Surface Warfare Magazine
Sharing stories and news from Sailors across the U.S. Navy’s Surface Forces
Warfighting Serial #13


Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden released Warfighting Serial #13, titled Confidence and Competence on September 15, which calls on unit commanders to take increased measures to ensure the safety and readiness of our forces.

The “Warfighting Serials” are messages used by Rowden to convey thoughts, important discussion points and direction to the leaders (i.e. commanders, commodores, commanding officers, command senior enlisted leaders, department heads, etc.) of the surface force. Confidence and Competence directs commanders to take specific actions to ensure increased safety and preparedness of their units, at sea and in port. Rowden is taking a steadfast stance on ensuring ships are receiving appropriate time to conduct training and pre-deployment certifications, and expecting increased ownership of the processes in place, and creating a culture of standardization across the fleet.

Ownership and involvement at the commanding officer and immediate superior in command levels ensures the manning, material readiness and training necessary are aligned for accurate “talent to task” placement for task success.

On a larger scale, Rowden, in conjunction with direction by Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, is standing up the Naval Surface Group Western Pacific (NSGWP) command to address the time-for-training concern of ships. NSGWP will consolidate authorities to oversee the training and certification of surface combatants assigned to Forward Deployed Naval Forces Japan (FDNF-J). NSGWP will also focus on addressing the organizational gap that allowed a culture to grow myopically focused on operations to the detriment of readiness.

Additionally, Ready for Sea Assessments are being conducted for all surface forces, starting with FDNF-J cruisers and destroyers, in order to review the ship's critical mission areas for operating at sea. Assessments will also include each ship’s manning documents, critical Navy Enlisted Classification billets, critical school requirements, certification/recurring event completion status, material readiness of critical equipment and systems, and the command’s utilization of the plan, brief, execute, and debrief (PBED) and operational risk management (ORM) programs.



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Establish standard commanding officer standing orders, engineering standing orders, and battle orders to ensure simplicity, directivity, and commonality in order to provide common business rules for watchstanders across all platforms and surface ships.

Notwithstanding fleet commander direction, mission-specific operational security (OPSEC), emission control (EMCON), or force protection conditions, AIS shall be transmitted while transiting any traffic separation scheme and/or any high density traffic area.

Effective immediately, any casualty to critical ship controlling equipment/systems impacting navigation, steering, propulsion control, and/or installed damage control equipment will be Category (CAT)-3 casualty reports (CASREP), unless the Joint Fleet Maintenance Manual (JFMM) rules dictate CAT-4. Any equipment/system degradation triggering redline criteria will bear a minimum CAT-3 CASREP, an accompanying mitigation plan, and a request for continued operation to be reviewed by the cognizant fleet commander.

Casualty reports allow operational commanders and support personnel to be alerted to the status of significant equipment malfunctions that may result in the degradation of a unit's readiness. Casualty reports vary from Category 2-4, with Category 4 being the most severe and mission impacting casualties.

Redlines are minimum standards a ship must maintain for safely getting underway and remaining underway. Redlines in and of themselves do not ensure safe operations at sea, but lay the foundation when coupled with other programs, including certifications and Operational Risk Management, to safely operate at sea.

Immediate Superiors In Command and commanding officers are directed to assess all inport, underway, special evolution watchbills and watch team replacement plans for both qualification accuracy and watchstander proficiency.

All units shall report, evaluate, and train to lessons learned from incidents and near misses. Formal requirements for such will be codified in near-term guidance based upon our need to identify causal factors and learning opportunities from these events.


Naval Surface Group Western Pacific (NSGWP) will oversee the maintenance and readiness of forward deployed ships with the authority to determine when a ship is ready for operational tasking or, conversely, not certified for operations and requires remedial training.

NSGWP will focus on overall readiness for the operational deployment of ships. In contrast to current Afloat Training Group (ATG) assessments, ATG only assesses individual warfare areas, such as damage control, anti-terrorism, navigation, etc., but has no authority or oversight in regards to maintenance. Whereas, NSGWP will continually monitor and amend any maintenance deficiencies in addition to managing the operational certification process.

The formation and development of NSGWP as a command will take place over the next six months. Its only focus will be FDNF-J ships. A marked change from our current FDNF model is that NSGWP will not allow a ship to receive operational tasking if it does not pass the necessary benchmarks.

NSGWP will be led by Capt. Rich Dromerhauser. “The Surface Navy operates under the tenets of being Forward, Visible and Ready –”, said Dromerhauser. “And I fully take to on board the CNO’s point; we must understand that the enduring strength of our Surface Force can only be built on a foundation of solid readiness.”


All CNSF ships shall implement circadian rhythm watchbills and shipboard routines aboard their ships and commands No Later Than 20 DEC 2017.

In a previous Warfighting Serials, Vice Adm. Rowden released guidance on the implementation of circadian rhythm routines for surface ships.

Research by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) has conclusively linked the importance of sleep to safe, professional watchstanding. Research has shown that 21 hours without sleep results in a degree of impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.08 -legally drunk. 

You would not operate your car under these conditions; we should not ask our crews to stand watch and operate shipboard systems in a similar mental and physical state.

Employed together, circadian rhythm watchbills and shipboard routines combat fatigue. They provide our Sailors with a predictable watch rotation and protected sleep periods that recognize the human circadian rhythm. It should be emphasized that the utilization of both circadian rhythm watchbills and complimentary shipboard routines are required to successfully manage fatigue.

Littoral combat (LCS), mine countermeasure (MCM) and patrol coastal (PC) ships are exempt from this order, due to their unit mission sets and manning constructs. However, commanding officers should implement the principles and practices to the best of their ability.

For more information on the message release, see message titled “Force-Wide Circadian Rhythm Implementation


Following the Operational Pause and comprehensive review tasked by the CNO, Adm. Swift directed a second phase of action focused on a deliberate reset for the readiness of all Pacific Fleet surface ships.

As part of phase two, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet is conducting Ready For Sea Assessments (RFSA). The two-day assessments will specifically focus on readiness of FDNF-J ships, and then expand to the entire Pacific Fleet.

Assessments are in progress on FDNF-J warships, with a focus on the critical mission areas of navigation, propulsion, steering, communications and damage control. Operational demand and the assessments will be closely coordinated with the operational commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. Surface Warfare Magazine

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