Time Well Spent

By Adm. Bill Moran
Vice Chief of Naval Operations

I recently completed an energizing trip to Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) in Newport, Rhode Island, to get a first-hand look at how Surface Warriors are taught and gain important insights into what instructors and students feel are important to the future of the Surface Force.

As co-chair of the Oversight Board responsible for implementing recommendations from the Strategic Readiness Review and Comprehensive Review (SRR/CR) , our team is organized to trace what has already been done to ensure near-term safe and effective operations at sea and to the longer-term institutional measures necessary for lasting improvement in today’s Surface Force. NEWPORT, R.I. (Nov. 18, 2016) Students at Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) train on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Full Mission Bridge (FMB) simulator. The LCS Full Mission Bridge simulator is a full-sized trainer that uses the same software as the FMB and Conning Officer Virtual Environment (COVE). The LCS trainer has every Navy homeport modeled and allows the student to navigate in and out of designated ports using the highly sophisticated controls of a littoral combat ship. (U.S. Navy photo/Released) Addressing issues as important as those reported by the SRR/CR with an oversight board is not necessarily new. However, the scope of the tragedies and the obligation we all have to our lost shipmates demands our full attention as senior leaders in order for the fleet to maintain its warfighting edge. A key assumption of our team is that we don’t have all the answers; if we go it alone, we will fail. Success will require input and two-way dialogue with the fleet, especially with our commanding officers in the fleet.

To that end, a trip to SWOS seemed necessary and appropriate. Spending time with instructors and prospective COs and XOs attending the Surface Commanders Course was my primary priority for the visit. Much has been written lately about what SWO leaders are thinking and feeling – hearing directly from them was an important first step.

A dialogue and rapport that promotes sharing of ideas and feedback is vital to not only implementing the suggestions from the two reviews, but importantly, to building a culture that addresses problems before they become crises. It is also imperative to let those whom we have selected to lead know we have their backs and are listening. NEWPORT, R.I. (May 23, 2017) Staff members of Surface Warfare Officers School practice ship handling techniques in the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Full Mission Bridge (FMB). The FMB provides students reporting to LCS commands the opportunity to learn their platform’s specific ship handling techniques prior to reporting to their ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Megan Chester/Released) At SWOS, it was immediately clear that leaders there were all in. They showed a passion for learning, were chomping at the bit to get out into the fleet and had given real thought to how we should continue to improve Surface Warfare. They wanted more reps and sets – […]