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The visit, part of West Virginia's sustained deterrence operations in the United States Central Command and Indo-Pacific Command areas of responsibility, emphasizes the unmatched capabilities of a ballistic missile submarine to deter and, if necessary, respond from anywhere on the globe.
"Every operational plan rests on the assumption that nuclear deterrence is holding, and SSBNs like West Virginia are vital to a credible nuclear deterrence for the United States and our Allies," said Adm. Charles Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command.
West Virginia is one of 14 Ohio-class SSBNs that make up the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad by serving as an undetectable launch platform for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Before visiting Diego Garcia, West Virginia surfaced to embark Gen. Michael Kurilla, the commander of U.S. Central Command, in the Arabian Sea and participated in a joint, U.S. Strategic Command-directed communications exercise to validate emerging and innovative tactics in the Indian Ocean.
"West Virginia, like each of our ballistic missile submarines, is specifically designed for extended deterrent patrols," said Vice Adm. William Houston, commander of Naval Submarine Forces. "The stealth and response capability of these submarines combined with the crew's training make our SSBNs the most powerful warships in the world."
The submarine also conducted a complete crew exchange in Diego Garcia and a subsequent replenishment at sea, highlighting the SSBN force's readiness and flexibility to remain on patrol for an extended period of time.
West Virginia is one of six ballistic-missile submarines stationed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, and can carry up to 20 submarine-launched ballistic missiles with multiple warheads.
Submarine Forces execute the Department of the Navy's strategic deterrence mission in and from the undersea domain. In addition to lending added capacity to naval forces, Submarine Forces, in particular, are expected to leverage those unique advantages that come with undersea concealment to permit operational, deterrent, and combat effects that the Navy and the nation could not otherwise achieve.
U.S. Strategic Command forces operate around the world, around the clock, to deter strategic attacks and employ forces as directed to guarantee the security of our Nation and our Allies. For more information about U.S. Strategic Command, visit https://www.stratcom.mil/.