Navy leaders up and down the chain of command need to prepare their crews to fight and win in blue-water, fleet-on-fleet combat. That was the message Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, delivered during a series of discussions with waterfront leaders in San Diego, March 11-13.
Aquilino, along with U.S. Pacific Fleet Force Master Chief James Honea, visited various commands at the largest fleet concentration area on the West Coast. At the Naval Air Station North Island’s Lowry Base Theater, they led a conversation with leaders from air, surface, subsurface, expeditionary and special warfare communities about the importance of building and sustaining readiness fleetwide.
Aquilino expressed urgency, telling the gathering of commanding officers, executive officers and command master chiefs that he and Honea were there to help drive a shared effort to build winning, high-end war fighting crews with high-end war fighting capability.
“We are in this together,” Aquilino said. “Readiness is a team sport. Here is what I owe you: I owe you the people, the parts, the time, the syllabus and the trainers to generate readiness. You also have a responsibility. I need you to take those things I give you and turn them into lethal combat power.”
Aquilino acknowledged there was more work to be done, and asked the diverse group of leaders for feedback on barriers to building and sustaining readiness.
“I won’t assign you missions you’re not ready to go do,” Aquilino said. “This is the leadership across all communities in San Diego. I need to hear from you what’s working and what isn’t.”
Honea challenged the command master chiefs in attendance to align their efforts to their commanding officer’s priorities.
“When we talk about building winning teams, it’s the chiefs’ mess that develops the technical experts that build the readiness,” Honea said. “Those winning teams have confidence in themselves and the faith of their commanding officer that they will have the weapons they need when they go into those fights.”
At the Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s (CNSP) Surface Warfare Commanders Conference, Aquilino repeated the need for high-end war fighting capability. Leaders carried that message into CNSP’s Spring 2019 Commander’s Training Symposium (CTS), which is a forum for commanders and commanding officers to receive updates on fleet-wide initiatives, as well as to ask questions and provide feedback directly to CNSP.
“I’m confident that we will win any fight,” Aquilino told the San Diego-based Navy leaders. “Let there be no doubt: Each one of our Sailors should know they are part of the best damn Navy in the world.”