NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Va. — The Navy is eyeing ways to balance its training, maintaining and operating needs amid high global demand for naval forces, the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command told surface community leaders last week following the release of the Comprehensive Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents.
And for times when that balance cannot be achieved, the service hopes to use data analytics to predict when the fleet might be in danger of committing another major mishap, getting ahead of readiness problems instead of just responding afterward.
Adm. Phil Davidson, speaking to Naval Surface Force Atlantic staff and Norfolk waterfront commanders in a Nov. 6 All Hands Call, said the Navy – and particularly its Forward Deployed Naval Forces operating out of Japan – finds itself facing a “rise in operational demand, maintenance availabilities going long, and training getting squeezed in the middle.” With sailors seeing more time between dedicated training opportunities, they may lose some good habits and fundamentals that are drilled into them during basic training events.
Davidson made clear there will never be a perfect balance of maintenance, training events and deployments, but he said the Navy must try to do better. The talk came as the surface Navy weighs its path forward after the preventable collisions of guided-missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) that cost the lives of 17 sailors.