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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)

Christopher W. Grady

Norfolk, Virginia


by U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs and Oureach
18 September 2020

ASNE Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium

Adm. Christopher W. Grady, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, delivers the keynote address during the American Society of Naval Engineers Virtual Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium 2020, Sept. 17, 2020.
Adm. Christopher W. Grady, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Delivers ASNE Keynote Address
Adm. Christopher W. Grady, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, delivers the keynote address during the American Society of Naval Engineers Virtual Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium 2020, Sept. 17, 2020.
Adm. Christopher W. Grady, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Delivers ASNE Keynote Address
200917-N-DP001-0088 NORFOLK (Sep. 17, 2020) Adm. Christopher W. Grady, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, delivers the keynote address during the American Society of Naval Engineers Virtual Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium 2020, Sept. 17, 2020. During his address, Grady discussed the importance of industrial base in revolutionizing Fleet readiness. USFFC trains, certifies, and provides combat-ready Navy forces to combatant commands that are capable of conducting prompt, sustained naval, joint and combined operations in support of U.S. national interests. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Theodore Green/Released)
Photo By: Petty Officer 1st Class Theodore
VIRIN: 200917-N-DP001-0088
Well, hello everyone. In this virtual setting, I guess it’s good afternoon to some of you here on the east coast and good morning to those of you on the west coast and elsewhere.

First, let me thank Mark Hugel and ASNE for inviting me to speak. I’m grateful to speak with the largest gathering of the ship maintenance and modernization community there is.

And to my good friend, Bill, thank you for the kind introduction. VSRA’s motto is ‘the strength behind the fleet,’ which is fitting because VSRA and the other ship repair associations around the nation are indeed vital partners in our nation’s defense.

So Bill, thanks to you and your team for what you do everyday for the Navy.


Now, everyone here heard it directly from the CNO back in December when he released his FRAGO to Design 2.0.  He said that mission one for every Sailor – active and reserve, uniformed and civilian – is the operational readiness of today’s Navy.  Ready to fight today – and ready to fight tomorrow through a firm commitment to manning, training, maintenance, and modernization. Our reality is that 70 percent of the fleet you see along the waterfront and on the flight line today is the fleet we will fight with in 2030.

And, so, there it is. Readiness as our first and most fundamental responsibility.  And as the CNO implies, this entails a broad range of efforts to make this all happen.

To wrap my head around this, I look at how everything we do around here at Fleet Forces through two lenses – the ‘fleet’ lens and the ‘foundry’ lens.  Both are essential aspects of readiness.

The ‘fleet’ encompasses the combined combat power your navy brings to the fight and how we fight

…the lethality of our weapons and combat systems;
…the flexibility inherent in our highly maneuverable platforms;
…the ability and agility enabled by our logistics forces;
…our cutting-edge tactics;
…and, our true competitive advantage – the center of the universe – the expertise, creativity, and toughness of our sailors.

Meanwhile, the ‘fleet’ derives its combat power from what i call the ‘foundry.’  the ‘foundry’ entails that whole-of-nation effort required to generate combat readiness.  It includes the high-end training ecosystem – things like ready relevant learning and live, virtual, and constructive training.  It also includes the governance and policy, which set the direction for how our navy runs.

Most importantly, though, the foundry is important to me because of the vital importance of our industrial base. The vital importance to the fleet’s readiness. Every one of you here – the patriotic, proud, passionate, and productive folks who maintain and modernize our fleet – you truly make our fleet the most capable in the world.

So, to kick things off today, I’d like to walk you through how we see the security environment and, thus, why readiness truly is mission one. Next, from Sailor to shipyard, I'll explain how we have stopped talking and started doing to get after the imperative for current readiness.  Then, I’ll share how and where i believe you – our naval engineers and the rest of our navy industrial base, fit into that picture. Finally, I will leave plenty of time for Q&A at the end.

I’d love to hear what you think and discuss how we can bring our partnership to the next level.

So, that’s the plan. Now, let’s get on with it.

Since the National Defense Strategy was released, we’ve heard the phrase ‘great power competition’ quite often.  So, we say it, but these kinds of events are a great opportunity to flesh out exactly what we mean.  I’ll tell you, it’s no bumper sticker or buzz-phrase.

