Surface Warfare Enterprise Dedicated to Providing Readiness to Warfighters
By Kiersten McCutchan, Commander Naval Surface Forces Staff Writer
San Diego, Calif. -- The Surface Warfare Enterprise (SWE) Board of Directors (BoD) and its supporting teams held their third annual Strategic Planning Conference (SPC) at the end of June at the Coronado Club on Naval Base Coronado. This SPC was the first chaired by Commander, Naval Surface Forces (COMNAVSURFOR), Vice Adm. D. C. Curtis. It was co-chaired by Vice Commander, Naval Sea Systems (NAVSEA) Command, Rear Adm. Michael Frick.

Bringing together senior leadership, action officers and facilitators, the annual venue helps Enterprise members lay out, discuss and refine the strategic direction of the SWE and develop consensus on issues and action. This year represented a good balance of dialogue, and was unique in that all aspects of the SWE were discussed down to the tactical levels of the Class Squadrons (CLASSRONS). From the strategic vision, planning by groups across the Enterprise drive the practices and processes that are used across the Surface Warfare community – especially to engage in the robust pursuit of one main goal: Warfighting Readiness.

Warfighting Readiness
“We are here to improve Warfighting Readiness – to get the pulse of our Enterprise groups, including the CLASSRONS, and to produce and put things in motion,” said Vice Adm. Curtis in his opening remarks.

“How can we fix the ships? How can we settle problems? That’s why this meeting is important,” he said. “The Fleet is doing well. Readiness is doing well. Overall the Fleet’s Warfighting Readiness is good. The bottom line is looking at improved Readiness: Waterfront focus, the new Center of Excellence, the SWO [Surface Warfare Officer] introduction course, SWE alignment and focusing on tactical excellence. We should be asking, ‘What can we do to improve Warfighting Readiness and support our waterfront Sailors?’”

Sending Out the Message
As the dialogue continued, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn, noted that the Surface Warfare Enterprise is not separate from the operational Surface Forces (SURFOR) mission.

Rear Adm. Michael Frick said, “The Surface Warfare Enterprise, as we put it together, means that we’re there to create processes to use our money efficiently so we can buy more ships, ammunition, and fuel. People should not think of the SWE as a business,” he said. “Your day job is part of the Enterprise. Everybody is part of the Enterprise – this is about how the Navy is being operated and how we maximize efficiency.”

“Before the Enterprise we looked only within our own organizations,” said Vice Adm. Curtis. “Now we a collaborative approach that looks horizontally and from the top-down toward the individual units represented by the CLASSRONS. The fact that the CLASSRONS have been in existence little more than a year — and have accomplished so many things – is amazing.”

“We see the success stories of the CLASSRONS and our other Enterprise groups as a big part of the overall success of our mission,” said Vice Adm. Curtis. Telling our stories to the public and our communities is important in communications, but the other big part of that is talking and listening to our sailors on the deckplates and encouraging the two-way flow of information, he said.

Warfighting Readiness and the Enterprise Future
“We are all moving towards the same goal,” said Director, Surface Warfare Division, N86 Rear Adm. Victor Guillory, “part of our struggle has been thinking about what we do as a collective vision. We can rally behind a lot of ideas that are important to the Warfighter. We must set our sights on how to really make progress and get folks out there to recognize that we are here to represent them to ensure they get the resources they need to accomplish the mission.”

Overall, SWE SPC participants found the Enterprise is making progress and achieving goals. “We thought it was important to give baselines for where we really stand, which is good to know for where we’re going to go. We had good discussions that re-emphasized our dedication to the Warfighter.”
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