San Diego, California - Commodores, commanders, and surface fleet leaders need to prepare for the high-end fight to meet the challenge of renewed great power competition. That was the message from Vice Adm. Richard Brown, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CNSP), during the Commander’s Training Symposium (CTS), March 14.

Reiterating key themes from his Surface Navy Association (SNA) address, Brown, along with representatives from various commands — including U.S. Pacific Fleet, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center, and Undersea Warfighting Development Center — urged leaders to prepare to transition readiness into lethality, reinvigorate mission command, and drive toward a culture of excellence.

“Driving to a culture of excellence is not a top-down management effort. We’ve set the conditions to empower you to bring up issues so my staff and I can effect change. If you run into operational or maintenance roadblocks, let us know and we’ll get after them,” Brown told the group of nearly 100 unit commanders, commodores, and senior leaders.

CTS covered a wide breadth of surface warfare initiatives and updates, including:

  • Recent revisions to the Surface Force Training and Readiness Manual (SFTRM), which now permit ships’ crews to certify early when they demonstrate full proficiency during Certification Events (CEs);
  • Recent one year update on the Readiness Reform Oversight Committee’s (RROC) work to make our Navy a safer and more combat effective force;
  • Integrated training and tactical vignettes;
  • Intelligence and geopolitical updates.

CTS is a culmination of a week’s worth of events that emphasized building and sustaining fleetwide readiness. During the week, Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, delivered a series of discussions with waterfront leaders in San Diego, March 11-13.

“We are driving to provide fleet commanders with combat-ready ships and battle-minded crews who will go, fight and win. Continuing the discussion on how we are going to own the fight is the most important element to a synchronized and able-bodied Surface Fleet,” Brown said. “My staff and I are here to advocate for your needs and to set you up for success.”

During CTS, Brown reminded the attendees that 2018 was a year devoted to raising standards, improving training, tightening qualifications, re-emphasizing certifications, and re-asserting the primacy of command. Whereas, 2019 is devoted to turning that readiness into lethality through an unrelenting pursuit of excellence over compliance. 

“2018 is behind us. Continue to focus forward,” Brown said. “My staff and I are here to advocate for your needs and to set you up for success. When you need support, tell us!”

CNSP will schedule another CTS this summer to continue this important dialogue.