Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT) hosted its semi-annual SPY-1 Radar and Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) systems summit for the Aegis BMD surface force community at Naval Station Norfolk, Feb. 3-5.
Waterfront SPY technicians, BMD teams, link response teams, their chains of command and the technical, training, and industry communities that support Sailors, were invited to the summit to discuss SPY maintenance requirements, fleet issues, and overall program updates with subject matter experts.
"Our continuous goal at SURFLANT is to improve readiness so that we can better support the warfighting community," said Rear Adm. Pete A. Gumataotao, SURFLANT commander. "A confabulation between the operational Sailors and the tactical and technical communities, who equip them, assists SURFLANT in keeping the waterfront more fully trained and equipped."
The summit encouraged a symmetrical dialogue between Sailors in the fleet and the technical communities so that both understood the direction the technical community is heading and the challenges faced by the fleet.
"As the combat systems officer aboard USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), I attended because I wanted to hear where we stand as a community on Aegis weapon system readiness," said Lt. Cmdr. Jenna Raunig. "Often it is very hard to break away from shipboard requirements to attend these conferences, but it is worth the time to have face-to-face conversations with those that man, train, and equip these strategic warfare areas."
Waterfront operators and technical communities were brought together to discuss current SPY and BMD materiel readiness initiatives and to communicate and educate at the operator level.
"As program manager, these summits are crucial in trying to stay ahead of our adversaries," said Rear Adm. Johnny Wolfe, program executive, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense. "As the Sailors that operate this equipment, we need you to tell us what we can do better; help us help you."
During an overall program update Sailors from various BMD surface ships were given a glimpse at the upcoming updates to the Aegis BMD systems and variants of their missiles.
"The art is in the planning for SPY and BMD," said Cmdr. Dave Stoner, the Missile Defense Agency's Aegis BMD readiness officer. "Warfighter feedback provides BMD engineers operational priorities and focuses technical solutions to solve tactical problems."
The summit is one component in SURFLANT's overall program that is working toward improving the tactical and technical competence in surface warfare.
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