Surface Commanders Meet to Improve Warfighting Readiness 
Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis Commander, Naval Surface Forces/Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, hosted the 2009 Commanders Conference at Admiral Baker Club House in San Diego, to discuss Surface Navy readiness June 30-July 1. The conference’s theme was “What it means to be a SWO”.

Eight flag officers, including Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Rear Adm. Mike Shatynski, Vice Commander, Naval Surface Forces; and more than 40 Pacific Fleet commanders attended the event, which focused on current manning challenges, maintenance initiatives, and the training continuum and how these matters impact the execution of the Maritime Strategy.

“Our surface force is serving at the tip of the spear and your leadership is what makes it happen. My job is to ensure you and your crews are warfighting ready,” said Curtis in his opening remarks.

Adm. Robert F. Willard Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaking by way of videotaped message, emphasized that “Surface Warfare is the heart of the Navy! SWOs should take pride and reflect upon the significant contributions that surface ships are making globally.” Willard also underscored a present need for credible leadership, which is fostered by the values and standards that we uphold.

The agenda aimed to support the conference objectives, which were to discuss leadership, mentorship, and resource saving initiatives with the ultimate goal of collecting feedback sufficient to improve overall Warfighting Readiness. Subjects inspiring particular discussion included 3M, Surface Programs, CRO/CLASSRON contributions, CMC/FORCM leadership, and the fiscal environment. These conferences provide SWO Flags and their staffs direct waterfront engagement and facilitate CO to CO networking-products that yield the greatest return on investment.

“To be able to get together and talk about surface warfare issues with community leaders is invaluable,” said Capt. Jon Padfield, Commodore, Amphibious Squadron Three. “We’ve got so many people spread across so many places doing different missions, it’s imperative that we gather and focus on the priorities Vice Adm. Curtis has in mind.”

The mission of SURFOR is to ensure that surface ships of the Pacific Fleet are properly manned, trained, and equipped to support global military operations. SURFOR is composed of 162 ships supporting operational commanders throughout the world.

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