When I took command of Fleet Forces, one of my immediate objectives was to work with PACFLT to reestablish clear lines of authority and accountability up and down the chain-of-command. A clear and unambiguous chain of command is fundamental to unity of action and requires the strict adherence to time-tested, combat-proven, core command and control principles.
Over the last decade, our Navy pursued efficiency initiatives to reduce the cost of manning, training, equipping and maintaining naval forces that included the establishment of AIRFOR, SURFOR and SUBFOR and the Warfare Enterprises. Although intended as a behavioral model to promote Navy-wide collaboration and coordination within existing chains-of-command, the cumulative effect of these initiatives over time has been to move our Navy away from its core command and control principles, specifically, unity of command.
To correct the problems above and reestablish chains-of-command that conform to core command and control principles, CNO revised the Missions, Functions, and Tasks (MFT) of PACFLT and Fleet Forces.
Admiral Walsh and I released a joint P4 today to explain CNO’s changes to our MFTs and their immediate impact on the Fleet.
I want to discuss two of those changes here to ensure they are not misconstrued in any way.
Our revised MFTs effectively eliminate the term “Fleet TYCOM” and realigns AIRFOR and SURFOR from Fleet Forces to PACFLT. The benefit of this change is twofold:
First, it removes the parallel chain-of-command that AIRFOR and SURFOR previously had by establishing ADM Walsh at PACFLT as the only reporting senior for both AIRFOR/AIRPAC and SURFOR/SURFPAC.
Second, since naval forces are assigned to individual Type Commanders, only the Type Commanders have the authority to man, train, and equip and maintain assigned forces. Accordingly, AIRPAC, SURFPAC, and SUBLANT will retain their titles as AIRFOR, SURFOR and SUBFOR and will still have the responsibility to develop and coordinate common policies and standards in their respective Fleets; however, implementation of the policy and standards will be done strictly through the individual Type Commanders (e.g. AIRPAC and AIRLANT).
Current AIRFOR, SURFOR and SUBFOR instructions will remain in effect until superseded.
Fleet Readiness Enterprise (FRE)
The Fleet Readiness Enterprise has been replaced with the Fleet Integration Executive Panel and will be co-chaired by Admiral Walsh and me.
The original intent of the Fleet Readiness Enterprise (FRE) was to optimize the cost-effective delivery of operational forces ready for tasking across the Warfare Enterprises. Since its formation in 2006, the FRE has evolved into an effective integration forum to address cross-Fleet operational and maintenance issues and to articulate joint Fleet requirements to CNO. The revised MFTs recognize the current role of the FRE as an effective Fleet integration forum, and reduces the scope of effort from integration across five Warfare Enterprises to integration across the two Fleets.
I want to be very clear that this revision does not change the assignment of forces, manpower or funding for either PACFLT or Fleet Forces.
This revision provides us with a clear line of authority and accountability from individual units straight up to the Fleet Commanders, who are ultimately responsible for providing them with the training, tools and time needed to deploy with confidence in their ability to accomplish their assigned missions.
There is also no intent or desire to move us back to a “two-Fleet” Navy. These changes ensure PACFLT and Fleet Forces operate from a common baseline defined by Joint policy and Joint standards, but also acknowledges that the Naval environment is not the same in the Atlantic and Pacific so we should not pursue “cookie cutter” solutions to problems that may be unique to each Fleet.
You can read the P4 Admiral Walsh and I released today here.
All the best, JCHjr