A comment recently came in on the revised MFTs post that I want to share with you because the individual asks several questions regarding the “ownership” and control of our ships (CGs in this case). The nature of the questions indicates there is confusion concerning ADCON and OPCON/TACON responsibilities and relationships, so I asked RADM Dave Thomas to provide a response as my Type Commander for all surface ships in the Atlantic Fleet. I believe RADM Thomas’ comprehensive response below is very informative and well worth reading.
All the best, JCHjr
- Who should "own" the CGs in the basic and maintenance phase?
- Who above the CO is directly responsible for tracking and managing the execution of these phases and the transition to the integrated phase and then deployment?
- Are TYCOM staffs equipped / manned to manage to the level of detail necessary to track all our premiere Aegis combatants through these phases?
- Have the strike groups been completely divested of this responsibility?
The Surface Force Type Commander is directed by the Chief of Naval Operations via the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command to organize, man, train and equip in accordance with Administrative Command all 80 surface ships and 2 pre-commissioning units in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. This responsibility continues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days of the year regardless of where those ships are in the world unless they are transferred to the Pacific Fleet or until they are decommissioned. Executing this responsibility is the main focus of my efforts and those of my staff.
That responsibility also requires that I give special attention to ships in the maintenance and basic phase to ensure that I deliver a ship 100% ready for training and future tasking in the integrated phase, as 2nd Fleet and Strike Groups exercise tactical command to train the ships for deployment and follow-on operations. Administrative command requires continued tracking and support to ensure they sustain high level of readiness throughout integrated training and deployment.
Is the TYCOM staff manned and equipped to provide the proper shepherding throughout the maintenance and basic phase? In a word, absolutely.
I can say this because we have taken a number of initiatives recently to align the TYCOM staff towards a focus on readiness to ensure we are providing ships ready to execute their missions.
Internally, the staff has formed three new organizations, 100% focused on ensuring surface force readiness. SURFLANT has a readiness organization focused on cruiser/destroyer/frigate readiness, a readiness organization focused on amphibious ship readiness, and an organization focused on patrol craft readiness. These organizations report directly to me on the readiness of all the ships under my administrative command. They now conduct multiple waterfront and ship visits to conduct initial training and refresher seminars on standards and programs that support material readiness, training and safety in our ships and ensure our mission readiness.
Second, under the direction of ADM Harvey, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces, I now write concurrent fitness reports on all O-6 commands that report to SURFLANT on surface force readiness, including cruiser COs, LHD/LHA COs, Destroyer and Amphibious Squadron Commodores. This evaluation will be based upon their ability to maintain material, training and safety standards, and has the affect of ensuring that each of these COs and Commodores understands their accountability for all aspects of their responsibilities.
Third, we have established and reinforced gateways between the phases to ensure that ships meet the requirements for transition from one phase to the next to ensure that they are set-up for success. For example, in the case of the transition from maintenance to basic, we are codifying the standards needed to enter the basic phase. In the case of a transition from the basic phase to the integrated phase, we have put renewed focus on ensuring ships have completed all critical requirements prior to transition. It is our goal to deliver every one of our ships into the integrated phase 100% ready to train and qualified for future tasking.
Finally, I have made the readiness of each of our ships the primary focus of my schedule and that of my staff. I routinely conduct 1 to 2 (or more) ship visits a day to ensure standards are understood and implemented effectively by our Commodores and Commanding Officers. In the end, to me, it is all about ensuring each of our Sailors understand our standards, and that they have the tools, training, time and leadership necessary to get our ships in the material condition and our crews at the right level of training to safely operate, to accomplish the full mission set required of their ship, and reach expected service life.