SURFLANT Discusses Priorities for Today and Tomorrow

Story Number: NNS171218-12Release Date: 12/18/2017 10:02:00 AM
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From Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Proclaiming there is truly no better time to be a warfighter, Rear Adm. Jesse A. Wilson Jr., commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, (SURFLANT) addressed members of the Hampton Roads Surface Navy Association (SNA), at their monthly luncheon held on board Naval Station Norfolk, Dec. 13.

He spoke to more than 100 attendees at this end-of-year event about the fundamentals of watch standing, the importance of teamwork, generating readiness, as well as the culture of surface warfare.

Today's luncheon provided an opportunity for surface warriors to network, mentor and share experiences. Events like this offer an opportunity to listen to one another's concerns, accept feedback and embrace ownership.

He explained the surface community is at an inflection point and must be aligned. "The next 25 years in the maritime security environment is going to be very different than the last 25 years. And with that, it is incumbent upon us to prepare and think through how to respond to those changes and challenges."

In a world of rapidly evolving technology, our Navy Sailors and civilians truly embody the Navy's new slogan and are "Forged by the Sea."

Wilson explained Sailors are warfighters who, with their knowledge and integrity, must at all times embrace a culture of forceful backup of behaviors, character, and technical competence.

To be successful, "We must work together, function as a team and get this right."

The maritime environment is complex and constantly evolving. And we must take mistakes, areas of improvement, and incorporate those back into plan and leveraging lessons learned from others.

To survive and succeed, Sailors must be proficient, rather than sufficient. Having ready Sailors and ready ships is SURFLANT's top priority.

To keep our warfighting edge and to maintain our readiness, there must be strict adherence to the fundamentals of watch standing, and its six guiding principles:

1. Level of Knowledge: Requires Sailors to complete and review periodically, the training required to successfully complete their job.
2. Forceful Back Up: The importance of speaking up when something isn't right and advocating for what right looks like.
3. Questioning Attitude: Consider the "what if" and be prepared to respond to any incident.
4. Procedural Compliance: Following the exact procedure every time.
5. Formality of Communication: Procedures are performed in such a way as to prevent miscommunication of relevant information.
6. Integrity: The idea that Sailors are doing the right thing, or promptly admitting to and correcting mistakes.

To these tried and true Navy ideologies, Wilson proposed a seventh principle, that of "Supervisory Control." In other words, supervisors and leadership need to be involved and engaged at all times, in every evolution. We cannot become complacent or take anything for granted.

"Strict adherence to these principles will increase the warfighting readiness of our Sailors," said Wilson. "If you aren't increasing your effectiveness, then you are going backward. It's not enough to maintain, we must continue to learn and innovate."

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