US Navy establishes littoral combat ship surface warfare division

The US Navy has formally established Commander, Surface Division ELEVEN (COMSURFACEDIV 11), a littoral combat ship surface warfare division of the San Diego-based LCSRON-1 squadron.

While the COMSURFACEDIV 11 has been operating as an official command since March 9, a formal ceremony was held Apr. 20 to formally recognize the new command structure.

“Today marks a major step forward for the littoral combat ship program in terms of readiness generation and operational capability,” said Capt. John Fay, commodore, COMSURFACEDIV 11 and a native of Scarborough, Maine. “Standing up the Surface Division is the start of a new chapter in LCS history where we will focus on a common mission set for a group of ships in order to deploy ready, capable, and tactically proficient LCSs in support of fleet operations.”

The new division commands seven LCS crews and four ships – USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and USS Omaha (LCS 12).

This division is the first of the LCS fleet to be designated with a specific warfare focus. As more LCSs are commissioned, mine warfare and anti-submarine warfare divisions and will also be established. Each division will be led by an O-6 level commander.

The new command and control architecture is intended to simplify organizational processes by streamlining the chain of command for LCS. The initiative began after the release of the recommendations of the CNO-directed 60-day review in February 2016. Formerly, a single commodore at COMLCSRON ONE managed nearly 30 crews and upwards of 10 separate hulls – a command structure deemed to be too flat and inconsistent with the rest of the Navy.

“This is another pivotal point in the LCS community as we stand up this division,” said Capt. Matthew McGonigle, commodore, COMLCSRON ONE and a native of Turnersville, New Jersey. “A lot of work has been done by a number of people these past two years to establish this division, and it’s a real pleasure to see their work come to fruition and the new division come to life.”

COMLCSRON ONE will remain involved with the three divisions, maintaining operational control, and also command four test ships – USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) and USS Coronado (LCS 4). This new structure allows the divisions to focus on operational and overall readiness of the hulls, while the squadron focuses on the LCS program and policy requirements.