Over the past year, the Surface Force has done great things. Every day in seas and cities around the world, the work and presence of the U.S. Navy Sailors make a difference. They help ensure that we have combat ready ships and battle-minded crews, while preparing for the high-end fight. These ideas were echoed throughout the year, in training, commissioning of new ships, squadrons, and day-to-day operations. As we move into 2020, let’s reflect on a few of these highlights, while looking forward to the new year.
Eight ships were commissioned in 2019, including two destroyers, USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) and USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), as well as six littoral combat ships (LCS), USS Wichita (LCS 13), USS Billings (LCS 15), USS Tulsa (LCS 16), USS Indianapolis (LCS 17), USS Charleston (LCS 18), and USS Cincinnati (LCS 20). The Navy has built 68 destroyers over the last 30 years, and within the next five years, the Navy will have 66 LCS crews.
The inaugural class of the Junior Officer of the Deck (JOOD) course graduated during a ceremony at Naval Base San Diego, Jul. 17, 2019. This four-week course, a new addition to the revised Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) career path, includes training in a broad range of integrated bridge fundamentals. With this course, newly commissioned ensigns now attend both the Basic Division Officer Course (BDOC) and JOOD to prepare them to drive ships and lead Sailors. It’s all part of an overall process to prepare SWOs from Division Officer to Commanding Officer, ensuring they can drive, fight, and eventually lead combat ready ships to own the fight.
Vice Adm. Brown’s Three Key Takeaways
Vice Adm. Richard Brown reminded us that the U.S. Navy has the premier surface force in the world. Specifically,
- 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.
Brown’s takeaways have paved the way for the Surface Force in 2020.
To encourage innovation, experimentation, and combat readiness, Vice Adm. Richard Brown, established of Surface Development Squadron 1 (SURFDEVRON) 1 during a ceremony, May 22. SURFDEVRON 1 integrates unmanned surface vessels (USV) and support fleet experimentation to accelerate the delivery of new warfighting concepts and capabilities to the fleet. The standup is being executed in phases over the next few years until it reaches full capacity and capability.
Modified Navigation, Seamanship, and Shiphandling Trainers (M-NSST)
The Modified Navigation, Seamanship and Shiphandling Trainers, (M-NSST) was completed earlier this year. It was launched to improve training efficiency and effectiveness and to reduce training costs. The M-NSST has been implemented in Rota, Spain, San Diego, Pearl Harbor, Norfolk, Everett, Wash., Mayport, Fla., Bahrain, Yokosuka, Japan; and Sasebo, Japan. The Surface Navy’s M-NSST shows a continued dedication to excellence, and the Navy isn’t stopping there. Construction for other Integrated NSST (I-NSST) sites are underway and are scheduled to be operational in 2024.
With 2020 on the horizon, we look forward to the Surface Navy Association (SNA) 32nd National Symposium, Jan. 14-16. The theme of the symposium is “Owning Tomorrow’s Fight Today,” a topic which Vice Adm. Brown discussed recently in an article he wrote for USNI.