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.