SURFLANT Hosts Commander’s Training Symposium 23-1
04 May 2023
NAVAL STATION NORFOLK --
Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT), hosted a bi-annual, two-day Commander’s Training Symposium onboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, April 25-26.
The conference provided a venue for leaders to focus on the symposium’s key topics and an opportunity for McLane to bring waterfront leaders together to discuss future challenges and ways to support the North Star 75 initiative. This is a goal for 75 mission-capable ships, “ready on any given day” according to Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, and Commander, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet.
"The Surface Force is focused on getting ready,” McLane said. “We clearly have this drumbeat now. The over-arching theme of this symposium is three aspects; the ‘Get Real, Get Better’ initiative for our fleet, our command leadership getting their ships ready, and finally getting real about the global security environment."
More than 150 surface leaders, including flag officers, commanding officers, executive officers, senior enlisted leaders and SURFLANT staff members, gathered to discuss a litany of warfighting readiness topics.
Discussions included how SURFLANT commands and assets fit into an era of Great Power Competition, and best practices for ensuring Sailors have what they need to succeed. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James Honea served as a keynote speaker and focused his discussion on building a better force.
"It is important to give Sailors the tools and requested processes upfront, so they can be the best fighting force possible, but also the best people possible,” Honea said. “This path involves the Chiefs Mess. I don't want to give ships unqualified Sailors, but I also don't want our Sailors burnt out due to our new manning initiatives."
During the waterfront symposium, Vice Adm. Jim Kilby, commander, Task Force 80 and deputy commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command shared the importance of a call to action for every leader. “We must consistently self-assess and self-correct to create a culture of learning and continuous improvement,” said Kilby.
“As warfighters we know or research the standard, we assess a problem set using root cause analysis, and learn from it scaling what we’ve learned across the organization.”
Leaders and civilian experts presented briefs, discussed numerous topics and answered questions regarding U.S. Navy operations and interoperability with allies and partner nations.
SURFLANT mans, trains and equips assigned surface forces and shore activities, ensuring a capable force for conducting prompt and sustained operations in support of United States national interests. The SURFLANT force is composed of nearly 80 ships, 17 pre-commissioning units, and more than 30 shore commands.