VADM Rowden’s Farewell MSG To SURFOR On Naval Accidents & Immediate Action

FM COMNAVSURFOR SAN DIEGO CA

                TO ALNAVSURFOR

                UNCLAS

                SUBJ/COMNAVSURFOR WARFIGHTING SERIAL 13-CONFIDENCE AND COMPETENCE//

                1. AS PROFESSIONALS, THERE COMES A TIME WHEN WE MUST PAUSE, SELF-REFLECT, ASSESS, AND DETERMINE IF COURSE CORRECTIONS ARE REQUIRED. FOR SURFACE WARRIORS AT ALL INDIVIDUAL AND COMMAND LEVELS, THAT TIME IS NOW. IN THE WAKE OF RECENT MISHAPS AT SEA AND THE TRAGIC LOSS OF 17 SHIPMATES, A NAVY-WIDE OPERATIONAL PAUSE WAS DIRECTED, DURING WHICH ALL SURFACE WARRIORS PROVIDED THEIR FEEDBACK AND CONCERNS ? TO WHICH I AND THE SURFACE NAVY WILL BE RESPONSIVE. AS COMMANDER, NAVAL SURFACE FORCES, I WILL ENSURE WE MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES TO IMPROVE THE READINESS OF OUR SHIPS.

                2. IT IS CLEAR THAT SUCCESSFUL MISSION ACCOMPLISHMENT CANNOT BE OUR SOLE MEASURE OF EFFECTIVENESS. WHILE MISSION ACCOMPLISHMENT WILL ALWAYS BE THE DOMINANT SUCCESS MEASURE, WE MUST TAKE GREATER HEED OF THE MANNING, MAINTENANCE, TRAINING, AND CERTIFICATION PILLARS THAT COLLECTIVELY FOSTER SUCCESS. IN SHORT, THE END CANNOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS.

                3. TOGETHER, WE OPERATE THE FINEST NAVAL SURFACE FORCE ON THE PLANET. AS A RESULT, ALL AMERICANS SLEEP WITH THE CONFIDENCE THAT THEIR NAVY IS ON STATION WORLD-WIDE DEFENDING OUR FREEDOM AND PROTECTING OUR NATIONAL INTERESTS. WE OWE THEM, AND OURSELVES, OUR VERY BEST AT ALL TIMES. WHILE WE STRIVE TO EXECUTE THE MOST COMPLEX WARFIGHTING OPERATIONS, WE WILL NOT TAKE FOR GRANTED OUR OBLIGATION TO EXECUTE THE BASICS WITH PERFECTION.

                4. AS SUCH, OUR VALIDATION OF BASIC READINESS PILLARS STARTS NOW!  OVER THE UPCOMING WEEKS, INDIVIDUAL COMMANDS, ISICS, AND TYPE COMMANDER STAFFS WILL ASSESS MANNING, MATERIAL READINESS, TRAINING CERTIFICATION ACCOMPLISHMENT, AND, MOST OF ALL, PROFICIENCY. CHAINS OF COMMAND WILL VALIDATE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SUBORDINATE UNITS IN CARRYING OUT THIS DIRECTION, AND TYPE COMMANDER STAFFS WILL BE THE ULTIMATE ADJUDICATOR OF ASSESSMENT COMPLETENESS AND UNIT PROFICIENCY.

                5. TO THIS END, THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS WILL BE TAKEN TO INCREASE SAFETY AND PREPAREDNESS OF UNITS BOTH AT SEA AND INPORT. ALL OF THESE MEASURES ENHANCE OUR CORE COMPETENCIES AND OUR ABILITY TO OPERATE, NAVIGATE, AND COMMUNICATE SAFELY.

                – BASED UPON THE NEED TO ENSURE THAT ALL SHIPS CONDUCT BRIDGE WATCHSTANDING ONE WAY (“THE RIGHT WAY”), I WILL PROMULGATE STANDARD CO STANDING ORDERS, ENGINEERING STANDING ORDERS, AND BATTLE ORDERS THAT WILL ENSURE SIMPLICITY, DIRECTIVITY, AND COMMONALITY. WHILE THESE DOCUMENTS WILL RESPECT THE NEED TO ADDRESS UNIT-SPECIFIC EQUIPMENT CONFIGURATIONS, THEY WILL PROVIDE COMMON BUSINESS RULES FOR ALL BRIDGE, CIC, CCS WATCHSTANDERS.

                – EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AND INDEPENDENT OF THE CAPABILITIES OF ANY INSTALLED SURFACE SEARCH RADAR, MANEUVERING BOARD SOLUTIONS WILL BE CALCULATED BY BOTH BRIDGE AND CIC WATCH TEAMS FOR ALL SURFACE CONTACTS BEARING AN INITIAL CPA OF 5000 YDS OR LESS. NOT WITHSTANDING FLEET COMMANDER DIRECTION, MISSION-SPECIFIC OPSEC, EMCON, OR FORCE PROTECTION CONDITIONS, AIS SHALL BE TRANSMITTED WHILE TRANSITING ANY TRAFFIC SEPARATION SCHEME AND/OR ANY HIGH DENSITY TRAFFIC AREA.

                – EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, ANY CASUALTY TO CRITICAL SHIP CONTROLLING EQUIPMENT/SYSTEMS WILL BE CAT-3 CASREPS, UNLESS JFMM RULES DICTATE CAT-4. HERE, CRITICAL EQUIPMENT/SYSTEMS ARE DEFINED AS THOSE IMPACTING NAVIGATION, STEERING, AND/OR PROPULSION CONTROL. ADDITIONALLY, ANY EQUIPMENT/SYSTEM DEGRADATION TRIGGERING REDLINE CRITERIA WILL BEAR A MINIMUM C-3 CASREP, AN ACCOMPANYING MITIGATION PLAN, AND A REQUEST FOR CONTINUED OPERATION TO BE REVIEWED BY THE COGNIZANT FLEET COMMANDER.

                – ALL COMMANDS WILL COMPLETE (OR PROVIDE COMPLETION DOCUMENTATION) THE BRIDGE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (BRM) COURSE WITH THE CURRENT COMMANDING OFFICER WITHIN 120 DAYS OF RELEASE OF THIS MESSAGE. COMPLETION WILL BE REPORTED TO THE RESPECTIVE ISIC AND TYPE COMMANDER. BRM COURSE PRIORITY WILL BE GIVEN TO SHIPS THAT ARE PREPARING FOR UPCOMING OPERATIONS. SHIPS CURRENTLY DEPLOYED WILL BE EXCLUDED FROM THIS REQUIREMENT, AND SHOULD COMPLETE THE BRM COURSE IAW OTHER GOVERNING DIRECTIVES.

                – ISICS AND COMMANDING OFFICERS ARE DIRECTED TO ASSESS ALL INPORT, UNDERWAY, SPECIAL EVOLUTION WATCHBILLS AND WATCH TEAM REPLACEMENT PLANS FOR BOTH QUALIFICATION ACCURACY AND WATCHSTANDER PROFICIENCY. I EXPECT YOU TO IDENTIFY WHERE YOUR UNIT(S)/CREW(S), AND THOSE UNDER YOUR COGNIZANCE ARE STRONG AND WHERE THEY MAY NEED ASSISTANCE.

                – ALL UNITS SHALL REPORT, EVALUATE, AND TRAIN TO LESSONS LEARNED FROM INCIDENTS AND NEAR MISSES. FORMAL REQUIREMENTS FOR SUCH WILL BE CODIFIED IN NEAR-TERM GUIDANCE BASED UPONOUR NEED TO IDENTIFY CAUSAL FACTORS AND LEARNING OPPORUNITIES FROM THESE EVENTS.

                6. THE CONTENTS HEREIN ARE INTENDED TO INCREASE OWNERSHIP AT THE CO AND ISIC LEVELS. COMMAND OBLIGATES YOU TO ENSURE THE OPTIMAL MATCH OF ?TALENT TO TASK.? INHERENT WITHIN THIS TENET, IS YOUR OBLIGATION TO ENSURE THE MANNING, MATERIAL READINESS, AND TRAINING NECESSARY TO CULTIVATE AND EQUIP THAT TALENT TO SAFELY ACCOMPLISH THE TASK(S) AT HAND. IF/WHEN YOU CANNOT FACILITATE THE MEANS NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE THAT END, YOU ARE EQUALLY OBLIGATED TO INFORM YOUR OPERATIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE CHAINS OF COMMAND. THESE REQUIREMENTS SPAN ALL WARFARE/MISSION AREAS AND, FOR ISICS, EXTEND TO ALL UNITS UNDER YOUR COMMAND. FOR COMMANDING OFFICERS, I EXPECT THE LEVEL OF PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT AND FORTITUDE NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE AND SUSTAIN THESE STANDARDS. THE NEED TO SUSTAIN AND CONTINUALLY RE-EVALUATE PROFICIENCY IS AN IMPORTANT OBLIGATION UNIQUELY BORNE BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER.

