Surface Warfare Magazine
Sharing stories and news from Sailors across the U.S. Navy’s Surface Forces
 
4/1/2015
Commander's Corner

VADM RowdenThe reconstituted print version of Surface Warfare Magazine was rolled out in January at the Surface Navy Association symposium and since then I have been receiving countless positive emails and calls about the quality of the content. It has been well received and I am gratified there is so much interest in the Surface Force.

This magazine offers another avenue to communicate how the Surface Force supports warfighting first—my #1 priority. It has been my mandate from the outset to ensure the maximum level of combat capability and operational readiness possible from the fleet.

As SWOs, we all love getting underway, conducting live fire exercises, and putting our ships and crews through their paces. I issued the first in a series of messages to the fleet directing ships to take every opportunity to fire their weapons while underway. The more training that takes place the more proficient Sailors become; the more they operate as a team, and ultimately, the better they perform when speed and accuracy are critical. “Train the way we fight,” is axiomatic because it has been proven throughout history. If you want to look at it another way, crew training is like batting practice. The intent of batting practice is to create muscle memory in the ideal swing until hitting becomes nearly automatic.

We must have competent and confident crews who will perform required tasks without having to stop and think through each step because those steps are emblazoned in our minds. Firing missiles, crew-served weapons, or CIWS should be second nature.

If there are obstacles to conducting life fire exercises, then I want to know how we can get our ships and crews the means to train.

 

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But readiness is not strictly about firing weapons. Material readiness matters as well. The second message in the series focuses on ensuring our ships are operating at optimal levels. Not only should the power plants be fully capable, but everything from galleys to berthing areas need to be squared away. Gear adrift may not seem like a big deal when pierside, but it is when a fire or flooding breaks out and those items become projectiles in battle. Sailors need to be able to rely on rust-free hatches that open and close when required. There are countless ways poor material condition can hamper a ship’s capabilities.

Upcoming messages in the warfighting series focus on personnel readiness, on spares management, and on tactical communications, to name a few.

It is important to me that we get the most out of our ships and as the TYCOM it is my responsibility to ensure the Surface Force is properly manned, trained, and equipped.

While some of the message topics may appear mundane, each is in fact, focused on a specific area where attention must be paid and resources—time, personnel, budgets—need to be directed.

The leaders in their respective commands are there because they have performed at the highest levels throughout their careers. They have tremendous responsibilities and the demands for their attention and time are endless. But, the nation has demands of their Navy as well.

I have often said “the oceans aren’t getting smaller and the world isn’t getting safer,” and as the face of the Navy, the Surface Force is busy in every part of the world.

“Warfighting First” is more than a bumper sticker. It is a hard requirement with consequences for failure and we must be ready and fully capable to protect our nation when called on.

Finally, thank you to all who have been so supportive of the Surface Navy. We appreciate your efforts and commend all you do for your Navy. Surface Warfare Magazine

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