Fit to Fight
SWO Boss Focuses on Warfighting Readiness Through Zone Inspections

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Navy's top surface warfare officer is focusing attention on material condition and readiness through the shipboard zone inspection program, the subject of his latest warfighting serial message to the fleet released Feb. 19.

Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, is reminding commanders and commanding officers of the importance he places on the zone inspection program and how the program contributes to overall warfighting readiness.

"Warfighting is our number one priority and material readiness is essential to warfighting readiness," said Rowden. "No shipboard program is more critical to material readiness than the zone inspection program."

In his message to the fleet, Rowden cited a recent letter from the president of the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) which stated the primary reason for ships doing poorly on INSURV is due to lack of preventative maintenance and an ineffective zone inspection program.

"The empirical evidence is clear," said Rowden. "Ships with good zone inspection programs are more materially fit to fight."

Rowden's renewed focus on the zone inspection program focuses on three types of inspections. These include the daily informal inspections done by all khaki on board, the executive officer's daily inspection of messing and berthing, and formal zone inspections conducted on a weekly basis.

"At a minimum, a successful zone inspection program must include ownership, rigor and follow through," said Rowden. "Triad involvement in the zone inspection program is key."

Rowden also encourages all commanding officer, executive officers and senior enlisted leaders to review and critique their current programs, examine both what works and what does not, and share best practices with one another.

"We must do better in this area," said Rowden. "Zone inspections are critical to self-assessment and identifying material deficiencies that impact overall material readiness."

Material readiness, personal readiness and combat readiness are the focus of Rowden's efforts at the type command level to support the CNO's three tenets of Warfighting First, Operate Forward, and Be Ready. Surface Warfare Magazine


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