Italy: Chief of Naval Operations Summarizes RSS Panel Session

Chief of Naval Operations Summarizes RSS Panel Session

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert summarized the session he chaired at the 9th Regional Seapower Symposium (RSS) for the Navy of the Mediterranean and Black Sea Countries at the Italian Naval War College, Oct. 18.

Greenert was the chairman of the first session which focused on “Recent Operational Experiences and Their Influence on Future Platforms.”

During his remarks on the last day of the conference, he emphasized three main points to summarize comments made by his fellow panel members.

The first point was the shared common operational experiences of the maritime forces on the RSS panel. One of the observations CNO highlighted from the first session was how Operation Unified Protector reenforced the need for maritime to influence events on the land.

“Maritime influence avoids limits and challenges of boots on the ground,” said Greenert.

Likewise, Greenert echoed the comments made by another naval leader during the conference, saying “the Navy offers engagement without embroilment.” Greenert said that this means no footprint, no permission slip, and avoidance of sovereignty issues.

Other common experiences among the panel members for Operation Unified Protector included the complexity and number of joint and coalition players on both sides; the need for ISR and precession effects; and how the operation highlighted today’s threats and the importance of knowing the environment before actions are taken.

There were also common operational experiences highlighted by Greenert for counter-piracy and counter-terror operations and for the recent International Mine Counter Measure Exercise; too describe each, there were too many to mention.

CNO then discussed, from the collective wisdom of the panel members, his second point. It was how panel members experiences reinforced the need for adaptability while dollars are going down within respective budgets. Before describing what this meant, CNO explained the importance of articulating in simple terms, so people can understand, the return on investment of Naval capabilities.

Greenert followed by laying out several ideas, most of which were representative of fellow panel members. They included: capability may be more important than capacity due to the collateral damage mass may bring; the majority of the time spending occurs will likely be on the ‘low-end’ (capabilities); and the need to build new platforms with adaptability and a modular design at the start.

Finally, CNO discussed his third point which was about how adaptability requires planning.

“If your going to adapt, what are you going to adapt to,” said Greenert. What is the future, what are you adapting for, who are you adapting for and what are the bench marks?”

To be effective and efficient CNO stressed a need for a plan.

Highlighting the panels adaptability inputs Greenert said, “We need to work with industry early and we need to do it often. We need to be clear what our requirements are so they can provide us with options that are affordable and something they can sustain on our behalf.”

Other items Greenert summarized included more than equipment. it included people. People were described as the heart of adaptability by panel members.

Speaking on behalf of a panel member Greenert said, “We need to nurture adaptable Sailors and civilians. Our Sailors have to be diverse and reflect who we are in the future. We have to think about the experience they are going to need and build our cultures and training they are going to need accordingly.”

Greenert concluded with thanking the audience for their input, insights and cooperation during the RSS.

“Now it’s up to us to take those experiences and those lessons learned to go out and operate together,” said Greenert.

Naval Today Staff,October 21, 2012; Image: US Navy