Providing Combatant Commanders with lethal, ready, well-trained, and logistically-supported Surface Forces to assure, deter and win.

Surface Force Priority: Warfighting

As Commander of Naval Surface Forces, I have one and only one priority, and that is to ensure that everything we do makes us better warfighters. Warfighting comes first and is enabled by three enduring pillars:

Combat Readiness

We rededicate ourselves to the Profession of Surface Warfare, and we recognize the challenge posed by those who wish to deny the freedom of the world’s oceans. Projecting power from the sea thousands of miles from our own shores is this Navy’s primary competitive advantage over all other navies. In order to do so, we must control the sea and the air above it, where it matters, when it matters. We will:

  • Integrate more effectively with the U.S. Marine Corps; cooperation is insufficient. The Marines and the Surface Force together are a mobile, lethal, flexible instrument of national power, unequalled in reach and scope.
  • Focus on the fundamentals of Surface Warfare by standing up the Naval Surface Warfighting Development Center (NSMWDC) and proliferating Surface Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI) in key billets throughout the Force, throughout all of our core competencies.
  • Distribute lethality throughout the Fleet, increasing combat power on each ship while ensuring those ships are more capable of operating in dispersed and network-denied environments.
  • Identify those requirements on our ships that are not directly related to warfighting proficiency and evaluate their usefulness. Where possible, they will be modified, reduced, or eliminated.
  • Expand the role of small surface combatants and reconfigurable support ships in order to provide the correct mix of capabilities that can be employed across the full spectrum of conflict.
  • Embrace experimentation and innovation by accepting additional risk in order to push technology to the Fleet faster.

Material Readiness

We will continue to send ready ships forward, and we will work to ensure our ships receive the maintenance they need to reach their estimated service lives. In order to stay ahead of the deepening threats, we will modernize our ships and advocate for changes in ship design that enable more efficient and less intrusive modernization. We will:

  • Encourage and reward consistent and realistic readiness reporting within the Surface Force.
  • Continue to more completely understand the scope of lifecycle maintenance requirements on our ships and fund that maintenance accordingly.
  • Collaborate with the Systems Commands and with industry to encourage flexibility and modularity into future ship designs, in order to reduce long and intrusive overhauls while encouraging timely, regular modernization.

Personal Readiness

We value the time and skill of our Sailors, we provide the resources, tools and training necessary for mission accomplishment, and we recognize the sacrifices made by our people and their families. We recognize the foundational importance of COMMAND, and we expect our Commanding Officers to do just that. We expect of, and receive from each other, the highest levels of professionalism and courtesy. Our pride in our ships and ourselves is justified by our performance and our professionalism. We will:

  • Strive to ensure the centrality of Command at Sea to the health and vibrance of the Force.
  • Man our ships to the degree necessary to accomplish the mission.
  • Ensure our Sailors receive the training they need to perform their mission.
  • Solicit Surface Force input for common-sense revisions to evaluation and promotion systems, and then advocate for those revisions.
  • Respect the laws and customs of our society, and the dignity of every individual.
  • Tolerate no discrimination, hazing, or harassment.
  • Reward innovators and calculated risk takers, and eliminate any vestige of a “zero-defect” in our profession.
  • Communicate early and often; always tell the truth no matter how difficult it might be to deliver or hear.
  • Eliminate distractions and burdens that detract from the pursuit of warfighting excellence.

The Surface Force is the Navy’s face to the world, a helping hand to those in need, and a powerful, ever-present reminder of our Nation’s resolve and might. Our responsibilities are great, but so are our capabilities and talents. We recognize that while we are members of the world’s finest Navy, we can always do better.


What do we truly value as Surface Warriors?

The Surface Force is a sea-centric, warfighting culture of ethical leadership and professional expertise. We must be guided by the following principles:

  1. Warfighting Readiness of Our Forces – As a seafaring community, Service at Sea is at the core of the Surface Warfare profession, for Officers and Enlisted alike. We have a “train like you fight” mentality and training at sea is the best way to hone our warfighting capability. Qualifying and serving on the watch bill in a warfare position at sea should be the goal of every Surface Warrior. We value:
    • Continued and improved Integration with the Marine Corps.
    • Development of our Officers into bold, confident, competent and accountable leaders prepared for Command at Sea.
    • Continuous improvement in the Technical and Tactical Expertise of our force.
    • Lethality in our Ships’ weapons system to engage and defeat the enemy.
    • Investment in the Material Readiness and Modernization of our Ships.
  2. Our People –Trained, Growing, Innovative – Our ships require well trained and ready Sailors to command and fight them. We value individual growth and providing the ability for every Sailor to achieve their full potential. We value:
    • Rigorous Training and Education, both in port and at sea.
    • Continued emphasis on reducing distractions and removing the burdens that prevent Sailors from sharpening their warfighting skills.
    • Professional career progression blended with desired personal growth that results in a better trained force.
    • Maximizing the Diversity of Ideas found in our people for the benefit of the Force.
    • Innovative ideas from an actively and intellectually engaged junior officer corps and enlisted community.
  3. Integrity – Our focus on Warfighting will be fully realized if our leaders are trusted by those who are putting lives on the line to accomplish the mission. Uncompromising standards are the foundation of integrity. We value:
    • Leaders who abide by strict standards of honesty and accuracy.
    • Accuracy in reporting and honesty in assessment to gain a full understanding of the root causes of our problems in order to apply lessons and grow as a Force.
    • Procedural compliance to safely and effectively operate our increasingly complex warships.
    • Constructive feedback up and down the chain of command. Speak truth to power.

Our Mission is warfighting and winning at sea. Surface Warfare is the integrator in today’s warfighting disciplines from the tactical to the theater level. The focus of visible U.S. military power and presence is the combat–ready warship operating forward. Therefore, the success of U.S. military power hinges on our surface combatants. They must be crewed by Warfighters and Commanded by the most skilled and trusted leaders we have.

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