MCPON, enlisted leaders come together to discuss warfighting

200114-N-UB993-0007 ARLINGTON, Va. (Jan. 14, 2019) Fleet Master Chief, Fleet Forces Command Richard O'Rawe speaks during the Enlisted Roundtable while attending the 32nd National Surface Navy Association symposium. O'Rawe spoke about warfighting and ship readiness. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Anastasia McCarroll)

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith and top enlisted leaders from around the fleet came together to discuss warfighting and developing today’s sailors during an enlisted roundtable at the 32nd Surface Navy Association Symposium Tuesday.

MCPON Smith and panelists fielded questions from junior Sailors and chief petty officers in the audience as a means to increase the dialogue on how we shift our mindset from operations in past decades to where we stand today.

“The Army and Marine Corps have done a lot of the heavy lifting over the last 18 years of combat. Now the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are where you’re going to see the majority of the heavy lift in the future.”

MCPON emphasized our current national defense strategy and the fact that our Navy is operating in a dynamic time where many capable navies seek to maintain security and national interests. “Ninety percent of the world’s commerce flows over the ocean” said Smith. “With that many adversaries out there we have a more needed service than we ever have. It’s why our defense strategy is primarily maritime in nature and that is why you’re seeing a higher investment in the Navy, and seeing a law requiring 355 ships.”

Force Master Chief Kevin Goodrich, Naval Surface Force Atlantic Fleet, shared his thoughts on how our sea services are transitioning from an efficient Navy to an effective Navy, just as sailors did during the Cold War.

“We’ve been through that period. What you’re witnessing now in the Navy and what this discussion highlights is the recognition that the period of efficiency over effectiveness is over and we need to become better warfighters,” said Goodrich.

“It’s also going to require some adjustments in how we communicate with one another and how we manage expectations,” added Smith. “Our ombudsman is probably more important now than ever.

Goodrich went on to add that increasing readiness is more than ships or equipment, but even more importantly, it’s the Sailor who operates that machinery who will be the deciding factor in victory at sea. “All the motivation exists right inside of the ship,” said Goodrich.

Panelists also included Fleet Master Chief Rick O’Rawe, U.S. Fleet Forces; Force Master Chief James Osborne, Naval Surface Forces Pacific Fleet; and Command Master Chief Robert Crossno, Naval Sea Systems Command. Each of them discussed the challenges and opportunities to excel as it pertains to their fleet or force concentration area during the Q&A panel.

The Surface Navy Association symposium held January 14 to 16 brings together members of the military, business, and academic communities to discuss issues and challenges pertaining to naval Surface Warfare.