Strategic Enterprise

Militaries are not usually mobs of men but rather organized socio-technical systems. As technology has more impact on the way wars are fought, more detailed organization will be required. Many different things affect military organization – tactics, training, weapon availability and deployment to name a few. Many organizations are so weighed down by politics and procedures that they are unable to effectively adapt their activities to meet the changing operational requirement. A military organization such as the U.S. Navy must have some degree of flexibility in the way it is structured in order to complete its mission.

“The crux of organizational Submarine Leadership competence is adaptability – and adaptability depends upon the capability of the organization to readily modify its operations as required by changes in its objectives, its missions, and its environments, (i. e. it flexibility).” (Olmstead, 2002, p. 219).The Navy’s mission statement is extremely adaptable to today’s rapidly changing environment. The mission of the Navy is to “maintain, train and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.” In order to support this mission, the operating forces commanders and fleet commanders have a dual chain of command – administrative and operational.

Operationally, they provide naval forces and report to the appropriate Unified Combatant Commanders. As ships enter the area of responsibility for a particular geographical area, they are operationally assigned to the appropriate fleet (2nd Fleet – Atlantic Ocean, 3rd Fleet – Pacific Ocean, 6th Fleet – Mediterranean, etc.). Administratively, they report to the Chief of Naval Operations and provide, train, and equip naval forces. Ships also report to the appropriate type commander.
Organizational Design

According to Galbraith (2002), “Organizational designs that facilitate variety, change, speed, and integration are sources of competitive advantages.” (p. 6). The Navy’s organizational designs of operational and administrative chains of commands are further supported by a type commander, which provides information, support, and training to support both the administrative and operational commanders. All naval units report to commanders based unit type. Aircraft carriers, aircraft squadrons, and air stations are under the administrative control of the appropriate Commander Naval Air Force. Submarines come under the Commander Submarine Force. All other ships fall under Commander Naval Surface Force. The type commanders are further defined by Atlantic and Pacific Fleets which mirror one another. The focus of this strategic design analysis is to examine the organizational make-up for Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (SURFLANT) who is administratively responsible for all surface warships in the Atlantic Fleet.

SURFLANT, one of the six United States Naval Type Commands, consists of 110+ ships; there are special mission and fleet support units that make up the more than 40 commands. SURFLANT has approximately 35, 000 personnel are stationed both Stateside from Bath, Maine to Corpus Christi, Texas and on the high seas from the Norwegian Sea in the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf of the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean. Additionally, SURFLANT ships provide a critical element to drug interdiction operations in the Caribbean Sea.

Mission Statement Analysis

The mission of SURFLANT is “to provide combat ready ships to the fleet; and supply those ships and supporting commands with the leadership, manpower, equipment, maintenance, training, and material needed to achieve operational excellence and conduct prompt, sustained combat operations at sea to ensure victory.” This statement defines the principle product that SURFLANT must deliver as well as the elements required by the customer. The principle product that must be delivered is “combat ready ships” and he customer is “the fleet” or operational commander. SURFLANT must provide essential resources before these ships are “combat ready” or useful to the operational commander: Leadership, Manpower & Training, and Logistics Support – includes equipment, maintenance, and materials. The ability to deliver these resources is affected by internal and external factors.

Internal & External Environment Analysis

There are internal and external factors that affect SURFLANT’s ability to deliver combat ready ships to the fleet. A manning external factor, for example, would be the impact of an aircraft controller rotating from the shore establishment to a ship early in order to support the ship’s mission when air operations are required. An internal leadership factor would be the ship’s commanding officer properly training his sailors so that they function as a crew when fighting the ship. Each of the requirements has their own unique set of internal and external factors. I will not attempt to discuss each requirement in relation to these internal/external factors, but rather focus on the demand signal from the end user (operational commander) and how that signal drives the process of preparing hips for operational commitments in hostile environments.

The demands of the Global War on Terrorism have underscored the need for forces that can quickly be deployed to any “dark corner of the world,” and arrive ready for the entire range of combat operations. This “War on Terrorism” is a campaign by the NATO governments and their allies’ governments with the stated goal of ending international terrorism by stopping those groups identified by the U.S. as terrorist groups and ending state sponsorship of terrorism. The “War on Terrorism” was launched in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington D.C. It has become a central part of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Unlike earlier concepts and definitions of war–with defined nations, boundaries, standing armies, and navies–the “War on Terrorism” has largely been dominated by the use of special forces, intelligence, police work, and diplomacy. In 2005, the US’ strategic goals have been expanded, from fighting a war on terrorism to fighting “The Long War.” More recently, members of the US-government also used the labels “Global Struggle against Violent Extremism” and “World War III”.

As the environment changes, we must evolve to meet these new challenges. “Our warfighting requirement decisions are driven by the current and future threats, naval strategy, affordability and joint interoperability.” (Nathman, 1999). Before the events of 9/11, the naval concept of security was very basic and required only standard methods of training and equipment. After 9/11 the navy bolstered its concept of security that is now known as Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection which brought with it new training requirements, leadership development requirements, and additional logistics requirements such as improved body armor. The bottom line is though our mission statement remains unchanged, the demand signal or threat environment compelled us to assess and adjust how we fulfill our mission.

The Demand Signal

In the past the U.S. Navy has fought big wars, massed enough might to fight major wars on two fronts, fought giants such as Germany and Japan, and staved off Russia during the cold war. While preparing for such warfare, the U.S. Navy has increasingly engaged in smaller-scale operations such as fighting insurgencies, combating terrorism, rescuing noncombatants from war zones, supporting friendly governments, rendering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, participating in peacekeeping operations, as well as other challenges other than war.

The widely diversified and specialized Naval Surface Force Atlantic is an important instrument of national policy in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea, and the Persian Gulf.” SURFLANT ensures surface ships across are properly trained, maintained and crewed to support military operations with other U.S. Services, and with friendly nations anywhere in the world. We will provide operational commanders with well trained, highly effective, and technologically relevant Surface Forces that are certified across the full spectrum of warfare areas.

The demands of war underscore the need for forces that can quickly be deployed to any dark corner of the world, and arrive ready for the entire range of combat operations. The “War on Terrorism” was launched in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York ad Washington D.C. It has become a central part of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Unlike earlier concepts and definitions of war – with defined nations, boundaries, standing armies, and navies – the “War of Terrorism” has largely been dominated by the use of Special Forces, intelligence, police work, and diplomacy.



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