Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks to attendees of the Surface Warfare Officer Summit at Naval Base Point Loma's Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center. Subject matter experts from military, industry and civilian organizations affiliated with the surface community gathered to discuss various emergent surface warfare areas including upcoming surface attack weaponry, threat assessments, training and developing surface warfare officers, leadership and organizational psychology and innovations in logistics and cyber warfighting. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Trevor Welsh/Released)
San Diego Surface Forces Pause to Refocus on Safe and Professional Operations at Sea

SAN DIEGO—Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, spoke with San Diego-based surface force commanding officers, executive officers and command master chiefs Aug. 23 and 24 during a fleet-wide operational pause.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson directed an operational pause following the recent collisions of USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), June 17, and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), Aug. 21, to focus on fundamentals and operational risk management principles to ensure the Navy is taking all appropriate immediate measures to support and enhance the Navy’s safe and effective operations around the world.

“During this effort and in its wake, all of us must continue to focus on safely and professionally executing our responsibilities,” said Rowden. “From execution of our off-watch responsibilities of training and maintenance, ensuring we are prepared for upcoming watches and evolutions to the execution of daily operations at sea, we must ensure we are laser focused on the task at hand.”

The operational pause directed leadership and supervisors to engage in face-to-face discussions with all watchstanders in an effort to reemphasize the importance of clear, concise and coordinated communication and teamwork efforts between bridge, combat information center, engineering, flight deck and well deck for the safe operation of our warships. Methods of training included face-to-face discussions, table-top scenarios, demonstrations and small group seminars to ensure all Sailors are involved.

“Per my Commander’s Guidance, when called upon, our mission is to decisively prevail in all contingencies from war to peace,” said Adm. Scott Swift, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, in a message to commanders. “We cannot complete this mission without first mastering, and continually remastering, the basics of our profession.”

Commanders were directed to tailor the operational pause to accommodate circumstances in their respective theaters, missions, threats and forces.

“Safe and professional operation is the standard we must hold ourselves to 24/7,” said Rowden. “Our nation expects and deserves nothing less. We know we can count on you and your team’s full dedication to the task at hand- in the immediate future and beyond.”

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