SWOs are always busy and this summer is no exception, but a lot of what’s going on will be fun, instructive, and possibly both.
Everything done in my command must support warfighting first. I am serious about this and have done my best to communicate this point. We live in changing and challenging times where the capabilities of potential adversaries are increasing every day. According to a recent list of “The 35 Most Powerful Militaries in the World,” published in Business Insider, North Korea, China, Russia and Iran have increased the size and capability of their submarine fleets. Increasing our ASW proficiency is critical given the number and capability of the submarines navigating the oceans somewhere below our ships. I sent a warfighting serial on this subject in June and encourage all SWOs to read it.
We must increase the combat proficiency of every ship and be prepared to be where it matters when it matters. Shoot at every opportunity while underway; train like you fight. Keep your spaces squared away and report to your ship each day as though you could be called on with little or no notice to deploy, to fight and win.
On this note, the ceremony to stand up Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) took place June 9 at Naval Base San Diego. Rear Adm. Jim Kilby has been working hard to be ready for this day and has been talking with wardrooms around the fleet to let JOs know what career and force benefits there will be with SMWDC up and running.
SMWDC is the first step in creating tactically proficient operators in our ships with new programs to create Weapons Tactics Instructors, update and create doctrine, and lead advanced training events to improve how the force fights! This is watershed moment for the Surface Community as we now have an organization whose sole focus is improving our warfighting ability. I am excited for the entire community as we move forward with this new command.
Additionally, our HQ staff has been working to reduce burdens on ship and I have been impressed by how much has been taken off the backs of our ships and crews since August. Administrative burdens have been reduced, processes have been streamlined, and program analysts have been hired to manage safety reports, just to name a few results. We are improving the lives of sailors without sacrificing warfighting and safety requirements!
It is also CORTRAMID/PROTRAMID season, and we have been hosting weekly visits of USNA and NROTC Midshipmen. They will make the rounds of Navy communities and the experiences they have this summer will help them ultimately decide on which community best suits them and their career goals. I encourage you to take the time to welcome them to your ship and remember what it was like when you were doing the same thing and what experiences influenced you to the SWO community. These visits will help shape their expectations and provide them with a basis to make an informed decision on how they will serve in the world’s finest Navy. It’s a great time to be a SWO. See you on the waterfront!