I spent my first six months in command of Fleet Forces listening and learning. I learned from you, from my ships, squadrons, and units on the waterfront, and from my staff – at every level.
Based on what you’ve showed me, I worked closely with Admiral Walsh (Commander, Pacific Fleet) and developed courses of action that need to be taken to fix the areas that need immediate attention in our Fleet and prepare our Fleet for the future operational and economic environments we will face.
I have promulgated those courses of action in my Commander’s Guidance and my initial Serials on Anti-terrorism / Force Protection, Command and Control, and Fleet Sustainment.
I did not write and distribute my guidance to be just an interesting read, but rather, to drive needed change throughout USFF. As you heard from Secretary Gates, everything that we are buying costs more; and at the same time, our overall resources are going to decrease. Preparing our Fleet for this new environment and sustaining our Fleet over the coming years is my primary concern.
Because my guidance is intended to drive change in some very important areas, it is extremely important that it is not misinterpreted. It is clearly my responsibility to provide clarity when my guidance is misunderstood.
There was a recent article published in “Inside the Navy” on my Command and Control Serial. In that article, the author summarizes one of my tasks, “By June 30, commanders are instructed to revise Fleet Forces missions, functions and tasks (MFTs) to eliminate the term ‘type command.’” This statement is incorrect.
Admiral Walsh and I are not eliminating Type Commanders, nor are we eliminating the term “type command.” As you can read in my C2 SERIAL, we are eliminating the term “Fleet TYCOM” from USFF’s Missions, Functions, and Tasks.
I understand that many of these issues, especially this one, are considered “inside baseball,” but these issues are also very important because of their impact on our Fleet. That is why my entire C2 SERIAL is focused on re-establishing unambiguous and hierarchal lines of operational control and administrative control (OPCON/ADCON) authority and accountability that reflect core Command and Control principles.
Each Type Commander is, and will continue to be, responsible for generating ready forces and accountable for that mission to their respective Fleet Commander (CPF and CUSFF) – this is as it should be. The issue that both Admiral Walsh and I have with “Fleet TYCOMs” is that their existence creates a situation where a Commander can direct action through policy decisions to Commanders and Commanding Officers in a separate chain of command. Simply, the “Fleet TYCOM” title confuses Command and Control because it implies responsibilities and authorities (i.e. that cut across PACFLT and USFF) that do not, in fact, exist.
I hope that this post adds some clarification to my guidance. My intent is to post more often on my guidance, or more specifically, the actions being taken based on my guidance. My purpose is to keep you better informed and hopefully increase our dialogue, especially where you believe I may have gotten it wrong, or at least, not completely right.
Tomorrow, I am off to spend time with our Sailors and Marines at Fleet Week in New York City. I highly encourage anyone that has the opportunity, especially those who have not experienced a Fleet Week before, to visit New York City during a Fleet Week; it is a wonderful experience for everyone. All the best, JCHjr