February 14th, 2007 04:01 EST
Ship Class Squadrons Begin Operations
NORFOLK (NNS) -- Eight class squadrons (CLASSRONs) have been established as part of the Surface Warfare Enterprise (SWE), four of which are being stood up Feb. 15.
CLASSRONs are functional command organizations specific to particular ship classes and are responsible for the manning, training, equipping and maintaining processes. They execute the process of ensuring all ships within that particular class are at the right levels of combat readiness and available for tasking by combatant commanders. CLASSRONs will use metric-based analysis to assess readiness, examine class trends, establish lessons learned, and provide recommendations and solutions.
On October 1, 2006, eight CLASSRON implementation teams formed to facilitate the alignment with existing waterfront and type command organizations. The implementation teams began staffing, defining roles and establishing procedures for their respective CLASSRONs.
Four of the eight CLASSRONs are standing up initial operational capabilities, assuming responsibility for the training, maintaining, manning and logistics processes of ships by class. The CLASSRONs being stood up are: Patrol Coastal Squadron based at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va; Guided Missile Frigate Squadron based at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.; Mine Warfare Squadron based at Naval Station Ingleside, Texas; and Littoral Combat Ship Squadron based at Naval Station San Diego.
The remaining CLASSRONs are well on their way to becoming fully operational in the late spring of 2007. They are: Guided Missile Destroyer Squadron based at Naval Station Norfolk; Amphibious Assault Ship Squadron based at Naval Station Norfolk; Guided Missile Cruiser Squadron based at Naval Station San Diego; and Amphibious Dock Squadron based at Naval Station San Diego.
Although CLASSRONs support the commanding officers of assigned ships and their ships` immediate superiors in command (ISIC), they also, perhaps more importantly, align the SWE process teams with established waterfront support organizations then report directly to the CLASSRON readiness officer.
Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Adm. D.C. Curtis is the CLASSRON readiness officer. He says the CLASSRONs emphasize readiness and cost control processes.
CLASSRONs contribute directly to the "warships ready for tasking` mission by using common standards and metrics, " he said. Those standards and metrics allow us to objectively and continuously assess current readiness and, thereby produce more ships ready for tasking. "
Curtis said another more obvious benefit of the CLASSRON structure is the opportunity for a group of dedicated maintenance professionals to focus on identifying the maintenance cost drivers for a single class of ships.
Similarly, he said, assigned manpower analysts advise CLASSRON commanders on manpower and personnel issues that affect both individual ship readiness and the readiness of the entire ship class.
But Curtis said perhaps one of the greatest accomplishments of the enterprise is that the CLASSRONs required zero billet growth in the surface force.
Combined with the elimination of functional redundancies and the ability to influence end-to-end readiness and training processes, the outcome of CLASSRON establishment is a cadre of subject matter experts organized by ship class who provide greater effectiveness across the surface warfare enterprise, " he said.
According to Cmdr. John Esposito, commanding officer of the Norfolk-based guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), CLASSRON has many benefits for
First and foremost, as a commanding officer, I know that at the CLASSRON there is a dedicated corps of professionals who are compiling information from across the class to look for efficiencies that I might not see here on a single ship, " he said. Every process improvement, every cost avoidance, every maintenance or manpower issue they identify is an opportunity for me and my crew to operate more effectively and efficiently. "
Additionally there are the efficiencies achieved by class-wide, continuous monitoring of readiness across the spectrum, from maintenance to operations to training. Every time this process helps me avoid doing something I don`t need to do, I`m saving money for the taxpayers and I`m keeping my Sailors focused on the things that matter. This pays incredible dividends in terms of crew morale, " he said.
Esposito said the CLASSRONs are helpful for all surface Sailors.
Many might think that the increased operations tempo demands of the global war on terrorism have had adverse affects on morale. My experience is that because, at the same time, we`ve been implementing these "smart` ways of doing business, my crew actually feels more focused, more essential and more appreciated by our senior leadership. They understand they are doing important work when that work is indeed important. When that happens we unleash the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the U.S. Navy, the determination and resolve of surface warriors. "
Etnyre says that sort of resolve has been a constant throughout the history of the surface force and must remain so.
While the Navy of the 21st century may be different from the Navy of the past, our business will always be victory in combat, adherence to our mission, and honoring our heritage, " he said. The positive changes we have undertaken, and those yet to emerge, will bridge our past and present to our future. The Surface Warfare Enterprise and CLASSRON efforts carry forward and continue the transformation of the Surface Navy into the flexible, capable and mission ready force needed for the world of tomorrow. "
For related news, visit the Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/surflant/.
By Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Public Affairs