Surface Warfare Magazine
Sharing stories and news from Sailors across the U.S. Navy’s Surface Forces
 
Commander's Corner

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.

 

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Through extensive review, we’ve identified six common traits for ship mishaps. As a result, we’ve implemented a training initiative to improve operational safety through mitigation of those six common traits. More information about this subject can be found a few pages further in the magazine.

Additionally, Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, III, commander, Commander, Naval Air Forces, and I released a joint message promulgating operational safety and risk mitigation expectations for air-capable surface ships during flight deck operations. Our goal is to fix shortcomings as we evolve to meet the threats ahead. We owe it to our Sailors (and their families) to keep them safe and, more importantly, ready to fight and win across the range of military operations as we return to a great power competition.

As the year continues, these will remain my priorities. I look forward to discussing these in more depth throughout the summer as we host midshipmen for their summer cruises, engage with crews along the waterfront, and meet during our Surface Warfare flag officers annual training symposium.

 
Own the Fight,
VADM Brown Surface Warfare Magazine

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