NAVAL AMPHIBIOUS BASE CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet hosted the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet 2019 Executive Leadership Symposium at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Oct. 21-25.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith, Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, commander of Carrier Strike Group 9, and others, gave presentations and led discussions with more than 25 command senior enlisted leaders to help hone the skills they currently possess as well as develop the skills they will need on a flag commander’s staff.
“It’s a huge difference from ship to staff,” said Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Command Master Chief Israel Pedregon. “Your commander is in charge of other commanding officers and command master chiefs. You are now the voice for your admiral ensuring your commander’s intent is understood and being followed, and you are providing guidance and mentoring those junior CMCs, who may be on their first tours so they can be successful.”
During the symposium, the enlisted leaders were briefed on a range of topics including supporting commander’s intent, emotional strength, bias, inclusion, resources, and warfighting.
“They didn’t have this class when I started working for flags,” said Smith. “There’s a lot of things we just kind of learned by trial and error, and it’s painful. The way things work is going to change. For your commanders, they will have an executive assistant, an aide, a chief of staff, and they’ll want to take advantage of these new tools, but one thing they will still have is their CMC. The first thing this course does, in large part, is teach CMCs how to provide active support for their commander’s intent, and the other thing is pulling their heads up a little bit to look at the strategic picture.”
Smith added that, as CMCs progress to higher-level commands, they have to develop their understanding of the world, the national defense and maritime strategies, and what the Navy’s job is in support of those strategies. They can then relate those concepts in simple terms for their Sailors to be able to understand their roles and how each task they complete is important to keep their ships battle ready.
Smith spoke about focusing on the warfighter, warfighting, and the future fleet as the Navy prepares for a multitude of threats. “We’re looking at parts of our long-term strategy, where what we want and what other countries want are in diametric opposition. There are countries who don’t like us and don’t like that we operate where we do, countries who will occasionally get angry, rattle their sabers, and remind us that they, too, have a lot of cool stuff that they can use to hurt us.”
In that environment, Smith said the next engagement is likely going to be a World War II sea battle-style of engagement and also offered examples of what battle-minded crews do and what Sailors need to do to cultivate that mindset.
“The Navy of USS Stark (FFG 31), which was hit by a missile and 37 Sailors died – it was cracked in two pieces, and it was kept afloat, but we were able to repair it and return it to service. The kind of damage control that allowed that to happen, and the kind of damage control that enabled USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413) to survive a [mine strike] despite severe damage, that’s the kind of damage control that we need to have across our crews and across our Navy.”
As these senior enlisted leaders continue to face new jobs and new challenges, the network they built and the skills they’ve gained at this symposium are crucial for whatever the future holds.
For more news from Naval Surface Forces, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnsp/.