We haven’t experienced this kind of competition in nearly 30 years.  We have faced threats – like terrorism and others in the meantime, but none that seriously threatened our prosperity and core security interests as they do now.  A rising China and a revanchist Russia are the first threats that are plausibly existential – because they now demonstrate both the capability and intent to do harm to our core interests.

So, the entire nation and the rest of the world is starting to recognize this – especially by witnessing… China’s behavior with COVID, Hong Kong, and in the South China sea, and Russia’s behavior in Crimea, within the information domain, and their rapid nuclear modernization.

Both of their intent is becoming increasingly clear. Both China and Russia want to up-end the rules-based system we helped create – a free and open one, which brought tremendous wealth and peace to all. They instead aim to use what influence and control they have to replace the liberal order with a more authoritarian one.  One they perhaps envision as regional, and perhaps global, hierarchy with themselves at the top.
From a capability standpoint, they are approaching this in two basic ways.

First, they calibrate their actions to reside in the ‘gray zone,’ right below the threshold for armed conflict. This challenges us conceptually, where we develop new ways to confront coercion and subversion, information operations, non-kinetic cyber and electromagnetic effects, and more.

Complementing their ‘gray zone’ efforts are their conventional military forces, designed specifically to prevent large-scale military intervention. 

Let’s take China, as an example. Over the last 20 years, China made comprehensive investments to strengthen the PLA. First, land-based ballistic and cruise missiles. They’ve fielded over twelve hundred such missiles with ranges exceeding three thousand miles in some cases. Second, integrated air defense.  By combining domestic production with imports, they’ve created a very robust air defense architecture with some of the world’s most capable systems. Finally, and in my mind most importantly, shipbuilding. China now has the world’s largest navy by ship count with over 350 ships and submarines.

Working together, their strategies involve changing the landscape incrementally through coercion and preventing a response militarily using counter-intervention forces.

Given both China and Russia’s military modernization, we know their objective in any conflict will be to win fast – to quickly seize their objective and shift the burden of reversing their gains onto us.
They watched what we have done in the past. They will not allow us the time or space to build a mountain of steel before responding to their fait accompli.

And we should never forget that the enemy gets a vote. They will not sit idle as we mobilize to respond to aggression. Their activities over the last several years reveal a simple truth – the homeland is no longer a sanctuary. The oceans are no longer be considered moats, but should instead be considered potential attack vectors. The reality is that Russia, now, and China, soon, present a persistent, proximate threat to the homeland through our maritime approaches.

And, so, the implications for our Navy are clear.

The naval force is America’s varsity away team – and as America’s varsity global team – we play an essential role in defeating that fait accompli attack as part of our nation’s ‘contact’ and ‘blunt’ forces. That has always been our role, but because of our adversaries’ capability and intent, our navy is now more important than ever.

Also, given this persistent, proximate threat, we have to balance defending our nation far forward with defending the homeland from the sea.  Our nation’s ability to surge war-winning combat power starts in the homeland.  So, your naval forces an unmistakable role in the ‘surge’ and ‘homeland defense’ layers as well.  We need a very deep bench.  And one that is ready now.

Now, I just mentioned our ability to surge war-winning combat power forward. This, of course, requires both the fleet’s and the foundry’s involvement.

And, it leads me to an important question…If major war became likely, could we mobilize the “arsenal of democracy” as we did in World War II? What we did then was simply eye watering.

America produced two-thirds of all allied equipment during that war.  86,000 tanks.  2.5 million trucks.  286,00 warplanes.  8,800 battle-force ships.  And, 41 billion pounds of ammunition, just to name a few.
When the war began, America was home to the world’s largest manufacturing base. Now since then, things have changed in a few significant ways since then.

  • First, we are no longer the world’s leading manufacturer. China passed us in 2010. American shipbuilding capacity, in particular, has contracted 60% since it’s peak in the 80’s.  Whereas, china’s capacity has grown six-fold over just the last 20 years.

  • Second, the nature of modern warfare has changed. With long-range, precision weaponry and sensors concentrated on multi-mission platforms, everything about our modern equipment is more complex.  It simply takes more time and superior craftsmanship to build an F-35 than it took to crank out P-51 Mustangs. The same can be said for nuclear-powered submarines or high-end guided missile destroyers.

