Click here to download the Surface Force Strategy pamphlet.

Improving the Combat Capability of Surface Forces

We will organize, train, and equip surface forces to the greatest effect by using a framework composed of four pillars: tactics, talent, tools, and training (T4). The framework is designed to enhance the capability and capacity of the surface force to achieve and maintain access across all warfighting domains. It is aligned with the Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority and reinforces all of the Design’s lines of effort.

This comprehensive organizational approach combines the ways and means to deliver combat-ready warships in the near (2017-2021), mid (2022-2030), and far terms (2031-2040) in order to control the sea and project power.

Tactics: We must strive for tactical excellence and rededicate ourselves to provide sea control for our Nation. Under the leadership of the Naval Surface and Mine Warfare Development Center (SMWDC) we will develop and teach effective tactics that also unite thought and action to develop fast and cohesive warfighting. We will also deepen our warfighter’s expertise through continual critical analysis of our tactics and ingrain warfighting and tactical prowess into daily shipboard life.

Talent: We will harness the powerful impact of engaged leaders and remain committed to the importance of warfare tactics experts. We will manage the extraordinary talent that exists within our surface force with a view towards building depth, breadth, and experience for the future. Tomorrow’s challenges demand we engage the most creative and influential minds and attract and retain the best and most qualified people.

Tools: In addition to current ship construction plans, we will design, procure and build the future Fleet to raise the combat capability of surface ships. We will apply a prioritized road map to synchronize investments that adds long-range offensive weapons to our warships and increases resilience in combat.

Training: We will invest in realistic and integrated training and create environments that replicate the challenges of operating and sustaining in complex scenarios. This will enable Sailors to gain the warfighting proficiency and confidence required to accomplish the mission during a combat encounter.

Surface Force Investment Objectives  
Implementing Distributed Lethality to achieve sea control will require skillful management of the planning, programming, budgeting, and execution process. A prioritized and aligned investment plan will inform programming decisions across multiple resource sponsors. A surface force investment plan becomes even more imperative with the emerging “domain-centric” programming process. This process allocates capability and functionality across and within domains. We must work together to achieve kinetic and non-kinetic effects in the surface, undersea, air, land, cyber, and electromagnetic domains. The surface force has four investment objectives spanning the pillars of tactics, talent, tools, and training.

The first investment objective is to increase the offensive fire power of surface warships. We will continue to modify existing weapons and expand the procurement of improved surface launched anti-ship, anti-air and land-attack missiles. These improvements are applicable to the cruiser/destroyer (CRUDES) force, littoral combat ships (LCS), and the amphibious and expeditionary forces. We will also work to expand the capability of long range anti-submarine weapons. The surface force must also continue to develop and field advanced kill chain capabilities, such as the Navy Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA), to enable sea control and defeat existing and emerging threats in all domains.

The second investment objective is to support the Navy’s long range shipbuilding plan and modernization strategy. This involves increasing advanced, integrated air and missile defense capacity through sustained modernization and new construction to achieve established force posture goals. This objective also calls for improvements to existing Air Defense Commander capabilities by extending the service life of CG 47 class ships through the cruiser modernization program. Increased LCS, frigate and amphibious ship lethality and capacity is also a cornerstone of our future success.

By 2030, littoral combat ships and frigates will represent half of deployed surface combatants. These ships must be lethal, capable, and manned appropriately. Priorities will also focus on surface and expeditionary warfare maintenance and modernization to ensure Fleet reliability, sustainability and relevancy against modern and evolving threats.

The third investment objective is to improve battlespace awareness. This objective includes continued development of combat systems capabilities with improvements to mission planning software, battle management software for Warfare Commanders, and tools to manage unit and force level emissions. The efforts in this overarching objective are also intended to capitalize on advanced Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare (EMW) technologies, such as the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program , designed to support a robust EMW strategy.

The fourth overarching investment objective is to implement high velocity learning across the surface force. This involves resourcing Surface and Expeditionary Warfare Training Plan continuums. This objective also includes future investments in virtual world warfighting lab venues with operator-in-the-loop and combat system test bed capabilities to provide feedback on weapon system design and develop and validate tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs).

These four investment objectives span multiple resource sponsors and several major budget accounts. Through deep partnerships, the Surface Force Strategy investment priorities build wholeness into the four pillars of tactics, talent, tools and training and make the mission capabilities within the Distributed Lethality concept a reality and, in turn, harness the full measure of combat power from the surface force.

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