Stennis Strike Group Approaches Surge Readiness

Story Number: NNS061016-21Release Date: 10/16/2006 5:54:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Chris Fowler, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- Embarked with the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG), Commander, Strike Force Training, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CSFTP) is facilitating the strike group's ability to conduct major combat operations during its Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), which began Sept. 21, and will end in October.

CSFTP is collaborating with Commander, Carrier Strike Group 3 to tailor training events based on projected mission requirements identified by combatant commanders (COCOM). Because the strike group is training to accomplish many different missions using many different skill sets, the training is based on real-world scenarios.

According to Capt. Neil May, CSFTP's operations and planning officer, the appropriate level of difficulty across the 22 days of COMPTUEX is based directly on COCOM mission requirements needed for the global war on terrorism. The training employs different categories of readiness using a "crawl, walk, run" methodology.

Each category specifies training goals that must be achieved in accordance with the Navy Mission Essential Task List (NMETL).

"NMETL is a living document," said Commander, Strike Force Training, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Gerald R. Beaman. "Its requirements adjust to keep pace with the environment in which a strike group might operate. By exposure to many COCOMs, my staff is able to inject real-world scenarios into a schedule of events (SOE) to fully test all the capabilities JCSCSG might bring to bear."

As the strike group progresses along the SOE, the exercises increase in the complexity and difficulty of the demands placed on the warfare commanders. So far, JCSCSG has completed two of COMPTUEX's three scheduled battle problems.

The three battle problems address a range of warfare operations that range from intelligence gathering to full-scale war.

"The skill sets required for combating international terrorist organizations involve techniques analogous to old-fashioned beat cops walking the neighborhood," said May. "The strike group conducts missions, like approach operations, EMIO (expanded maritime interdiction operations), and 'meals on keels' to get out in the sea-going community and try to learn firsthand what is going on in the neighborhood. By gaining the trust of the locals, we may be able to gather valuable information needed for us to find, and stop, the 'bad actors.' Maintaining a strong military presence in the world's potential hot spots is very important for stability."

Before the strike group can achieve an MCO Surge-Ready status, it needs to demonstrate all of its capabilities. Only then can the strike group be certified ready to conduct forward-deployed operations.

With the successful completion of a final battle problem (FBP), COMPTUEX will conclude. FBP will stress all of the units and warfare commanders of JCSCSG and integrate them. Afterward, the JCSCSG can be certified ready to surge deploy.

"JCSCSG is operating safely and doing well," said Beaman. "If it remains on its current track, I will recommend to Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet the strike group be certified ready for MCO surge status. If 3rd Fleet accepts the MCO recommendation, it will declare JCSCSG ready to surge."

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