  • Lastly, phenomenal advances in the private sector with things like just-in-time logistics created efficiency and profitability in all business sectors, i get it. But, to realize those profits, the private sector removed excess manufacturing capacity. This, combined with the long acquisition holiday we took as part of the peace dividend, greatly narrowed our supplier base. Too many of our second-tier suppliers are single or sole source – this is 80 percent of all high-tech parts we need, and with the munition subset at 98 percent. This makes it unlikely that we will keep up with the surge in demand associated with a massive war mobilization.

The factors of lower manufacturing capacity, increased complexity of equipment, and a narrower supplier base mean that national military mobilization will have a much different character than it did in the past.

So, CNO gave us clear guidance – readiness is mission one.  And he did so because the maritime domain is perhaps the critical front in this great power competition.  And I believe that your navy or naval forces are essential in both competition and conflict – there to confront coercion as part of our nation’s contact forces, to blunt aggression with combat-credible forces, to rapidly surge war-winning forces forward, and to defend the homeland against persistent, proximate threats. Add in the changing nature of military mobilization and everything leads you to one very clear conclusion: we have a clear imperative for current readiness.

We can’t continue with business as usual. From Sailor to shipyard – we must stop talking and start doing things differently to get after our readiness imperative – and I believe that we are.  This is why I really appreciate the theme for this week’s event.

And that starts where everything does, at the center of the universe, our Sailors. I know we had a senior enlisted panel on this just yesterday, where Fleet O’Rawe, Force Goodrich, and others spoke about what we’re doing at the Sailor level to get after readiness. I’m confident what i say here meshes with what you heard from them.

And it also begins with a mindset.  We have to be relentless on readiness. We have to dispense with the mentality where we build readiness just-in-time for the next deployment. We have to have that idea that everyday is the last day of peace, and instead adopt the mindset where we constantly prepare ourselves for the unknown.

Let’s delve into just one aspect of that relentless on readiness mindset – self-sufficiency. Last year, in Atlantic Fleet alone, we had over 25 thousand tech assist visits to our ships. I know you would agree, this is just not incompatible with the demands of high-end combat. We need to drastically reduce our reliance on onboard tech assists.

The solution here is two-fold:

  • First, we need to set our sailors up for success by modernizing their training so they can better handle the technical challenges they will face and sustain our readiness in combat environments, so better training.

  • Second, we need to give them more opportunity by equipping them with the necessary technical authorities to do the repairs themselves, give them adequate technical guidance and the resources to get it done.

So what is the center of mass for this on the training and I believe it starts with ready relevant learning, how we will set them up for success.  Our legacy training model is front-loaded, schoolhouse-centric, and stove-piped, resulting in ineffective training delivery and learning atrophy.  Our onboard tech assist numbers are evidence of this.

We’ve started by creating career-long training continuums for all rates – from E-1 to E-9. The unambiguous focus here is on building technical competence both in operations but especially in maintenance. This will drive our sailors progression from apprentice, to journeymen, supervisor, and finally master.

The objective in this regard is clear; RRL will provide our Sailors the ability to properly assess our own technical problems at sea, which will enable us to be self-sufficient. So you see self assessment is what leads us to self-sufficiency.

Learning continuums are the what.  Next comes the how.  We are in the midst of a multi-year effort to modernize how curriculum is delivered using the latest methods available in learning science. And, we’re bringing the infrastructure to the point of need – on the waterfront and the flight line.  This means we need the IT infrastructure to give sailors the access they need to receive training anytime and anywhere. I am proud that we just finalized the initial set of formal IT requirements for RRL, and passed them up to OPNAV to make them part of the program of record.

And just as critically – we are working hard to put all of the policies, processes, and organizations in place to sustain this over the long-haul. For example, we just put manpower back into the TYCOMs so they can be the accountable party for keeping the detailed training requirements up-to-date by having the subject matter experts in place to constantly assess ourselves. In other words, we have to fully institutionalize this so RRL is our new way of life.

RRL is no-fail. We can’t get this wrong. We are committed to getting it right and to keeping it relevant, because we simply have to. On the other front for our Sailors is what we call the ‘future of sailor maintenance.’ This is what will help us get out of the way of our sailors and give them a better opportunity to succeed. 

