50 miles north of Seattle, and has been tracking whale movements and measuring rising sea temperatures. However, last October, the Navy renamed the unit “Theater Undersea Surveillance Command.”
According to three people with direct knowledge of the plans, Reuters reports the new name is “a nod to a much larger U.S. military project.” It is a revival of the multibillion-dollar effort, known as the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS).
Reuters writes that the existence of the IUSS was only made public in 1991 at the end of the Cold War, and details of its operation remain top secret. The publication also states the IUSS revamp project has not previously been reported, but “Reuters was able to piece together details of the unit’s plans through interviews with more than a dozen people involved in the effort, including two current Navy staffers working on maritime surveillance, advisors to the Navy and defense contractors involved in the projects.
In response to Reuters, a spokesperson for the Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet stated “the systems have and will experience growth and recapitalization as subsea technologies are developed and as defense priorities are updated.”
China is working on its own maritime spy program known as the Great Underwater Wall, U.S. Navy sources told Reuters. Tim Hawkins, a spokesperson for the U.S. 5th Fleet, which is based in the Middle East and has led U.S. .sea drone trials told Reuters the Navy is improving surveillance from “space to seabed.”
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