Passing seven months on deck as commander, Naval Surface Forces and Naval Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, I am encouraged by the overall progress we’re making in the Surface Force.
I want to reiterate, my staff and I are committing our efforts to setting up our commanding officers, their crews and their ships for success. Our goals are for ships to deploy 92 percent fit, 95 percent fill, casualty report (CASREP) free, and fully certified. I don’t consider these lofty goals – this is our job. Here’s what we have in motion to help our commanding officers reach these goals.
We’ve revised the SWO career path, increasing schoolhouse training, as well as increasing experience aboard ships at sea. The SWO Career Path has four distinct focus areas: the Division Officer tour, where officers learn how to Drive the Ship; the Department Head tour, where officers learn how to Fight the Ship; the Executive Officer tour, where officers learn how to manage the ship; and the Commanding Officer tour, where well-trained officers are ready to command ships from day one.
We’re increasing the frequency and rigor of assessments conducted throughout a Surface Warfare Officer’s career. We now have 10 assessments, seven of which are new.
We’ve conducted a competency check on 164 first-tour SWO qualified officers who had varying levels of underway experience as Officer of the Deck. Our results found performance had a bell curve distribution, similar to what any educational program might produce. The point of the competency checks was to establish a baseline for junior OODs across the fleet, so the curriculum provided in OOD phase I and OOD phase II courses could be modified to help junior officers learn and qualify more effectively.