White House Officially Nominates Braithwaite for SECNAV
The Trump administration has sent to the Senate U.S. Ambassador to Norway Ken Braithwaite’s nomination to serve as the new Navy secretary. The White House in an email this week announced it delivered the nomination to the upper chamber after confirming last week that President Trump still planned to nominate Braithwaite for the position. Trump first disclosed his plans to tap Braithwaite for the job in a series of tweets on Nov. 24. In those tweets, he also announced former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer’s ouster over the management of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s case.
Gilday Disagrees with Acting Secretary on Navy Optimized Fleet Response Plan
In remarks before the 2020 West conference, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday took issue with Defense Secretary Mark Esper's judgement that the Optimized-Fleet Response Plan (O-FRP) does not work, arguing the Navy has met all of its deployments. "I don't necessarily agree with the secretary's assessment. I say that with all due respect," Gilday said. "But we have [met] and projecting to the future continue to meet every commitment, every deployment, that we've been directed to do." The CNO said upon assuming his position, he ordered U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Fleet Forces Command to launch an evaluation of the O-FRP, while Esper also requested an "independent assessment" that is still "ongoing." The O-FRP is a 36-month cycle for training, maintenance and deployments that the Navy created to bring consistency to the fleet.
Modly Sketches Out Potential Navy Force Structure Changes; Anticipated 390-Ship Fleet
In remarks before the Brookings Institution, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly forecasted details of the service's forthcoming force structure assessment, despite a temporary hold on the document from Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Modly said the recently conducted Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment, or INFSA, showed the Navy working toward a 390-ship fleet of manned platforms and a 435-ship fleet when including unmanned platforms. "It would be part of the future mix, but I’m not sure 355 is the right number anymore," Modly said of unmanned vessels. "I just think that gets into a debate about a number that's not really that relevant," he added, referring to working toward a 355-vessel fleet by including unmanned vessels in the battleforce ship count. "So we are talking about capability," Modly said. "Unmanned systems will be a critical part of our future maritime capability, for sure. We are investing [in] that."
The acting secretary said the new INFSA is based on the same 12-aircraft carrier requirement as the previous 2016 evaluation, which provided the Navy with its 355-ship objective.
RELATED: USNI News: CNO, Commandant Asking for Fleet Wholenss Amid Pause in Future Force Structure Planning
Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Working on ‘Tri-Service’ Maritime Strategy
The Navy is working with both the Marine Corps and Coast Guard on a joint maritime strategy the services expect to receive from staff this summer. Asked for details by Inside Defense, Gilday said he has yet to see the results of the initiative, but noted staff has been working on the effort for about two-and-a-half to three months. "It will be informed by the National Defense Strategy, but I can't provide any additional details yet," Gilday said. The CNO said he anticipates receiving the results by the summer and the services could share information about the work "shortly thereafter." The initiative comes as the Navy and Marine Corps emphasize the importance of naval integration, as the Pentagon works to adjust to a new National Defense Strategy that focuses on great power competition with countries like Russia and China.
Navy Planning Hammerhead Industry Day to Discuss Design, Production Contract
The Navy is planning a March 23 industry day to discuss the contract award for design, development and production of Hammerhead, a maritime mining system deployed from an unmanned undersea vehicle to detect and destroy anti-submarine warfare assets, according to a Navy notice published last month.
"The system is conceptually designed to be organic and modular; minimum modular components include the capsule module, energy module, mooring module, and the effector," according to the notice. A request for proposals is expected in fiscal year 2020, the notice says. Hammerhead, which the Navy also dubbed an "encapsulated effector," was designated as a maritime accelerated acquisition program, according to the service's FY-21 budget documents. That designation grants the program certain contracting authorities to streamline acquisition.
Department of Navy Unveils Education for Seapower Strategy
The Education for Seapower Strategy was released this week and outlines the Department of the Navy’s effort to revitalize the way it educates sailors and Marines. The strategy is the DoN’s guide to implementing many of the organizational and functional changes proposed in the Navy’s Education for Seapower report released a year ago. The strategy seeks to align how the Navy and Marine Corps educates the force with evolving mission demands, said John Kroger, the Navy’s chief learning officer, during a media conference call on Tuesday. Building on the Education for Seapower study’s recommendations, the education strategy is based on three pillars: creating a continuum of learning for the entire force, integrating education into talent management, and strengthening the Naval University System.