                7. FOR ISICS, I EXPECT NOTHING LESS THAN THE VISION, RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, AND TYCOM/ATG/RMC LIAISON NECESSARY TO SUSTAIN READINESS AND PROFICIENCY ACROSS YOUR SUBORDINATE UNITS. WHILE THE PESTO PILLARS AND DRRS-N REPORTING SYSTEM PROVIDE KEY TOOLS IN YOUR MANAGEMENT, THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR YOUR AND YOUR TEAMS PERSONAL INVOLVMENT IN THE TRAINING, CERTIFICATION, AND SUSTAINED PROFICIENCY OF YOUR UNITS ACROSS ALL WARFARE/MISISON AREAS. IT IS MY FULL EXPECTATION THAT, AT ALL TIMES, YOU BEAR THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ASSESSING AND REPORTING THE RELATIVE PROFICIENCY OF YOUR SUBORDINATE UNITS IN ANY AREA. MOREOVER, I WILL PROVIDE THE NECESSARY GUIDANCE IN THE NEAR FUTURE TO FORMALIZE THOSE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS TO YOUR RESPECTIVE TYPE COMMANDERS. IN DEFINING ISIC EXPECTATIONS, I WISH TO BE UNEQUIVOCALLY CLEAR IN AFFIRMING THAT ISICS WILL NOT BE MERE REPORTERS OF INFORMATION. INSTEAD, YOU WILL BE OWNERS OF THE READINESS AND PROFICIENCY OF YOUR UNITS, AND ACCOUNTABLE FOR SUCH TO YOUR RESPECTIVE TYPE COMMANDER.

                8. COMMENCING IMMEDIATELY WITH FDNF-J UNITS, TYPE COMMANDERS WILL CONDUCT COMPREHENSIVE READINESS FOR SEA ASSESSMENTS SPANNING ALL OF THE ABOVE AREAS. THIS PROCESS WILL BE EXTENDED TO OTHER FORWARD DEPLOYED ASSETS, AND CONUS BASED UNITS (IN ALL PHASES OF OPERATIONS) THEREAFTER, AND WILL INVOLVE REVIEWS OF THE ABOVE ITEMS AND VALIDATION OF:

                – SHIPS MANNING DOCUMENTS, CRITICAL NECS, AND CRITICAL SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS

                – CERTIFICATION/RECURRING EVENT COMPLETION STATUS FOR ALL WARFARE/MISSION AREAS

                – MATERIAL READINESS OF CRITICAL EQUIPMENT/SYSTEMS

                – THE COMMANDS UTILIZATION OF SOUND SHIPBOARD OPERATING PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURES; PLAN, BRIEF, EXECUTE, DEBRIEF (PBED) STANDARDS; AND OPERATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT (ORM) PROCESSES.

                9. CONCURRENT WITH THESE UNIT AND CHAIN OF COMMAND ASSESSMENTS, WE WILL INSTITUTE CIRCADIAN RHYTHM IN OUR WATCHBILLS AND SHIPBOARD ROUTINES. MANY UNITS ARE ALREADY UTILIZING CIRCADIAN RHYTHM, AND I REALIZE THE PACE OF OPERATIONS MIGHT DICTATE SOME MODIFICATIONS TO THE MANNER IN WHICH CIRCADIAN RHYTHM IS IMPLEMENTED. AS STATED IN PREVIOUS WARFIGHTING SERIALS, PERSONAL READINESS IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT AS MATERIAL READINESS. ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE AND IMPLEMENTATION TOOLS WILL BE FORTHCOMING.

                10. ALL OF THE ABOVE MEASURES ARE DESIGNED TO ENSURE OUR UTMOST CONFIDENCE IN OURSELVES, OUR UNITS, AND OUR SURFACE NAVY. WE MUST TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO EVALUATE HOW WE ARE EXECUTING OUR CORE COMPETENCIES, AND IMPROVE AT EVERY TURN.

                11. WE HAVE ROUGHLY 240 SURFACE COMBATANTS IN THE FLEET, AND ON ANY GIVEN DAY, THE VAST MAJORITY OPERATE INCIDENT FREE. WHILE THIS YEAR BEARS LESSONS, A LOT OF HARD WORK HAS LED TO OTHER POSITIVE MILESTONES. WE’VE BROUGHT NEW SHIPS INTO THE FLEET, FIRED NEW WEAPONS SYSTEMS, EXPANDED WARFIGHTING CAPABILITY, AND EXECUTED RAPID-RESPONSE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE DURING GLOBAL OPERATIONS. THE CREWS OPERATING OUR SURFACE SHIPS HAVE TREMENDOUS ACCOMPLISHMENTS FROM WHICH TO BE PROUD. EVERYTHING WE DO AS SURFACE WARRIORS IS “EXTRAORDINARY” DUE TO THE INHERENT RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH OPERATING SHIPS AT SEA. RECENT INCIDENTS REMIND US THAT ANY MOMENT AT SEA HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE A CRITICAL MOMENT REQUIRING CONFIDENT, DECISIVE, AND WELL TRAINED ACTION. AS A COMMUNITY, WE WILL ALWAYS MAKE THE COURSE CORRECTIONS NECESSARY TO SAFELY CONDUCT OPERATIONS AT SEA. RECENT EVENTS PROVIDE THE IMPETUS FOR REVIEWING OUR PROCEDURES. LET’S GET AFTER IT.

                12. IT IS MY GREATEST HONOR TO LEAD THE WORLD?S FINEST NAVAL SURFACE FORCE. TOGETHER WE WILL SPARE NOTHING TO ENSURE THAT WE REMAIN SUCH IN ALL RESPECTS.

                13. VADM ROWDEN SENDS.//

                BT

4 comments

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