Think about this from the Sailor’s perspective…

  • What if I told you that we aim to reduce the amount of administration a sailor performs as part of preventive and corrective maintenance by 87%?

  • What if I told you that we no longer have to send a Sailor away from the ship for three days to learn how to tell me something is broke?

  • What if, instead of painstakingly filling out countless blocks on a 2-kilo, one only had to input what broke, why we think that happened, and what impact it has on the ship’s mission?

We’re trying to leverage AI to fill in some of the other details and move the responsibility for much of the rest ashore.

Instead of searching across a myriad of stove-piped systems to prepare for a job, we will consolidate all of them into a single, cohesive system – ‘ATIS,’ ‘OMMS,’ ‘SKED,’ ‘SOMS,’ QA Forms, and more. This will include a comprehensive data architecture, linked with other authoritative sources and tools such as aware, to enable analytics that we currently cannot do, like implementing conditions-based maintenance instead of the current time-based approach.

Using available hardware, the Sailor will have technically accurate 3D augmented reality images available to them so they can better prepare for and execute their work in the most efficient way.
Many of you may have heard that we awarded the noble contract yesterday.  Noble will be the IT backbone for this.

Now, what I’m talking about is not an IT project.  Rather, we are leveraging this new IT infrastructure to enable the behavioral changes we need. I simply couldn’t put these new processes in place on top of the old systems. Noble unleashes all of this, so we are very excited.

We’re rolling this out in the spring of ’22 on four ships and on one air wing. We’ll take what we learn there and roll this out fleet-wide as soon as we can.

Nearly 245 years of Navy history has taught us many things – but one thing is crystal clear – give Sailors what they need, get out of the way, give them the opportunity, and they will exceed our wildest expectations.

So, as you can see, some pivotal initiatives going on at the sailor level, squarely aimed at improving the fleet’s readiness to fight and win.

But as our theme implies, we need to approach this comprehensively. And, so as fleet commander – just like our Sailors – I, too, am very much in the readiness business. I would tell you we are talking less and doing more about readiness.

As it does with our Sailors, real change has to start with a shift in our mindset – which is why we here at fleet forces and in cooperation with the other fleet commanders, embarked on our campaign to revolutionize readiness just over 18 months ago. We recognized that we need a new approach if we want to truly bend the curve here. Business as usual isn’t going to get us where we need to be.  We experience too much unnecessary friction within the complex system-of-systems we call the force generation process. We recognized we need a better understanding of the links between our actions and readiness outcomes. 

Now, when we as a Navy talk about digitization, analytics, artificial intelligence, or machine learning, we usually see this through the ‘fleet’ lens – we’re talking about how to achieve decision superiority in the fight. But quality decision-making, at speed, is every bit as important when looking through the ‘foundry’ lens.  And, so, we are rapidly shifting to more data-driven, analytical readiness management processes. I believe we can apply AI and machine learning to potentially even greater effect near term within the ‘foundry.’

Similar to other use cases, we plan to leverage the power of descriptive, predictive, and then prescriptive analytics.

We will use descriptive analytics to mine historical data and derive the readiness drivers behind past successes and failures. This will move our understanding of readiness beyond a set of closely held beliefs to rigorously derived facts. Very important and I think one of the key tenets of data analytics.

Once we understand the true drivers behind our readiness outcomes, we can apply predictive analytics to forecast how much outcomes will change as we adjust our investments in the various readiness drivers.  With predictive readiness analytics in play, I am in a much better position to articulate what we need because we can predict what our return on various readiness investments will be.

If I really get my way in this, this would take us to the final frontier of analytic capabilities, which is prescriptive analytics. Here, our automated analytics tools would suggest decision options we might not have been aware of that would optimize fleet readiness while taking into consideration how these decisions would impact other aspects of the fleet. So the drive here is descriptive to predictive to prescriptive analytics.

Now I put my money where my mouth is to get after this, I made some changes on my staff. In October of last year, I realigned a flag officer billet from my N7 directorate and created the ‘fleet readiness officer’ position to lead the ‘fleet integrated readiness and analysis office’ directly under my executive director, Mr. Matt Swartz.  The vision is to provide analytical products linking resources to readiness outputs. But not just analysis of how well we deliver the forces themselves, but also analysis of the long-term health of the readiness-producing system-of-systems itself – something i call ‘force readiness.’ We must get on a sustainable readiness path or we will lose. And, so, we need outcomes over activity – less talk; more do.

