Admiral Gortney: U.S. Fleet Forces Will Always “Be Ready”

The following post by Adm. Bill Gortney, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, was initially published Oct. 4 on Navy Live, the U.S. Navy’s official blog.

No matter where we are in the world, your Navy Warfighting team is reliable, flexible, and ready to respond worldwide on, above, and below the sea. Doing this requires abiding by the adage, “train like you fight”. In the following letter, Admiral Bill Gortney, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, addresses the entire Navy and outlines how USFF contributes to our ability to always Be Ready.

Adm. William E. Gortney makes his opening remarks after assuming responsibility from Adm. John C. Harvey Jr. as commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command during a change of command ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor/Released)


Warfighting is the primary mission set of our Navy.  At U.S. Fleet Forces Command, we know that as our Oath of Office directs we must “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” by protecting our homeland and projecting naval power as required by our nation, our allies or our vital interests.  On a daily basis we focus our efforts to man, equip, train, and maintain the naval forces who take the fight to the enemy.  We will do this through five lines of operation:  Joint and Fleet Operations; Warfighting and Readiness; Global Force Management; Sailors Civilians and Families; and Safety.

Our lines of operation keep us aligned with the CNO’s Tenets and Sailing Directions. Side-by-side U.S. Pacific Fleet, we are two fleets with one voice – preparing the commands and Sailors assigned under our type commanders to be ready to execute their orders.  More than a decade of war, defense budget reductions, and global instability make this a complex and difficult challenge.  But make no mistake; we will constantly strive to strike the right balance between risk to our mission and risk to our fleet as we meet these challenges just as I know you will-with accountability and a bold and innovative spirit.

Joint and Fleet Operations. Joint comes before fleet, because as I said already, our first order of business is to defend our nation’s homeland and provide naval support when she needs our assistance.  We will defend our homeland from the maritime environment and protect our worldwide installations from “all enemies, both foreign and domestic.”  Whether conducting joint or fleet operations, our forces will be ready to respond with the full weight of naval capabilities which reside both afloat and ashore.

Warfighting and Readiness. While joint and fleet operations is our first line of operation, the production of warriors and readiness to send to forward deployed naval commanders is our dominant line of operation.  Our commanders need never question the capability and effectiveness of the naval forces we send them.  This is my pledge to them as I work for each of them.  I will hold myself accountable for my efforts and those of my command.

Global Force Management. It is exactly what it says – managing the schedules of the force around the globe for the CNO.  We identify and schedule the most capable and ready forces to send to the aforementioned commanders.  In doing so, we recommend to the CNO a balance between risk to the mission assigned, with the risk to the long term health of the naval force.  Simply stated – this is not easy.  To be honest, it is hard stuff.  However, we get paid to do things that are hard.

Sailors, Civilians and Families.  By ensuring the professional development for our Sailors and Civilians, while providing for their general welfare and that of their families, we will guarantee the success of the first three lines of operation.  We must also understand that we are our shipmates’ keepers.  We must see the signs when our shipmates need help, and we must rid our Navy of the scourge that is sexual assault.  Combat is the ultimate team sport, and we must always be teammates – shipmates – to our fellow Sailors.  And we must also support the larger Navy family.  Sailors and Navy Civilians are our secret weapons and we must never lose sight of their families who support them.

Safety.  Injury and death are a part of combat operations.  They should never be a part of preparing for combat whether afloat, airborne, ashore or at home.  When our shipmates are unnecessarily injured or killed in peacetime we suffer significant reductions in our effectiveness of readiness.  I might be able to live with the cost to readiness, for equipment can be replaced, but people cannot.  We will do all that we can to mitigate unnecessary risk to our fleet and our Sailors.

Starting with me, U.S. Fleet Forces Command pledges to maintain a warfighting focus and provide you with the training and tools you need to be ready to meet your mission and the challenges ahead.  My wife, Sherry, joins me in thanking you for what you do and we ask that you thank your families for their contributions and sacrifices they make in support of you and our nation.

ADM Bill Gortney, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command 

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