SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Surface Force needs to build Combat Ready Ships and Battle-Minded Crews. That was the theme of the Surface Warfare Flag Officer Training Symposium (SWFOTS) 2019, Aug. 15-16.
The annual SWFOTS provides Surface Flag officers a venue to ensure the Surface Community is aligned with and informed about the Navy’s current and future developments that support operational commanders, as well as the National Defense and Maritime strategies.
Vice Adm. Richard Brown, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, hosted the event.
“We have to start talking about Combat Ready Ships and Battle-Minded Crews and tell sea stories about what that means,” Brown told the group of 50 Flag officers and their spouses during the opening session. “We have to go back into our history, learn these sea stories, and talk about them with our ships, our commanding officers, and, more importantly, our Sailors.”
To illustrate his point, Brown stressed that the Surface Community must expect our Sailors and Marines to fight just like the crews of the Leyte Gulf campaign of World War II.
“We need to continue talking to our crews about the realities of war at sea in World War II to help them recognize what the fight could be like,” said Brown.
Additionally, Brown offered three main “takeaways” from SWFOTS 2019 to ensure the Surface Force is aligned:
What We Are
* We are a Surface Force second to none that controls the seas and provides the Nation with naval combat power when and where needed.
* We are the best, the fastest, the toughest, the smartest and the premier Surface Force in the world. Embrace this reality and ACT LIKE IT. Don't let anyone on our team believe or say otherwise.
What We Have
* The Surface Force has combat ready ships, battle-minded crews and an unrelenting drive to a culture of excellence.
* We are already making a difference by working closely with Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Fleet Commanders, as well as utilizing the Perform to Plan (P2P) process.
* We are seeing dividends generated by the new Surface Force Training and Readiness Manual (SFTRM) and are delivering early wins by giving Commanding Officers time back for them to best prepare for the fight.
* We have a SWO Training Continuum second to none with state-of-the-art shiphandling trainers (M/I-NSSTs and MSTCs) and combat systems trainers, such as the Combined Integrated Air and Missile Defense and Air Trainer (CIAT) and On-Demand Trainers (ODTs).
What We Will Be
* The future of the Surface Force includes the Navy’s next guided-missile frigate (FFG(X)), Flight III Destroyers (FLT III DDG), Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MDUSV), Large Displacement Unmanned Surface Vessels (LDUSV), Large Surface Combatants (LSC), Naval Operational Architecture and mainstreamed Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).
* Within the next five years, the Navy will have 66 LCS crews. By comparison, we have built 68 destroyers over the past 30 years.
* We are making investments in weapons, sensors, C4I, cyber, people and readiness for the fight to come.
* We must condition our officers and crews to have the tactical knowledge and proficiency, initiative and grit needed to fully use these new capabilities with maximum lethality against any adversary.
SWFOTS 2019 participants toured the Littoral Combat Ship Shore-Based Training Facility (LTF), which provides integrated bridge and combat systems tactical scenario training to LCS Sailors. Participants also toured Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship USS Gabrielle Giffors (LCS 10) and Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001).
Guest speakers during SWFOTS 2019 included Adm. Robert Burke, Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), and Adm. Christopher Grady, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC). Unclassified briefs presented throughout the symposium are available on the CNSP SharePoint portal at https://cpf.navy.deps.mil/sites/cnsp/swfots/default.aspx. Use the email certification to log in.
“SWFOTS 2019 was an outstanding event that aligned our Surface Flag officer wardroom and confirmed we have the most lethal Surface Force in the world,” said Brown.
For more news from Naval Surface Forces, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnsp/.