This small, high-performance team will serve as the Navy’s central hub for readiness analysis, reporting, and decision support. In fact, we recently assumed the lead for the readiness pillar of Navy’s digital transformation office for the vice chief.

We recently hired two data scientists as highly-qualified experts to aid us in developing the predictive – and then prescriptive – readiness analytics tools that will link resourcing to readiness output.

The team is busy developing and implementing the data architecture necessary to deliver authoritative readiness data sets across the fleets, the TYCOMs, and systems commands. We are working hand-in-hand with the digital transformation office on navy-wide data governance standards and policy.

Last, and perhaps most importantly, we’ve embarked on an effort to provide the rest of our fleet staff the analytics education and skills they need to propel us into the future.  The best way to do anything is to make it organic and to build data and analytics thinking from the ground up. So we are going to do both, top down and deckplate up.

Now, let me move on to the last aspect of improving readiness, the shipyards.

One of the very first things my fleet readiness team did – before they formally existed, really, was conduct an assessment of the OFRP as directed by CNO in his FRAGO. That was quickly followed by SECDEF’s external assessment on the same topic.

These assessments agreed that OFRP is producing around 95 percent of the deployed readiness we planned to.  They found that we are capable of providing additional surge presence under OFRP if we elect to pay it. OFRP is a process again, not a schedule, but a process. My bottom line here is that, as a process, OFRP works.  If we are looking where to improve upon it, each of these studies came to the same conclusion – the biggest inhibitor to fleet readiness is maintenance and modernization performance in the shipyards. We simply must get better, and I know you share my concern.

We have much hard work ahead of us here, but I can tell you I am optimistic about our prospects because of the growing sense of partnership I see between the stakeholders and because of the broadening sense of urgency across the whole-of-nation to get ourselves back on a sustainable path.

For our part, a strong, highly-productive partnership between the navy and the ship repair industry is a vital element of fixing this.  Overall, we are working to better understand the entirety of our maintenance needs and are crafting a more strategic approach to deliver in a sustainable manner going forward.

We are working hard to be a better partner. Our private sector improvement program will address workload stability, governance, contracting, and process optimization.

From a governance perspective, we need to award contracts sooner, so the yards can purchase long lead time material and we can deliver government furnished equipment. When we started this initiative, we were awarding at A65, on average.  Now, we’re at A82.  And, we’re taking the necessary steps to move this to A120.

Next, we’re looking at ways to avoid wasted time due to changes from new or growth work.  e have three efforts in place to attack that.

One way is by experimenting with two-year money as part of the OPN pilot taking place in Pacific Fleet currently.

Another way to get after this is by allowing some of those decisions to be made at the lowest level possible by raising the local limit on upward obligations packages.

Third, and this one is the most intuitive, but it takes discipline in a constrained budget environment – we’re building growth into each project. We know a lot at this point about how much to expect, and are planning accordingly. Those of you that were involved in availability duration studies, ADS 3.0 has great promise. And those of you that were involved in ADS 3.0 know that the fleet commanders have slapped the table on ADS 3.0.

We also implemented improvements which reduce the cycle time for small value changes, which historically account for 70% of growth and new work. When we began this initiative, cycle time for the small value changes averaged about 30 days.  We’re now at six and aim to bring it down further to only two days.

Another big change to the way we structure contracts is with bundling.  With horizontal bundling, we offer multi-year predictable workload. This month, we start work on our first horizontally-bundled availabilities in Mayport, with carney followed by Winston Churchill’s set to run through fiscal year ’22.

Some of the changes we made seem much more modest, but act to make some pretty big improvements in the aggregate. 

As an example is with how our craftsmen get to work each day – we streamlined the base access process. And another is the AQ checkpoint reduction initiative. We reduced the total number of checkpoints by 37% by eliminating low ROI inspections.  We’re exploring the possibility of a 50% reduction now. For both of these, the key to success was open dialogue with our private-sector partners.

