The summer season has just begun and many of you will take the opportunity to spend time with your families while the kids are on break from school. Enjoy these moments—you’ve all earned them. The love of our families and the stability they bring to our lives is irreplaceable, and we simply cannot thank them enough for the sacrifices they make.
In what has been an extraordinarily busy – and game-changing – spring for the Surface Force, we capped off the third week of May with our inaugural “Distributed Lethality (DL) Summit” held in San Diego at the SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific facility at Point Loma.
We picked this venue because it could accommodate the large crowd we anticipated, and it allowed us to engage in discussion with each other in a classified and secure environment. It was at the classified level, the level at which we plan and fight, that allowed the fleet to really see the benefit of the work we’ve done these past eighteen months.
And the fleet was there to receive the message! More than 150 Sailors of all ranks, and civilians, came from Navy fleet concentration area, including Japan, Hawaii, Mayport, Florida, Norfolk, San Diego, and Washington D.C. to be part of this inaugural event.
The DL Task Force kicked off the two-day summit with an update on how DL is changing, and being changed, by the “Four T’s”— tactics, talent, training and tools.
The tools and tactics discussions were deeply enhanced by increasing the classification level, with topics as diverse as emerging command and control (C2) architectures, the use of organic medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), advanced tactics for the Standard Missile-6 and Tomahawk-Maritime missiles, and exciting upgrades in electronic maneuver warfare (EMW) systems and tactics.
Naval intelligence officers from SABER, SPEAR, SWORD, and SPECTRUM from the Office of Naval Intelligence — updated us with threat assessments across the main warfighting domains (surface, air, subsurface, and EW/Cyber/C4ISR) which focused on the major threats we face. The briefs were scenario-based and presented the audience with not only a superb understanding of the threats, but also how those threats would operate, what their likely objectives would be, and how they would seek to obtain those objectives.
After two-days of interactive lectures, the DL Summit then headed to the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, where the folks at Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific provided the venue for two days of table-top war-gaming facilitated by experts from the Naval War College.
For many of the junior warfighters, it was their first opportunity to participate in formal war-gaming, a mode of analysis that most surface warfare officers will participate in throughout our careers and something we will all be doing more of in the future. The games were also held at the classified level, challenging young warfighters with realistic scenarios, against realistic opponents, in realistic environments.
Three groups, two surface action groups and one up-armored expeditionary strike group, applied what they learned in the previous two days to execute a future-based warfighting scenario. The war-game included access to advanced weapons and sensors appropriate to the future so the participants could gain a first-hand appreciation for the degree to which increasing the lethality of the surface force and using its ability to operate it in a more distributed and innovative fashion, can change the calculus of our adversaries.
Our plan is to hold Distributed Lethality Summits annually in San Diego, with attendees taking what they learned back to their respective Fleet Concentration Areas. We are once again investing in the future of our profession, a profession that is refocusing on offensive capability. I am energized and inspired by the discussions I have with you as I move about the fleet, my staff and I are dedicated to getting you the tactics, talent, training, and tools you need to win at sea, and I am so proud to serve in this Navy with you.
Be well, and sail strong!