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

From Aug. 21 - 22, I hosted the 2018 Surface Warfare Flag Officer Training Symposium (SWFOTS) in San Diego. Fifty-six active duty 1, 2, and 3-star Surface Warfare Flag Officers attended, and we were fortunate to have ADM Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), and ADM Grady, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (CFFC), participate as speakers. SWFOTS is an annual event designed to ensure the whole of surface leadership has a voice in surface community policy and we are aligned to move the community forward. It is also an opportunity for the SWO Flag Wardroom to engage with senior navy leaders to get their perspective and guidance on all manner of issues. 

The briefs that made up the agenda were informative, thought-provoking, and are worth reading. All briefing products are available on the CNSP SharePoint portal at: https://cpf.navy.deps.mil/sites/cnsp/swfots/default.aspx and https://www.pr.cas.navy.smil.mil/secret/su/29/site.nsf/main.html

I encourage you to download them, share them with your teams, and provide feedback where you have questions or concerns. 

Key take-aways from two days of insightful discussion by your community and navy leadership were:  

  • GREAT POWER COMPETITION IS BACK.  Our Navy’s greatest value proposition and primary objective in this context is the ability to establish and maintain sea control when and where required. To this end, our three Fleet Commanders — COMPACFLT, CFFC, and COMNAVEUR — are solidly aligned under the One Fight, One Navy fleet guidance. This clarity of purpose at the upper echelon should drive a sense of urgency in everything we do at all levels of the chain of command.
  • FOSTERING A LEARNING CULTURE. 
We all need to work harder to encourage and improve initiative, creativity, and innovation in the fleet. Continuing to foster that environment will be key to cultivating an enduring learning culture, capable of staying ahead of adversaries and advancing our ability to win a sea control fight. All of this hinges on the initiative of Commanders and Commanding Officers and their willingness to harness the creativity of their crews.
  • READINESS IS ABOUT LETHALITY. 
Our focus on building readiness is a means to an end, and that end is lethality in combat at sea in support of Fleet Commander objectives. Everything we do in the Surface Force should support this critical purpose.
  • WE MUST EARN SEA CONTROL. The long-standing, historical assumption that we will always have sea control is no longer valid. We're going to have to be ready to earn it and keep it, likely at cost. To this end, contributing to victory at sea in a sea control fight is the Surface Force's ultimate purpose and reason for being.
 

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WTIs are trained to be tactically astute and lethal warfighters in one of three warfighting areas – amphibious warfare, anti-submarine warfare/surface warfare, and integrated air & missile defense.  SMWDC is also developing a mine warfare WTI program that will begin in mid-2019.

While the scope of SWOS’ mission to ready seabound warriors to serve on surface combatants as officers, enlisted engineers, and enlisted navigation professionals may vary from that of SMWDC, the two commands do converge and complement one another.

One example is Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercises. SMWDC WTIs and senior mentors embark surface ships during these exercises to provide advanced tactical training that prepares ships to work together before joining other strike group elements.

“The SMWDC WTIs and senior mentors underway for SWATT exercises are focused on advanced tactical training,” said Welch. “As top professionals, however, they also provide guidance on more basic level seamanship and navigation skills if and when deficiencies arise.”

SMWDC, established in 2015 as one of five warfighting development centers, is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and increases the lethality and tactical proficiency of the surface force across all domains.Surface Warfare Magazine

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