USS MONTEREY (CG 61) returned on Tuesday from an eight month deployment to the Mediterranean as the first ship to execute Phase 1 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) – our nation’s plan for providing ballistic missile defense over Europe. MONTEREY’s deployment kicked off what will now be a continual deployment of Aegis BMD-capable ships in that region. This BMD mission is yet another great example of our Navy providing our unique capabilities to meet a critical need for our nation.
Throughout her deployment, MONTEREY participated in several multi-national military exercises, humanitarian efforts (with Project Handclasp), and hosted hundreds of multi-national dignitaries to build and strengthen relationships with our allies in the region. While this mission is not new for us, this particular deployment was the first in support of the EPAA and sets the bar high for future deployments.
In light of what I believe to be a successful deployment, I want to focus for a moment on what it takes to execute these types of missions. The Aegis BMD capability we have today is built upon a foundation of wholeness and excellence. Wholeness is the resources (manning, training, equipping and maintenance) and time needed to prepare a unit to deploy with confidence in their ability to accomplish their assigned mission. Excellence is adhering to the standards of technical rigor and professional performance in every aspect of our duties. We must first build and maintain a firm foundation of wholeness and excellence before we can deploy to execute the mission. A firm foundation means that our spares lockers are full, our systems perform to specifications, our ships are properly manned and maintained, and our Sailors are trained, confident and understand what’s expected of them.
Although we’ve been in this Aegis BMD game for quite some time, it’s taken our strongest effort to protect and reinforce this foundation. The great majority of the topics we’ve discussed on this blog – Practices of Successful Commands, surface improvement initiatives, AN/SPY-1 Radar improvement, changing our culture – all get at the very heart of what we all need to do every day to rebuild (where needed), reinforce and maintain the foundation.
I am very proud of what MONTEREY’s crew accomplished during their time on this deployment. The first of any type of mission is never an easy one, but the crew of MONTEREY was ready for this one and they stepped up and delivered in a very big way. Well done.
All the best, JCHjr