Surface Warfare Magazine
Sharing stories and news from Sailors across the U.S. Navy’s Surface Forces
 
12/20/2016
Commander's Corner



By the time these words are read, the holidays will have come to a close and we will have begun charging forward into the new year. For our Shipmates who spent the holiday season deployed, please know the entire Surface Force team is sincerely grateful for the sacrifices made by you and your families. For those who had the good fortune to be home for the holidays, I hope you had a chance to reconnect with family, rest and recharge — 2017 is going to be an exciting year!

Appropriately, this year’s action kicks off at the annual Surface Navy Association Symposium (SNA) in Crystal City, Va., with the core theme of “Distributed Lethality: Enabling Sea Control.” Serving as both an operating concept and an organizing principle, Distributed Lethality was first introduced community-wide at SNA two years ago.

As an operating concept, it’s about adding greater offensive punch and defensive resilience by leveraging two key attributes of the Surface Force — namely persistence and mobility. This is accomplished by increasing individual unit lethality and distributing the force across a wider expanse of geography in order to cause operational problems for adversaries. Recent articles on the Pacific Surface Action Group deployment and F-35 integration show how the concept is already taking shape in the fleet.

As an organizing principle, Distributed Lethality drives change across all elements of our community — namely Tactics, Talent, Training, and Tools (T4). T4 has a role in every effort we make to become better Warfighters through a more distributed and lethal force.

Make no mistake; Distributed Lethality is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end — maritime superiority through Sea Control. When it matters and where it matters, we must be able to control the seas, including the skies above and electromagnetic environment, in support of national interests.

 

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In the decades following the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Navy’s ability to control the seas was relatively unchallenged. Today, that ability is increasingly being tested by proliferating sea denial capabilities wielded by both nation states and militant organizations. USS Mason (DDG 87) being targeted by a rebel group while operating in the Red Sea last year is a great example of how sophisticated technology can be used in the maritime environment…and not in a good way — check out the article about “Ratcatchers” on page 38 to get a fuller appreciation of the challenges our Warfighters may encounter.

Naval Doctrine tells us that, “Sea Control is the essence of seapower and is a necessary ingredient in the successful accomplishment of all naval missions.” Its significance is central to our profession, so much so, that I recently signed out the new Surface Warfare Strategy to provide the vision of applying Distributed Lethality to the mandate of controlling the seas. This is, and will continue to be, my primary focus of effort throughout the coming year.

As always, I look forward to hearing your feedback on our programs and initiatives. It can’t be said enough — I am proud of you, proud of the Surface Force, and proud to be a Surface Warrior...let’s make it a great year!

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