The Navy warfighting machine is recovering from costly mishaps and years of inconsistent readiness that are the result of years of fiscal unpredictability and high operational tempo.1 At the same time, the new dynamic force employment concept is putting pressure on the service and individual crews to “bank” readiness and make sea-going presence unpredictable.2 This important moment is an opportunity for the Navy to codify policies that put warfighting first.3
Unit training resource limitations have an insidious effect: They lead to idleness. Leaders tend to fill the idle time with administrative functions, endless PowerPoint briefings, and other administrivia, creating a disconnect between individual units and senior leaders’ “warfighting first” mantra. This erodes organizational trust with consequences for morale, retention, readiness, and the warfighting spirit.4
Editor’s Note: This article has been signed by principal author Lieutenant Commander DePaolis, as well as the following Growler tactics instructors:
- CDR Brian W. Graves, Commanding Officer, Electronic Attack Weapons School
- CDR Brett A. Stevenson - Department Head, HAVOC
- CDR Jeff Bruner, Executive Officer, Electronic Attack Weapons School
- CDR Larry Mahan, Electronic Attack Weapons School Director
- LCDR Jon-Michael Chombeau, EAWS
- LCDR Reid Smith, VAQ-133
- LCDR Robert Spence, VAQ-140
- LT Justin Brown, HAVOC
- LT Chris Burke, HAVOC
- LT Mike Charlton, HAVOC
- LT Chris Compton, EAWS
- LT Andrew Ginnetti, EAWS
- LT Brian Hartwig, EAWS
- LT Jake Hentges, HAVOC
- LT Jeff Holmes, HAVOC
- LT Jake Johnson, EAWS
- LT David A. Keller II, EAWS
- LT Paul M. Lietzan, EAWS
- LT James R. Penn, EAWS
- LT Per Rychecky, EAWS
- LT Ryan Sweetser, HAVOC
- LT Robert Taylor, HAVOC
- LT Josh Witt, HAVOC
1. SFC Jose Ibarra, USA, “Continuing Resolutions, Budget Uncertainty Harm Readiness, Service Secretaries Say,” 21 March 2018.
5. ADM P. S. Davidson, USN, “Comprehensive Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents,” 27 October 2017, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, 10.
6. Hope Hodge Seck, “Navy: Training for Surface Warfare Officers Is Failing Them at Sea,” military.com, 2 November 2017, "In each of the four mishaps, the qualification of individuals for specific watch stations did not translate to proficiency to safely execute the mission. . . ." the report finds. "In all four mishaps, there was a gap in watchstanders' training, experience, and/or proficiency, and their ability to conduct the tasks they were assigned to perform.”
7. The USAF also uses “QUAL” and “INSTM” evaluations akin to NATOPs and instrument check-rides. “Aircrew Standardization and Evaluation Program,” AFI 11-202, Volume 2, Chapter 5.2, 13 September 2010, Change 1, 18 October 2012.
8. Davidson, “Comprehensive Review,” 48–55.
9. The policy should provide for differentiation in DIFOP and operational orders to account for opportunities to train and maintain proficiency, irrespective of orders.
10. U.S. Air Force, “Flying Operations, F-16—Pilot Training.” AFI 11-2F-16V1 (20 APRIL 2015).
11. LT Renato A. DePaolis II, USN, “A High Velocity Learning Approach to Maintain Maritime Superiority,” June 2017, EAWS training document.
13. Davidson, “Comprehensive Review,” 10.