So, these are just a few examples of how we are working to get the government’s fingerprints off of the causes for maintenance delays. I hope you get the sense that we are talking less and doing more about getting this right. Now, don’t get me wrong, by talking less, i don’t mean communicating with our partners less, i mean that we are committed to improving outcomes through action. 

Now, I acknowledge that we certainly contribute in a large way to getting done on time, which is why we are taking action. And I would say we aren’t moving fast enough.

I ask that, as our partners, you think hard and start taking action now on what you need to do in the private sector to take this the last mile. We must share the same sight picture on how quickly we need to improve outcomes as a team. Last year, we averaged 110 days delayed per ship in private avails. Things much better this year – even with covid. We go from about one-third avails finishing on-time to two-thirds. That is great.  But, again, each delay has real impact on our readiness and we need to keep working together to do better.

This is a team sport. And I am confident that the patriotic, proud, passionate, and productive folks within our ship repair and modernization industry will rise to the challenge. The navy needs you – the nation needs you – to get us across the finish line, because America needs our Navy now more than ever. We must be ready now to fight and win.

Despite the challenges we face, the American public remains very confident in their Navy. Because, we are where it matters, when it matters, making a real difference every day, around the world.

And, no one else can do what we do.  That is because no one else boasts a Navy where the fleet and the foundry work so well together, in close partnership.

But, the situation demands more. And I know we, the fleet and the foundry, will rise to the occasion. 

Thanks for allowing me the time to share my thoughts. Now, I’d like to hear what you think.


Q.   What are your thoughts on the Navy and Marine Corps force structure responses to the increasing Chinese Navy?
A.  Good on em. Makes the argument that carriers are important. We have them, they want them and they’re building them.  To me that makes all the sense. They’re a maritime power and they understand the power that comes from carrier aviation and how that can shape the international environment. You know it’s taken us 100 years to get that right … a lot of blood, a lot of lost life, a lot of tears to make Naval aviation works, so we’ve got a huge lead, one that I think we’ll continue to expand in the future.  Go ahead and build that big ship but to build the ecosystem that is that big ship and brings that ship to life, that’s going to take a lot of hard work and time, while we have that great advantage of over a century of Naval aviation and we know how to do that.  Two forms of power projection, right, 44 strike fighters coming off a carrier and all those devils dogs coming out the back of an amphibious ship, throwing some Tomahawks or conventional bombs, we really know how to do that, so that they’re doing that is not surprising to me.  Now, we’re not going to rest on our laurels and we’re going to continue to move forward and advance Naval aviation. As part of that future force structure carriers will remain central to what we do.  The Gerald R. Ford class, I’m very pleased with the progress on Gerald R. Ford, and in addition to working on the first of a class – a revolutionary first of a class – the thing that I’d like you to take away is not just that it’s an amazing platform, but that it’s already contributing to fleet readiness, because right now it is the carrier providing new pilots here on the East Coast. So it is truly a fleet asset right now as we get her ready for her first deployment.  And so carriers remain the centerpiece for what we do … they are the world’s only moveable air field, and I think from the theory of the fight perspective that brings great value.  And I think we understand that, and the Chinese do too. The Carrier Air Wing will change and modify over time, and so if you look at the Nimitz-class, and you look at the ships like the Enterprise as an example, the Enterprise-class, the first mission was in the Cuban missile crisis and the last was in the Middle East. That’s 50 years of being able to spend in new technology on a ship so carriers remain central to what we do.  We’ve got a big head start and we’re going to continue to advance it.
Q.  With a new generation of Sailors who did not have to do what used to be called intermediate-level maintenance on their equipment, how is Ready Relevant Learning going to get the SMEs to teach our Sailors how to repair and maintain that equipment?
A.  So this is the TYCOM centricity that I talked about. First of all do not undersell this current generation, I would tell you.  Just kind of show them what to do deliver the learning in the appropriate way that recognizes how the individuals learn and keep it refreshed, and they will pick it up probably faster than you and I can. There is tons of expertise out there. You heard two of them in Fleet Master Chief O’Rawe and Force Master Chief Goodrich, so there is I think plenty of talent out there to help us – again TYCOM centric – to find the requirement, build what has to be imparted, keep that up to date, then leverage technology and the science learning to modernize the delivery methods.  So if you couple that then with what the SYSCOM experts bring to us and what our industry partners bring to us, as they modernize how they bring wholeness to the fleet, which includes training, spare parts and all that, I think across the TYCOMs, our industry partners and the SYSCOMs, we have the expertise that we can spend on Ready Relevant Learning that we can modernize training at the right time and the right place that recognizes the science of learning.  So I am really optimistic about this. I do believe that we have plenty of the experts that we need to help build that.

