Surface Navy Boss: Culture Refocusing on ‘Mastery Vice Sufficiency’
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The admiral in charge of the U.S. Navy’s surface fleet said the fleet has demonstrated steps toward increased lethality in recent years and that its culture is changing in wake of two fatal mishaps to one of mastery of seamanship and warfighting.
Speaking to reporters Jan. 9 at the Surface Navy Association Symposium, Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden said that the Navy is making its ships “harder to find” and “harder to kill.”
Rowden listed technological advancements that are — or soon will be — increasing the lethality of the fleet, including Maritime Strike Tomahawk, the multi-mode Standard Missile-6, the installation on the Harpoon cruise missile on the littoral combat ship USS Coronado, the linking together of the F-35B joint strike fighter with the Aegis Combat System and the ability to attack land targets from an amphibious warfare ship.
He also noted the change being made in the surface force culture, that being a focus on “mastery vice sufficiency.”
In that topic, he praised he Weapons Tactics Instructors — “the Warfighting Jedi” — emerging from the Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center and populating the fleet as progress which cannot be overstated.
Rowden said the establishment of the Naval Surface Group Western Pacific will help sustain the readiness of the ships forward-deployed to Japan, which have suffered decreased readiness certification. Two destroyers, USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain, suffered collisions with merchant ships last year with a combined loss of 17 Sailors.
The new group will be the “eyes and ears” of the Naval Surface Force on the waterfront in Japan and be an advocate for the ships and their commanding officers. The group will maintain a continuing relationship with the ships in order to help them sustain their certifications, and administer ready-for-sea certifications with both in-port and underway phases.