Summer has flown by, and we are now safely into fall. This issue of Surface Warfare Magazine will be the last one you see until 2016, so I hope you will read every word. It will have to hold you over through the end of the year. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are plenty of exciting things to talk about. I know I say it a lot, but it really is a great time to be a SWO!
With the official establishment of the Navy’s Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), we have seen the Warfighting Tactics Instructors (WTI) concept catch on with our Surface Warriors, and there is already a line to get into the program. The WTI patches that are presented to the graduates are showing up on coveralls and are getting a lot of attention. BZ to RDML Jim Kilby and his staff for their hard work getting stood up and for spreading the SMWDC story to the fleet.
As if that wasn’t an exciting enough development for SWOs, in July the lead SWO detailer, Capt. Brad Cooper, rolled out a new plan to retain top talent in our community. The SWO Career Chart is the first of its kind and offers junior officers the opportunity to apply for graduate education at America’s elite institutions, work at a Fortune 500 company, and develop skills valuable to the Surface community, among other options. This program is all about empowering junior officers, providing them flexibility and more possibilities in addition to the great options we already offer, like the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).
In early September, I visited NPS and spoke to the students, faculty, and staff there. It was during this visit that we announced the establishment of a Surface Warfare Chair. This is a first for NPS and yet another first for the Surface Force. Capt. Chuck Good, who recently completed his CO tour in USS Princeton (CG 59), is assigned to NPS as the inaugural SWO Chair. As part of his assignment, he is a mentor, supporting both the personal and professional development of students. Capt. Good and future chairs will also be a conduit between the fleet and the school, traveling regularly to commands and bringing back the latest initiatives, needs, and requirements of an ever-evolving force.
I recently hosted a commander’s training symposium in Coronado to complement the one Commander, Naval Surface Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet conducted in June. These are great opportunities to bring leadership together to meet and get updated on issues important to the surface community. For the Pacific leaders, among the updates, there were discussions on maintenance, Distributed Lethality, and a brief by VADM Tyson, the new Third Fleet commander. Additionally, we had the opportunity to hear Capt. Paul Rinn, USN (Ret), former commanding officer of USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58), recount his ship’s mine hit in the Arabian Gulf and the importance of training and leadership when responding to an emergency.
By the time you read the next issue, we will be gearing up for January’s SNA Symposium. At last year’s symposium I rolled out what Distributed Lethality is and how it affects the employment of our Surface Fleet. Since then, many smart and motivated people have applied their talents and insights to push the concept forward. The members of the Distributed Lethality Task Force on both coasts, in academia, and from my staff have been working hard, and I am excited to show the impressive strides that have been made.
Also before the January addition, we’ll get a chance to celebrate some of our favorite holidays – the Navy’s birthday, the Marine Corps’ birthday, and Veterans’ Day! I wish you happy holidays and will see you in 2016.