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October 30, 2012 / iDriveWarships

Copeman’s Priorities a Blueprint for Delivering Readiness

With just over three months at the helm of the Naval Surface Force, Vice Adm. Tom Copeman has had some time to look at the fleet and chart the future.

His inspiration came from the Chief of Naval Operations’ three tenants—warfighting first, operate forward, and be ready—which help to guide decisions made for the fleet.

Copeman’s priorities also fall into three key focus areas: training, development and career management of our Sailors; training our crews to fight and win; and providing warships ready for combat. He plans to deliver readiness by successfully manning, training and equipping the surface force.

Just as important as being properly manned, is ensuring the experience level of the crew is the best it can be. To track that experience, he wants to foster a strong working relationship with the Naval Personnel Command, using “directive detailing” to track experience levels to ensure key leadership billets are filled with Sailors who have the right experience and training.

To start with, Copeman said he intends to invest $170 million into schoolhouse upgrades for surface engineering, with plans to do the same for combat systems and their respective schoolhouses.

Copeman said he wants to reverse the trend of many Sailors spending large amounts of time at school only to require in-depth supervision once reporting aboard ship to do basic maintenance or watch standing. 

Likewise, in order to keep ships’ crews trained up, Copeman directed his operations staff to work with the numbered fleets to develop a process to ensure all ships receive 24 weeks of uninterrupted basic training.

He urges leaders to use the Surface Force Readiness Manual as a guide for training their crews. The end result for all this manning and training? Providing warships ready for combat. 

A big focus of his efforts is getting the littoral combat ship into the fleet and ready for her first deployment.

All of these goals are within the surface forces’ reach, according to Copeman. To read more about his priorities for the fleet, click here.

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