With most amphibious ships now or soon to be commanded by captains (O-6 paygrade), it’s time to revisit the amphibious squadron (PHIBRON) commodore billet and make it a sequential major command assignment again. Currently, all amphibious squadrons, general-purpose amphibious assault ships (LHD), and multipurpose amphibious assault ships (LHA) are commanded by O-6 paygrade captains. All amphibious transport, dock (LPD-17)–class ships are transitioning to O-6 commands, and approximately half of landing ship, dock (LSD-41/49)–class ships are commanded by O-6 aviators. These are all first-time major command assignments. The officers are of similar seniority and arrive in command with varying levels of amphibious experience. For many of these officers, it is their first exposure to amphibious operations, making it a learn-as-you-go journey in acquiring amphibious expertise. The upside of having most amphibious ships commanded by O-6 major commanders is that it creates a large pool of post-command captains with amphibious expertise.
It’s Time to Rethink the PHIBRON Commodore Billet
By Captain Pete Pagano, U.S. Navy