Q. How do you see hypersonics playing out – shore launched and ship launched – and the second part of that is how do you see the future of autonomous planes?
A.  I’ve got to tell you, my theory of the fight, and I think I speak for many on this, I think center mass and what we do now, center of gravity for both the adversary and us is crucial so that include long-range sticks that can come from a ship or shore, but it also includes hypersonics and things like conventional bomb strikes. We’re going to need both, we’re going to need them from both land-based sites and afloat sites. And I can tell you that we certainly need them from aviation. The whole idea though is to have enough of this distributed … remember distributed maritime  operations – distributed across the wide fighting area – that we can mass effects and not mass forces. So conventional bomb strikes and hypersonics deliver from multi-domains even the undersea domain at some point will allow us to do this.  I’ll give you an couple of examples … so imagine DDG-1000, our lowest observable signature. With conventional bomb strike, and we’ve unleashed all three, into a wide area, distributed throughout the maritime battlespace. This is game-changing and changes the thinking of the enemy. Similarly conventional bomb strike ashore will also provide interesting challenges to the adversary. Strike from ashore, whether conventional bomb strike or other deliverable cruise missiles is a central part of Navy-Marine Corps integration. So if you think about what we’re talking about in expeditionary advanced base operations we put Marines ashore to help with the sea control or sea denial mission, that’s going to be centric around bringing ashore cruise missiles. And whether that’s conventional bomb strike or hypersonic or not, that’s a game changer too. I think that coupled with the JSF is a centerpiece of Navy-Marine Corps integration, which I’m really excited about.
Dale, I can jump to the next question if you like, …

I think unmanned systems writ large, I'm going to expand on unmanned systems writ large are where the Navy is going and just listen to what SECDEF said at the RAND Institute yesterday, where a fleet, a larger fleet maybe even bigger than 355 again distributed over the battlespace a combination of high end platforms and lower end platforms, a combination of manned and unmanned platforms in all domains under sea on the surface and in the air, are where our forward thinking Navy is going. This is revolutionary work. That is the game changer in in the force structure as, as we go forward the way of the future. That will be no exception. And so where I think there will always be a pivotal and central role for manned aviation on the flight deck, it will be a hybrid of manned and unmanned, whether it starts off with unmanned tankers and expands into unmanned ISR, to then unmanned strikers, we're gonna get there and we have to get there and it brings great power to that theory in the fight that we talked about. So a mixture of manned and unmanned in a fleet bigger than 355 is where we're going and that's the game changing forward thinking way that your Navy, Marine Corps team is going to get after.

Q:  How can my company help in the development of your predictive analytics initiatives and who should I contact it's the thing that they're capable of helping you in that area?
A.  We need all the help we can get. I mean, again, we don't have the, we don't have the lock on really good ideas so at the end of this if you work through my staff here we can tie you into the fleet readiness officer and we are looking for all kinds of ideas on how to get from descriptive through predictive to prescriptive analytics right and what I want to get to is I want to be able to go to see you know go, “Okay boss,” these are the resources that you give me, time, people, money. If I put them in here and pull the lever, this is what you get out. I don't want that. How about if I do this? Pull the lever again. So that's the predictive piece, and then as the data rolls in I want the AI to tell me what to do. And, and give us the first cut at it. So that's the vision. I think it's a growth area that perhaps industry is out in front of us. And so if you, if your company is one that is already into the predictive, I think I got the descriptive down, but if you're already into the predictive, and you're ready to move into the prescriptive are already there have some thoughts on that then we're ready to listen. And so we'll hook you up with our team in the fleet readiness office on how to, how to get there, but you know my vision eventually is, is that in addition to all the other battle rhythm events I have, and frankly we're starting in December. In addition to all the other battle rhythm events I have the fleet readiness office stands up in front of me and goes here's where we are. Here's what we predict going to happen and the AI tells us that you should do this. That's where we need to get every week right and that your company can help me with that I'm ready to listen.

