The following post is by Rear Adm. Thomas Rowden, the director for the Navy’s Surface Warfare Division.
Since I took over as Director, Surface Warfare Division, I have stressed the value we bring to the Navy and to the Naval and Joint war fight. From space to the seabed, we are fully engaged in deterring our enemies while reassuring our friends and allies… and make no mistake, we are the only warfighting arm of any of the services that operates heavily and extensively in the subsurface, surface, air and space domains simultaneously.
We do it all and we are doing it superbly. We are at the forefront and leading in making the CNO’s tenets of “Warfighting First,” “Operate Forward,” and “Be Ready” a reality. We are the country’s multi-dimensional force that is present always and consistently and visibly ready to go. We provide our nation with over 8000 vertical launching system cells that can be configured with weapons (payloads) to intercept ballistic missiles, enemy planes, cruise missiles, and hostile submarines, as well as with weapons that can reach out and strike land targets at significant distances. We operate in every part of our globe—every sea lane, every strait, every place where our interests must be defended. 24/7/365 we are on station answering the call… this unrivaled capability and capacity flows appropriately and unhesitatingly from the superb Sailors that take our ships to sea. Their selfless service deserves our continued and constant acknowledgement and is what drives me and all my shipmates here in N96 to deliver the best combat capability we possibly can. We in N96 are in the business of turning the precious resources entrusted to us into capability for the fleet. I remind myself every day that I must never let the seawater run out of my veins… I assure you we will remain focused on what matters most… you, the Fleet and your capability to delivery credible combat capability forward!
In order to maximize that capability, I believe we need to set our course and work together to achieve three major priorities:
First, we absolutely must ensure the ships in the water today work the way they were designed and that their systems are interoperable. We will fix the systems that do not work properly and maintain the ones that do. This will ensure that our warfighters have systems that interact and share information in real-time, and will provide our commanders with the clearest—and most accurate—tactical picture to use when making critical decisions. In order to get to the fleet of tomorrow, we need to maintain and modernize our ships appropriately. We need to ask, “How much should it cost,” and get the funding right. In our current fiscal environment, we will set the standard for the Navy in both cost and performance and instill discipline through the acquisition process.
Secondly, we must aggressively bring LCS into the Fleet. With each successive ship, the shipbuilding process has become more efficient and we are achieving better results at lower cost. USS Independence (LCS 2)recently pulled into her homeport in San Diego after completing a series of successful Mine Warfare Mission Module tests off the East Coast, and Fort Worth (LCS 3) passed her acceptance trials with flying colors. The President of the Board of Inspection and Survey commented that LCS 3 had the most complete acceptance trials held to date, and the Navy formally accepted Fort Worth on June 6, 2012.
Our third priority is to build for the Navy’s future surface warfighting fleet. In addition to the aforementioned LCS, we recently accepted our newest Destroyer into the Fleet. After a successful acceptance trial, USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) joins our Fleet as the 62nd ship of the Arleigh Burke class. Built by the proud men and women of General Dynamics and Bath Iron Works, Michael Murphy embodies the spirit and heroism of her namesake, Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy. I am confident that the Sailors in Michael Murphywill live up to her motto, “LEAD THE FIGHT.” I am also excited about the production progress of Zumwalt (DDG 1000), a marvel in design and technological development. During my recent visits to Raytheon in Rhode Island and Bath Iron Works in Maine, I was impressed with how closely the two facilities are working together to ensure the success of this incredible warship. At 65 percent complete, it is a sight to see! Zumwalt will set the tone for the next two ships, and our Navy will reap the benefits of these three for decades.
I have never been more excited about the future of the Surface Warfare community. While the fiscal environment may seem uncertain, I see it as an opportunity, empowering us to find and deliver innovative solutions that otherwise might not materialize. There will always be challenges, but we will work to avoid distraction and have honest and frank conversations about how to best make our priorities a continuing reality. I am proud of the great work all of you are doing to ensure our Navy and especially our ships remain the finest fighting force in the world. You are making a difference every day, around the world. Keep up the great work and sail safely.
* Article publicat al blog oficial de la US Navy. Tot i no aportar cap informació nova, sempre és interessant llegir les opinions dels alts comandaments de la US Navy.