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A History in Photos: Navy SSP Celebrates 67 Years of Sea-Based Strategic Deterrence

17 November 2022

From Lt. Jennifer Bowman

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) released several historic photos to commemorate the organization’s 67th birthday Thursday.

The album catalogues program inception and major milestones of the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Ballistic Missile Program. Originally established in the 1950s as Special Projects Office by the Secretary of the Navy under then President Dwight Eisenhower, the organization’s goal was to design, develop, and test the nation’s first-ever fleet ballistic missile. The Program met the challenge, developing the system and completing the first test launch from a submerged platform on the USS George Washington (SSBN 598) on July 20, 1960, a mere 5 years from being established.

"I am honored to recognize the very special beginnings of this program and highlight the enduring partnership and close collaboration government and industry established 67 years ago, which played a critical role in the initial success of the Fleet Ballistic Missile Program,” said SSP Director Vice. Adm. Johnny R. Wolfe Jr.

“Building on that history, this program continues to sustain the mission and set the world standard for weapons systems performance, safety, and reliability today.”

SSP partners with government and industry to support Sea Based Strategic Deterrence (SBSD) providing cradle-to-grave lifecycle support for the Navy’s strategic weapons systems, the TRIDENT II D5/D5LE currently deployed on OHIO-Class SSBNs.  The sea-based leg of the nation’s nuclear triad is the Trident II D5/D5LE on ballistic missile submarines and is designed to provide the survivable leg of the nuclear triad along with the Minutemen III intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear capable B-52H Stratofortress and B-2A Spirit bombers.

The three legs of the U.S. nuclear triad serve as the backbone of America’s national security and are each being modernized to ensure our nation’s security into the future.  SSP is supporting the next generation of SBSD operations with the development of the Trident II D5LE2 system which will be deployed on the COLUMBIA-Class SSBN beginning with Hull 9. Development efforts have begun now to ensure the D5LE2 system is ready to meet the need on time.  

“As we celebrate more than six decades of this critical charge, we recognize we must grow this mission into the next generation capability to meet the challenges posed by our strategic competitors,” Wolfe said.

“I am confident SSP's team is poised to develop the combat-credible and forward-deployable weapons systems that will ensure the continued mission-ready success of our United States Navy and the security of our Nation."


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