Q. The Chinese have mandated that all ships owned by China are designed to be built for dual purpose commercial and military. Do you see the U.S. going to this model in the near future to bring commercial container ships building, the building of commercial container ships back to the U.S.?
A:  Strategic sealift is a big deal. And we need to think differently about how we do that and we're doing some of that, all that primarily to see, you know, the strategic sealift is really, really, important and so if we're going to be able to bring that arsenal of democracy to the fight. We’ve got to get there and we have to have the appropriate amount of lift to do that. We already have elements of what you're describing there. In our ability to go to providers and say, “Hey, remember that deal you signed?” Now's the time as we already had elements of that. I'm not certain that we have thought through whether we want to be prescriptive, not prescriptive but prescriptive like the authoritarian Chinese are. We'll see what industry comes back to us and let competition help us work our way through that. So, probably more work to be done on that idea. I'm not seeing it right away. But there could be something there.

Q:  From Sam Brown, Naval Institute Press. The McCain and Fitzgerald repairs, after their collisions and with the Bonhomme Richard repairs, is the Navy prepared to return battle damaged ships to sea in the future?
A:  Absolutely. McCain and Fitzgerald are certainly examples of that. I had command of USS Cole and that was another example. And by God we were going to bring that ship back better than ever. $250 million later based on the hard work that was done down in Pascagoula, Cole came back better than ever. To me, a real credit to the shipyard and ship designers who first put it on the drawing board, then build it and then to the, to the damage control abilities of the crew, and then the ability of the industrial base to get her fixed up and back out. We weren't going to. We're going to bring her back better than ever and it was a real imperative on our part, save for McCain and Fitzgerald at all and I think they are back better than ever and I'm really pleased with the, with the trajectory of those two ships as they're back online and I know Adm. Aquilino is out there in Westpac. So battle damage is a fact of life and in the businesses we lead. And so, an emphasis on fighting through will be absolutely critical. I was also on the USS Princeton, and I look at that ship and its ability to suffer that mine damage but then turn the forward deck house up threat and keep fighting During Desert Storm, that's an example of having to be able to fight through. So while the forward end of the ship was fighting the aft end to the ship was executing the damage control efforts and as you know Princeton came back as well. So this is in our ethos, and I am absolutely convinced that we've give our Sailors the right tools they will know what to do when the time comes that if we build it with the right wholeness and readiness and redundancy built in and we will have the toughness and resiliency to fight through and I am 100% convinced that our industrial base has the capability to do that, I'm a little worried about that capacity though, I would like to have more shipyards.

Q:  Are you are you adequately funded? And are we being adequately funded in the repair arena? More so, and I'm asking this question more so in the private sector arena than I am in the public because that is indeed a must pay, but do you see that we are being, you're being adequately funded there and that money is being able to flow out to the TYCOM and they're able to do those repairs and I guess the question would be, as, as we move forward, do you see that being able to continue as we as we as we move forward?
A:  Yeah, thanks for the question but also a really important one. But I think the answer is really positive one, and it's a real credit to our senior leadership from SECDEF down through SECNAV and CNO, and to Congress, frankly, our partners over up on the hill. They have recognized that current readiness is just as important as future readiness and again harkening back to the Secretary of Defense's comments yesterday to RAND as he talked about building the future for structure, building the Navy, that we need greater than 355 and the mix that he talked about. He was very, I thought, really on point and it was great to hear when he talked about it can't be hollow. The current readiness will be just as important as future readiness. And so when I look at the funding that the fleet commanders get in the two BSOs even into endgame of this year, I'm looking forward to subsequent years. That recognition, that current readiness is important, that we can't build a fleet that isn't whole, that there's hollowness, I'm just not seeing it. I'm really, really, impressed with how senior leadership gets that and so I think going forward, we'll continue to see the dynamic play out that while future readiness is important, current readiness is too, and that the funding streams will continue. Is it perfect nope. We're still working our way through the readiness challenges from the past, we're not completely done with that but, again, I'm very pleased. And I really think what Congress has done and what our senior leadership has done to recognize that hollowness is not where we want to be. And I believe that'll be the trend line going forward.

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