The ASNE Tidewater Section wishes to extend it's sincere gratitude to Rear Admiral Whitney for taking the time to talk to us this past Wednesday at our monthly dinner meeting.
RADM Whitney is the FFC Director of Fleet Maintenance. He gave an extremely interesting talk on the Navy's efforts to develop self sufficient sailors at sea and the mind shift of focusing on performing the required maintenance and ensuring the ship's crew is trained and how that leads to more units being able to deploy on time. As the world changes, the role of the Navy is becoming increasingly more relevant. Gone are the days when the battle was solely fought in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan. US Navy vessels have found themselves being fired upon by missile wielding extremists. Training (or the lack there of) has serious consequences. In today's budget limited environment, "Data carries the day." RADM Whitney, the Secretary of the Navy and many others are really working towards gathering the necessary data and pushing towards faster decision making.
At the end of his lecture, RADM Whitney lead a debate on the idea of collaboration particularly between the Military and Civilian Sector that is dedicated to keeping these ships running. They discussed ways to improve this collaboration as well as ideas to ensure today's sailors had the necessary skill set to maintain their own equipment. (A necessity when the ship may not be allowed any communication with the outside world.) Time will tell what the finished product looks like, but it sounds like the Navy is on the right track.
Photos can be found on our Facebook site: ASNE Tidewater