Surface Warfare Magazine
Sharing stories and news from Sailors all across the U.S. Navy’s Surface Forces
 
Commander's Corner
The Surface Navy had an exciting and challenging year. At any given time, just over 50% of our ships were underway and deployed around the world and those deployments were longer than we've typically seen. These deployments allowed us to detect and interdict drugs bound for the United States; to deter piracy: and, to protect America's interests worldwide.

We brought new ships to life, adding combat capability to the fleet even as we decommissioned ships whose crews served with pride and distinction over decades of steaming.

There were some significant events to consider from 2013. USS Freedom (LCS 1) completed her first deployment and there were many successes and accomplishments we can point to. She deployed to Singapore, participated in multi-national exercises, and provided humanitarian and disaster relief support in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.

Freedom also provided validation of our CONOPS for LCS. Lessons learned have been applied to follow on hulls and we have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge that will benefit the fleet for the foreseeable future.

Professional development of our Sailors and readiness continue to improve. The Naval Mine and ASW Command and the Navy Air and Missile Defense Command have begun courses to train Surface Warfare Officers as Weapons Tactics Instructors. When the WTIs graduate from their advanced tactics courses they will return to the fleet to train others. The model has been used in other communities as has shown proven results.

The Surface community is moving forward and is on its way to establishing a Naval Surface and Expeditionary Warfare Command which will consolidate tactical development and provide capabilities to address advanced warfare training gaps not covered by existing organizations.

Also, the most recent JO survey is complete and I thought you'd be interested in hearing the results. The good news is we know what you think about SWO life. As has been the case for years, the more junior you are the less you seem to enjoy being a SWO. As your seniority increases, the more courses you complete, and the more experience and responsibility you gain, the better you like what you do.

I want to extend my personal thanks for the thoughtful inputs and if you are interested in reviewing the full results you can find them on the PERS-41 website.

Looking ahead... planning is challenging given the budget shifts.

In prior years the long term budget process used to provide us with the ability to work operations and maintenance plans with known dollars over years with suspense dates and milestones to meet. In today's fiscal environment we have a moving target that makes multiyear planning improbable. Movements of billions of dollars in or out of the spreadsheets has consequences.

Every dollar obligation is being weighed to ensure we get the most benefit out of what we spend and where it is spent. That approach includes near-term requirements and anticipated needs on the far horizon.

All that to say with warfighting as CNO's primary tenet and readiness to support warfighting, my mandate, I can assure you we will find a way to make sure we get the best trained Sailors to man capable ships with tactically proficient leadership in place.

The oceans aren't getting smaller and the world isn't getting safer so the Surface Navy will always be in demand. We are tremendous value for the nation.

Your Surface Navy is a great deal for America. There is no place we don't steam, nowhere we can't go, and no one who can match us. We remain the greatest Navy in history - and we need to keep it that way.

Our maritime nation requires a worthy maritime force and we will continue to do everything in our power to provide prompt, sustained combat power over time.

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